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Janet A Johnson's Business and Lifestyle Blog

Easy Search Marketing Best Practices

Posted: July 27, 2017
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In the world of Search Marketing content is King. As technology evolves, so too the way we access, absorb and discern content. Subsequently, audience preferences should play a major role in determining the type of information that is distributed and the form that it takes.  Let’s take a look at some best practices in search marketing.

But, What is Search Marketing and Why Should I care?

Search Marketing is the process of increasing traffic to your website or other online platform via paid or unpaid strategies.  These strategies are broken down into two major categories. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEM involves buying advertisements on search engines like Google or Bing. While Search Engine Optimization relies on using relevant/targeted content. This article will focus on gaining organic traffic through an SEO, content based strategy.

When creating a SEO strategy, content managers are tasked with producing content that is visually appealing, relevant and engaging. While this type of content will largely depend on the brand’s and/or company’s message, it must also make useful connections to the target audience. Before execution, it is crucial to consider current user trends and the evolution of how they interact online.

Types of Content that Most Engage Users

Online content can be segmented into 6 popular categories. Each type has a specific advantage that can be useful when creating a more strategic approach to Search Marketing.

1.  How to Articles

How to articles have been a long standing staple of the online community and readily appeal to users from a wide range of backgrounds and age groups. These instructional pieces may not necessarily go viral, but are ideal for increasing online traffic and establishing technical expertise. A well written piece should combine useful imagery with apt information that explains the process of whatever is being discussed. With a vast number of how to articles available online it is extremely important to focus on the details, presentation and clarity of the language employed.

2.  List Style Articles

List style articles can range from deeply humorous to perfectly informative. These articles are typically easy to absorb because of their ordered structure and digestible format. The headlines are self evident and more likely to attract readership.

3.  News/Informational Articles

Journalistic styled articles are still primarily the forte of media houses that have the capacity to send reporters in the field to gather information as it unfolds locally, regionally and globally. While many smaller outlets have emerged, traditional media entities are still the preferred source for this type of content. This is partly explained by user skepticism and the prevalence of untrustworthy sources.

4.  Personal/Opinion Based Articles

These types of articles are perhaps most popular in personalized blogs and in online newspaper columns and magazines. A well written opinion piece is as true to its author’s convictions as it is to the conventions of impactful writing. These types of articles can push the envelop far more than traditional pieces and are more likely to go viral on popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The likelihood of their popularity can be linked to the propensity of people to share items that stir an emotional response and that encourage stimulating conversations or debates.

5.  Infographics

Nifty graphical representations of facts and figures are combined to create a visually stimulating experience that users can quickly review and easily understand. These have become increasingly popular over the last few years and are expected to be more prevalent in future.

6.  Videos

Videos outrank many other forms of traditional content shared on social media. Most active online users are drawn to the combination of moving visuals and the ease in which information can be consumed. Popular social media sites like You Tube and Vimeo continue to experience a high rate of audience engagement. Therefore, creating video content when possible is vital to tapping into this booming segment.

Tailoring A Content Strategy

Content marketing is as much about the production of content as it is about creating the right type of content. Each product/service will appeal to different audiences and must account for these variations. For example, a company that produces industrial products has no need to focus on writing opinion pieces. Instead the brand would be better served by primarily focusing on the creation of content that showcases their expertise in that particular area. While aiming for a content rich user experience is vital to the growth of any brand, this should not come at the expense of remaining consistent with a specific brand identity. Read

Balancing Quantity & Quality

A major hurdle that writer/marketers/website owners face when attempting to improve SEO is the issue of volume. More content, means the opportunity to rank better and establish a thriving online presence. However, low quality content is just as likely to remain SEO neutral if it does not fully embrace the present standards that guide online content creation. Google, the largest and most popular search engine, consistently reworks its search algorithm to ensure that content that contains little to no relevant information does not out rank content that does.

Quality content should:

  1. Be informative and address the subject area in enough detail to pass on valuable information to the user.
  2. Increase user engagement.
  3. Be well written, planned and executed.
  4. Be search engine optimize and readily found by search engines

Quality content should not:

  1. Be an excuse to overuse keywords (common word combinations popularly used in search engines).
  2. Act as click bait (an Article with a misleading title that does not speak to the suggested topic).
  3. Be devoid of information that is relevant to the subject area.

Inform, Inspire, Educate and Engage

Content should always be written with user experience in mind. Each topic should be well researched, be attached to reputable sources and form some meaningful connection with its audience. Users should leave each article, video, or graphic with an increased appreciation of the subject matter. Never write, simply to write. Even if it is your job, approach it with the enthusiasm of something worth doing. Reach and engage your users on their own terms and speak on each subject matter with clarity and purpose.

Consider Long Form Articles

Long form content is typically defined as content that exceeds 1000 words. These pieces are usually well researched or employ impeccable use of storytelling conventions. They give the writer breathing room to explore his or her subject matter in greater detail and increases the possibility that content will perform well in organic searches. While some marketers will posit that this type of writing has long outlived its usefulness online, it is easy to understand why this is simply not the case. As more websites are generated with standard 300 – 500 word articles being produced quickly in an attempt to skew SEO in their favor readers have become more discerning about the type of content they will opt to read. Subsequently, articles that exhibit a certain level of thought and depth will be construed more favorably by users who have become wary of less reputable online sources. This does not mean that every article should be lengthy. Length should solely be determined by its necessity and the information available.

Outsource When Possible

For a business owner, the creation of content can become a tedious process especially when time constraints are considered. When possible hire the expertise of content writers who are able to write on a wide range of subject matters and tailor relevant information to suit the company’s target audience.

Make use of SEO Tools

There are several tools available online that can measure the performance of a website’s content. The most prominent and useful tool available is Google Webmaster which allows site owners to more readily index their sites in google’s search engine. Information about most searched key words, user statistics and other resources are available and essential for analyzing the performance of all web pages.

Application and Dissemination

In the bid to create content that both improves search ranking and engages users, ensure that SEO best practices are always used, publish information that does not infringe on current copyright and most of all take pride in delivering a captivating reader or viewer experience.

 

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Janet A Johnson

Hi, I am Janet A Johnson a Management Consultant and Life Coach with over 15 years strategic program/project management and business management experience. I am the owner of StrategyNook LLC, a consultancy agency specializing in strategic project management, business management, web development, branding, internet/social media marketing, life coaching and stress management. Schedule your free consultation today and let's talk strategy and customized solutions.

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