Writing SEO Content for Increased Search Engine Visibility
Topics covered in this white paper:
1. Traditional Marketing
2. Online Marketing Solutions
3. Evolution of SEO Content Marketing
4. Main Ranking Factors
5. Link Building
6. Targeting Your Market
7. Building Authority
8. Increasing Conversion Rates
10. Interact Media Solutions
SEO content is a form of writing that considers not only the human audience that's reading it, but also the search engines that will be indexing it. This paper will explain the fundamentals of SEO content and discuss the advantages of using it as an alternative to traditional marketing methods.
1. Traditional Marketing On the Way Out
Today's business owners face an increasingly competitive marketplace, both online and offline. While traditional marketing techniques, such as print ads, mass mailings and cold calling, have long been the standard solution, recent studies indicate that these methods are becoming more expensive and less effective.
Four main factors are driving the trend away from traditional marketing:
1. Higher costs- High overhead, including skyrocketing material and personnel costs, have driven companies both large and small to seek more cost- effective methods of marketing their products and services.
2. Less targeted results- Traditional marketing makes it difficult to target the desired market. Without a targeted marketing plan, conversion rates are dramatically lowered. Traditional marketing is outbound, which means that it is aimed at a wide, non-specific audience, rather than a niche audience. Thus, results are often hit or miss. A print ad that is seen by everyone, for example, will capture fewer interested parties per dollar spent than one that is targeted to a specific market. This results in a lower ROI for businesses using these methods.
3. Less agility- Ad campaigns and other forms of traditional marketing are more difficult to adjust midstream. This inflexibility makes it cumbersome to implement changes to a campaign that is not producing the desired results.
4. Difficulty in tracking results- The success of traditional marketing techniques is hard to track accurately. Many companies rely on surveys or internal tracking methods to measure results. However, these methods are time- consuming, expensive and do not produce quick answers. This often results in wasted resources because companies are not able to respond quickly to negative feedback.
Traditional marketing methods are still used extensively. However, content-based inbound methods of marketing are proving to be cost-effective alternatives that offer good returns for money spent, and marketing departments are taking notice. A recent survey indicates that over 50% of marketing executives spend about 25% of their marketing budgets online (Forbes. (2009). Ad Effectiveness Survey, June 1, 2009).
2. Online Marketing Solutions - The Trend Toward Digital Media
Online marketing techniques offer a viable solution to the problems presented by traditional marketing methods. Online marketing includes a variety of tools and distribution vehicles designed to make businesses more visible to consumers at a significantly lower cost. The foundation of these methods is SEO content. With content-based marketing, you can:
1. Gain greater search engine visibility.
2. Establish a targeted customer base.
3. Build and maintain authority.
4. Obtain higher conversion rates.
The shift toward Internet marketing has been occurring steadily over the last few years. Current statistics show that the Internet's share of total media ad spending is rising by at least 1 percentage point every year (eMarketer. (April 2009). US Advertising Spending Report). At this rate, projected Internet marketing spending will exceed 15% of total US media advertising spending by the year 2013 (eMarketer. (April 2009). US Advertising Spending Report).
The consumer's shift from traditional media (television and print ads) to digital media, (podcasts, blogs and RSS advertising) has fueled an Internet marketing budget of $8.585 billion dollars in 2006, a figure which is likely to increase to $27.2 billion dollars in 2011 (PQ Media. (2007). Alternative Media Outlooks 2007).
The largest increase in Internet marketing spending will be seen in content-based marketing tools such as blogs, podcasts and RSS advertising (PQ Media. (2007). Alternative Media Outlooks 2007). The creation and distribution of these forms of digital media has become a dominant marketing technique that helps businesses increase their online visibility. Therefore, new emphasis is being put on the development of these and other related online media.
3. SEO Content- The Evolution of Content-Based Marketing
The origins of SEO content as a primary online marketing tool began with SEO itself. In the mid 1990s, early search engines were being developed to catalog Internet content and rank it according to its keyword relevancy. Consumers of products, services and information could then more easily find the sites they were looking for. Early SEO content was essentially content designed to be easily indexed by search engines.
Often, less attention was paid to the actual quality of the information. At this time, it was not unusual for online consumers to regularly encounter content that was stuffed with keywords, difficult to read and of little value to anyone looking for useful information. While this kind of low-value SEO content is still out there, it is largely ignored by today's more sophisticated search engines, which now recognize it as manipulative and penalize it accordingly.
Google describes its page analysis in the following excerpt from its site:
"Hypertext-Matching Analysis: Google's search engine also analyzes page content. However, instead of simply scanning for page-based text (which can be manipulated by site publishers through meta-tags), Google's technology analyzes the full content of a page and factors in fonts, subdivisions and the precise location of each word. Google also analyzes the content of neighboring web pages to ensure the results returned are the most relevant to a user's query". http://www.google.com/corporate/tech.html
So, there are many factors that go into determining a site's relevance. However, content analysis clearly plays a key role.
4. Three Main Search Engine Ranking Factors
1. Search engine algorithms.
2. The amount of inbound and outbound links to a site.
3. Relevancy and freshness of the content.
Since algorithms are complicated and constantly changing, online marketers use SEO content to address the other two factors.
