[authoe: Julie Lorson]
Content marketing is crucial for educating and nurturing audiences, particularly for law firms. At the same time, creating content that is helpful and leverages SEO also offers more opportunities for maximizing visibility in search results. That means that digital marketing works best when content and SEO are aligned and work together. Keep reading to learn more about combining these two approaches for optimizing organic content visibility.
A Refresher: What are SEO and Content Marketing?
You’re likely very familiar with these terms, but just in case, let’s define each of these elements.
SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization or the practice of optimizing a website or other online content for improving visibility and ranking in search engine result pages. The end goal is to increase organic traffic to a website and improve online discoverability.
Content marketing is a strategy that focuses on creating and publishing helpful, relevant, and keyword-rich content to attract and engage a specific target audience. The goal of content marketing is to drive action on the part of your audience, whether that’s generating a lead or increasing brand loyalty.
SEO and content marketing are separate strategies, but they are closely related. Often working together, content marketing provides the relevant and valuable content that SEO relies on to optimize websites and attract more organic traffic. Furthermore, SEO ensures that the content that is optimized can be discovered easily and lead to higher search rankings.
How Does Content Marketing Help SEO?
Content marketing that is effective can really bolster SEO efforts by generating backlinks, driving brand awareness, and providing a better user experience (which is considered in the ranking algorithms). While many people consider content marketing and SEO entirely different practices, they work together and content marketing is actually one of the most critical aspects of SEO.
More specifically, when high-authority sites include links to your own content, search engines see them as a vote of confidence of sorts. So, the better that your content is, the more likely it is to be cited or shared elsewhere, driving these links. Additionally, content marketing can create media attention which helps your online presence. This is particularly true for proprietary research or things that include unique data, like infographics. If you can share knowledge or expertise that isn’t easily found elsewhere, your branded search metrics and traffic are both likely to go up.
Finally, as mentioned, providing high-quality and relevant content will make a user’s experience better overall. The more that you can write about things that are actually useful to your visitors, the more likely you are to rank higher.
Creating Content for People and Search Engines
The bottom line is that the content you create should be impactful for both your visitors and for search engines. However, focusing too much on search engines can affect your overall voice and tone and make things more difficult for readers, not easier. Striking the balance between optimizing for search and optimizing for your audience is a science that takes time.
Generally speaking, seek to create helpful, relevant content that users will love and that search engines can easily interpret – that means crawlers should be able to tell what your pages are about instantly. Some other tips:
Understand search intent – To create content that is valuable to readers, you have to have a deep understanding of their questions and challenges. These subjects are a great starting point for creating impactful content.
Properly interpret search intent – How does search intent impact what’s actually being searched for? This is where research is needed: look at the highly ranked content on search pages. What are the different content formats? What seems to resonate most with people? Be sure to layer these insights with your keyword research as well. You can also use a third-party platform with a keyword tool to dig deeper here.
Publish new content on a consistent basis – While publishing frequency is not a direct ranking factor, publishing regularly is a good idea. A lot of research has been done in this area and SEO professionals say that increased publishing has led to greater ranking success. Each time you post something new, it signals to search engines that you are still relevant and you have real expertise in the field. Plus, the analytics you can learn from viewing performance can be helpful in other areas too. Tip: the more original content and research you can publish, the better.
Evaluate your backlinks – Are the backlinks that you currently have adding value? Use a backlinks audit tool to review your site’s backlink profile, and then spend a little time on your backlink strategy to gain more high-quality links.
Focus on high-quality content – Lastly, the most important thing you can do to successfully blend content marketing and SEO is to create content that displays experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These are the factors that are evaluated in Google’s algorithm, so it’s key that any content you publish highlights these characteristics.
Related: The Law Firm Guide to Content Marketing
Creating high-quality content takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it for several reasons. SEO is just one area that is improved with better content, but it’s not the only one. Effective content marketing is a crucial complement to your overall SEO efforts, so create content with SEO as well as your readers in mind.