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Content Marketing: The Secret to Successful SEO

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Remember the 2000s? Everyone was relieved that Y2K didn’t pan out, and in the course of a decade, the Internet absolutely exploded. Worldwide use shot up from 361 million people in 2000 to nearly 2 billion in 2010.

Marketers in nearly every industry saw the surge in Internet use and the subsequent introduction of search engines as an opportunity to get found online through SEO tactics. After all, more people were turning to the web for information on products and services. So, throughout these formative years, some marketers found ways to game the system through black hat tactics in exchange for a short-term SEO boost.

As Google and other search engines began penalizing these practices, content marketing entered the arena as a more authentic way to reach audiences online. It might seem like a modern buzzword, but it’s actually one of the oldest forms of marketing.

Although spammy SEO tactics won’t fly with today’s search engines, that doesn’t mean there’s no place for “old school” SEO. In fact, traditional SEO and content marketing go hand in hand.

How SEO and Content Fuel Each Other

When someone finds you online, regardless of whether it’s through organic search, paid advertising, or referral traffic, you want them to engage, return, and ultimately choose to do business with you. That’s where content marketing comes in. Publishing educational content gives potential customers the chance to start learning about your product or service before your sales team gets involved.

Let’s compare search results from 2005 and 2015 to understand where content comes into play. In 2005 (think the “Mean Girls” era), searchers would probably find your company based on a keyword they typed in. But when they got to your site, their only options were probably to learn about your company and offering or fill out a company contact form.

Fast-forward to today. Your company blog is brimming with informative content that answers the many pressing questions your prospects have, allowing you to form relationships before they become leads. With gated content such as whitepapers and e-books, you can gain valuable information about leads while educating them in return.

You can also reach out to prospects using email marketing. At Influence & Co., we consistently repurpose our content in email marketing campaigns. As a result, we drove an additional 9,500 visitors to our site over the past year alone. By re-engaging our leads through email, we keep our brand top of mind and increase the likelihood that people will re-engage with our content.

So, what does this mean for a business trying to increase its visibility online? Here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Create content your audience is searching for. Use services like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and content analysis tools like BuzzSumo to figure out what types of information your audience values and is already looking for.
     
  2. Take the conversation to the next level. Gated content allows you to deliver longer, more intensive information that will empower prospects to solve real problems and position you as a valuable resource. You can repurpose existing content to get started.
     
  3. Tailor content to the buyer’s journey. It’s one thing to create content that’s geared toward lead generation. It’s another to design content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. Your articles and blog posts should explain your industry, alleviate pain points, and eventually move someone from being a lead to being a customer.

By putting content marketing to work for your SEO efforts, you’re avoiding the risks of spammy, black hat tactics and creating useful content that addresses common sales objections. With a little research and persistence, you’ll be ranking for industry terms by providing timely and insightful information — and get a good rap with Google in the process.

Download your free guide to tackling content marketing like a pro!

About Mark Hodges

I'm forward-thinking, old-fashioned, and contradictory. I've been making you look good since 1992.

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