10 Steps to Create an Effective SEO Content Marketing Strategy
The most effective SEO content marketing strategies combine the technical requirements of search engine optimization and the targeted production requirements of content marketing.
You can create an effective SEO content marketing strategy if you:
Pick a specific niche
Identify a problem
Create a solution
Select a target audience
Develop a unique perspective
Conduct topically relevant keyword-research
Leverage SEO-fundamentals throughout content production
Consider search engine and user experience best practices
Produce and publish web-based content consistently
Monitor your content and keep it up-to-date
Understanding what each step means and how to use them will make all the difference. And in today's post, we'll go over these steps and share with you exactly how we use them at Content Captains.
Let's get started.
How does SEO and content marketing work together?
You must understand that you cannot have SEO without content marketing. And you cannot have content marketing without SEO.
They're in a symbiotic, or mutually beneficial, relationship.
SEO is the process of generating organic website traffic directly to a specific website from search engines like Google.
Content marketing is the process of producing content that solves specific problems for their target audience.
That means you cannot generate organic traffic using SEO without content. And you cannot call yourself a content marketer if the content you create doesn't generate organic traffic, which is mostly accomplished through SEO. They work hand-in-hand.
Bottom line: Every piece of content should be created with your target market and target audience in mind, because relevant content is powerful. And powerful content will lead search engines to grant you the organic traffic you're looking for.
What are the 10 steps to create an effective SEO content marketing strategy?
Here are the 10 steps you can follow to create an effective SEO content marketing strategy:
1) Pick a specific niche
Whether you're an entrepreneur or an in-house marketer, picking a niche is an important step in creating an effective SEO content strategy.
As an entrepreneur, the world is yours. You can choose whatever niche you're passionate about, an expert in, or ideally both. Striking a balance between passion and skill matters because at the end of the day, you'll be writing and producing a ton of content if you're to be successful. And picking the right topic will make a huge difference.
In-house marketers may not have the same flexibility to pick their niche since they're working for a specific company. But guess what? That makes this step even easier for you; no need to pick a niche for yourself. Just dive into whatever your company does and get started.
2) Identify a problem
This is a fundamental step to take when creating an effective SEO content strategy because without a problem, there's no market.
Every single product or service (at least the successful ones) begin by identifying a problem and then working to change the world through their work. That's it. And whether you're interested in creating an affiliate marketing website or creating the next Apple is of no consequence. Everything starts with a problem.
Think about it. Even if you're creating an affiliate marketing website in the fishing niche, there are a multitude of problems you can solve. That "top ten best fishing rods" article is solving a problem. And that "five steps to take when open-water fishing" is solving a problem. It's all about problem solving.
3) Create a solution
Now it's time for you to create a solution as part of your SEO content strategy.
Again, if we continue the examples from above, it doesn't matter whether you're creating an affiliate marketing website about fishing or creating the next Apple. If you want to drive organic traffic, every piece of content needs to offer a specific solution to a specific problem that's relevant to your niche. It's truly that simple. And it'll take your content marketing strategies from good to great.
If you're an entrepreneur you get to think about this from a product or service level and from a content marketing level. It's up to you to decide the big problem and how to solve it by solving lots of little problems. And as an in-house marketer, it's up to you to learn about the problem your company is trying to solve before creating relevant content.
4) Select a target audience
Most marketers believe casting a wide net is the best way to ensure you can capture the most demand because you have more opportunities at bat. But they're painfully wrong.
The best way to generate significant results is by selecting a specific target audience within your niche. If you're running an affiliate marketing website about fishing, your target audience shouldn't be everyone who's ever fished, wanted to fish, or thought about fishing.
A better target audience could be beginning fishers with no experience.
Speak to everyone and you'll reach no one. Speak to one and you'll reach everyone. That's the fundamental philosophy you need to understand when selecting your target audience for your SEO content strategy.
5) Develop a unique perspective
Developing a unique perspective is the final step in your SEO content strategy prior to actually conducting keyword-research and starting to produce content. Yet it's often overlooked.
In marketing speak, a unique perspective can take shape in a couple ways - "positioning" or "messaging" - which are fancy ways of saying: The way we communicate the solutions we offer to the problems our target audience cares about within our specific niche. Right now we're focusing on the "way we communicate" part.
How do you want your brand to stand out? Do you want to be known as authoritative and bold? Do you want people to think you're friendly and approachable? This is what's sometimes referred to as "brand voice" as well. But no matter what you call it, it all starts with a unique perspective.
6) Conduct topically relevant keyword research
Conducting keyword research is not as scary as you may think.
