Content marketing and SEO: A symbiotic relationship
In 2017, content marketing and SEO are two sides of the same coin.
Most companies need both working together in order to thrive. Content is the destination, and SEO is the map to get you there. So both are integral ingredients in funneling organic traffic to your end goal.
Why is content suddenly so important?
Content marketing is the response to the natural evolution of SEO. Modern SEO strongly caters to the needs of the searcher and assigns domain authority based on user experience statistics like bounce rate, time spent on each page, and relevance to the user’s search query.
Since the Hummingbird update, Google has advised that companies should “create high-quality sites that users will want to use and share”, if they want to be favoured in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This is where content marketing comes in. The ‘content’ part of content marketing aligns with the user’s needs. Good content attempts to articulately answer the user’s questions. The potent combo of well-made content optimised with SEO targeting is the basis of all good content strategies. These days, SEO literally cannot thrive without content.
Content is both the reason for and response to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. Entire creative agencies have risen from the ground with one purpose - to create content. So why is content the fuel for the SEO engine? Let’s go through it.
Fresh to death
Google’s algorithms like fresh content. Fresh content implies that you’re active and constantly revising, improving, and adding to your contributions. So, a strong content marketing plan should be built on frequent, targeted posts and semi-frequently revising the content of your core pages.
Map out a content plan that sees you publishing, or reposting, at least every few days and stick to it. By the same token, keep the copy and messaging of the core pages of your website fresh. Update it often but keep it relevant. This signals to Google that you’re alive and kicking.
Hummingbird is about context and addressing genuine need
Hummingbird is designed to take the entire query into account. It’s about understanding the intent of the search, contextually, instead of just directing them to facts that match their fragmented search phrases. It’s what we call semantic search.
Semantics literally means the study of meaning. So hummingbird takes contextual cues into account to find the searcher's true meaning. These cues can be location, intent, variations and synonyms, and concept mapping. For example, if someone searched for "best way to eat dates", Google would understand, from context, they mean the fruit of the date palm. Google wouldn't, we hope, send them to a cannibalistic dating service.
To understand the value of content, you have to understand Hummingbird. Google genuinely wants to fill the needs of its searchers. In the above search, Google wants to send the searcher to a well-written, well-ranked page of date recipes, not a spammy site trying to sell bulk dates. That’s why content is important.
For example, if someone searched for “best way to eat dates”, Google would understand, from context, they mean the fruit of the date palm. Google wouldn’t, we hope, send them to a cannibalistic dating service.
It’s a guerilla way of gaining organic traffic, by offering a genuinely insightful answer to the searcher's queries in the hope that once they’ve enjoyed your recipes about dates, they’ll stay on your site and return thereafter.