Content is king. This was declared back in 1996 by no other than Bill Gates himself. Where making money online is concerned, Gates was right. Even today, almost two decades after he made that remark, content is still a main ingredient for successful online marketing.
This is why most businesses have someone focused on content marketing. The problem is that with the number of content being posted online each day, your own content could easily get lost, thereby wasting your precious time and money.
How do you make sure that doesn’t happen? By learning some SEO basics, that’s how. Here are the most important SEO fundamentals you need to be familiar with:
1. Key Terms Matter
Gone are the days when you get good rankings for your content by stuffing every single sentence with keywords. These days, keyword-stuffing will only get you penalized by the major search engines. But that doesn’t mean key terms are no longer relevant. They still are.
What’s important is for you to use them in a different way. Instead of filling your content to the brim with keywords, you should choose one or two of the key terms most relevant to your topic and then use those terms in the title and one or twice in the body of the content.
2. Quality over Quantity
The series of algorithm updates implemented by Google, particularly the Panda updates, are specifically designed to penalize websites that consistently post content of poor quality. This means that with the Panda updates in place, it doesn’t really matter how much content you have on your website; if they’re all of poor quality, you aren’t likely to get the results you want.
What you need to do to avoid getting penalized is to create content for your target audience, not for search engines. This could mean creating longer and more interesting articles. With Google now rewarding websites that publish relevant content, writing for people rather than bots has become the norm.
3. The Story of Links
Just like keywords, links have gone through a huge change as a tool for online marketing. It is no longer a good idea to just get as many links as you can without giving any thought to where those links are coming from. That tactic could easily get your site penalized these days.
To effectively optimize your content using links, you need to make the links tell a story. Use keywords or phrases within your article as anchor text and use 2-3 relevant links in each piece of content you publish. Just as with the content itself, think quality over quantity when it comes to links and don’t overdo it!
4. Social Sharing Is Your Friend
If Panda led to rewarding websites with high-quality content and penalizing ones with poor-quality content, another Google update—the Hummingbird—led to social signals becoming important for optimization. The more your content gets shared on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, the more high-quality links you are likely to get and the likelier search engines will be to give you good rankings. It would therefore be wise to keep social in mind when you draw up your content marketing strategy.
5. Regular Publishing
Sure, we told you to always put quality over quantity, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a schedule for publishing fresh content. In fact, a regular schedule is exactly what you need. When you post fresh, high-quality content on a regular basis, search engines take that to mean you are serious about providing valuable information to your audience.
Needless to say, that leads to plus points in terms of rankings. Publishing fresh content on a regular basis also encourages your audience to keep visiting your website, which, in turn tells search engines yours is a popular site, thereby leading to even better rankings.
Steve Jobs on Precisely How Content is King
SEO and content marketing may be two separate things, but you don’t necessarily have to choose one over the other. In fact, the best way to gain maximum benefit from these online marketing tools is to make them work together. Instead of simply focusing on constantly creating high-quality content, you’d do well to focus as well on optimizing that content so you can make the most of it.
And instead of focusing solely on optimizing your website, you’d do well to focus as well on always improving your content so you can achieve the best results from your SEO efforts.
Perhaps the best thing about SEO is that while it is a dynamic process, the fundamentals have remained pretty much the same. So it’s not that difficult to leverage SEO for your content marketing strategy. Just stick to the basics.