According to the latest research, demand for SEO jobs is at an all-time high — but it’s the ability to write content that is the most sought after. Analysis of job demand and salaries for digital marketers illustrates how the industry is shifting. Not only are SEO job positions at an all time high, but salaries for those jobs are on the rise as well. Over the past 5 years, from 2012 to 2017, there has been a 22% increase in SEO job positions and a 23% increase in salaries. With as many SEO jobs as there are in 2017, […]
These criteria show that older posts can still be valuable, especially if they offer an in-depth analysis on a topic, are evergreen, or have been regularly updated to keep them relevant. Which leads us on to…
2. Repurpose old content
There’s no reason to ignore the older content you’ve published in the past, especially if it still gains a significant amount of traffic.
As content marketing evolves, it is more beneficial to go beyond the written posts to new formats that allow you to broaden your value.
That’s why repurposing content can help you analyse a topic in more detail, by allowing you to create multiple types of content without losing their value or becoming repetitive. This saves you time spent coming up with new content ideas, and also gives you a regular supply of fresh, valuable content to boost your ranking.
Going beyond blog posts, here are other types of content you could create from your older material:
Your target audience might be more receptive for example to infographics rather than a blog post, or you may discover that you can achieve higher conversion rates through a presentation rather than a podcast.
Every content type serves its own goal and as every audience has different needs, experimentation can be very useful, until you discover which formats work best for your business.
3. Test headlines
A headline is usually the first thing we notice when accessing a search engine, and this reminds us that a headline should be:
It may seem as if some of these points contradict each other, but the trick is in striking a balance between informativeness and length, or relevance and complexity.
Moreover, there’s a thin line between a click-worthy headline and clickbait, which is why it’s important to bear value to the reader in mind when creating a headline.
CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer is a very useful tool that can help you explore all the possible ways to improve your headline. Once you add your suggested headline, you receive a quick analysis, along with a score and tips on how to improve it.
4. Create visual content
Although visual content can be considered part of our earlier point on the importance of testing new content types, it deserves a special mention for its powers of grabbing the user’s attention.
Visual content has become very popular on the internet due to our own ability to process an image faster than any written text. This wins the first impression and it can be very powerful within the context of a page.
Previously used mostly to accompany written content, visual content has reached the stage where it’s now considered a form of content in its own right, standing on its own to increase awareness, engagement and leads.
On top of this, it can be optimized for search, offering a new opportunity for a business to stand out from its competitors via images and videos. The optimization of your visual content can lead to surprisingly positive results, provided that you follow a series of small steps that ensure that they are SEO-friendly.
Keep in mind, search crawlers cannot “read” images, only the text that accompanies them. This means that it’s important to focus on:
Image title (don’t upload an image with a filename 4fogowr.jpg, but rather rename it to something more relevant, e.g. contentforseoguide.jpg
Alt tags (the tags that describe the image for screen reader users, or if the image fails to load)
Targeting highly sought-after keywords can make it harder for you to rank higher in search, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t become an authority on a topic by using different phrases for the same concept.
How about picking words and phrases that are less competitive but still high in rankings? Find the keywords that best suit your content, and think outside the box when deciding on the focus keywords you want to target.
6. Create link-worthy content
Link building helps your content reach a broader audience, increasing both your site’s visibility and its authority. Moreover, it can grow your search traffic, as the number of unique domains linking to your site helps search engines understand whether your content is informative enough to rank higher in the SERP.
Not all links are equal, as high-authority sites contribute more heavily in this regard. This means you should aim for more reputable mentions – but without snubbing any lesser sites that might link to you, as it all adds up. It’s easier for a source to link to your content if it’s authentic, interesting and well-researched, so always aim for quality over quantity.
It is useful to come up with a link building strategy that will help other sources discover your content and feature it if they find it relevant enough for their target audience – without losing sight of the need to create valuable content, of course.
7. Discover the connection between content and user experience
What’s the connection between content and user experience and how does that affect your rankings? We’ve talked about user experience and SEO in the past, and come to the conclusion that the more usable and readable your content, the more it is likely to boost your search ranking.
