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How SEO and Content Marketing Work Best Together

SEO 21st Oct 2014

This is the transcript for our new video.

Andy:    Hi.

James:    Hi, guys.

Andy:    So today we’re going to be looking at SEO and content marketing. We’re going to look at how the two should be working together in a joint campaign, the benefits of it, and why you need to incorporate the two, and the sort of results that you should be seeing on the back of it.

James:    I think the best place to start then, Andy, is a question to you. Why is SEO still important?

Andy:    Okay. Well, SEO is still massively, massively important, but I think it’s had a bit of a rough ride recently. I think it’s just for a number of reasons. I think this is mainly down to recent updates by Google, mainly Penguin and Panda. I think for people who aren’t part of the industry, I think that these guys looking in, they’re kind of wondering what is the point in SEO anymore. If I build a link, I’m going to get penalised. If I create the wrong sort of content, I’m going to get penalised.

I think people are now starting to shy away, and it’s very easy to confuse link building and content marketing with SEO. SEO in its own right is still very important.

James:    Yeah.

Andy:    You need to be optimising your site. If you’re not optimising your site, you’re not going to be giving the search engines the information they need in order to rank you correctly. If you’re not going to make yourself relevant, you’re not going to rank, and it’s as simple as that.

The basic techniques within SEO pretty much still stand the test of time. They still are very much important. There are a few tweaks and changes. I think the other side of things as to why people are overlooking SEO these days are because of cowboy outfits or cowboy individuals who are kind of using old SEO techniques to a point. I think this is starting to get sites penalised. Big companies are starting to feel that they’re getting their fingers burned.

So it’s important that you do take on a professional agency to look after your SEO. I think for that reason it is still very, very much important if you don’t have that relevancy. You’re just simply not going to rank.

James:    Yeah, definitely.

Andy:    I think the obvious flip side question to that is since we’re talking about content, why is content marketing so important?

James:    Two reasons, the end user and SEO. Now, content marketing can facilitate the SEO process. So from a top level point of view, if you’re thinking about going into SEO or content marketing, just remember that content marketing is like the fuel that will power your SEO campaigns.

But Koozai and any good agency, what we’ll do is not actually concentrate on creating content for the search engines or for those SEO purposes. We actually concentrate on creating content for the user. So they do a lot of research into audiences, into the types of content you should be creating and why.

Now, the kind of byproduct of that and the end result, as well as things like an increase in conversions, downloads, subscriptions, increase in contact us form submissions, that type of thing, in addition to that, the byproduct as well is good SEO value. Now, it might be that the concentration isn’t towards the SEO side of things at all, and that’s something that we do here at Koozai is we leave that side of things to you guys. So our purpose is to create content that’s actually going to be shared, liked, and it’s more linkable as well to a specific audience and to a specific individual, and then we let the SEO side of things take care of itself.

So to recap that answer, really when it comes to content marketing, absolutely it’s the end user and it’s for SEO. That’s why we do it.

Andy:    Cool. I think that leads nicely into the first question here that we’ve got, and that is:  Taking all of that on board then, where would I start in creating a content marketing plan?

James:    Okay. So the best place to start is to establish goals and objectives. So whether you’re an agency or whether you’re working in-house, you need to have those conversations and ask those tough questions.

Now, it might be that your clients or the people that you’re kind of running the campaign with, it might not be that they even know how to answer. They don’t even know what the end goal or the objective is, but you need to kind of get that out of them.

So the questions that you need to ask are things like:  What does success look like to you? Why are you even conducting content marketing? What is it that you want to get out of it?

It might be that you actually want to increase conversions or sales, but it might also be that you actually just want to increase the number of email subscriptions. It might be that you want to increase the number of downloads of a particular piece of content or a piece of software or something. So establish those goals to start off with, and then you can then formulate a plan that tailors towards those goals.

The types of things that you want to look at when it comes to actually putting a plan together once you’ve established those goals are things like audience research. So you look at the types of audience, who is it that you want to contact or get in touch with, or create content for and why. Look at the types of content you can create. Look at your competitors.

There is a whole host of things that actually we could talk about in another video in terms of what you want to do for that plan. But the best place to start when it comes to a content marketing plan is to establish those goals and objectives.

Andy:    Okay.

James:    I think in terms of a question for you then, Andy, it kind of goes back to what we were just talking about. Why is content so important to SEO?

Andy:    I think this is the thing and just sort of recapping what you’ve said there, it’s all about the objectives and the goals that you want to achieve from your SEO and the content will now support that.

James:    Yeah.

Andy:    From an SEO point of view, as I touched on at the start, the recent updates with Penguin and Panda mean that you have to be creating really, really valuable content and really, really valuable links these days in order to get any kind of traction within the search engines, especially Google. So content has become vitally important to SEO, because without the content to support the on-page SEO, you’re left fighting a battle that you’re probably not going to win because without the content you’re not going to create the links.

Now, if you guys are creating really good, engaging content, it’s going to be shareable, it’s going to be engaging, and it’s going to answer queries or questions that relate to the actual site, the chances are that that’s going to get shared, and we’re going to create really, really valuable links out of that. The knock-on effect, of course from the SEO point of view, is because that’s going to link back to the site where they’re going to see really good traction within the rankings. So that’s why content is so important to SEO.

