SEO was a big deal in 2012. The same is true for 2013.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. As more and more people depend on internet search engines like Google to find the information, products, and services they are looking for, the more important SEO becomes. Research supports the idea that SEO is a vital “go to market” strategy.
Did you know that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate? If you combine that with the fact that 88.1% of US Internet users browsed or researched products online in 2012, SEO becomes a legitimate business tool.
If you create digital content, you will rank for something. But what? Are you sure the content you are producing is connecting with your target audience?
The key is to make sure that the content you’re creating is optimized for the search terms your potential customers are using. In other words, speak their language—not yours. A few weeks ago, Content Marketing Institute shared 12 Tips for Keyword Selection to Guide Your Content Marketing SEO.
While I don’t presume to be an SEO expert, I noticed that each of the tips fell under one of three primary categories. Here are three essential elements your content must contain if you want to establish a recipe for SEO success:
1. Your content must be calculated.
You must strategically think through your content, in particular how it relates to the keywords within your industry. If you want to optimize your content for search engines, you must develop a calculated strategy on the front end. Before you write anything, define the native content consumption habits of your target audience and the language they are likely to use to describe what you offer. It also helps to undersand what prompts your target audience to search for what you provide.
2. Your content must be consistent.
By creating and sharing valuable content consistently, you ensure your website is being indexed by Google in ways that will help you. In fact, with Google’s current algorithm, if you can provide newer and fresher content than your competition for certain keywords, Google will give you a leg up in your rankings. Don’t go overboard here. Just make sure the content you are providing is helping—not simply interrupting—your target. You are trying to build trust with content.
3. Your content must create conversation—off the page.
Google also rewards content that creates engagement and moves people through the buying process. Consider this another “win-win.” The value of content in terms of converting search visitors holds true whether you’re in the B2B or B2C sector: 61% percent of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that offer custom content, and 60% of business decision makers say content helps them make purchase decisions.
Quality content makes your site visible in search engines. Perhaps more important for marketers is that purchase decisions are influenced by factors off the page, too. Unless you are selling a commodity, you want to get to the table of conversation quickly and as someone who can add value. This is how you can influence purchase decisions and shorten sales cycles.
While there are a lot of things that go into an effective SEO strategy, the key takeaway for brands is to focus on producing strategic, consistent, and engaging content. By doing that, you’ll be prepared for any future SEO algorithm updates that search engines make.
Do you invest in any SEO strategy? How have you seen custom content play a role in successful SEO?