As part of our build-up to this month’s Search Leaders Masterclass at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Blueclaw’s Marketing Director Martin Calvert examines the role of content marketing as a delivery mechanism for next-gen SEO.
SEO is dead. Content is king.
Well…that’s what a lot of clickbait blogs have been announcing for some time.
The fact is SEO and content marketing are inextricably linked, and too many SEO programmes are undercut by a casual approach to content that leads to poor results.
Grown up SEO
To a large extent, a scalable and effective SEO programme still depends on inbound links from high-authority sites.
Google and other search engines are continually instructing marketers to produce websites that are accessible and of legitimate interest to actual humans, rather than focusing on how to manipulate bots.
In other words, SEO has grown up.
Of course, the smarter Google gets at detecting web content that is spammy or otherwise odd (and algorithm updates like Google Panda and Google Possum are arriving frequently), the more danger there is for website owners who host dodgy content.
The way to their heart (and to obtain the coverage and links you need) is through genuinely superior content that makes their publications and websites better, and add real value, amusement and/or insight to the reader on the page.
Winning valuable coverage for SEO is best achieved through content that deserves coverage and commentary – content that is ‘linkable’ even by those who have no interest at all in your particular brand.
SEO and Content Marketing
SEO in its most basic definition is about getting the right traffic to the right pages, through better understanding of ranking factors and approaches. SEO is all about the outcome.
Content marketing is an approach that (among many other things) helps achieve that outcome – the connective tissue between your intended audience, a target publication/blog/website and the delivery mechanism for that coveted link through to your site.
The Delivery Mechanism
In the olden days of off-site SEO, the delivery mechanism – the means to secure links to your site, may just have been the link itself, a dense keyword-rich article or a bit of detail for a directory listing.
What’s changed is that the delivery mechanism – the content that surrounds, embraces and supports the link you want to obtain – must be much closer to what a human reader will consider to be good.
Out with the Old
So. Keyword-stuffing is out. Duplicate content and oversold meta-descriptions are out. Google’s Panda update is becoming ever-more effective at spotting (and delivering penalties to) ‘over-optimised’ sites with a dubious, unnatural link profile.
Today, content produced for SEO-benefit must be of a higher quality, greater depth and more human to win authentic coverage and abide by the best practice demanded by search engines.
That’s for the benefit of both the publications you depend upon to link to you, who need to protect and boost their own rankings, as well to retain the SEO value of any link to your site.
A Supporting Role
Content marketing specialists may feel a little uncomfortable about this description of the supporting role that content can play in SEO.
Indeed, it’s the lack of investment in content marketing expertise that is responsible for so many underwhelming SEO campaigns.
By not prioritising genuinely superior, targeted and high quality content, some companies reduce the content element of SEO to just ‘fodder’.
Contemporary SEO success is contingent on getting out of that mindset – and SEO specialists working with (and giving credit to) content marketing experts who can hit the standard required to deliver truly top-tier on-topic coverage, inbound links and productive relationships with media partners.
Martin has an 11-year career as an international researcher, speaker and client and agency-side practitioner in the field of online communication and influence. Drawing on his diverse experience, Martin provides a practical, personable and data-driven view of digital marketing and SEO.
Having recently joined Blueclaw as Marketing Director, Martin is responsible for enthusing major brands and challengers alike about the new art of the possible in digital marketing.
Martin’s session at the Search Leaders Masterclass in Manchester on Tuesday 29th November 2016: Earning media coverage, social shares & engagement for next-gen SEO