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Content Marketing + SEO = The Formula Explained

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley

SEO + Content ≠ The Formula for Marketing Success

SEO + content has been a critical component of most marketing efforts since Google became central to people’s lives

Marketers develop content, so it gets recommended by Google to its users, driving traffic to business websites. In an ideal world, that traffic converts into new customers and clients because Google is always right.

Simple, huh?

Not really.

In today’s super-crowded world of content marketing, optimizing your content exclusively for search is not enough.

So, what’s next in the world of content marketing?

Your content strategy must deliver value that goes beyond things Google cares about, such as keywords and snippets.

It’s time to change the formula from SEO + content to SEO >>> content.

This article will explain what you need to do to move your content marketing beyond SEO.

A New Approach to SEO and Content Marketing

According to a recent study, almost 70 percent of all visible website traffic begins with a search, and the vast majority of those happen on Google.

In order to deal with that reality and maximize the opportunity it presents, companies put a heavy focus on search engine optimization. SEO is a strategy supported by tactics that optimize website content, so it ranks high on organic search engine results pages (SERPs). Content ranks high because Google’s algorithm has analyzed it and finds that it will provide value to its users, and the overall website experience is a good one. In short, the online experience demonstrates authority to Google.

It’s the reason companies have learned to play the Google game. And have continued to up or adjust their gameplay every time Google changes its algorithm.

The never-ending race to keep mastering Google at its ever-changing rule book made us step back and question whether this was the best way for us to spend our time and money.

We decided it made more sense for us to take the risk of getting less traffic to our site but convert more of it into customers. In other words, we focused more on developing quality content that genuinely engages the people in our target audience and provides them with valuable information about our brand, services, and other things prospects need to know to move them through our marketing and sales cycle. We put more into the content experience and less into serving Google.

It made our content marketing efforts far more effective. We sold more with less waste.

If you take this approach, it could cost you some Google traffic, but you will likely convert more of it into customers.

How to Improve Your SEO and Content Marketing Game

Here’s what you need to know to take your content marketing strategies to the next level.

Part 1: SEO

The first step is to do classic SEO due diligence.

  • Understand your audience. Find out about your ideal prospect’s challenges, needs, interests, and figure out how you can satisfy them. Doing this will ensure that your content will appear to the right people when they do a Google search.

  • Conduct quality keyword research. Finding the right keywords (not a lot of them) to use in your content will help you rank higher in Google results and reach more of the people you want: Those who are searching for information related to your content, products, and services.

  • Develop top-quality content. Creating the best possible material for your customers will improve engagement with your site, rankings, and its overall authority. It will also help you stand apart from your competitors.

  • Publish your content properly. Use appropriate headers and tagging so Google can crawl, understand, and rate your content.

Part 2: Content Marketing

Congratulations. You’ve optimized your content for search and are getting traffic to your site. Now it’s time to take things to the next level.

  • Monitor your website and sales data. Once your content is posted and Google is sending traffic to it, watch how prospective customers respond to it. Go beyond the standard Google Analytics data and use software that provides heat maps, scroll data, click information, user experience data, and recordings of actual user interactions with your web pages.

  • Check to see if website visitors are doing what you intend. Are visitors viewing what you want them to view and clicking on what you want them to click? Is your content getting you leads, appointments, and sales?

  • Fine-tune your content. If you find that your material isn’t performing as intended, change it up until it does. If you can’t get your content to generate results, be brave and eliminate it.

Ask yourself: Do you really need content on your site that gets traffic from Google but doesn’t sell anything?

Your answer to that question should be NO.

In the end, it’s siphoning traffic away from content that could be earning your business cash. While visitors may be consuming your content, they’re not finding a satisfying enough experience with it to act on it.

Create Content for Customers, Not Just Google

Don’t take things to the extreme. I am recommending a balanced approach to SEO and content marketing.

Don’t kick your SEO strategy to the curb and simply focus on optimizing your content. You must do both:

  1. Follow fundamental search engine optimization best practices and strive to get as much quality traffic to your site as possible.

  2. Monitor the behavior of the visitors to your site to ensure they’re converting into customers and make adjustments to your content until they do.

Make SEO >>> content your new formula for success.

This one-two punch will help optimize your marketing efforts by allowing you to attract as much quality traffic to your site as possible AND convert it.

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