In the last in the series of posts on how to take your search engine marketing in house we cover the importance of producing appropriate content. That is, generating information of benefit to potential customers that engages those customers and builds credibility.
There is a vast amount of information online covering inbound (content) marketing. Most of the discussion either relates to larger businesses, is misleading, or just plain wrong. In this post we discuss specifically how content marketing can deliver benefits for the smaller business and include some resources to read more.
In the first post in the series we outlined the importance of persuading the MAXIMUM number of prospects to take a desired ACTION. We outlined the importance of the website, keyword choice and how to ensure a website page has the best chance of ranking on Google if a prospect searches for a chosen keyword phrase.
In the second post we developed the keywords discussion (it is not as straightforward as it may seem) and introduced the concept of semantic search. We also discussed in some detail the importance of backlinks. In this post we develop the discussion to cover the importance of content and how that content may be used to generate high quality backlinks.
So let’s start with an overview of content and inbound marketing. The concept behind inbound marketing makes perfect sense in principle. It states that prospects have become tired of information being pushed their way via advertising, direct mail and (worse still) telemarketing. When they need a product or service they now tend to do their own research long before engaging with a supplier or service provider.
The principle behind inbound (content) marketing suggests that the best way forward for any business is to deliver useful and engaging content to the prospect that will be found during their research process. When found that information identifies your business as a potential supplier, builds credibility and gently guides the prospect down the path to sale.
More detail may be found in the following resources:
What is content marketing – From CMI
The benefits of content marketing – From MarketingTech()
There are three further major advantages of building a number of information resources (content) and posting them to your website.
- It builds your base of keywords significantly.
- It raises the profile of your site on Google.
- Content may be used to build backlinks.
Building Your Keyword Base
The standard SEO advice states that each page of your website should be optimised around a single keyword. With the more recent impact of semantic search it is now possible to also rank for derivatives of that keyword phrase but with only a limited number of website pages the number of keywords is severely limited.
Now try to get inside the head of your prospects. Are they likely to search for the keyword chosen for your website pages or are they more likely to search for information and/or answers? How do you add those answer type keywords to your website? The answer is to develop blog posts, video, slideshare and other content written around their own keyword phrase that will rank in their own right on Google. The following resource gives more details:
Increased Profile On Google
There are many elements that determine your websites rank on Google and most have already been mentioned in this series of posts but there is no substitute for publishing quality content on a regular basis.
This guide gives a short and punchy guide on the basics.
If new information (content) is added to your website regularly and that information is interlinked appropriately with other information on your site that will be recognised as a positive ranking factor by Google, and the other search engines.
In post 2 we talked about the importance of backlinks in some detail. There are many legitimate ways to build backlinks but using quality content is one of the most effective. Why? Because links generated to quality content are likely to be highly relevant to your website and that is important. The following resources provide more background on the issue.
This excellent guide from Cory Collins
Unfortunately, much online commentary glosses over the issue of how to build these backlinks. Most seem to focus on the ‘build it and they will come strategy’, which is complete nonsense.
The first step is to take a long hard look at your content and decide if it is likely to be something someone else may link to. If it is linkable the next step is to establish who may link to it and why; then reach out to them and suggest your content without being pushy.
This is a far from simple process that requires time and effort. One method is to type your contents keyword phrase into Google, look at the other similar content on page one and two of the search results, research who has linked to them and use this information to build a list of who to approach. This post from SEMRush may help.
Types of content
Content may take many forms. For a tradesman it may simply be some before and after photography of a job well done but there are many other types of content including:
- Formal case studies
- Blog posts
- Videos (How to…, Before and after)
The trick is to choose the content that has the best chance of engaging the required prospects and leading them down the point to sale. However, building the content is only part of the battle as, once built, the content needs to be distributed to the point it has the best chance of being found. This is a major topic that is covered in detail in our free in house search engine marketing guide.
Word of mouth recommendation may remain the most effective marketing tool for any small business trying to attract more customers in a specific geographic area but once that recommendation has been made it is likely the prospect will check out the business online. They will expect to find the company website relatively easily and once there will seek confirmation that the business is credible and can deliver the required product or service. When created and utilized correctly content delivers on both objectives.