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Content and SEO: Optimization from creation to conversion
How can you ensure that your content creation efforts don't go to waste? Columnist Jim Yu discusses how to align content creation with SEO goals and user needs for maximum impact.
By 2019, it is predicted that content marketing will become a $300-billion industry. However, this content will have limited value unless it is actually found by the right audience, optimized to achieve maximum impact and measured in relation to business results. Ensuring your content is search-engine-friendly and optimized across the buyer’s journey is critical to the success of both content and SEO teams.
Major search algorithm updates, such as Google’s Panda and Penguin, are focused on delivering users the highest-quality results and the most relevant content. Brands with a solid content marketing strategy — focused around people, process and technology — that also optimize for visibility across search engines are rewarded with increased search performance in the form of traffic, conversions and revenue.
A major challenge for many organizations is optimizing content for search during the content creation process and then replicating it, at scale, across large websites and content management systems. The solution lies in creating and developing content that is targeted, insightful and compelling for your audience.
Following are seven keys steps that marketers can take in order to optimize content from point of creation to conversion.
1. Understand your audience and segment strategies before creating content
More than 60 to 70 percent of content produced by B2B companies goes unused. Before creating content, it is very important to understand for whom you’re writing, and why. A good starting point is to audit your existing content to see what types of content resonated best with your audience. In parallel, building out buyer personas and profiles helps you match content creation to buyer needs.
2. Scout the competitive landscape for opportunities and gaps
Understanding how your content stacks up in the market and against the competition is the next step in this process. Brands that skip this step are losing millions of digital dollars to their competitors in terms of traffic, conversions and revenue.
Look at what your competition is doing well, and determine where it is falling short, in order to gain a true understanding of your competitive landscape. This will help guide your content creation and optimization efforts.
3. Map content topics to buyer personas and purchase journeys
Understanding what types of content convert at various stages of the buyer journey allows you to map and optimize content assets to maximize conversions across all stages of the buying cycle. The identification of previously hidden opportunities can result in massive increases in conversion and revenue.
4. Enable content authors to pair pages with the right topics and keywords
As organizations look to scale their content marketing efforts, it is essential to ensure that content creators are armed with search insights that help empower them to create content that is valuable and converts. This step is critical to content creation and web page development.
Content Management System (CMS) integration is now a key component of the SEO and content marketing optimization process. For example, at the Adobe Summit last month, Kirill Kronrod, senior global SEO manager from Adobe, shared an example where switching to an SEO-friendly CMS resulted in a 307-percent increase in organic traffic within a year and a 287-percent increase in rankings on Page 1.
You can view the full presentation on the Summit website here.
5. Optimize your content in ways that address user needs and respond to competitor content
On the content marketing battleground, almost every company is using content to capture attention. With so much content flooding the market, only the most creative brands are able to make their content stand out from the crowd. This is where images, video and website design and aesthetics really help move the needle.
6. Amplify and distribute content
Social media amplification and distribution helps expose people to your high-quality content. When brands regularly produce content that their customers appreciate, those customers are far more likely to share the content with their connections on social platforms. Not only does this help distribute your content, but it also helps with PR and Psychographic Segmentation.
7. Convert and measure success — tie your results to business outcomes
While every piece of content may serve a different purpose, it is vital to have metrics in place to prove the value of your efforts. Make sure that you define and measure multiple touch points to help gain a more holistic picture of how your audience is interacting with the your content and how results show up in the SERPs.
Setting quantitative goals (i.e., traffic, conversion and revenue) and aligning these with key business priorities will round out your content optimization process.
The right SEO insights empower authors to create the right content that matters to the right user. Utilizing search data allows content creators to easily identify what topics matter most to the consumer. This equips them with powerful insights at the time of authoring and subsequently elevates your SERP position and the chances of conversion.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.