Content marketing can drive natural search performance. Shoppers engage with the content and share it via social media and on their own sites. Or so we hope.
All those shares and backlinks are key to driving a critical element of search engine optimization: link authority. The more links from high-quality sites, the more likely your site will rank. But acquiring new links is hard work.
These eight tips will help you generate more links to the content you create.
8 Content Tips for SEO
Mine keyword data. Searchers tell you what they want. You just have to listen to the keyword data. Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner, Keywords Everywhere, and other tools offer free keyword info to aggregate and analyze for customer insights.
Learn what questions your prospects have about the products you sell. What types of support issues do they search for in Google? Which of your product lines is the most sought after? Are there niche areas of brand fandom that you can stoke higher?
Shoppers engage with the content and share it via social media and on their own sites. Or so we hope.
Keyword data gives you all of these and more. Learn what your customers and prospects want, and then give it to them in a way that they will be able to find in search.
Create optimal content types. All types of content have a home in search. Choose the right type to meet the need identified in the keyword research. Some shoppers will require long-form articles, but there are other opportunities. You don’t have to default to screens of text to help with search engine optimization.
Video is natural, for example. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Images and infographics have unique search opportunities as well. How-to guides are good fodder for search since they tend to appear in Google’s answer boxes.
Include descriptive text. Along with each of those alternative content types, though, make sure that there is also some descriptive content.
Give a summary of the video or include a transcript. Describe the value of the image. Don’t rely on the visuals alone to send the message. It hurts your natural search performance and is inaccessible for visually impaired visitors.
If you have trouble finding anything valuable to write, perhaps the video or image doesn’t have enough value to drive natural search visits.
Check jargon at the door. Consumers don’t search for jargon or brand-speak unless they’re looking for a definition. There are a few exceptions, such as the health industry, where doctors spout technical terminology and searchers have little choice but to use the same language in their searches.
Use clear, descriptive phrases. It’s possible to write plainly and still create on-brand content. If you must write like a marketer, at least intersperse the jargon with descriptive elements.
Remember your relevance. There are a million things to write about. But first, step back and ensure that your content is relevant to something you sell. Writing about the history of Christmas gifting won’t help you sell Christmas gifts in natural search.
Sell something. It’s said that content marketing and sales don’t mix. Yes, shoppers are more likely to leave if your content is littered with branding and product pitches that don’t add value.
But a how-to guide begs for a suggested list of items to accomplish the task, with links back to your relevant products. If the consumer has read your guide and is ready to take the next step, having a list at the end or in a sidebar is helpful.
Make sure you offer a clear, but low-key, path to continue the journey on your site.
Drive users to the site. When promoting your content, drive users back to the site to see all of it.
For example, if you’re sharing an infographic on Facebook, share only a portion — users won’t be able to see it all on Facebook anyway — and let them click to your site to get the entire thing. You’ll have a better chance of winning a conversion from that piece, and you’ll be indirectly encouraging backlinks to your content.
Ditch the microsite. Fight the temptation to create a microsite to host your content marketing efforts. At the end of the day, the goal is to encourage links to your ecommerce site to sell more products. But if the content is not hosted on your ecommerce site, all those links will be pointing at the microsite and stealing authority from your ecommerce site. You’ll have to work twice as hard feeding the authority for two (or more) sites, and you’ll still end up with a fraction of the links going to each site.
Instead, host content on your ecommerce domain, but in a separate section linked to from the navigational header for the site. That way, every link to your content will serve to strengthen not only that page, but also the whole site.