I’ve noticed lots of data visualisation posts and infographics being posted on many websites lately. Many of them are displaying too much information on a poorly designed visual post. Is this just another tactic to gain links? Just a few months ago, I heard some SEOs talking about how infographics don’t work for SEO campaigns and now the tables have turned. I’ve noticed a lack of strategic planning in the industry, which is the first and foremost step for any campaign. A well-integrated communication and content strategy must be created that is linked to your company and client goals. A good strategy is really important to define your actions and goals rather than creating panic and unexpected reactions to a new situation in a company or agency. There are some methods that are used by some brands and can be adopted to enhance any content strategy. I have listed some dos and don’ts for improving an SEO content strategy:
Content marketing is not just a tactic to increase traffic and improve ranking in the post panda and penguin world. It has much more to it than just being high quality, unique and relevant. Storytelling is a vital skill for your content strategy. How can it be implemented in SEO content strategy? Well, the answer is simple. We just need to modify the tone of the content. A post should encourage readers to respond and feel involved. For instance, Coca-Cola always use storytelling as a part of their content strategy. Coca-Cola Zero was successfully targeted at young adult males because of well-chosen customised words and stories that men could relate to. A story holds the interest of a reader. Stories work extremely well for small businesses if implemented properly. It can influence and shape perceptions of a brand. The following videos show Coca-Cola’s approach towards content strategy and storytelling:
Watch the second video here.
Make it interesting and diverse, not just relevant
Content generation and content marketing is not really SEO. It requires market and consumer research skills in order to understand consumer expectations in regards to the kind of content they want to read. SEOs need to think beyond blogger outreach and avoid overusing one type of content after every Google algorithm update. A diverse mix of content should be used for every campaign. This might require videos, case studies, articles, eNewsletters, webinars, blog posts, data visualisation posts, competitions or photographs.
Identify your target audience first
After determining your goals, identification of target audience is the most important aspect. This one is really obvious but there are many SEO experts who decide the matter of the content and how it will be created before determining a target audience for it. This shows a clear lack of concern and research regarding what people actually want to see or read.
Ego bait doesn’t always work
Ego bait is another common approach used in SEO agencies for acquiring back links and social shares. This method of outreach can work well at times, depending on your target audience, but it usually makes a campaign less creative and more dull and repetitive. Usage of this tactic clearly shows lack of a good strategy.
Time for research
The SEO industry is always attempting to anticipate changes and trying to develop the way it looks at strategies and goals but this won’t be possible if we, as SEO practitioners, don’t spend time on researching our clients’ niche in depth. As we all know, SEO is an evolving and ever changing industry. Hence, it becomes even more important to keep up with every change and update in the industry. Implementation of an idea would consume less time if proper research and thought process is undertaken as a part of the content strategy. Good ideas cannot be generated if only 10-15% of time is being spent on research.
Create fresh and timely content
Timely content is one of the best SEO content practices. Google loves fresh content. Creating a calendar for the main occasions, trends, events and activities in your niche will give you an edge over your competitors. Planning a creative content strategy for each event and occasion could be another win for your brand. Timing is really important when publishing any kind of content.
Consistency and regularity
Development of a plan is one of the most significant aspects of content marketing. However, it should be flexible as the SEO industry is always changing. An editorial calendar should be created for the whole team as it helps to organise posts and ensures you are consistent in posting content. People like to see consistent posts which, in turn, makes them visit your website on a regular basis. Content ideas are not just limited to the content or social media team but it is a cross-functional system. Every employee has different kinds of skills in terms of generating ideas and they should be utilised and included in the content strategy.
Use your industry expertise effectively
SEO experts should have in-depth knowledge about their clients industry and products. Having relevant data about how competitors and influencers write content is also imperative to your strategy. This becomes easy with the help of tools like Followerwonk which helps you to identify top influencers in a specific niche. Link analysis tools help to identify and analyse competitors’ most powerful links and also determine the most successful pieces of content based on the links they have naturally generated. Tools like Topsy help to find out the influencers who shared or promoted your competitors’ best content. Identification of the top influencers can be helpful for promotion and ensuring your content reaches the relevant audience.
Link Building is not dead
Due to the hype surrounding content marketing after the Penguin and Panda updates, SEO experts are starting to think of link building as a tactic of the past. We forget that content should have always been of real importance and central to every SEO campaign or strategy. So why is there a panic? Powerful backlinks are still one of the most important performance indicators. SEOs need to understand that content marketing is just one more method by which an SEO campaign can gain links and ultimately outperform its competitors. This intertwining of strategies, where links are built by the promotion of strong content, can help a site acquire a wider variety of links. Links should not be the only goal; don’t lose sight of the fact that a site must succeed in engaging its visitors as well as generating revenue, traffic and rankings. The best way to achieve this is a mix of good content, links and social noise.