A Google-friendly website is valuable, appealing, and functional. Your readers should not struggle with reading or accessing your content, and search engines expect the same from each page they crawl.
The quality of content extends in this case to the page and how it helps the user experience with minimal effort. For example, have you tested the load time? Are your images hurting your site’s speed? Is your content too difficult to understood from your audience? Is your structure helpful both for your readers and for search engines?
The main aim of your content should still be to provide value and relevance for your target audience, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t be slightly more SEO-focused.
As the ultimate goal is to get more readers to your pages, an improved ranking on SERPs can help you tap into a new audience that will appreciate your content.
There’s no need to obsess over SEO throughout the whole content creation process, but getting into the SEO mindset can offer useful insights into how to make your content more effective from now on.
Crafting something your audience will enjoy and want more of may seem like trying to be heard in the back row of a rock concert, but there are ways to stand out above the rest. Use the proven guidelines in this post to increase content engagement on your blog and build a powerful reader base.
Changing the direction of your company’s content and communications strategy is never an easy thing. In this article, you’ll find out how a large, well-known brand was able to shift its mindset and culture to ensure the messaging and content was more meaningful, and began to resonate with its target audiences.
It’s not easy to create a successful inbound marketing strategy, but it still offers great opportunities once marketers understand its potential. What do we need to know, then, about inbound marketing in 2017?
Content can be a powerful tool for a business when used strategically, and that’s how inbound marketing has become an effective method of capturing leads and increasing traffic.
More marketers are ready to explore its benefits, which is why we’re examining the best ways to use it in 2017. It’s interesting to look into Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2016 to see what other businesses think of inbound marketing and how to take advantage of its potential.
Top marketing priorities
Marketers are leaving 2016 behind, and their top priorities for the year ahead are:
converting leads into customers
growing traffic to their website
increasing revenue from existing customers
proving the ROI from their marketing activities
All these priorities have to do with the effectiveness and the profit coming from their marketing efforts. As competition increases, it is becoming more important to find the tactics that will boost a brand’s goals, and inbound marketing has played a key role in this attempt.
Top inbound marketing priorities
According to Hubspot, inbound marketers are much more likely to be satisfied with the tactics their organisations are prioritizing. Ranking their priorities for the past year, the growth of SEO and their organic presence was their main focus, while content creation and distribution were next.
Another interesting priority was marketing automation: there seems to be a growing interest in the best ways of including automation in a marketing strategy.
Moreover, blog content doesn’t seem to be the only concern, as marketers also included interactive and visual content among their main priorities.
All these priorities demonstrate the complexity of inbound marketing and how each organization interprets it differently, depending on their goals and their plans.
Top marketing challenges
Inbound marketing is not just about great opportunities, but also about big challenges, ranging from finding effectiveness to budget and training.
It’s not easy to create a successful inbound marketing strategy, and the main challenge for marketers is to generate traffic and leads from it, while justifying their activities through ROI is also a big concern.
Moreover, as content evolves, so does the need for a bigger budget. This is a challenge that small businesses understand, especially when they’re trying to compete with bigger ones.
Adding new content distribution channels
A good way to overcome the challenges in inbound marketing is to explore new content distribution channels. For this reason, marketers are ready to focus more on Youtube, Facebook videos, Instagram and messaging apps, as these seem to be the biggest trends in content marketing.
Moreover, podcasts are still among their preferences when trying to reach a different audience, while Medium is also an interesting choice in terms of simplistic content consumption.
Their first three choices for 2017 indicate that visual content and video, in particular, is a key choice for the coming months, and as it seems to increase engagement, we can expect more businesses to try it out this year.
Inbound vs Outbound
When it comes to marketers’ primary approach to marketing, Hubspot’s State of Inbound shows that 73% of respondents pick inbound marketing over outbound marketing.
Although both aspects are important, the preference over inbound marketing proves how the rise of content turned it into a powerful weapon for every marketing strategy. Despite the challenges and the budget limitations it may occasionally bring, the consistency in inbound marketing can lead to great long term results.
