What’s the point of creating content if no one reads it? Content is meant to be read. However, many businesses struggle to actually get people to read their content. Sure, current customers who actively engage with your website may see your content, but in order to grow your business, you’ll need to reach prospective customers.

Content marketing is a great way to connect with consumers and drive action, but your content has to be found first. When SEO best practices are applied to a content marketing strategy, you’ll be able to gain more exposure in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more qualified traffic to your site. Here are a few ways content marketing and SEO can work together.

Find Themes and Keywords

Keywords (or more specifically, groups of keywords) are the bread and butter of creating content for SEO. Keywords can tell you a lot of things, from search volume (what people search for the most) to keyword difficulty (how much of that content already exists that you’ll be competing with). Search engines consider keywords and phrases found in website copy, blog posts, articles, etc. to connect users with the right content.

Before you begin creating content, research and find relevant topics, themes, and keyword groups to incorporate into the copy. There are many different SEO tools you can use to find popular search terms, such as SEMrush, Moz, KeySearch, and more.

While it might seem like a good idea to use as many keywords as possible, “keyword stuffing” is bad form. Search engines can not only tell, but so can humans—you know, the ones who actually have to read your content. Keyword research should be directional. It should give you an idea of volume and competition, and more importantly, the types of information a user is looking for related to a specific topic or theme. It’s important to find balance between SEO and content, so that it’s both search engine- and people-friendly.

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to SEO, content marketing isn’t about quantity—it’s about quality. Believe it or not, too much redundant, overlapping, or shallow content can cannibalize your search ranking. Fresh, unique, and creative content ranks higher than low-value and repetitive content.

Because search engines value fresh content, it’s important to have a consistent cadence of content. There isn’t a finish line when it comes to content marketing. It’s something you consistently have to maintain in order to stay relevant in an ever-changing digital landscape.

A content calendar can help you produce a steady flow of content. This schedule of content will lay out what you’re going to write and when you’re going to publish. Some brands publish every day, others every week or every month. Many use this content to fuel social channels, emails, and corporate communications. Remember, it’s about quality over quantity, and you can always re-purpose content to fit your different audiences and marketing needs.

Build Links

Search engines are all about demonstrating expertise and authority, which is why link building can help increase your search exposure. These backlinks, or inbound links, are hyperlinks to your site from another website. This begs the question: How can you get other sites to link to your content? By creating content worth linking to. The more authority you write with and the more unique your content is, the more likely your content will be used as a source by other content creators.

Additionally, you’ll want to look for opportunities to add internal and external links to your own content. Connecting your content with trusted, high-domain authority sites like .edu, .org, or .gov can really help increase your content’s credibility and search exposure. You’ll also want to link to internal pages on your site, so your readers will be more likely to spend time on your site, engage with other content, and easily find the information they’re looking for. From an SEO perspective, internal links can demonstrate to search engines a relationship between one piece of content and another.

Optimize the User Experience

SEO is about more than just writing blocks of text. Technical optimization, such as robots.txt, meta tags, alt text, and a solid sitemap can be just as important. Ultimately, search engines care about the user experience, whether they are searching, selecting, or reading your content.

Collaborate with your web design and development team to generate effective robots.txt files. This will ensure search engines can properly crawl and index your site to find your content.

Take a look at your sitemap, too. Is your content easy to find? Orphaned pages, or pages that aren’t linked to anywhere on your website, are bad for SEO because search engines can see that there is no clear path to the content for the user.

Alt text for images allows visually impaired users with screen readers to be able to understand what your images shows. It also helps search engines understand the context of an image. Writing good image alt descriptions and plugging in keywords can positively impact your search engine rankings.

Meta tags act like CliffsNotes for search engines by summarizing the main points of your content, which is why you’ll want to use good keywords. The title tag, which is typically limited to about 50-60 characters, is the text you’ll see at the top of your browser. It’s also the title of the search result that a user will see in a search engine. The meta description is a snippet of up to about 120-158 characters (or 920 pixels) that shows up in search results just beneath the page title. It’s important to ensure that these are relevant to the topic and keywords you’re targeting, but also compelling enough for a user to want to click on the search result.

Header tags within the content can help the user by breaking the content up into sections and making it more digestible. Search engines also look at header tags to gain additional context on the content itself.

Work with a Content Marketing Agency

Content marketing serves as the foundation for educating audiences, engaging visitors, and driving better business results. That’s why Aztek takes a content-first approach to web design and digital marketing. As a Cleveland-based agency, we’ll work with you to strategize, write, edit, promote, and distribute all types of content marketing customized to your needs. Even if you decide to keep content marketing in-house, we have helped clients with proofreading, editing, and optimizing content for search.

In addition to content marketing and SEO, Aztek provides comprehensive digital marketing services, including marketing automation, paid digital advertising, social media, and web analytics.

Contact us today to see how we can help your organization optimize your content for search.

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