Content Strategy

Content strategy is being touted by experts as “the new SEO”, and for good reason. In the wake of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates (which are discussed in more detail in Chapter 3), many once-popular tactics no longer work. These algorithm updates have forced online marketing strategists to rethink their SEO campaigns from tactically-focused to strategically-focused, with a heavy emphasis on quality content production and publication.
But content strategy goes beyond simply publishing great content. It also encompasses the existing content on your website, and ensuring that it’s optimized from a technical SEO perspective, while also ensuring future published content abides by these technical best practices as well. For an excellent guide to technical on-site SEO elements, see this on-site SEO guide.
Once you’ve covered the technical elements, it’s time to focus on your content strategy. Before you can begin strategically writing and publishing your content, you need to understand your target market as well as what words and phrases (keywords and concepts, discussed further in Chapter 4: Modern Keyword Research) that they’re searching for in the search engines.
The best use of keyword data is to look for places that fill holes in a website’s overall content. Are users within your target market looking for a certain phrase or answer for which there isn’t an applicable article or blog post? Create a blog post, e-book, article, or white paper about it. Start by performing keyword research, then using that research to build your content strategy. Here are some helpful resources for exactly how to do that:
Besides understanding what real users are actually looking for, great content also shapes the user experience and the way they see and feel about a company. A regularly updated company blog with well-written, insightful blog posts will garner a reputation for publishing great content, which will attract more inbound links, social media buzz, positive branding, traffic, leads, and sales. Compare that to a company blog that simply communicates mundane company news or events without offering insight or value to its readers.
Thinking in the mindset of the customer should always been the framework from which content is created and published. An organic vitamin company can safely assume that their customers are going to be interested in content that discusses overall health and wellness. So, an interview blog post with a start-up company that offers organic produce delivery will be more engaging than a marketing-driven post on what types of vitamins are for sale. Content should always provide a benefit or value to the reader. For more information on content strategy, see Chapter 8: Content and Inbound Marketing.
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