As digital connections increasingly hold the world's attention, brands continue to seek out a portion of the time users spend browsing for information and entertainment online. The latest reports indicate that worldwide internet usage has reached 5.3 billion people—or 65.7% of the globe's population.1 Moreover, 4.9 billion people use social media.2 It's no wonder, then, that the value of online marketing through content marketing has surpassed $60 billion and is estimated to overtake the $100 billion mark by 2026.3
Among all the keyword research and targeting, the evergreen content creation and repurposing, and the various search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and best practices, expert marketers find themselves constantly developing new ways to meet the evolving demands of a successful content marketing campaign. This post explores the content marketing and SEO strategies you will need to master if you're interested in a career in marketing.
Introduction to SEO and Content Marketing
Content marketing involves creating materials such as photos, videos, and blogs for online distribution to stimulate interest in a company’s products, services, and brand. SEO focuses on various tactics designed to make a company's marketing content and website more visible to online users through search engines.
Content marketing generates approximately three times as many leads as traditional marketing does, while costing 62% less.4 A marketing team integrates SEO in their content marketing strategies through social media, infographics, blogs and articles, podcasts, case studies, white papers, and multiple other forms of communication that can reach the target audience of customers and potential customers. As a result, 82% of marketers report that incorporating SEO in their marketing strategies has a positive impact on their goals.5
Understanding Search Engine Optimization
Search engines crawl, index, and rank web content using complex search algorithms to find the most relevant and useful results for users. On a search engine such as Google, the algorithm considers more than 200 factors when determining search engine rankings for content.6
Elements of SEO include keywords, meta tags, and on-page optimization.
- Keywords signal content's relevance to search queries
- Meta tags, such as titles and descriptions, provide search engines with concise page summaries
- On-page SEO optimization improves a website's visibility when a search engine's algorithm ranks content
Keyword Research and Analysis
The first step in keyword research and targeting is identifying relevant keywords in your niche. You can do this by learning about and understanding your audience's interests and pain points. From there, keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush can help you choose keywords that are relevant to your target audience.7
Keyword length can vary from individual words or short phrases that target a general audience to long-tail keywords that address very specific searches. For example:
- Short-tail keyword: marketing
- Medium-tail keyword: marketing strategy
- Long-tail keyword: how to create a digital marketing strategy
Though long-tail keyword targeting pursues keywords with lower search volumes, it tends to result in higher conversion rates because the subject the keyword is addressing is more specific.8
On-Page SEO Techniques
A title tag, or meta title, is what shows up on search engine results pages (SERPs) when a user conducts a search on Google or other search engines. To optimize a title tag, you should include the primary keyword you're targeting and adhere to an ideal length—between 14 and 17 words—to increase social sharing.9
In the same vein, each web page’s headings, subheadings, and meta description should naturally include variations of the primary keyword as well as any additional keywords to help search engines sort your content into relevant searches.
An SEO-friendly URL is concise, relevantly descriptive, and includes targeted keywords.10 For example, a URL such as www.marketing.com/onpage-seo-techniques is more effective than www.marketing.com/article945789.
Crafting High-Quality Content
Simultaneously writing for people and search engines is a delicate balance. While it's essential to include target keywords and optimize for search engines, the primary focus should always be on the value that content provides users. High-quality content is especially valuable because Google recently modified its content quality guidelines. Google uses the E.E.A.T abbreviation to help rate content.11 This stands for:
This means that, to craft high-quality, relevant content, marketers need to hire writers with experience in the field they're marketing. They can speak on each subject from a well-informed perspective and offer valuable information and insights to target audiences. This user-centric approach not only caters to the audience's needs but also aligns with search engines' goal of providing the best possible results.
Technical SEO Considerations
Technical SEO best practices optimize the infrastructure and technical aspects of a website to create an SEO-friendly website architecture and improve its visibility. This encompasses a range of elements, including sitemaps, structure data markup, robot.txt, and schemas.
- A sitemap is a blueprint of your website that guides search engines to all your important pages
- The robots.txt file directs search engine crawlers to the appropriate sections of the site, keeping them away from duplicate content—a crucial part of optimizing a website's performance on search engines12
- Structured data markup is a system of tags added to the HTML of web pages that gives search engines detailed information about the content of the site's pages
- A schema provides a way to organize and interpret the information; schema.org helps structure data markup by providing a standardized set of vocabularies and formats for web administrators13
Off-Page SEO and Link Building
One of the more popular forms of off-page SEO strategies is backlinking. Backlinks—a link from one website to another—signal to search engines that others recognize the value of a site's content, giving it more authority. In fact, the number one search results on Google have an average of 3.8 times more backlinks than the other top nine results.14 A brand builds authoritative backlinks by creating high-quality, valuable content that other reputable websites want to link to.
When it comes to ethical link-building strategies, it's important to adhere to practices that genuinely contribute value to the web and avoid manipulative techniques. Marketers do this by offering original research on a company's site, comprehensive guides, and insightful blog posts.
Measuring and Analyzing SEO Performance
Regularly monitoring where keywords rank in search engine results helps gauge how well content aligns with user searches and audience interests. To know what keywords are working best, it's useful to track organic—that is, unpaid—traffic flow to a site. An increase in organic traffic typically signifies effective SEO, while a decline may indicate a need for SEO strategy revision.15
For these analytical tasks, tools such as Google Analytics provide detailed information about website traffic, including traffic sources, user behaviors, and conversion rates. Google Search Console is also valuable, as it focuses on search engine metrics and offers insights into keyword performance, click-through rates, and indexing.
Expertise for Your Success
Leadership in content marketing and SEO requires an in-depth understanding of digital marketing trends and the technological advancements shaping the industry. Santa Clara University's Online Master of Science in Marketing program prepares you for a successful future in content marketing and search engine optimization. The seasoned experts of the Leavey School of Business faculty will guide you through a comprehensive curriculum focused on marketing technology, trends, analytics, and a wide array of elective courses that delve into social media marketing, e-commerce, digital advertising, and more.
Don’t wait to redefine your career. Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from datareportal.com/global-digital-overview
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from statista.com/statistics/617136/digital-population-worldwide/
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from statista.com/statistics/527554/content-marketing-revenue/
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from demandmetric.com/content/content-marketing-infographic
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from statista.com/statistics/248052/impact-seo-marketing-worldwide/
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from forbes.com/advisor/business/software/seo-statistics/
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-do-keyword-research-ht
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from semrush.com/kb/685-what-are-long-tailed-keywords
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from backlinko.com/content-study
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from backlinko.com/hub/seo/urls
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from developers.google.com/search/blog/2022/12/google-raters-guidelines-e-e-a-t
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from semrush.com/blog/technical-seo/
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from schema.org
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking?_gl=1
- Retrieved on January 8, 2024, from semrush.com/blog/organic-traffic/