Content marketing appeals to a broad audience of prospective clients — but for your content to reach that audience, it needs to be searchable. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
Create the right content
Before your content is searchable, it must be worth searching for in the first place — and no one knows your audience better than you. While content development can be challenging (we’d be out of a job if it were easy!), the basic facets of what makes content engaging are relatively straightforward.
Above all else, your content must be informative. Someone searching for an answer won’t be interested in your content if it doesn’t answer their question. Generally, content should be geared toward solving a problem, and you as the expert have the solution. And, of course, content needs to be interesting and concise. Your intended audience may vary, as will their understanding of your content topic, but even the most interested reader doesn’t want to slog through a tedious word salad.
SEO’s purpose is to get a reader, ideally an entire audience, to your doorstep. From there, it’s on you — if your content lacks value, they won’t step over the threshold.
Hashtags and keywords
Hashtags, often misused by companies and older generations that aren’t sure how to use them — much to the entertainment of today’s youth — are a means of driving people to your content. When using hashtags, you never want to confuse what’s popular with what’s relevant. Popular is what’s trending on Twitter, but relevant relates to your specific content or topic of interest. Think of it as the difference between enticing a massive but disinterested audience (popular) and reaching a targeted but interested audience (relevant). More is not always better! Unique hashtags are also useful, especially if they’re used to track engagement, as they make your content even easier to find.
Keywords should also be a part of your SEO strategy. Like hashtags, keywords should be relevant, recent, and searchable. But you should avoid using them too often. Imagine this scenario: You’re writing an article about SEO, using “SEO” in every sentence of your blog about SEO, repeating how important SEO is, because it’s SEO. Granted, this example is a bit overboard, but the point is, in order to utilize keywords for greatest impact, avoid redundancy and allow them to become part of your content organically.
The missing link
Hyperlinks are another important part of SEO strategy. For instance, if you’re writing about how organic searches drive the most traffic to websites, you might include a link to a relevant whitepaper about the subject from a reputable source. This not only provides sourced credibility to your claim, but also increases searchability. Just keep in mind that you should never link to your competitors’ content, even if their messaging supports yours.
In many ways, SEO is simply the marketing strategy for your content. In the same way businesses need marketing to generate interest in a new product they’ve developed, content — even the most relevant, impactful, and useful — means nothing unless your intended audience can find it.