3 Tips for Better Aligning B2B Content Marketing & SEO in 2017
As every search marketer knows, content is critical in driving SEO efforts. Whether you’re looking to improve traffic, drive conversions, or acquire links, you need quality content in place to help get you there.
As noted by Neil Patel, content marketing and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly. You can eat them on their own, but they complement each other so well.
You know what? I happen to love PB&J so I’m going to go with this analogy.
In an ideal world, your content and SEO strategy would align perfectly and you’d start seeing your content ranking for your target keywords overnight.
But, as we well know, this is far from an ideal world.
So let’s explore what you can do to match up your B2B content marketing and SEO, making them into a delicious pairing, the kind you could just gobble up and eat.
Here’s a look at 3 tips for creating smarter content in 2017:
Understand & Educate Yourself on the Factors in Search
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend Andy Crestodina’s webinar, “The Future of SEO: 5 Ways to Adapt Your Content for 2017.”
So, what were the 5 ways he outlined for adapting your content in 2017?
Like I’m going to tell you – go listen to the webinar!
While I’d certainly encourage you to check out the webinar in full (in addition to Andy’s accompanying blog post on Curata), here are a couple of the main points he touched on for adapting your content in the new year:
As defined by Techopedia, semantic search “is a data searching technique in which a search query aims to not only find keywords, but to determine the intent and contextual meaning of the words a person is using for search.”
Okay, but what does this actually mean in the context of content creation?
What it basically means is that, when you create content, you have to present the information in a way that’s easy for the searcher to find and easy for the search engine to find.
As Andy outlined, you need to write about the topic, not just the keyword. In doing so, it’s important to find the words and phrases that are semantically connected to the target keyword and use those in your content.
One of the easiest places to find this information is to simply look at the bottom of Google. An article on Ironman cat toys? Yes, please!
Gartner research shows, within four years, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. Say what?
For content marketers, this means we’ve got to start adapting our content for natural language – and fast.
During the webinar, Andy outlined three key ways to get your content ready for the wave of the future:
- Be very deliberate about your sentence structure and include complete questions in your content writing
- Write complete, full-sentence answers in your articles
- Use long, specific phrases in your titles and headers
The reason for this is simple: If you want to get your content out in front of your readers’ eyeballs, you need to provide the type of question-and-answer-based material users and search engines alike are looking for.
Think of it this way: People want answers to their questions fast, and it’s your job to provide it in a format that allows Google to get it to them.
In fact, Andy pointed out that writing content in this type of format increases your chances of appearing in Knowledge Graph, otherwise known as “Position 0” due to its prime real-estate in search rankings.
My friend and colleague Ryan wrote up a nice post recently about increasing your odds of getting into Google Answer Box, if you’re looking for more specific tips.
Keep Up with the Trends
Oh, I know, I know – this is obvious. As a content writer working in search marketing, you need to keep up with the trends happening in search. Obviously.
That said, we all have lives outside of work and it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and hard to, I don’t know, spend an hour reading up on the latest Google algorithm update.
Instead, what you need to do is keep your ear to the ground. No, I do not mean literally but this guy seems to have the right idea.
Attend workshops, webinars, events, conferences – whatever you can manage with your schedule to connect with your peers in the industry and get the scoop on the latest happenings in search.
Send out an email to your colleagues to share an interesting, informative article you came across in an industry publication that you think everyone needs to be made aware of. Research and write up a blog post on trends happening in the industry that will likely impact your content efforts moving forward.
Organize team training events where you and your co-workers get together to discuss what’s happening in search marketing and how this impacts every individual and the team as a whole. This is, in fact, something we do on a bi-weekly basis at KoMarketing, whether it’s an open discussion about a relevant, timely topic, a presentation from one of the team members, or anything in between.
The point is to keep yourself in the know and make sure that the content you’re producing is in line with the rapidly evolving search landscape.
This becomes slightly more complicated when you work at a B2B search engine marketing agency and regularly write about not only your own industry, but your clients’ industries as well.
The same logic, however, applies.
Attend an industry conference or tradeshow where you connect with your clients’, their vendors and/or customers, industry publications, etc. to get a sense of what’s important to people in that industry. What are their pain points? What’s top of mind?
Hop on the phone with a subject matter expert at your client’s organization and pick their brain about industry trends, news, and topics of discussion they’re having with their customers. This helps you not only create more impactful content, but also hear directly from the source what’s important to cover in your articles.
Subscribe to industry newsletters (I just received a manufacturing newsletter at this very moment!).
Do whatever you need to do keep a pulse on your clients’ industries – just the same as you would do your own.
Remember: It Takes Time
I recently became a part of two client programs that are more focused on content strategy than actual content execution. In other words, my team members and I are largely advising our clients on how to approach their SEO and content efforts – and their respective teams are executing.
One question we’ve heard repeatedly over the past few months is “How long will it take to see results [of XYZ]?” Sometimes it’s in reference to ranking for a particular keyword, often it’s in regards to organic traffic, referrals, conversions, etc.
These are all, of course, valid questions, but, unfortunately, the answer always is: “It depends.” The truth is it just takes time to see the results of SEO and B2B content marketing efforts.
Google says, for example, the average time for websites to rank on Google through SEO techniques is about three to six months. However, this depends on the competitiveness of your industry and popularity of your keywords.
Obviously, giving your clients a big question mark as to when they can expect to see results is unsatisfactory. So, instead, highlight your SEO and content successes at regular intervals so they can see progress made toward overall goals.
During our weekly and bi-weekly client meetings at KoMarketing, project leads provide clients with performance updates (traffic gains, keyword improvements, etc.) to keep them apprised of the program’s progress between the regular monthly reporting.
Raise your hand if you like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (you can’t see it but both of mine are up). Yeah? Great.
Because that delicious pairing is synonymous with SEO and B2B content marketing. While each can be viewed as separate initiatives, the truth is they work best in tandem. The key is to lean on SEO to support content marketing efforts and vice versa, by keeping up with the latest industry trends and changes in search.
You likely won’t see results overnight (or, if you do, please let me know what you’re doing!), but, over time, you’ll see the two acting as a perfect complement for driving success.
What areas are you focusing on for your SEO and B2B content marketing in 2017?