Imagine that you have created excellent content.
You invested 20 hours, did a lot of research, and packed the findings nicely. It is a little masterpiece. Everything is perfect. Nearly.
With all the effort, you forgot one important thing: good old search engine optimization. By now, you should be convinced that SEO plays a vital role in inbound marketing.
Every inbound marketer should have a bit of space in their hearts for SEO.
So let’s take a look at why SEO is essential and what steps to optimize your content for the search engine.
Why is SEO important?
On the surface, there seem to be significant differences. But if you look at SEO and inbound marketing from different perspectives, you will see that they complement each other perfectly:
When you research for a topic, you do it from the gut or through market research (inbound). But you should also consider proper old keyword research (SEO). Further sources are also good for the consumer (inbound), but they are internal and external links (SEO) simultaneously. After creation, your content must be promoted. The best way to do this is via influencers and guest posts (inbound), but at the same time, you also get external links (SEO). Finally, take a look at the shares and comments and see how well your content performed (inbound). But the search engine rankings are also a good criterion (SEO).
You see, SEO and inbound marketing are a perfect combination. Whereby SEO is just one piece of the puzzle, inbound marketing without SEO would only be half as effective.
Therefore, you should always create content for people and then adapt it to the search engine. And you do that with the following four steps.
You might think of search queries and competition when you think of keyword research and the keyword planner, to pure vital figures.
But you should take a vital thought step in advance. You should always speak the language of your target group. You should find out what words your customers use. Different target groups often use different names for the same ideas or concepts.
If you know your target group’s exact words, you can take a look at the key figures:
- Search queries – Here, you can see how many queries there are for this keyword in a month. Make sure that there are enough search queries. A rough guideline is 1,000. But don’t drive yourself crazy, even a keyword with 50 search queries can be interesting if you catch the entire target group with it.
- Competition – Here, you can see the game in AdWords for this keyword in most tools. With this, you can derive the game in the search results. Logically, the most attractive are many search queries and little games.
- Trends – Trends is also an interesting point in the research phase. Google Trends sits on important data and can show you the seasonal popularity of a keyword or generally show whether there is an upward or downward trend.
I do quick keyword research for every content idea to get an impression of how popular the topic is and how difficult it will be to rank.
You can also use keyword research to find new ideas for topics that are important to your target group. Another helpful tool for this is KeywordTool.io.
Here you have to make sure that Googlebot understands that your content is the desired keyword. The Googlebot is relatively intelligent, but you still have to provide it with a bit of context.
You do this primarily with the classic OnPage optimization. Pay attention to the following points:
- Title Tag – Your keyword should appear in the Title Tag. Ideally, as close to the beginning as possible. Also, make sure that the title tag does not exceed 75 characters.
- H1 heading – Your keyword should appear in the H1 line.
- URL – Your keyword should appear in the URL. In general, your URL should be as short and descriptive as possible. Also, make sure that your entire URL is no longer than 90 characters.
- H2 and H3 headings – If it fits, it can be an advantage if your keyword appears in the H2 and H3 headings.
- In the actual text – Depending on the length of your content, your keyword should appear approximately twice in the exact wording. Frequently used related words can also help here.
- At least 1,000 words – Except for content landing pages, we always recommend writing at least 1,000 words. Correlations repeatedly show that lengthier content ranks better.
- Bold or Italic – Once your keyword is formatted in bold or italic, preferably as close to the beginning as possible, it can have advantages.
- Image, alt attribute, and file name – You should have at least one image that contains the keyword as an alt attribute and as a file name.
- Meta Description – Keywords in the meta description are not a ranking factor, but ensure higher click rates and, therefore, possibly more top rankings. Again, make sure that your meta description does not exceed 160 characters.
Another critical point in this phase is the linking. You or others certainly have content in use that continues to work on a topic that you have outlined. This helps your consumer, but also the search engine. So make sure that you have at least three additional links. We always have a lot more. If you set internal links, be careful not to overdo the anchor text. Always ensure a healthy and natural anchor text ratio.
Now the real work is just beginning. In general, you should always actively promote your content. A good guideline is 50/50. So if you spent 50% of the time creating it, spend another 50% supporting it.
Inbound marketing is a long term game. That’s why you should think long-term and build real relationships with influencers in your industry:
If you know a lot of influencers, you can always ask them for links, shares, or guest contributions.
Therefore, create an extensive list of all influencers and start building relationships slowly but strategically.
Another critical point is the topic of link building. You should get into the habit of asking for links regularly. You should build it into your workflow. For example, get in the habit of writing to 10 operators after each publication and asking for links.
It is also interesting to analyze the competition at this point. What does the already ranked content do well? What can you learn from them? With tools like MOZ’s Open Site Explorer, you can find out what your competitor’s link profile looks like and try to build a more robust profile over time.
Finally, you should always keep an eye on your external links and rankings. After all, you need to know how well you’ve worked and whether you still need to improve, right?
You can use the external links e.g., B. also find out with the Open Site Explorer. But you have to start it manually every time, and the tool is limited to a few requests per day. To monitor the ranking, you can e.g., B. Use Rank Checker. But here, too, it is a bit cumbersome if you want to find out the current classification for your entire client. It’s especially tricky with a ranking history.
In general, it makes sense to create evergreen content. Over time, your rankings should slowly improve on their own, because you will always get new links and shares actively and passively.
What are the content landing pages?
Before we finish, one last thing. It is so small and inconspicuous that it is used far too rarely. But this little thing is the key to good rankings.
If you found a longtail keyword (e.g., “how do I eat a banana”) with little competition during the research phase, simply create content for it. But if you have found a short tail keyword (e.g., “banana”) with higher competition, you should take a detour via a content landing page.
Content landing pages are primarily simple pages that are optimized for a specific keyword. They do not generate their benefits directly but through their further content. Hub pages usually unite one topic. So you find z. B. on our content landing pages on the subject of headings, all new content. It also ranks quite well for that.
You will always link to this content landing page from internal as well as external sources. Due to the high added value of the site, influencers like to share and connect it. So you ensure that you can rank long-term with lucrative but highly competitive keywords.
You should invest a lot of time in creating content and always create content that delivers value.
But with all the effort, you must not forget the good old search engine optimization. SEO and inbound marketing are a perfect combination. Only then will you maximize your results and get an effective marketing strategy.
Let’s summarize the individual steps again:
- Research – Find an attractive keyword that is important to your target group.
- Optimization – Put the keyword in certain places to give the Googlebot context.
- Linking – Set further internal and external links that provide the consumer with even more added value.
- Influencers – Promote your content using influencers by asking them for a share, link, or guest post.
- Analyze the competition’s link profile and see if you can build a better profile over time.
- Tracking – Keep an eye on the external links and rankings and find content that could be improved and optimized.
You can accomplish these steps with the tools mentioned. Unfortunately, these are often only accessible to a limited extent or are very cumbersome.