Content marketing continues to grow in popularity because of the change in the buying process. Google’s “The Changing Face of B2B Marketing” Study found that 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. But it doesn’t stop there. On average, those same researchers are performing 12 searches before engaging on a specific brand’s site.
A DemandGen report backed up the findings by showing 47% of buyers read 3-5 pieces of content before contacting a sales rep. Your potential buyers are searching for information. If your company isn’t providing it, they’re obtaining it elsewhere.
Large companies have embraced the importance of content marketing and continue to produce and promote their content.
It’s time for your business to embrace a comprehensive content marketing strategy that provides your potential buyers with current, relevant content, and that will drive more traffic, generate leads, and increase sales.
SEO Content Writing Tips:
1. Know Your Audience
Everything begins by finding and learning about your target audience. Then, focus on writing for people and not for search engines. Google’s updates over the past couple years have been focused on punishing sites with low-quality, spammy content, which includes keyword stuffing and other black hat practices.
Stop making believe you can trick Google’s bots and algorithms. The best way to rank higher on search results is to find your target audience and create content tailored to them.
The best approach is to create buyer personas and write content tailored to individual representations of your target audience.
The best way to rank higher? Find your target audience and create #content for them. #InboundMarketing @mikedobrien
2. Focus on Long-tail Keywords
Your keywords drive your business. All of the various types of content you post online should be optimized for the keywords important to your company, industry, products and services, and specific points in the buying process.
Don’t waste time targeting vague, short keywords with hundreds of thousands of monthly searches on Google, though it may seem enticing. Most business owners think if they can rank for those terms, the phone will never stop ringing.
The truth is that almost always, those searches are early in the buying process and the searchers are looking to gain more knowledge about specific options to narrow their search. When you target long-tail keywords, not only do you get the added bonus of targeting the embedded short keyword, but also you’re targeting searchers closer to making a purchase.
3. Keyword Density is Dead!
Stop stuffing your content with keywords! This is an outdated method of ranking highly on search engines and if your site hasn’t been punished already, it will be in the near future.
For example, Yoast, an SEO plugin for WordPress websites, used to recommend keyword density as high as 4.5%. Now, the recommended total is between 0.5% and 2.5%. And, according to HOBO Web, most industry leaders don’t even calculate the percentage anymore.
Instead of focusing your time and energy on keyword density, start focusing on quality writing tailored to your target audience instead. Use synonyms and similar phrases instead. This makes it much easier for your target audience to read, which is what Google’s algorithms are focused on.
Continue Reading to learn the Keyword Research Tools for Success.
4. Focus on Headlines (Up to 60 Characters, Ideal = 6 Words)
The headline to your blog articles is one of the most important pieces of the article. According to David Olgivly, on average, five times as many people read a headline as do the copy of the body. Keep that in mind when just posting a simple title.
Don’t forget numbers! There’s a reason why most headlines contain numbers and it’s backed up by psychology: numbers work. Even if you think its cheesy, use that psychology to your advantage.
A good way to see what types of headlines your competing against is to search for your keywords and see what pops up. Or, you can use title generators such as Tweak Your Biz Title Generator or read this article on Social Media Today.
5. Title Tags (Up to 55 Characters)
This is similar to your headline for a blog post, only this will be used for static pages. When writing your title tag remember that this will be in blue on the search results page and will be the first thing searchers read.
So, what do you want people to see? This is the first thing they’ll read and you need to write something that will entice them to want to click through to your page. Just like in the meta description below, focus on adding your keyword because it will be in bold if it directly matches a search, but don’t worry if it’s a synonym or a similar phrase. Google’s algorithms look for intent more than exact matches because it’s easier for a visitor to read and comes across less “spammy”.
You still need to make sure a keyword or similar phrase is included in the 55 characters. And remember, entice searchers to click!
6. Meta Description
Google uses meta descriptions in the snippet on search results, underneath the title tag and URL. You get up to 150 characters, which may seem like a lot (or a little, depending on whether you use Twitter) but you need to use your characters wisely.