Truthfully, it can be as simple as Googling a topically relevant keyword within your niche, and seeing what the top ten posts rank for (and what they write about). However, to create an effective SEO content marketing strategy you'll have to leverage SEO tools to help you.
A free tool like Google Keyword Planner is a perfect solution for beginners to use. But we recommend you use paid tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to really unlock your keyword research potential. These tools, and others, make keyword research easier and more effective, which will increase the likelihood your content marketing strategies will drive organic traffic.
7) Leverage SEO-fundamentals throughout content production
Now that you're equipped with topically relevant keywords, it's time to leverage SEO fundamentals throughout content production.
Beginning: Prior to creating your content, think about the type of content you're making. Is it a gated PDF? No need to leverage SEO on the PDF itself. But you should leverage SEO on the landing page for the PDF. Is it a web-based digital report? You absolutely need to consider SEO.
Middle: While creating your content, think about the keyword(s) you've selected. Use tools like Frasie.io or SurferSEO to check your SEO health score, and to help guide the way you outline, write, and create the content itself so it's SEO-optimized.
End: Once you launch your content, ensure it's indexed on Google Search Console and that there are no web-based errors like 404s. Double check all links are working and that the web-pages are all operating like you intended. And monitor your content's performance overtime.
8) Consider search engine and user experience best practices
There are few search engine and user experience best practices to consider when creating an effective SEO content marketing strategy.
Search engine best practices: Search engines like Google not only consider keywords and wordcount when considering how to rank your web-based content. But they also consider things like URL, headlines, metadescriptions, content layout, and multimedia assets. You must tailor your content to search engine best practices.
User experience best practices: You cannot over-optimize for search engines because you'll miss out on a fundamental part of content marketing: You're speaking to humans. Make sure your web-based content is legible, relevant, and easy to consume. There's no reason to generate organic traffic if those people will bounce out of your site immediately.
9) Produce and publish web-based content consistently
This seems obvious but it must be said: You must create web-based content consistently.
Your SEO content marketing strategy is worthless if you stay in the planning and research phase forever. Or if you decide to take massive breaks in your content marketing efforts. There's nothing worse than seeing marketers quit before achieving the results they want to achieve.
Content marketing is tough. Generating organic traffic is tough. And converting that organic traffic into paying customers is even tougher. But it's not impossible. Stick to a specific cadence and have patience.
10) Monitor your content and keep it up-to-date
The last step in creating an effective SEO content marketing strategy entails monitoring your content and keeping it up-to-date.
You can use tools like Google Search Console or Google Analytics to aggregate, review, and monitor your content's performance over time. Regardless of which tool you select, it's important to monitor your content's performance to not only validate whether your SEO content marketing strategy is working, but to also ensure you keep your content up-to-date.
A lot of content marketers forget this step. Remember, your job is dependent on generating organic traffic. And if you're not monitoring your content, or keeping it up-to-date, you'll eventually begin losing rank and decreasing organic traffic.
How do we leverage these steps at Content Captains?
Here's a rapid fire breakdown of all 10 steps and how we use them at Content Captains:
Niche: Content marketing
Problem: Content marketing is ever-evolving, demanding, and requires multi-skilled marketers.
Solution: Content Captains teaches marketers the content marketing tips, concepts, and strategies they need to become top performers.
Target audience: People interested in leveling up their skills to improve content marketing activities.
Unique perspective: We believe anyone can be a "marketing unicorn" aka someone who knows a little about a lot like writing, design, and video production.
Keyword research: Every time we conduct keyword research, we look for topically relevant keywords that touch on the first five steps. For example, the keyword for this post was "seo content marketing strategy" because we wanted to write about the importance of these two concepts.
SEO-fundamentals: We conduct keyword research when making web-based assets, we check the SEO health score of our content as we produce it, and we double check everything is functioning correctly upon publishing.
Search engine and user experience: We do what we can to write web-based content that satisfies search engines, like being easy to read on mobile devices. And we also think about the content type and how the user will most enjoy consuming it.
Content production consistency: We've been publishing one website blog, one YouTube video, and two Substack newsletters every week since we started this company.
Monitoring content: We're still too new to keep content up-to-date since it's all freshly published. But we certainly monitor our web performance to ensure we're producing high-quality content.
Most content marketers are either good at search engine optimization (SEO). Or they're good at content marketing. But it's rare to find a content marketer who's good at both.
Why it matters: In today's competitive market, content marketers need to be ready to not only create high-quality content that satisfies their audience's needs. But also satisfies search engines in pursuit of organic traffic. That's the only way you'll find yourself as a top performing content marketer.
Good luck out there, Captain!
Read more: Small Business Video Production Best Practices 2023
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