You’ve likely heard of SEO and know that it’s an important marketing tactic for your business. But do you know what it is? “The Language of Content Strategy” by Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie defines it as:

“The process of using best practices to design and create content that will rank well in organic search engine results.”

The consensus among content professionals is this: content marketing and SEO are two very closely related disciplines and should be treated as such. While the destination might be to get all of your content optimized, the first step on that path is to deliver high-quality content. Without that strategic component in place, people might easily find you on channels like search and social, but might just as easily lose interest if they believe your content lacks substance.

SEO Trends

Search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms to improve the results users get. And, as devices and websites have evolved, so too have the user behaviours surrounding how people search for information online.

Here are some factors to take into consideration when you’re thinking about implementing and managing SEO:

Search remains the top traffic driver. Sixty-eight percent of all trackable website traffic comes from organic and paid search, vastly exceeding all other channels, including display and social media.  BrightEdge Research

Pay attention to how searchers use keywords. About 70 percent of page viewsare the direct result of long-tail keywords. Managing long-tail keywords is simply a matter of establishing better lines of communication between your business and the customers who are already out there, actively shopping for what you provide. Wordstream

Location and mobile go hand-in-hand. Thirty percent of mobile searches are related to location. Think With Google 

Voice is also important when it comes to mobile search. 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile. Think With Google 

Search is skyrocketing. In 1998, Google was processing just over 10,000 search queries per day. By the end of 2006, the same amount of searches was processed by Google in a single second. Now, Google processes over 99,000 searches every single second. Oberlo

SEO Challenges

“Can’t I just work the algorithm to improve my search rankings?”

Not so fast. The rub of a search engine algorithm is that it’s constantly evolving and there’s no sure way to know exactly what a search engine’s algorithm is. Even if you think you’ve figured out how to wield it, it will probably change again before you know it! In fact, experts say that Google changes its algorithm several hundred times per year. 

Don’t be fooled, SEO takes work. Changes to SEO/search algorithms are a top concern for 64% of B2C marketers.  Search Engine Journal

“A cousin of overpromised technology, SEO snake oil is the promise of high search engine rankings with little effort. Who sells it? Slippery SEO consultants who take advantage of the fact that search engine formulas aren’t public.” These formulas change regularly, so no one—including these consultants—can guarantee rankings. “Mostly, good design and content go a long way toward good SEO.” – The Content Advantage

Stop stuffing content with keywords. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping SEO…If you want to get the most out of your SEO with AI in the mix, you need to: Stop stuffing your content with keywords, and instead create content that’s associated with a specific concept, category, or query if you want to rank well in the algorithm for more specific audiences.” KeyScouts

Address technical SEO issues too. “Technical SEO problems are also generally, but not always, site-wide problems rather than specific page issues. Their fixes can help improve your site as a whole, rather than just isolated pages.” Fixing problems with your indexation, NOINDEX, robots.txt configuration, and url canonicalization can go a long way to boosting your site in search.  How to Find and Fix 14 Technical SEO Problems That Can Be Damaging Your Site Now, Moz

SEO Opportunities 

Although SEO often seems like a moving target, if you focus on creating great content and excellent user experiences, you’ll find that you will be optimizing for search automatically. 

Invest in site speed. “When it comes to SEO, speed matters. Mobile sites that take more than 5-seconds to load have a 70% lower mobile session rate than those that load in under five seconds. According to Google, for every second that a mobile page load is delayed, conversions can fall by up to 20%.”  safari digital

Maximize owned media. “Companies often overlook the significant value that can be captured by maximizing the value from owned media (such as a company website) and earned media (such as a blogger writing about your product). When managed properly, this category can help reduce the need for paid media, driving higher ROI in the process.” – McKinsey

Ensure you are using structured data. “Structured data is becoming increasingly vital, and it allows your content to be better understood by search engines. Google offers you a Structured Data Testing Tool that you can use to familiarize yourself with the concept and start applying structured data for your website and landing pages. This helps to deliver rich results from your website or landing pages to appear on SERPs.” Search Engine Watch 

Target “People Also Ask” questions: “Google’s People Also Ask SERP feature is the most effective way for companies to answer regularly asked questions, and drive more traffic to their site…The main way we targeted landing in the People Also Ask section for clients was to tailor new and existing content around answering these user’s questions. Tools such as were vital in identifying these questions, and creative writers were extremely beneficial in attacking this SERP feature.” Moz

Evolve your content for voice search. Voice search is increasing in popularity. So, you need to make sure your content is built for voice. For example, “the average reading level of a voice search result is 9th grade.” Page speed is also important in voice search SEO. “The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds (52% faster than the average page).” – Here’s What We Learned About Voice Search SEO, Backlinko

Invest some time in understanding how AI can help boost your SEO. “AI-powered SEO uses AI tools to analyze keywords and your site performance to determine which steps can help you rank higher in search results. AI can analyze data, see which pages rank above yours, and tell you how to raise your brand’s profile. Google’s BERT and Rankbrain algorithms, for example, are powered by AI.” — rockcontent

The Author

Content Science partners with the world’s leading organizations to close the content gap in digital business. We bring together the complete capabilities you need to transform or scale your content approach. Through proprietary data, smart strategy, expert consulting, creative production, and one-of-a-kind products like ContentWRX and Content Science Academy, we turn insight into impact. Don’t simply compete on content. Win.

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