I think in the modern day environment, especially online, without this really good content backing up the SEO, I think just if you’re trying to take people online, you’re not going to be as successful because you’re basically just relying on your site and nothing else, and maybe the odds of local profile here and there, which are still important. But that alone just isn’t going to give you any traction with the search engines I think.

James:    Okay.

Andy:    So I think we’ve got our content plan. We know that it backs up the SEO. But another good question that we’ve got here is:  How should I actually promote that content?

James:    Okay. Well, it kind of ties into what you were just saying there. Any good promotion will involve a variety of methods across owned, earned, and paid. I guess it really depends on what the outcomes and the goals of your campaigns are. But as you touched on with your answer just then, Andy, when it comes to that shareability and that linkability, if you’re running a campaign that’s across SEO and content marketing, the goals are to ultimately acquire links that will help push up rankings. Your goals and your metrics are purely from an SEO point of view.

The way in which you want to be promoting content really starts at the beginning, is what we talked about earlier, and that audience research and finding who it is that you want to target and why you want to target them. Now, when you do that, you want to look at influencers, you want to look at groups, you want to look at forums, you want to look at that type of thing where those people are going to effectively spread the word for you. They’re effectively your brand ambassadors, brand advocates, that type of thing.

From a top level point of view, that’s the best place to start when it comes to a crossover campaign of SEO and content marketing. Seed that content to those influencers and those groups, and then let them do the work for you when it comes to promotion, because they will. If they like the content and it’s good enough, they will do the work for you. Then you can sit back and watch your content flourish.

But like I say, it’s very much dependent on your goals and objectives. That’s if it’s straight up, a top level SEO and content marking campaign. I guess really the question then that I have here that moves on from that really is in terms of what result should you be seeing from your SEO and content marketing campaign.

Andy:    Well, I think from an SEO point of view, the areas that people are most likely to look into first are obviously the rankings. So the content that you guys are creating, fingers crossed, it’s going to get shared, it’s going to be liked. A lot of people are going to start linking to it. The knock-on effect from that, of course, is that this is going to then link to the site. We’re going to be creating some really good authoritative links coming into the site, and this is going to have a knock-on effect in the rankings. So primarily, from an SEO point of view, that is an area that we would expect to see some results.

If you’re performing well within the search engines, then you’re going to see a better return on your investment as well. You’re going to have a lot more people coming to your site, and you’re obviously going to be selling a lot more products, and hopefully people will be hiring your services, etc. So from a starting point of view, that’s where we would probably first look.

But I think it’s important in this modern environment that we’re in online it’s not all about rankings anymore, especially with personalised search and local search as well. You’re not necessarily going to have top rankings in every single location if people have got personalised search showing up as well. They’re probably going to be seeing different results than are actually there. So although rankings are great and it’s still very much important that you have high rankings within Google, there are other areas that content marketing is actually going to benefit you from a results point of view.

If you think of social for a start, if you guys are sharing it on social, then there is hopefully going to be a nice kickback from there. The benefit of using social, of course, is that you can actually talk to people in real time, and you can actually hit them head on and talk to them straight up. So you’re going to see a nice knock-on effect from there. Of course, you’re also going to get people coming to the site via the actual content that you guys are creating as well.

So you could well find yourself in a situation where maybe the rankings aren’t improving as quickly as you would like. You’re maybe not in front of the competitor that you wanted to jump across, but that doesn’t mean that the content marketing plan isn’t working. It doesn’t mean the SEO plan isn’t working. It certainly doesn’t mean the two aren’t working hand in hand, because you can still get a lot of value from people coming in from different directions thanks to the content.

So there are the areas that I would look at as well. There are other benefits as well. Brand awareness is also built up. You can also get into a situation as well where maybe you start to get a bit of a page one domination for your brand name as well.

James:    Yeah.

Andy:    When people are starting to look for your brand, they’re probably going to start seeing the content that you guys are creating, the profiles that we’re creating, and also the actual site itself. So there are a lot of areas that you’re going to start seeing value from.

James:    I guess it goes back to right at the start when you asked me about where should you start with a content marketing plan, and I explained that really you need to establish the goals and expectations and objectives. The best way to do that is to ask those tough questions of what does success look like to you. I guess that fundamentally will answer that question in terms of what results should you see from content marketing and SEO, will answer that question — What does success look like to you? Once you answer that question, you’ll be able to see whether or not the results that you have are being fruitful.

Andy:    Definitely. It’s also a case as well, talking to your client and making sure that they understand where they’re going to see the value as well. They could well come aboard and say it’s all about rankings. Actually, after we’ve done all our research, we’ve got our campaigns up and running, it’s not all about the rankings, because we’re able to bring value in other directions that are going to be more beneficial to the client as well.

So we’ve given you a lot of information there. It’s all top level, so there is plenty more to talk about. If you’ve got any other questions, feel free to send them in, and we’ll maybe address those on another video.

James:    Yeah, we’ve got plenty of social profiles for you to get in touch with. So any questions, please do get in touch.

Andy:    Absolutely. Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel. There is also the Koozai.com blog, and you can like us on Facebook. Of course, we’re on Twitter.

Andy Williams
About the author

Andy Williams

Andy Williams will be giving you useful insights into local search and the overall SEO landscape. Andy has over 10 years experience in the SEO industry including 2 years as the in-house SEO consultant with a leading Web Design company.

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