Inbound marketing in 2017
It’s an interesting time to explore inbound marketing, as content creation and distribution reaches new levels of maturity. This means that more businesses will be able to find the desired ROI when embracing inbound marketing techniques as part of their bigger marketing strategy.
Although marketers are aware of the challenges that come with inbound marketing, they seem to be focused on finding the best ways to make it work along with their goals.
The best way to start exploring the benefits of inbound marketing is to analyse your existing content and explore its potential and how it can affect your marketing and sales goals.
How can you improve it? How can you create more strategic content from now on?
How to optimize for audience trust. Plus, four tips for dealing with mistakes that can kill your brand’s reputation.
Trust matters. Whether you’re creating content for a standalone brand publication or a company blog, you want people and search engines to trust the information on your website is accurate and current.
Now, with engagement metrics seemingly becoming a larger factor in SEO, you can’t have one without the other. Google won’t trust (and reward rankings to) a website that doesn’t attract and engage an audience, and visitors won’t trust (or even find) content that doesn’t rank well on Google.
Trust is how you build that audience.
For publishers, content is your product and your brand. You establish a relationship with your audience through the content you publish.
But something even worse could happen. For most publishers, it’s inevitable. It’s not a question of if, but when.
You could publish content that contains inaccurate information. Not just small typos or spelling mistakes – stuff that’s worthy of an apology and a correction (or even a retraction).
Will such a huge mistake be forgotten by the following day? Perhaps, especially if you’ve built a really strong brand and you don’t make any more huge mistakes.
But if your brand consistently publishes content filled with errors, will it make your core audience start to question whether your brand can be trusted? Absolutely. Your brand will look amateurish.
People have zero tolerance for content that wastes their time.
Losing the trust of your audience will ultimately damage your brand and cause serious harm to your SEO efforts.
Optimize for your audience
You need to have a clear idea of your target audience. Who do you want visiting your site on a regular basis?
What are the demographics of your target audience? Age, gender, location, job title, and income level are just a few elements that might matter to you.
What topics are of interest to your target audience? What are their wants, needs, and pain points?
What’s your content goal? Why are you creating this content – will it be the best answer or solution to a question or problem your audience has?
Figure out what topics your target audience wants to read about and will engage with. Provide that content to them and speak to them in their own language.
Optimize for authority
Although author authority may have gone out of style, authority still matters to your audience. They want to know the content they’re reading or watching comes from people who know their stuff. In other words: authors who are experts in their industry or niche.
Do your authors have full biographies? At minimum, they need a byline, photo, and details on their career and areas of expertise. If any of these elements are missing, it raises serious questions.
Do you make it easy for people to find contact information for your brand? Give your audience ways to connect with you how they want, whether it’s via social media, a contact form, email, or phone.
Do you link to your sources? Doing so gives credit to the work that helped make yours possible, helps strengthen your argument, and can be helpful for anybody reading who might want to go deeper into that subject.
Optimize for accuracy
Your audience demands you to be accurate. When you get it wrong, you’ll hear about it – in your comments section, on social media, and (should things spiral too far out of control) on other websites.
Or, even worse, you won’t hear anything at all. Traffic will just slowly erode.
Have you ever tried out a new restaurant and experienced terrible service or received the wrong order? Or both? Did you go to a review site like Yelp or TripAdvisor to give the restaurant a scathing 1-star review – or did you simply just never return to that restaurant? (Either outcome is bad for you, obviously!)
After you’ve done all the hard work of optimizing your content to get someone to visit your site, don’t greet that user a terrible content experience. Don’t let one of your worst moments be their first experience with your brand. They likely won’t be back.
Is your content edited well? Hire a great editor and content team or outsource your content marketing to a proven agency that will handle it for you.
Is your content objective? Acknowledge any biases you may have, explore multiple viewpoints whenever possible, and always try to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Is your content current? Make it part of your regular routine to check old content. Update as needed.
Optimize for reputation
Building up a loyal, engaged audience or community has big benefits. Direct visitors spend far more time on your site and consume far more pages per month, according to Pew Research.