Today's SEO Content- A Powerful Tool for Internet Marketing Success
In a recent Forbes survey, 48% of marketers with budgets of over $1 million said that search engine optimization was the best method for generating conversions online (Forbes. (2009). Ad Effectiveness Survey, June 1, 2009).
SEO is also the marketing tactic of choice for affecting brand perception (Forbes. (2009). Ad Effectiveness Survey, June 1, 2009). Studies such as this indicate that marketers consider search to be a key element to their online marketing success.
Search is where consumers begin their process of finding the goods and services they need. SEO content is the vehicle that leads them to the right places. It is found in many forms, but always incorporates the following key components:
- Relevant keywords
- Relevant title tags
- Proper keyword density
- High-quality content
The combination of these components creates content that is both easily indexed by search engines and easy for humans to read. When incorporated into a site and other vehicles, and spread throughout the web, this type of content attracts search engines in two primary ways: through keyword relevancy, and inbound/outbound links. "Link popularity" is one of the factors that make SEO content such a powerful tool for Internet marketing success.
5. Link Building with SEO Content
The concept of link building is simple, yet essential to the effectiveness of SEO content. SEO content builds link popularity through the use of high-quality, informative text that contain keywords in the proper density. This kind of content is popular with readers looking for useful information about a particular topic. These readers then share the content with others by posting it on social media sites, quoting it in their blogs and referring others to it.
Search engines start to see that the content is appearing on a wide variety of sites and conclude that it must be relevant, important information that is being used by many different people. It will then start to give that content more weight, allowing it to rank higher. In general, the more links that content has from different sources, the higher it will rank in the search engines.
6. Writing SEO Content- Targeting Your Market
Effective SEO content can attract search engines only if it targets its specific niche market. This is because only interested parties will read it and spread it around. One of its advantages over traditional marketing is the fact that SEO is not "hit or miss" in its approach. This type of content is designed to capture only the readers who will be interested in the company's products or services. This ensures that marketing dollars- as well as time and energy- are not wasted by, in effect, casting too large a net.
To accomplish this, a business must recognize its target market, or, those who may be interested in what is offered. Once these people have been identified, and relevant keywords are developed, content is written that refers to those keywords.
Establishing the target market is an important first step for developing SEO content. Once determined, this will give direction to the technical aspects to SEO writing, including the key components listed under "Today's SEO Content". However, effective SEO marketing content must also adhere to the following guidelines in order to attract targeted viewers and encourage them to read through. Good SEO content is:
- Clear- it states its purpose clearly and without overly-formal language
- Concise- it is content-dense, which means that it gets the point across in fewer words, and every word counts
- Compelling- it both keeps the reader's interest and encourages the reader to take a desired action
The end result is content that targets interested readers in order to engage them and build their trust. This ultimately establishes a company's authority and garners links back to its site.
7. Building and Maintaining Authority
Because it is targeted to a specific niche of consumers, SEO content is a highly effective marketing strategy. Another foundation of its success is the fact that the technical aspects of it, and the way it is distributed, are all designed to do one thing- build trust and authority with readers. Authority involves building links from other sites, which essentially count as votes for the site. In a circular pattern, this authority, which comes from the readers, tells search engines to rank the content higher, which in turn helps more readers find it.
SEO content is also a key part of a content marketing strategy that involves constantly updating content in order to maintain authority. Fresh, updated content tells both search engines and people that the company is constantly improving and adding to its store of knowledge.
SEO content can be updated through new blog posts, articles, videos and email newsletters that are created and distributed on a regular basis. Each of these forms of content can be optimized for good visibility and then indexed by search engines as another link back to the primary website.
8. Obtain Higher Conversion Rates
Studies have shown that 75% of people on the Internet use search engines with the intention of buying a product (TopRank (2009). Top Digital Marketing Tactics for 2009, Feb. 18, 2009). SEO content is an effective and widely-used online marketing tool because it helps people make informed purchasing decisions. It consistently drives targeted traffic to the sites that can provide what consumers want. Those people who intend to buy a product or engage a service will more easily find the sites that use SEO techniques. Thus, they are more likely to purchase from those particular sites.
Links to the company's site can be built into the content or included at the end of it, giving readers a direct way to contact the company. Once contact has been made, whether by following a link or submitting information, the consumer is positioned to make a purchase.
If used properly, SEO content is a powerful tool for marketing success. By implementing it as part of a long-term content marketing strategy, it can increase search engine visibility through SEO techniques and link popularity.
Thus, SEO content offers a low-cost alternative to traditional marketing methods. It targets the desired market, increases search engine visibility and provides a permanent source of free traffic and leads through the use of optimized, updated information that consumers can use to make purchasing decisions.
Interact Media SEO Content Marketing Solutions
The factors that make SEO content an effective marketing tool, and a viable alternative to traditional marketing methods, can be complex. The best SEO solution starts with the expertise that comes from years of experience in the field of search engine optimization. Interact Media is a content marketing service that can help businesses leverage the power of high-quality content to increase search engine visibility.
Recognizing that many companies do not have the time and knowledge of SEO techniques that are necessary to implement an effective content marketing strategy, Interact Media offers resources that today's businesses need to succeed online. The Interact Media solution includes a team of SEO specialists, editors, copywriters and web designers who work together to identify the best SEO marketing solution.
To take the first step toward better search engine visibility, contact Interact Media at (888) 864-8398 or www.interactmedia.com.