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Content Marketing and SEO
After optimized website code and site structure, great content is the key to long-term SEO success.
Small to medium sized businesses are (arguably) the group that can benefit the most from SEO and content marketing. Getting a national website to rank well in competitive industries requires a more complex strategy. Yet, many small business owners (perceive that they) don’t have the time or the resources to create great content and professional copywriters are often out of the budget.
Here are three tips for adding great content to your site which, if practiced consistently, will result in measurably improved SEO:
1) Answer the (implied) questions your prospective customers have about your product/service.
For example, suppose you run a printing company in Rockville, Maryland (MD) and someone visits your website via a paid ad on Google for the search term “direct mail.” Think of some of the questions they might be trying to answer.
Here are a few off the top of my head:
- Is there a company close to my office in Maryland that offers direct mail?
- How much does direct mail typically cost?
- What’s the most effective direct mail messaging strategy?
- Does the direct mail company provide me with a list or do I need to supply my own?
- What’s the typical response rate for direct mail in XYZ industry?
If you own the Maryland printing company and you’re interested in improving your organic ranking for searches related to direct mail, start using your expertise as the owner to answer questions like these! There are plenty of keyword tools available to help you determine good questions to answer. WordTracker offers a free tool which will give you questions related to thousands of search queries.
Don’t—I repeat don’t pull content directly from another website, an industry group’s website, or anything similar!
Search engines want to give searchers the most relevant content (based on their search query). You dramatically increase your chances of being ranked high organically (SEO) when you create unique content that demonstrates a high level of expertise in the subject area. Repeating verbatim what others have toiled to create is of limited to no value.
Not an expert? Become one!
2) Review your website analytics data and create content based on some of the search queries being used by your visitors.
You can get an excellent idea of your website visitors’ interests by reviewing your website analytics data. It is particularly helpful if you have the ability to see the exact keyword the visitor searched (vs. only the bid term).
You can use the queries listed in your keyword report to create new content that better addresses what your visitors are seeking (unless you don’t offer what they are seeking in which case, you should re-evaluate the targeting of your advertising and marketing). Using your website analytics reports, you might create additional pages on your website.
These could be linked from your website’s existing Direct Mail page—perhaps a page that expands on buying direct mail address lists. On the page, you might talk about the best places to buy a list (if you don’t sell them), how much a typical list costs, key considerations, etc.
3) Review competitor websites and identify keywords they are targeting and the questions they are answering for their visitors.
Some people find writing easy. Ideas pop into their head on an on-going basis and they start tapping out page after page. Other people need significantly more help in coming up with what to write (which is the purpose of this post). If you’re having a mental block, there’s an easy way to get moving in the right direction. Visit a competitor’s webiste.
While it’s great (and rewarding) to create your own totally original content, it’s often easier to build off of what others have already started or created.
NOTE: this is different than regurgitating exactly what someone else has already created.
For example, you might take a different angle in answering a particular question that a competitor has answered or take a question they’ve answered one step further in terms of detail. Besides sparking your creative juices, visiting competitor websites will do two additional things.
First, it will probably motivate you by stirring your competitive spirit a little bit. Questions and pointed statements will start to pop into your head: Why does their website look better than ours? Hey, they’re using Facebook and Twitter and we’re not! They’ve got videos on their website and YouTube channel and how do they have time for all of this?! Anger and a touch of envy is usually enough to generate at least a few pages of new content.
The second thing visiting a competitor’s website will do is focus your attention. One of the hardest aspects of creating content is simply getting your head focused in one place. With all the possible things to write about, many people go blank altogether—unable to start moving forward due to indecision. Wondering which keyword/topic/category to write about? Look at what your competitors target.
How do you find out what they’re targeting? Hint—look at the page title tags, the meta data, the navigation links, the sitemap, etc.
What questions are they answering for their visitors? Do you agree or disagree with the points they are making?
If applicable, take a couple themes that they’ve targeted and expand on them on your website. Disagree with something they’ve said? Write about it on your website. The key with content marketing is to “just do it.”
The more you write, the better you’ll get at it. The more content you create on a particular subject, the higher you’ll tend to rank organically for a growing list of related keywords. Many people break content marketing down into on-site and off-site.
On-site is obvious and off-site could be a blog, social media, an email newsletter, etc.
Although opinions vary, we think that on-site is the most important initially, especially for small regional businesses. Until you’ve built up volumes of information on your website, there’s little reason to start putting up info on your Facebook page. Far more people use Google to get around the web than they do Facebook and you can always re-purpose the content on your website for sites like Facebook—this saves you A LOT of time, and time is critical for most small businesses.
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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