Posted on October 24, 2014
If you’re still prioritizing SEO to get in good with Google, you might be overlooking a more powerful, SERP-boosting strategy. And as SEO best practices change with every Google update, this marketing tactic looks dramatically different than it did even a year ago.
Every Google algorithm update has constantly reaffirmed that deceptive tactics to improve PageRank won’t fly. It’s also becoming clearer that high-quality, reader-centric content can catapult you up the SERP ladder faster than traditional SEO practices.
Still, it’s not pure luck that gets your content to the top of search results. Someone has to make it happen, and the burden of optimizing pages is shifting toward content creators. That’s a huge opportunity for inbound marketers everywhere to unite their content and SEO strategies to appease the meticulous Google algorithm.
SEO Isn’t Dead
Google has let some traditional SEO practices survive through the updates, but without content, you can’t capitalize on an integrated content/SEO strategy. Here a few relevant SEO practices that can make your content work harder:
- On-Page Tactics: Headline tags (,
, etc.), title tags, and URLs are still important SEO strategies to pursue and can ultimately influence your content’s SERP ranking. Link-stuffing, invisible text, and link manipulation, on the other hand, will get you slapped by Google.
- Continuity: This is slowly becoming more important. The last thing you want to do is create content solely for clickbait, not to help your audience. Make sure page edits you undertake as part of on-page optimization don’t distract or conflict with any of the points you make in your article.
The title of your article should also align with the ideas presented in your content. Staying transparent in your title and body text will build authenticity, an overall better brand image, and a higher page rank as a result.
Google will always rank quality content high, but gimmicky SEO tactics are left at the mercy of the search giant’s algorithm updates.
Prioritize Shareability and Credibility
If your content ranks well but readers don’t click through, searchability is ultimately irrelevant. It’s as simple as that.
People talk about optimizing search engines, but the bigger problem lies in optimizing the content we create so our intended readers can easily find it and feel compelled to read on and share.
Always create content with shareability in mind. Just because someone finds your content at the top of the search engine doesn’t mean your content will go viral. The best way to expand your content’s reach is to write engaging, informative articles that aim to serve the reader. The advice or perspectives you share should interest and excite readers — so much so that they share, like, and recommend it to others.
At the end of the day, you want to build credibility as an author. You want people to flock to you for insightful takes on industry news or helpful, actionable advice. You want to instill trust in your readers, and you want to be proud of your contribution.
Reaching the top of a search results page feels so much better when you’re confident in the quality of your content. You truly helped someone answer a question and didn’t dupe him into getting there. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Publish With Purpose
The overarching goal of combining your content-creation and SEO efforts is to reach the right readers. Writing average content that doesn’t offer your customers unique, applicable information isn’t going to get you far. Instead, focus on creating one amazing piece at a time and pushing it out to your intended audience — potential customers.
Quick Sprout is one company that has effectively meshed content and SEO to maximize SERP results. It aggregates some of the best digital marketing content on the web and usually publishes one impactful, labor-intensive article per week. Its blog content ranks extremely well organically, proving that high-quality content is the key to SERP success.
Writing powerful content is only half the battle. Publishing your content in the wrong places can dilute your brand and engage an unrelated audience. Although you might get published on a reputable, high-traffic site, if its audience doesn’t align with your typical customer base, the purpose behind your content efforts is lost. Plus, publishing to an irrelevant audience will distract and confuse them and ultimately make you look desperate for attention.
Today, SEO is a byproduct of excellent content. By taking the time to invest in high-quality podcasts, blogs, e-books, and more, inbound marketers can educate their customers and build a credible, industry-leading brand in the process — a win-win we can all agree on.