Note – If you find Iain’s post below helpful, please feel free to ‘tip’ him with a share on your preferred social network. Thanks!
The focus of SEO is now all around producing ‘great’ content. There are a million blog posts covering the subject. Unfortunately, just creating great content isn’t enough to get the SEO rankings you’re looking for. It’s what you do with the content that counts! This post covers techniques to leverage your content for maximum SEO benefit.
How does content ‘fit’ into SEO?
If you have already read one of the countless blog posts on why content is important, feel free to skip this section. If the concept of SEO content is new to you, read on.
Search engines…wait who am I kidding… Google (93% of searches in Australia), aim to bring together customers searching for information with useful information. Google use over 200 factors to determine what information is useful and what is not. The more positive factors your content gives off, the higher your page will rank.
The best long term strategy in any SEO campaign is to produce quality, useful content for your audiences. This way, no matter what changes search engines make, your content will always rank.
I have great content. What now?
As a digital marketing agency, we spend a huge amount of time convincing clients to produce great content. We then use said content to give off positive SEO signals and, inevitably, to get sites rankings.
Below are some great techniques you can use to promote your content.
It’s all about promotion
Tell people about your content. Just because you’ve published it doesn’t mean people will find it straight away. You’ll need to kick start the process.
Using the following techniques to send your ‘content moments’ to people who would benefit from your content.
• Email customers & industry contacts
• Share with people on Facebook, Twitter & Google+
• Write a letter!
You can be highly creative with all of these techniques. For example, if you run an ecommerce site, include a link in your ‘order confirmation emails’ to your remarkable content pieces.
Another tactic might be to follow and engage with influencers on social networks who are specialists in your niche. When you eventually develop a great, relevant content piece, share it with them and ask for their opinion. The more creative you are with these tools the better the response you’ll get!
Submit it to other websites
Your goal here is to gain exposure on relevant websites that already have traffic. This works particularly well if you content is an infographic.
Here is a really useful guide to getting the most out of promoting infographics.
You have spent time and money convincing your boss or client to invest in making some decent content. Don’t hide it on a back page of your website. Have it front and centre on your site.
Every website should have a section/sections designed to help educate visitors; store and organise your quality content in these sections. That’s what most people are looking for. They aren’t interested in how great you think your company is. Help them buy your product or service!
But I don’t have a network or customer base to promote to yet….
There are a few great services you can use to promote your content. However, nothing in life is free. For these types of services, you can pay a fee and they will syndicate your content or allow you to advertise on their network.
Google AdWords is a fantastic way to get your important content pieces in front of your various target audiences. For so long, this incredible platform has been used to simply capture and convert purchase ready customers. However, what only a handful of marketers have realised is that this platform can be an extremely powerful tool to disseminate ’top of funnel’ content pieces.
If you have a complicated product with a long path to purchase, Google AdWords can be a great medium to capture users in the awareness and consideration phases of the purchase process. This can be done either through targeting informational search terms on the search network or by targeting relevant websites and audiences in the display network.
Here’s an example of an ad we’ve used on the display network in the past to help drive traffic to our own content. Feel free to click through and have a read if you have the time!
Like the Google display network, Facebook pay per click advertising is another great way to drive traffic to your content. However, due to the sheer amount of information Facebook has about all of their users, this form of advertising can also be laser targeted to reach your specific target audience.
Simply submit it to Stumble Upon, fill in a few details enter your credit card details. This will expose your content to a targeted selection of Stumble Upon’s 25 million users who have expressed an interest in your subject. This allows people who aren’t actively looking for your discourse (but are interested in the subject matter) to engage with your content.
UPDATE: August 2nd, 2013 – LinkedIn introduces ‘Sponsored Updates’; an incredibly powerful new weapon for your SEO content dissemination arsenal!
LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
LinkedIn has now introduced a new advertising format that allows businesses to pay to serve their brilliant, targeted content pieces to the news feed of anyone on the LinkedIn platform. The new format is called LinkedIn Sponsored Updates. If you’d like to find out more, we’ve done a comprehensive post on why you should start getting excited about them. You can read it here.
How do I know it’s working?
The goal with an SEO content marketing strategy is to generate as many positive SEO signals as possible. The best signals for SEO are when other quality, relevant websites are linking to yours.
Shares on Google Plus also help short term rankings, and there is strong evidence to suggest that time on site is also a ranking factor. It makes sense; if you have useful information, people will stay and read it. If your content is low quality, users will likely leave quickly.
Try tracking these KPIs to see how well our content promotion is going:
1. Number of websites linking to content
2. Google Plus, Facebook & Twitter Shares/Retweets
3. Page views of content
4. Time on site
One thing we don’t pay a lot of attention to is bounce rate. The definition of bounce rate is the % of visitors who viewed a particular page then left the site. We don’t pay attention to this because when somebody is in the information researching phase, it’s unlikely they will want to buy right there and then. They find out the information they want then leave.
Apply this to a real world situation. Say you’re planning on redecorating your kitchen. First, you go to a few places to look for advice. Then, you take some time to consider all of the options that have been presented to you. At this point, you’re more likely to go back to the sales person who gives you the best advice, service and/or deal. The same thing happens online. Content production and promotion needs to be treated as a branding exercise, not a direct sell.
The interaction with content on websites and how it relates to sales is very well defined by the Google Zero Moment of Truth.
It’s a constant process
Some pieces of content will gain much more traction than others – and it’s normally the ones you least expect. Because of this you need to be constantly producing, promoting and tracking your content.
It’s hard work but the payoff is great when you get it right!
Reminder – If you found a couple of useful nuggets in Iain’s post above, please feel free to ‘tip’ him with a share on your preferred social network. Thanks!
Also, if you’d like to get in touch with Iain directly, why not add him to one of your circles on Google+?