I often see questions online about SEO – how to do it, the best methods, who to hire etc. The truth is – you can do it yourself. The harder truth is – it takes a lot of time & effort. The hardest truth – if you don’t do it, you might as well not have a website. In this article I’m going to cover what content marketing and SEO are, the basics of how you can do it yourself and something you can do today to improve your SEO and content marketing efforts.
So what is content marketing and SEO?
Content marketing is a method of promoting your website – it involves writing useful content for your online audience, making sure search engines understand what the content’s about and promoting that content well. It enables you to not only get more traffic to your website – but also it helps you build up your ‘know, like and trustability’ for your online audience. This helps with your marketing – but also your sales. After all, the easiest people to sell to are the ones that already trust you.
Think about it – you mother trusts you the most – and I’d put good money on it that you could sell her sand in the middle of the desert if you wanted to. But you wouldn’t obviously, because that’s just plain evil. I’m just saying – you could. Please don’t.
So what is SEO then?
SEO (search engine optimisation) is simply about optimising your website so it appears higher in search engine rankings so you get more relevant traffic to your website. Nothing more, nothing less.
SEO used to consist of many technical tweaks and dodgy linking – and as a result, 5 years ago you could simply pay a few hundred pounds a month and rank really well for a chosen key term. Google and other search engines have since grown wiser to these dodgy technical tweaks – and punish websites that use them. You may have been someone who’s been hit by Google updates – and possibly you’ve lost faith in any long term SEO. But don’t be discouraged – you can have long term success, you just have to play by the rules. No more cheap tricks and pulling the wool over search engines eyes. Here are some ‘black hat’ seo techniques that used to be used – and are to be avoided:
- writing ‘keywords’ in the same colour as your website background – so search engines can read it, but users can’t
- paying for dodgy/suspicious links
- creating lot’s of small websites that point back to yours, for the sole purpose of SEO
The best part of all this?
Now you can do a lot of this yourself!
SEO is easier & harder than ever. Easier because you don’t have to have as many technical IT skills as you used to (although some basic understanding is still really helpful in the process). Harder because of the competition out there is huge and that there aren’t any technical ‘tricks’ you can use like you used to be able to – there’s no buying links and sitting back to watch the traffic flow in.
It was much easier in the past – but better to start today, than wait until next year, when competition will be even heavier.
How to perform the easiest method of SEO – content marketing:
Content marketing consists of 3 strategies, that when done well, will boost your business to serious success.
1. Make your website ‘Search Engine Ready’ – and as user friendly as possible
These two go hand in hand; anything that will make your website better for your audience online, will give you some recognition from Google. Google takes into account your site speed (users hate slow sites), relevance of your content (users want relevant answers to their questions) and how good the experience is on mobile and tablet devices (users don’t just use their laptops).
You need to decide what you want your website to be found for by doing some keyword research – then make sure you write content around that subject. Don’t write just for search engines – write content that will genuinely help your clients and the audience interested in your subject. You’re much more likely to get relevant links this way (which is essential to SEO) and word of mouth on social media will give you website a boost in traffic too.
Make sure you do this step before the rest; it’s much harder to change your website in Google’s eyes once it already thinks your website is about a different subject than what you intended. If you can begin from here, you’ll be doing the right thing. If you’ve already got a lot of content – don’t panic. Find what you want your site focus to be and work back from there; edit your content and try to tailor it to your users as best you can.
If you want to learn more about how to write your content in the best way for search engines – sign up to my email list and you’ll get a full guide on how to do it yourself.
2. Make your website content better than what’s already out there
The best content will always win in the SEO game; so whether you need to be more helpful, educate better, entertain more – do it better than your competition. Search for terms you want to be found for and pick away at what you could do better; whether it’s a different type of media, like video, or a longer, better, more informative article – make sure you put in the effort. Your audience will appreciate it – and so will search engines! I always tell my clients – quality is much more important than quantity. Three well written, informative articles will help you a lot more then 10 rubbish ones you cranked out without really thinking before bed.
If you’re really stuck on what you want to write about – check out this article here for content marketing article ideas.
3. Promote your content – the right way
Promotion is where a lot of people start to stumble – but that’s a great thing for your business.
If your competition is stumbling here, it’s an opportunity for you to push ahead of them and get great at it! The basics are simple – make sure you mention your new content on your social media platforms. Get that content in front of your current audience – step 1 simplicity.
Next – get involved in conversations in your industry and groups where you think your audience will be – whether it’s Pinterest, Twitter, forums, facebook groups, subreddits – get involved. Learn about the platform inside and out before you post. Get to know the audience there and make sure you tailor content directly for them before you post it. I like to think of a lot of these online groups as a party – you wouldn’t just shout about yourself and ignore everyone else. Start conversations and be polite; don’t just pick up a loud speaker and ignore everyone there. Make friends and don’t always mention your business – people on the internet will find you if they want to. They know how to use Google after all.
And that’s it all in a nutshell! Of course this all takes time and effort – but if you value your website and want to see more leads, it’s worth setting aside the time for it.
So how can you actually do this?
Here’s something you can do quickly, today to help your content marketing and SEO.
1.Review your competition’s website
Spy on your competitors like a crazy person – check all their posts & articles and see what is and isn’t doing well. Which posts are being linked to a lot? Which ones have a lot of shares and comments? Study them and use them for inspiration for your next article – check out their titles and the full content, links, images, video – everything!
2. Write useful content better than the competition
Useful content gets linked to. The best content gets linked to the most. The best content also gets the most attention online. Good links = good SEO (warning: this does not mean 1000 backlinks = good SEO, domain authority is really important. Don’t buy a bunch of spam links. You could permanently damage your website if you do.)
Spend time and effort thinking who the article is for; who’s going to read it, and what do they really want to know. Highlight any benefits to them within your content and layout your article in as easy to read fashion as you can. Use appropriate titles, and adjust your keyword content for SEO – but focus on this last, and the user first when you’re writing.
3. Promote your content
50% of your efforts should go into writing the best content you can for your audience. The next 50% should go into promoting that content; loads of people forget this step or are just useless at it. Try to get your content in front of influencers; react to their content and try to get on their radar – they’re much more likely to respond to you if you respond to them first! Get involved in PR opportunities; try ‘haro’ or ‘journorequest’ on twitter, and answer any requests that might be relevant to your industry. The important thing when promoting your website online is – keep it relevant to the conversation. Find people you can help with your content and get involved in those communities.
That’s not all – but it’s certainly enough to get you started!
Sign up for my email list and you’ll get a quick start guide for more help on making your content better.
I’d love to hear if you found this helpful – comment below and let me know if you have any other content marketing and seo tips or tricks!