Brands are prioritizing content more than ever. Connor Cohen (SEO & content executive at The Drum) explores why SEO is a critical component of content and how it can be incorporated into a brand’s content strategy.
Content marketing has seen significant growth as brands produce creative content strategies that drive traffic, leads, and conversions, while also growing their brand in different countries, through other channels, and on different platforms.
One of the key pillars of building a content marketing strategy for the future is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is crucial to a content marketing strategy as it helps people find your content on search engines, increasing its visibility.
Here we look at why SEO is important, how to combine it with your content strategy, and our top five tips for creating a solid SEO strategy in 2023.
What is SEO, and why is it important?
SEO is optimizing a website to improve its ranking on Google and increase the quantity and quality of traffic from search engines. This process is multifaceted: it involves multiple elements such as technical audits, link building, keyword research, content optimization, and more.
SEO aims to improve your site’s visibility; therefore, it is essential for brands looking to increase the amount of traffic to their website or those that want to position themselves as authoritative and trusted sources in their field or industry.
Why you should combine your content and SEO strategies
While SEO is an important distribution channel, it also plays a crucial role in improving content visibility on other channels. Here’s how some key elements of SEO can feed into your overall content strategy:
Before creating content, you need to recognize how a user will find your content. Keyword research is critical to understanding what terms your target audience is searching for and how often they are searching for them.
Combining your SEO and content strategies can provide you with a list of keywords your target audience uses to find similar content. You can then include the keywords from your research as hashtags on social media, in the descriptions of your video content, or the copy of your long-form blog posts.
Along with understanding which keywords are being used, incorporating SEO into your content strategy enables you to determine the intent behind the keywords.
By understanding the user’s search intent, you can position your content to be the most relevant.
For example, for informative content such as blog posts, finding the most relevant keywords with the correct search intent can give you the edge over less optimized content, as Google aims to present the user with the most relevant result for the query.
Content format & structure
Creating content in an optimized format and structure is another reason you should incorporate SEO into your content strategy.
Not only does SEO give you an idea of which content format is likely to yield the best results, e.g., guide, review, video, etc., but it also gives you a structural guideline to help you provide the best content experience and the best possibility of your content being seen.
Five essential tips to creating a successful SEO content strategy in 2023
With 90% of marketers leveraging a content marketing plan, brands are finally starting to prioritize content marketing and spend more on content creation across various channels and platforms. With more competition, brands will need to optimize their content to gain as much visibility as possible. That’s why SEO optimization is essential.
Here are five tips that brands should consider when creating their SEO content strategy and aiming to get more eyes on their brand.
1. Create video content
There are several reasons why video rules content marketing and how it has become one of the most effective forms of content to engage your audience. Short-form video is highly effective on social media platforms and is one of the prime ways people consume content. This is why short-form video has the best ROI compared to all other media formats and why social media platforms focus on and heavily invest in the medium.
Consumers are using video platforms as a source of education and entertainment and as search engines. Consequently, brands need to create video content that resonates with their target audience when they watch. They also need to prioritize SEO optimization to ensure their content is easily found among other videos.
2. Optimize for voice search
The introduction of Siri and other voice assistants has forced brands to adopt innovative strategies to take advantage of new opportunities. With 27% of the global online population using voice search on mobile and over 4 billion voice assistants being used on devices worldwide, brands that refuse to optimize their content for voice search are leaving significant opportunities on the table.
There are several vital aspects to voice search optimization. Still, one of the most crucial SEO elements when optimizing for voice search is featured snippets, a search result shown at the top of the search results page, chosen explicitly by Google as the best answer to the user’s query.
Optimizing for featured snippets is good SEO practice in general. Still, the added importance of featured snippets for voice search means that brands that are not optimizing their content in this way are missing an opportunity to be more visible in people’s homes and on the move.
3. Repurpose your content for different channels
Repurposing content involves recycling content and transforming it for use on different channels and example, turning a long-form video into short videos or snippets for social media channels. It’s a creative way for brands to create new content and helps to reach different audiences that prefer other formats to consume media.
Other ideas for repurposing content include turning a blog post or article into a video or social media thread, transcribing podcasts into blog posts, turning presentations into infographics, etc. As options are abundant, brands must ensure that they adapt the content style to the channel they want to use.
Some best practices when repurposing content includes:
Prioritizing popular, evergreen content.
Timing the release of repurposed content with trends, news, and events.
Using visuals to give your content the best chance of being shared.
4. Optimize your site and improve user experience (UX)
Creating a successful SEO content strategy is built upon the fundamentals of SEO; that’s why optimizing your site is essential.
Some of the essential SEO optimizations that brands should consider include the following:
- Optimizing metadata
- Updating canonicals to avoid duplicate content
- Optimizing page speed and load times
- Creating mobile-friendly page layouts
- Implementing structured data
Stemming from these optimizations are two fundamental SEO principles of ensuring the user a good experience on your site and making content as accessible as possible on mobile devices.
Mobile accounted for almost 60% of worldwide traffic in the first half of 2022 and is set to be more popular than desktop for the foreseeable future. With social media and entertainment becoming so mobile-focused, people now consume media on their mobile devices more than ever before. Thus, as the use of mobile devices continues to grow, providing a seamless mobile experience will be crucial in 2023.
5. Keep up to date with Google’s algorithm updates
Google is constantly updating its algorithms to deliver the best results for a search query. Most of these updates are minor, but significant updates can significantly impact SEO and content strategies.
Google’s ‘Helpful Content Update,’ released in September 2022, is a prime example of this. Over the last few years, artificial intelligence (AI) content has grown in popularity, allowing brands and writers to streamline content development. Google’s answer to this was the ‘Helpful Content Update’ designed to devalue automated content and prioritize people-first content.
We don’t know what algorithm updates Google has planned in the future, but ensure you stay current, as it could help you understand why your content is not performing as expected.
- SEO is a critical component of a successful content strategy, especially key elements such as keyword research, page speed and mobile optimization. Both SEO and content should work together to grow the visibility of your brand and content across various channels and platforms.
- Video content is extremely popular and is one of the most effective forms of content to engage your audience.
- Voice search is more important than ever with the consumption of media on mobile devices growing. It is a great way to make your brand visible at home and on-the-move.
- Repurposing content helps to reach different audiences that may consume media on different formats, although, content will need to be optimized depending on the channel and platform.
- Optimizing your site and improving user experience is crucial for Google to value and prioritize your content. It is equally important in satisfying Google’s key principles of ensuring the user a good experience on your site and making content mobile accessible.
- Keeping up with Google’s algorithm updates will help you to understand the changes in the way your content is evaluated and ranked by Google, and how you can avoid any potential setbacks to the performance of your content.