According to Moz, a meta description should be a concise explanation of a page’s content for search engines. That means you need to use a keyword or synonym to be found. Instead of jamming as many keywords as possible into your meta description, use a focus keyword or synonyms to tell search engines (and your target audience!) what your article is about.
Don’t just focus on your keyword! It may be a summary for search engines, but it also needs to be enticing enough so searchers will want to read more.
7. External Links
You need links!
In case you’re just jumping into content marketing and SEO Best Practices, there are two reasons why you need to link your articles to outside sources:
- It shows authority and adds validity to your post
- Helps Google organize the information on the web
And, in my opinion, anytime you can help Google, you should do it. By using statistics and linking to sources you will raise your domain authority, which means more sites will want to link to yours, thereby increasing your search results. Make believe you’re back in high school and you need to source all of your information Only now your teacher is Google and your grade is your search result.
8. Internal Links
Many business owners overlook the benefits of creating a web of backlinks throughout their site when starting out. While it’s not as important as sourcing your stats and arguments, a strong internal linking structure is important for many of the same reasons as external linking.
First, it makes it easier for visitors (and bots) to move throughout your site. It also adds relevance to your focus keywords in the article or page you’re linking to. While it’s an important addition to your posts, make sure to vary your anchor text and limit the number of backlinks per page.
9. Longer Content is Better
What’s the average length of blog articles ranking in Google’s Top 10 search results? The answer may surprise you. It’s well over 2,000 words according to SERPiq. It’s supported by a BufferApp blog citing a Medium study that claims an ideal blog post is read in 7 minutes, which roughly translates to 1,600 words.
Many used to believe that shorter articles were better because of our society’s ever-shortening attention spans. It turns out that what people really want is quality, not speed. If quality translates to length, it appears as though people don’t mind.
As we become more experienced web browsers, we’ve all come across enough spammy and irrelevant sites. Now, we can spot the crap quickly. So instead of focusing on short articles, turn your attention to providing quality content tailored to your target audience. That means providing the information necessary for your visitors to make informed decisions.
It’s not necessarily the length of the blog post that makes it rank higher on SERPs. Instead, the longer the article, the more external links to authoritative sites, more internal links, and will provide quality content and statistics that other blogs will want to link to.
Even though we want to be informed, we don’t want to be intimidated by that information. That’s why reading ease has become so important and one of the factors in Google’s algorithms.
Included in that reading ease is not only the length of words and sentences, but also the length of paragraphs. Though I understand that length and width are different, the same psychology is behind it. BufferApp says the ideal width of a paragraph is 40-55 characters, which roughly translates to 8-11 words depending on a number of different factors.
Longer lines, and paragraphs, appear as lots of work for readers. This explains why on some sites you’ll see a larger font for the first paragraph of an article. It’s a way to tell the reader, “Hey, it’s not so bad in here. Come take a look.” Give the readers what they want, which is information, quality content, and lots of space. Don’t scare them off with lots of bulky text.
Goal of Content Marketing
As an SEO content writer, you want to provide the information your target audience seeks. This will develop trust and present your company as an industry leader.
But make no mistake, the goal of content marketing is to generate leads and convert those leads into sales. Providing content and developing trust is just the best approach we have. A DemandMetric study found that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
Make no mistake, the goal of #contentmarketing is to generate #leads and increase #sales. #InboundMarketing #Blog @mikedobrien
That means your content should focus on providing information and making your customers act, all while avoiding pitching your products and services, as well as avoiding the treaded “salesy” tone. Maybe in the short term that desired action is commenting, sharing, or linking to your article, but in the long-term it’s about making sales.
Even as the buying process has been extended, the best way to do that is to provide targeted content optimized for specific keywords and tailored to specific points in the buying process.
Don’t forget about the Call-to-Actions either! Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest content marketing strategies and trends delivered straight to your inbox!
Continue reading to learn How to Create an Inbound Marketing Strategy so that you’re business can start driving more traffic, generating more leads, and increasing sales!
Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy
How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency
Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses
SEO vs. SEM
What is Inbound Marketing?
What is a Landing Page?
SEO and Optimized Content
Inbound Marketing Services
Social Media Marketing
Generate more leads through properly structured content. Copyright Mike D. O’Brien 2016