Post by Adi Englander
Does your marketing incorporate a mix of content, social, and SEO? If not, you aren’t as competitive as you could be. These three disciplines need to pull their weight together for a brand’s marketing to be healthy and effective. As a worst-case scenario, a weak link among them can render your marketing ineffective.
Once you start allowing SEO, social, and content to feed off each other, you’ll begin earning a noticeable competitive advantage. How do you combine all three? Good question!
Let’s begin by highlighting the combination of SEO and Content, and then I’ll move on to adding Social Media to the mix. By the end, you’ll see how all three work together to achieve amazing results.
Combining SEO and Content
Although content marketing and SEO are often viewed as two distinct disciplines, the reality is that they are actually two sides of the same coin. Content wants to be seen. Attention is what content is made for, after all! SEO gives content the attention it needs.
On the other side of the coin, SEO needs content to do its job effectively. So as you can see, content and SEO need each other.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- High Quality Content = SEO Gold
We all know that once upon a time, SEOs were able to get away with publishing content that was overly-focused on keywords. The goal back then was to manipulate search engines for high rankings. Obviously, manipulation tactics don’t work today.
Yes, keywords are still important (as I’ll mention later.) But keep in mind that audiences demand high quality, human-centric content rather than content that was created simply for keyword stuffing.
Unfortunately, as we sink into the online ocean of quantity, we often forget about the importance of quality.
Content that is informative, crystal clear, and well-written encourages readers to remain on your site and consume your content longer. As your site’s bounce rate decrease, you’ll raise your chances of higher SERP rankings.
Another reason why high-quality content is vital for SEO is that it attracts backlinks, which can eventually boost your SERP rankings. While you can’t control the number of people who link to your site, you can certainly encourage backlinks by creating useful, high-quality content.
As your content is being created, you should always ask, “Would I link to this content if I were the audience?”
- Make Your Content Unique
This is an offshoot of high-quality content, but it’s worth mentioning by itself. From an SEO perspective, unique, original content gives search-engine crawlers something they haven’t indexed 100 times already. Uniqueness is good for search engines, and therefore it’s good for you.
Your content should also be unique from your audience’s perspective. Even the most well-written articles and best-produced videos will be ignored if your audience has already seen similar content elsewhere.
No matter how you look at it, originality is crucial.
- Choose Evergreen Topics When Possible
Evergreen topics – i.e., subjects that are always fresh and relevant – can give your content higher search rankings for the long haul. And when your content has high search rankings, it will have more visits. With more visits come the potential for more links, which lead to even higher search rankings, and on and on. Here are some evergreen content ideas for help getting started.
- Still Do Keyword Research
Some marketers have heard that keywords are no longer important in SEO. After all, keywords aren’t even required in your title tag or heading tags any more.
Nonetheless, the notion that “keyword research isn’t needed” is actually untrue. To effectively combine your content marketing with your SEO, don’t skip keyword research. Although your content needs to be human-centric and valuable, weaving the right keywords into your content is important for giving it exposure.
What is true is that old methods of doing keyword research are no longer effective. As Nate Dame explained in a SearchEngineLand article, “Traditional, old-school keyword research produces long lists of words and phrases — with their relative search traffic figures — that can dramatically improve nothing about an SEO strategy.”
For more information on effective keyword research, here’s an informative guide.
- Include Internal Linking
For your content marketing to effectively work with your SEO, weave internal linking into your content. This will not only help search engines crawl your site and help you rank higher for certain terms, but it will also give readers of your content a better experience.
Adding Social Media to the Mix
Similarly to the relationship of SEO and content, social media and SEO are also highly effective when combined. Here are some best practices:
- Advertise on Social Channels
Yes, definitely pay to play. It’s worth it. Many SEO practitioners don’t think of the SEO benefits that come from social advertising. Combining the syndication abilities of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and others, your content can achieve drastically higher exposure.
While the exposure from social-media advertising won’t directly boost your SEO efforts, the exposure will certainly encourage far more inbound links. And quality backlinks definitely impact your SEO success.
The biggest SEO advantages from social media advertising happen when your content is seen by interested influencers and journalists. When bloggers and other influencers see your content and reference your links in their work, these backlinks further boost your SEO.
- Find Social Media Influencers and Engage with Them
Along with paying for advertising on social media, engaging with influencers in your industry will also help you reap some significant SEO benefits. Spend time and effort introducing your brand to major players in your field who could reference links to your content. You just might come across some influencers who haven’t yet seen your social advertising.
- Make Your Profile Information Count
Marketers who are concerned with SEO focus on social-media profiles. Profile info is indexable by search engines, and social-media profiles are often the first to get listed in search results for brands.
Social-media profile info can also influence local rankings. Independent review sites often look for social profiles to help populate local business entries. And search engines often use these entries to establish their own format for listing local businesses. You can use this to your advantage to boost local visibility.
So use keywords in social profiles, and make sure your profiles are complete – including your company’s address, phone number, and even information that explains why you’re different from the competition.
- Don’t Trust Social Signals as SEO Boosters
I’d like to dispel an SEO myth about social signals (i.e., likes, comments, etc.) On one hand, Bing does mention social signals in a positive way. To quote Bing’s webmaster guidelines:
“If you are influential socially, this leads to your followers sharing your information widely, which in turn results in Bing seeing these positive signals. These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.”
However… Although some marketers have heard that social signals will directly improve how Google ranks a brand, this just isn’t the case. Because social signals can be (and often are) manipulated, Google doesn’t put a lot of trust in them.
So while it’s beneficial to receive likes, re-tweets, and other social signals, don’t expect to improve your SEO on Google with them.
- Yes, You Should Grow Your Followers to Boost SEO
While social signals don’t impact your SEO as much as some have believed, your connections and followers do influence your ranking. Large brands with hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers will rank better than a brand with only a couple hundred followers.
It’s important to earn your followers authentically and organically rather than buying them. Not only does Google detect follower quality, but purchased followers are not going to engage with you the way authentic followers will.
It certainly takes more time and effort to earn quality followers. But no one ever said effective social media marketing or SEO were quick and easy. (At least, no reputable practitioner has made this claim.)
Quality followers will come to you as you provide them with value. Give them quality content that solves problems, engage with people online, and set yourself apart from your competitors.
Conclusion: Don’t Think of SEO, Content, and Social as Separate Entities!
While your SEO practitioners, content writes, and social media staff might look at goals from different angles, the truth is that they all share common goals. Communication is very important! Everyone on the marketing team should take all other marketing disciplines into account during their daily activities.
SEO, content and social are all necessary for competitive marketing and branding. When separated, each of these disciplines have one hand tied behind their back. But when combined, they become a single marketing force to be reckoned with!Adi Englander is a freelance writer and social media expert who writes for Gerris digital, a full-service digital strategy firm in the Washington, DC, area.