What’s the Connection Between Content, SEO and Social Media?
Website content, SEO and social media are often perceived as separate entities. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In this article, by Drive members Sam Taylor and Lenka Koppová, we’ll look into how these three elements can be used to complement each other.
Content marketing in the form of blog posts, infographics, etc. is all about informing, entertaining and providing value to your audience(s). It’s an absolutely essential element in your overall web marketing strategy.
Then there’s social media. The buzzing social channels, like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and YouTube, you use to promote your business and where your customers and prospects congregate to share amusing pictures, viral videos and life events.
And finally you’ve got Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO. The mysterious art of getting your website to appear higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages); something which many people (rightly or wrongly) think requires an in-depth knowledge of keywords, algorithms and link building.
But how do they all intertwine to create a powerful, effective online marketing strategy?
The answer is: very naturally.
Quality is the Common Denominator
While people will often tell you there’s no correlation between social signals and search engine ranking when it comes to your content, there is a common denominator: quality.
That’s because posts that perform particularly well on social networks and get a lot of likes and shares usually appear higher in search rankings than posts which perform poorly. All those shares and likes really do count for something, and that’s why some people refer to social network sharing as the new link building.
The bottom line is that when people perform a search on Google or Bing it’s because they want information. They want information that relates to their search and that’s why these search engines strive so hard to make the most useful, high-quality and relevant information appear near the top of the search results.
Why else do you think they’re constantly tweaking their search algorithms? It’s not solely to punish websites that are utilising so-called “black hat” SEO techniques. It’s all part of the ongoing process to improve the end user experience. All Google wants is to give the user a good user experience so that they come back to the search engine time and time again.
Content is King
Now more than ever the much-quoted cliché ‘content is king’ rings true, and that’s why you need to be focusing on creating content that people love, find informative and want to share.
After all, that’s the search engines’ bread and butter: delivering the best and most relevant content to the right people when they need it.
For example, you could create a blog post that has laser-targeted keywords and appears favourably in the SERPs. But if that content is low quality and the search engines see that it has a high bounce rate (people navigating away from it soon after landing on it) they might start to penalise its ranking in the future.
Content, SEO and social media should not be viewed as separate entities. The truth is that they all complement one another.
A brand that has high-quality content; an active social media presence; and a loyal following will realise many SEO benefits. The perfect mix will lead to increased website traffic; boosted brand awareness; and (hopefully) more sales.
You’ll learn which strategies bring the biggest rewards. The beauty of social media is that it allows you to gain powerful insights into the success of your posts. Use your more popular ones to craft your content plan going forward and keep producing the kinds of killer content that people love to read.
How Can Quality Content Boost Your SEO?
To a large extent, on-page SEO in 2016 is simply creating quality content which search engines can index. Content has become an increasingly prominent feature of Google’s algorithms over the past few years, so much so that it’s difficult to rank a website in a competitive field without it.
There are several ways in which creating good quality content can boost your rankings; let’s go through these.
Content Promotes Trust
A sign of a good quality and trustworthy website, which is focused on user experience, is the freshness of the content. Google gives a preference in its algorithms to websites that have a consistent stream of good quality content because this shows that they are focused on offering value to their users. As a result of creating a content strategy that is regular, Google will start to crawl your website more often looking for new content – meaning new content will be indexed much quicker. Also, it’s worth pointing out that consistent can mean once a day or once a month, you need to choose a schedule which works for your industry and business.
The purpose of your website is to show visitors that your business is trustworthy and credible within your industry. Content is extremely important to support this because it gives you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge on your industry. Google uses your content, whether it’s on the blog or your product pages, to build up a picture of what your website is all about. If Google sees a lot of in-depth content on your niche then it is likely to identify you as an authority within the industry; this is key to being able to rank well for your competitive industry terms.
Don’t Forget the Importance of Links
One of the most important aspects to getting your website ranking well in search engines is links to your website. This is when another website adds a direct link to your website which opens up the website when clicked. If you produce good quality content that is valuable to users, then it is likely that other websites will want to link to your content for the benefit of their own visitors. Generally, the more high quality links that your website has, the better it will rank in search engines.
It’s important to consider your competition at this stage because in the SERPs Google is directly comparing your website to those you’re competing with. If your competition is creating far better and more compelling content than you are, perhaps it is time to up your game. Also, look at what type of content they’re producing. Perhaps you can diversify your strategy slightly and produce video or even more in-depth content; don’t just copy what they’re doing.
Whilst simply creating good quality content can get your website a long way in this world, it is also important to remember that you need to have all of your SEO groundwork in place. If your website has a penalty or Google is not indexing your pages, then you’ll need some SEO expertise, regardless of how good your content is.
However, when managing your content day-to-day you need to follow some key SEO principles:
- Create unique meta titles and meta descriptions. On key pages of your website these need to be mentioning your target keywords.
- Ensure every page has a title marked-up with a H1 tag.
- Add an alt tag to all images.
- Link back in the text to important pages on your blog posts, but not more than 3-4 times per post.
- Add external links to any resources you reference in your blog posts.
- Ensure you content is unique to your website.
None of these are ‘black hat’ or ‘spammy’ SEO techniques, they are common practice that should be followed throughout your website to achieve the maximum SEO benefit from your content.
The main take home message from this article is this: when the whole digital marketing package works together, it is even more powerful than the sum of the individual parts. So don’t just think about SEO, Content and Social Media as separate entities. Instead, bring them together in a unified approach. This will make your digital marketing more effective and ensure that you’re making the most of your investment.
Content is the foundation of your SEO and Social Media, it is the glue that holds your digital marketing together. It’s also critical for your user experience. Well written content will make your visitors want to linger and explore your website; it’ll showcase your brand as an expert within the industry and most importantly it’ll inspire your visitors to pick up the phone to you.
This blog post was written for the Drive The Network by myself (Sam Taylor) and Lenka Koppová. You can read the original blog post here.
Lenka Koppová is a freelance social media consultant helping small businesses to grow with social media, focusing on brand awareness, community engagement and building trust. Find out more at www.lenkakoppova.com or on Twitter @LenkaKopp