Content & SEO

What is content SEO, and how can it benefit my business?

“Content SEO” relates to the process of researching, ideating and optimising content (existent or otherwise) on a website with a view to improving its performance on search engines and driving sales.

Many businesses will have a vast array of content assets for various purposes, be it for detailing products with a view to entice users to buy, providing information on the company and its history, or perhaps for legal purposes, such as terms and conditions pages.

Looking at existing content assets, the role of SEO here is to identify which content could be tweaked or improved to perform better on search engines (such as by targeting certain topics or search intents) and then subsequently bring in more valuable organic traffic.

In terms of fresh content, SEO can help perform tasks such as keyword research and competitor analysis to capture user search demand and ideate content that your business isn’t yet capitalising on. If done well, this can be a great method to enhance your search engine visibility and bring in new customers.

How does search engine ranking work, and what role does content play in improving rankings?

There are many factors at play in determining search rankings, all the way from the technical foundation of your website, its backlink profile, website speed, user engagement metrics and more.

Content plays a huge part in this, and you’ll often hear the term “content is king” mentioned in the context of SEO. 

Done well, one piece of well written, well structured and authoritative article that hits on the right types of topics and appeals to your user base can be a strong investment in terms of the return in rankings and traffic. 

It can even be the case that a “smaller fish” in an industry (website authority wise) out ranks a larger competitor with bigger content and SEO budgets if they spot gaps in content opportunity and capture a certain topic demand well. 

Content should play a large part in your SEO investments as a lot of what Google deems authoritative in how it displays search results is often down to whether the content is sending the right signals to its target audience based on the target query at play. 

What types of content are most effective for improving SEO, and how can businesses create content that is optimised for search engines?

Various different content mediums can have equal impact on SEO effectiveness, and it ultimately depends on what business you’re running and what the appropriate format is. NGOs or charities will perform well with research-based, informative content offering insightful perspectives as they will be deemed authoritative and trustworthy in this area by Google.

B2B tech companies may benefit from enhancing their user guide content or by publishing whitepapers. B2C industries, take a fashion brand for example, may look to their blog as a key driver for organic wins and revenue with fresh content on their niche tying things back to their product range. 

The content creation process comes down to performing tasks such as keyword and competitor research, identifying opportunities that your company may have an authoritative edge on, and structuring the resulting output in a clear and readable format. Your SEO team will need to ensure that certain on-page elements such as page titles, headers and any visual content are optimised too.

How can businesses use keyword research to identify high-traffic, relevant topics to create content around?

Your SEO and content teams can use an array of tooling to quickly gather up a list of topics related to your business to target in your content. This can account for moving the needle on existing content that needs a boost, or on new content endeavours altogether. 

However, one key aspect of the topic research phase is getting your teams to focus on content that ties everything back to the sales funnel, with a view of creating or improving awareness around your business or product and getting them on the purchase journey. 

While ranking for dare we say “fluffier” search terms that have a degree of topical relevance to your products may be huge traffic drivers, they may not bring in commercial queries. There is of course still a space for certain topics in your content strategy (such as how to guides or light-hearted listicles that perform well), but businesses need to focus on topics that relate to certain stages of the sales journey. 

Many keyword tools will classify keyword and topic opportunities by “search intent”, with transactional and commercial-based search terms being the core revenue drivers. 

How can businesses use content to improve their website’s user experience and engagement, and what metrics should they track?

Compelling content can not only drive new traffic that leads to sales, but can also keep users coming back to your site if you’re consistently investing on an ongoing basis. Alongside your more commercially-viable money pages, an interesting blog, education centre or even photo gallery can keep users old and new engaged and with eyeballs on your business.

If you’re building content from the ground up, then metrics such as search impressions, clicks, keyword ranking and user dwell time are vital. Further along the sales funnel, content efforts should also look to tie into end of funnel metrics such as form sign-ups, product enquiries and of course eventual purchases. All of this can be tracked and attributed with good analytics set ups.

How does content fit into a broader SEO strategy, and what other tactics should businesses consider to improve their online presence?

There’s no bad time to start investing in your content SEO efforts. A traditional path of action would be to clear your business’ website’s deck of any outstanding technical SEO issues such as crawling and indexing or performance, so that your content endeavours are picked up fast by search engines and users are treated to a good web experience.

Your content SEO teams should also be working closely with social teams, ensuring that key paraphrased or digestible chunks of your blog content for example are repurposed for social media and made sharable. 

Also look at ways in which your digital PR teams can use your SEO content for activation purposes. Aside from pulling in organic traffic and leads in its own right, are there any stories that could be pitched to third party publications that could drive even more traffic? As a business owner or CMO, always look at ways in which your content can be used holistically across different platforms.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when creating content for SEO, and how can they impact search rankings?

While quick-fire reactive content that captures a certain zeitgeist or moment in time related to your business is encouraged if you have the resources, SEO content should ideally be informed by rock solid strategy.

What topics are you targeting and will they lead to commercial gains? What are your competitors doing better than you, and what are they not doing that you should capitalise on? Is your content strategy touching on USPs relevant to your business or product?

Going in blind with little strategy in terms of keyword research and competitor review and hoping that your content will rank well and drive leads will likely be a wasted investment.  

How can businesses use content to improve their brand awareness and reputation, and what strategies are most effective?

By creating valuable, engaging and evergreen content, you will not only enjoy the benefits of enhanced organic visibility but will also establish yourself as a trusted voice in your industry. Many industries are highly developed and saturated online these days, and it really pays to offer a unique voice that offers a renewed thought leadership perspective via the means of content.

Aside from having your SEO and content teams start the groundwork with keyword research, initial strategies involve defining your target audience in terms of new and existing customers and curating a consistent brand voice and identity that stands alone in your industry.

How can businesses use content to improve their conversion rates and drive sales?

Aside from everything we’ve detailed already, a core component of your content when it comes to improving conversation rates and driving sales is ensuring that it vocalises aspects of your business or product that solves a particular problem.

The content climate in most industries is incredibly noisy, particularly when a user is searching for a particular product or commercial-based keyword on Google. 

Aside from ensuring your SEO team has all the right on-page signals in place and the content itself is well written and compelling (perhaps with interactive content), is it presented in a way that truly offers a different perspective than what’s already out there, or are you just trying to get it ranked on search engines for the sake of it? As with any decision to purchase, the consumer is looking for a solution to a particular problem. Make sure your content is framed in a way that does this.

Content SEO Case Study

Top luxury hotel chain draws in new customer base with in-depth guide content.

Problem: A global luxury hotel chain, with a huge profile, strong website domain and decent SEO footprint was looking for ways to reach out to new customers through content marketing endeavours, though didn’t know where to start.

Solution: With a strong domain in place and an existing trusted authority on the locations where the hotel chain had properties, the business realised it was in a good position to make headway on broader guide content on “what to do in” location-based topics. While not directly commercial, the company was able to outrank some major travel publications on search results due to its authority on the areas. This generated a lot of traffic for travellers who were looking for travel guides in these areas, with the content indirectly driving hotel bookings from this.

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