The SEO-Content Connection
It’s hard to talk about SEO without talking about content. Without quality content, you can’t have a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. While content isn’t the only thing that plays into SEO, it’s one of the most important. On a fundamental level, how can a site rank in search results without content? The SEO-content connection should be a critical piece of any search engine optimization strategy.
In this article, we’ll dive into some important aspects when considering the SEO-content connection, including:
- Why is content important for SEO?
- How is content evaluated for SEO purposes?
- Different kinds and mediums of content.
- Residual benefits of high-quality content.
- Understanding how content marketing plays into SEO.
Why is content important for SEO?
Content is fundamental to SEO success. Without a page that has relevant, engaging content, how can that page rank and be present for a user’s query in search engines? Meaning, without a web page with content, you won’t be able to rank at all. So, fundamentally, content is essential when it comes to being present in search engines.
Tactically speaking, there are specific kinds of content and pages a website should have. This includes content about the company, contact pages, editorial content, blog pages, and more.
In addition, having a well-thought-out and clearly organized site architecture (site organization, layout, and navigation) can aid in making your content discoverable to search engines and users once they land on the site.
Image source: Internet Marketing in 5 Minutes
Going beyond the basics, having a content strategy that aims at reaching and engaging your customers can help catapult your site’s traffic. This could be as simple as having a blog with resource content or it could be more complex such as interactive content. Overall, the takeaway here is that content is extremely important to SEO success and can be curated in many different forms.
How is content evaluated for SEO purposes?
Google has said that content is among the top three ranking factors (specifically content and links as the top two) and within that realm of “content as a ranking factor,” there are many different ways to slice and dice content ranking factors.
Image Source: Search Engine Land
Here are just a handful of different ways Google evaluates content as a ranking factor:
- Content quality
- Content readability
- Content freshness
- Keyword usage
- Content engagement
In a nutshell, you want to write high-quality content that engages the reader on a particular subject – answer their question or whatever query you’re hoping someone will type into Google to land on your page.
Then, you want to make sure you have a well-planned keyword research strategy to support your content and use basic SEO tactics for content optimization. Once you have a great piece of content published, you want to update it once in a while to make sure it stays fresh.
There’s a lot more that goes into content optimization but these are some initial steps to help make your content great.
Let’s explore the different kinds of content.
The most common type of content is written content (such as this article!) but content can take many different kinds of forms, such as images, videos, customer reviews, local information and more.
Image source: Search Engine Journal
When it comes to deciding what kind of content to develop, consider the following:
- Your resources (your time and monetary investment)
- Your audience (what kind of content resonates with them)
- Your competition (what kind of content are they producing)
Written content is often the easiest to produce – it just takes time, research and a well-organized article. However, other types of content, such as interactive media, reviews or videos, can sometimes be more effective but more resource intensive (and costly) to produce.
Once you decide on what content topics you want to create, then you can do more research to decide what kind of content to create.
They key here is to make sure you create a great user experience, regardless of what medium of content you create.
Capture the benefits of quality content development.
Creating high-quality content has all sorts of residual benefits, such as increase in traffic, increase in customers and an increase in external links.
By developing and executing on a strategic content roadmap, you can increase your site’s ability to rank for new queries and non-branded queries in search results (e.g. you’ll be able to cover new topics for search results). This can be essential for new customer acquisition and increase your brand’s awareness.
Other residual content benefits include increasing your external links (external links are links from other domains to your site – they are important because they send quality signals or link equity). Since external links are among Google’s top ranking factors, they should be an important consideration in planning your content efforts.
Links from other sites can also send referral traffic and expose your brand to a new audience. Therefore, these external links have other direct traffic benefits than just the link equity.
So, how does content marketing play into this?
Content marketing entails a variety of efforts to make your content visible to new audiences, including through:
- Public relations
- Social media marketing
- Content syndication efforts
- Influencer outreach
- Email marketing
Content marketing helps with making your content visible to the world. Without content visibility, how will people see your content?
That’s not to say no one will see your content unless you market it, but you’ll create a higher probability that it will become visible if you market your content smartly. Content marketing can also send important off-site signals, such as external links, referral traffic, and brand citations.
Now we know that SEO and content go hand-in-hand. Let’s review some of our biggest takeaways from evaluating the SEO-content connection.
- Content is vital to be present in search engines and fundamental to search engine ranking.
- Content is among Google’s top ranking factors and holistically optimizing your content can aid in search ranking.
- Content can come in a variety of formats and mediums – it doesn’t have to be just a written blog.
- High-quality content provides residual benefits such as gaining external links, which are also among Google’s top ranking factors.
- Marketing and publicizing your content can aid in engagement and discoverability to your audience.