Readers who find your content valuable (because it is useful, solves a relevant problem, provides insight, shares a new discovery, or is just entertaining in some way) are also more likely to share that content, which leads to more people discovering your great work, subscribing, and sharing future content pieces, further expanding your reach.
The surest way to fail to halt any momentum or see your audience abandon you is to publish subpar content. As the old saying goes, bad news travels fast.
If a site declines in quality, for whatever reason, people will notice. If you screw up, people will talk about it.
In an era where fake news, alternative facts, gossip, and anonymous claims are reported as fact, your brand must hold itself to the highest standard. “Publish first and apologize later” is a losing model in the long-term.
Ultimately, people can love you or hate you for what your content says. But if your loyal audience loses trust in you, they simply won’t be there anymore.
4 tips for dealing with harmful content errors
Whether it’s mainstream media or an industry/niche site, editors are the last line of defense. Be ready.
1. Have a Plan
We all know the importance of having a social media crisis management plan. Do you have a plan in place should your content create a crisis?
Just as you should have a fire escape plan if the worst happens at your home, it’s better to have a content “fire” plan and not need it than to never have one. Decide who will own it. Ideally it should be one of the top editors or the trusted “face” of the publication.
After the crisis has passed, review whether your plan worked or failed. Adjust for the future (though hopefully you won’t have a repeat, right?).
2. Act Quickly
Internally, make sure everyone who needs to know what is going on is apprised of the situation.
Externally, acknowledge the problem across your digital channels and platforms. Explain what you’re doing to address or fix the error. Apologize.
Update the post or be present in the comments and on social media around discussions about your content crisis.
Aside from being combative toward upset readers or customers, appearing unresponsive is one of the worst things you can do now.
3. What Should Happen To Your Post?
When things go so wrong the only option you have is to remove/retract the post, what should you do? Generally, it comes down to three options:
Leave the post. Take your lumps publicly. Make sure an editor’s note or a correction appears at the top of the article. In theory, when you admit you screwed up, it will restore some level of trust. See Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus” as an example of a publication that left a controversial article on its site.
Leave the page. But only with a correction or apology, explaining what happened. Here’s an example from Upworthy, which had to retract a post on artificial sweeteners.
Delete the content. Ideally, 301 redirect the page to a page on the same or a similar topic, or if that doesn’t work, to the homepage. If the information is inaccurate, you may decide to just get rid of it. You have to decide if it’s worth bringing people to a page that has zero value to you.
4. Reduce the Odds of Having a Disaster
A few quick tips to prevent some major and minor errors:
When in doubt about the claims made in an article, ask the writer for evidence (e.g., images/documents).
If still in doubt, ask for more evidence (and consider legal advice, depending on the topic).
Publish images as evidence (don’t just claim you “have images”), especially when there is no previously existing documentation.
Check names (people, places, things).
Check job titles.
Attribute ideas/quotes to original source.
Verify and link to useful sources.
You are what you publish
One major content error could be a fluke. Twice might be a coincidence. But after this point, clearly there’s a bad pattern. Your editorial process needs fixing.
It’s sort of like that famous scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” where the Black Knight is fighting with King Arthur. You can say your content errors are “just a flesh wound,” but really your brand is being sliced to bits.
There’s a lot of pressure to provide readers with a steady dose of content that is educational, informative, inspiring, or entertaining. But that doesn’t mean you should ever lower your standards.
You are what you publish. All the SEO in the world won’t help if the content you publish compromises the health of your brand.
Danny Goodwin is a content strategist at Longneck & Thunderfoot, a brand publishing company. A professional editor, writer, and ghostwriter with over 10 years of experience in marketing, he has created content for SMBs and global brands alike, spanning all things search and digital. He was formerly the editor of Search Engine Watch. Follow Danny onTwitter.
Too many people publish their content and cross their fingers hoping for thousands of shares that never come. The key stage that most people forget is intelligent promotion, and this post tells you exactly what you need to do before you hit publish to maximise your content's reach...