If you want to attract, engage, and delight buyers with your content, they must be able to find it. Where do most customers start? Typically, with a Google search. Google says 71 percent of B2B buyers do this, which demonstrates the importance of SEO. You can improve search rankings with content marketing.
However, there are specific tactics and strategies you’ll need to employ. You should also keep in mind that your content team should write for humans first, Google second. There is a way to balance delivering high-quality, relevant content with search engine optimization.
In this post, we’ll show you how to improve rankings with content.
The State of SEO
Before we get into the ways to improve search rankings with content marketing, it’s essential to take the pulse of SEO. This area of content marketing is constantly changing, so it’s critical to understand the current environment. Here are some recent trends:
- AI plays a bigger role, specifically in the case of Google’s algorithm, RankBrain. Google isn’t giving away the secret sauce, but experts suggest that optimization for the algorithm includes user experience, including page speed (how fast your pages load for the user), time spent on page and click-through rates. These last two things demonstrate engagement, which are clear signals to Google that users like the content on your pages.
- Voice search is growing, and that changes how people query. They are likely to ask their digital assistant a question rather than type in a phrase.
- Content that aligns with Google’s E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, reigns supreme. Google “grades” content based on these factors. Your content should demonstrate that you are experts on the topic, deliver accurate information, and have statistics and facts to back up points to meet this threshold.
- Featured snippets are becoming more prominent. You’ll notice now on Google that some searches return a feature box at the top, which highlights content that directly and best answers the query.
- Semantic search and intent optimization are growing in importance. It’s not just the focus keyword that matters because search engines now analyze queries for context. Search engines consider the entirety of the content and its logical use of primary and secondary keywords in ranking.
6 Ways to Improve Search Ranking with Content
Considering the trends and other SEO best practices, let’s look at actionable tactics to take to boost your rankings.
1. Develop Meaningful Content for Your Audience
A tenet of content marketing is to deliver critical information to your audience. It’s not a sales pitch. Rather, the content that will rank well will be relevant to your buyers, focusing on their challenges and needs.
To stay consistent in producing such content, you should have a content strategy. This blueprint includes your buyer personas, content pillars (main topics), SEO strategy, and distribution plans.
If you’re answering the right questions in your content, it will likely rank well because that’s how your customers are searching. Content that has an impact and educates your audience could also mean they share or engage with it on social media, which also influences search engine rankings.
2. Choose the Right Keywords
Choosing the right keywords is a no-brainer. However, it’s not as simple as gathering up likely phrases your audience uses when searching. You should have a master keyword list maintained by your enterprise content team’s SEO leads.
It’s important to look at volume and competition. Keywords with low volume are still okay to use, but you should strive to find a balance between volume and organic competition. Depending on your industry, there could be lots of competition around fundamental terms. In those situations, you’ll need to develop content that’s 10X, or 10 times better, than what’s in the first slot now to make an impact on ranking.
Your SEO experts should be looking for emerging keywords, providing writers with primary and secondary keywords, and adding voice search options.
3. Audit the Technical SEO Aspects of Your Website
The content on the page isn’t the only part that contributes to ranking. You also need to ensure the rest of the on-page SEO basics are following best practices.
- Mobile-Friendly: If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, good rankings are unlikely to follow.
- Page Speed: With Google putting more emphasis on loading times within their algorithm, it’s imperative that your website pages are quick to load. A quick page speed test can help you understand where you’re at, and provide opportunities for improvements.
- Meta title: This is the title tag that search engines display. It should include the keyword and be between 50 to 60 characters.
- Meta description: This is the summary that displays with the title. It should be less than 156 characters and include the keyword.
- Alt tags: These are the descriptors for images on the page. Search engines “read” these, and using a keyword can help with ranking.
- Tagging: Most blogs have the functionality to add tags. You should employ this because it keeps content organized and makes searching easier for visitors.
4. Create Pillar Pages
Pillar pages are dedicated pages of content covering a topic in-depth with links to clusters of related content. The pillar page is the root, including links to other related content under that broad topic. Google will recognize it as such, and it could help you rank for more pages. The key is that the content must be high quality, well-formatted with lots of headings, and show expertise on the subject.
If you’re unsure of what topic to write about on a pillar page, look at your content analytics. They will paint a story of the content pillars that most engage your audience.
5. Work on Backlinks and Internal Links
Backlinks are other websites that link back to your content. If those sites have domain authority, Google recognizes these backlinks as a “vote of confidence” from that site. Internal links are also essential. Be sure to include at least two internal links in your content.
Improve Your Ranking with Content: #6 – Consistency Matters, Too
The last point to consider is that consistency in your content marketing matters. You need to be publishing new content regularly; otherwise, you won’t see much improvement in rankings. The best way to do this is by determining a sustainable frequency for publishing new, quality content (ex: 3 posts/week), planning accordingly, and leveraging technology like DivvyHQ to work your plan. Our content marketing platform improves throughput by optimizing workflows, providing a dynamic content calendar, and more. See how it works today for free!