Content marketing plays a pivotal role in search engine optimization. It may be the most important optimization technique that has the greatest impact on search engine results rankings.
But what exactly is content marketing and how should it be implemented to add the greatest value to a search engine ranking.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is simply the addition of new content to a website. This content can be in the form of blogs, articles, product descriptions, reviews, testimonials, press releases, and any other content that can be crawled and indexed.
How Does Content Marketing Impact Search Engine Rankings?
Search engines, like Google, send bots (called spiders) out into the World Wide Web to search (crawl) for information to be indexed. The indexed information determines how results will be returned relevant to a specific search. The more often a website adds new content, the more often it will be crawled and indexed resulting in higher search engine rankings.
However, there are other ways in which content marketing can impact search engine rankings. Adding links to content provides a path to direct spiders to find new content and index it. The addition of metadata determines how content will be indexed.
Keywords or phrases and titles also play an important role in how a specific web page will be indexed and what search criteria it will meet. The more relevant the content is to a specific search query, the more likely it is to be returned on a results page and the better the ranking is likely to be.
How To Get The Greatest Value From A Content Marketing Strategy
The first and most important strategy is to add content regularly.
An effective content marketing strategy should incorporate different types of content to be added according to a schedule. The schedule should detail the keywords or phrases that should be used, metadata, and any other relevant information.
A good place to start is to optimize existing content for search engines.
The second important factor is quality.
Search engines value user experience and content should be informative and add value in order to have a positive effect on a search engine ranking. A high-quality article has good grammar, no spelling errors, and flows well.
Although longer articles have their place in content marketing, search engines award points for content that is shorter and to the point. This is primarily due to this being the preference of users and relates directly back to user experience. Users generally leave pages that are wordy and too long to read.
Content should also be mobile device friendly. Once again, shorter formats are preferable to speed up loading times and ensure the content is easier to read. However, it is still important that the content is packed full of relevant information.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, relevance is key. Content should be relevant to the website, its products, services, or information. It should also be relevant to the audience. Remember that content is indexed according to relevance. Relevance is determined by the title, keywords, metadata, and general flow of the content.
What Techniques Should Be Avoided In Content Marketing?
In the same way that certain SEO techniques score ranking points from search engines, there are some techniques that are penalized. These techniques should be avoided to avoid penalties:
- Keyword loading is where the keyword or phrase is used too often in the content to the extent that it affects the flow or meaning of the content. In general, the keyword should be used every 200-300 words and in the title for optimal indexing and ranking.
- Plagiarism or simply copying articles directly from other websites can result in severe penalties from search engines. Copyscape and similar programs can be used to ensure that content is free of plagiarism. Content should always be unique.
- Spinning is the process of re-writing the same content over and over making only a few small changes usually with the use of software. Content can be re-written but in its entirety never compromising the quality or flow.
A good content marketing strategy will lay a strong foundation for search engine optimization in the future. When it is done right, it is much easier to maintain a search engine ranking and build on it.