For many years now, SEO and content marketing have been inextricably linked together. Creating content for websites is often cited as a top content marketing initiative. Yet getting search engine rankings as a result of these efforts is cited less often. Why is that?
For B2Bs that want to both create website content and get measurable results like search engine rankings and organic traffic, this article is for you. In this article:
I am going to start with some interesting facts before giving you my thoughts. Content Marketing Institute’s 11th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report reveals a lot when it comes to content marketing and SEO opportunities.
In looking at the data in the report, we see that online content falls into the top activities of a content marketing program. Creating articles was the No. 1 type of content tactic. And posting it on a B2B company’s blog or website was among the top three channels.
Yet the majority of respondents reported their content marketing strategy was only “moderately successful.”
Sixty percent said the creation of new web content contributed to their success. But only 37% reported search engine rankings as a marker of their results. I’ll touch on this problem more later in the article.
In the chart below, you see that 78% percent used keyword research as an editorial tool while creating content. This is a promising data point. Why, then, aren’t search engine rankings either more attainable or more important as a result of their content creation efforts? Could it be missed opportunities for optimization?
In some good news, guest posting articles dropped 10 percent since the last CMI survey. From the data alone, it’s impossible to know why, but could it be that companies are starting to catch on that guest posting is bad for business?
It’s obvious to me that many B2B companies want to succeed with their content marketing strategies, but I think that their KPIs are off. Creating content is not a KPI. How that content performs is.
Of course, many may say that creating brand awareness and creating value are goals. And that is fine if you can measure them. But if your main activities are creating content for your website, one goal should be rankings — and the traffic, engagement and sharing that come with rankings. Content unread is not a goal.
Here are several questions that B2Bs can ask to ensure their content marketing goals are supported by measurable results.
What I’m about to say may sound like a broken record for some. You need to focus on the quality of your content, not the quantity. Simply creating content for a website as a goal ignores what’s most important: the contents of what you produce.
Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines detail how expertise and authority play into quality. And our article on the Complete Guide to the Fundamentals of Google’s E-A-T explains how to achieve it with your content.
Bottom line: Your content needs to be written at an expert level for the topic and be authoritative on the subject matter.
Keyword research is essential, and it’s nice to have target search terms when you are creating content. But how you analyze those keywords and optimize the content with them can make or break how the content performs in the search results.
For example, say your SEO person has done the keyword research. They hand this off to the content creator with instructions to include the key term in the content. If that is the complete strategy, is it any wonder that the content doesn’t perform?
You must go deeper. You must be able to take those keywords and find out who the competition is in the search results for that query. You need to understand what they are writing about around that key term and how. Then you need to meet or beat them to have a better chance to rank.
Our WordPress SEO plugin can help B2Bs here. It gives you real-time data by analyzing the top-ranked pages in the search results with targets for things like meta data, readability score and word count. For more on this, read: Want Customized SEO Advice Per Keyword? There’s a Plugin for That!
Why guess when you can get all the data you need to really compete?
Optimizing a page with keywords is one of the most common tasks that a content creator does when creating content for a website. But the question often remains: are they doing it well enough?
While keyword optimization happens naturally while writing about a topic, there’s always more you can do to help the content perform better.
I’m going to recommend our WordPress SEO plugin here again. It can show content creators how many times to use the key term based on real-time analysis of the top-ranked pages. Plus, it has a nice visual that shows you’ve used the term throughout the content from top to bottom (which may impact the relevance of the content to a search).
For more, check out: How a WordPress SEO Plugin Can Help you Optimize Your Content with Keywords.
It’s been over a decade since we started using the term “content marketing.” And yet, it still feels like B2Bs are challenged when it comes to how to get the most from it.
Search engine optimization is a supportive strategy to any content marketing program. It can boost results on your most important digital business asset: your website.
If you’re looking for help with your content marketing strategy or SEO, let’s talk. Fill out our quote request form today.