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Content Marketing for SEO

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Transactional content

First, we’ll look at one of the problems that we had in the SEO industry, and what led to building links the wrong way. Let’s imagine you’re a travel insurance website, and all the content on your site is transactional content. In other words, it’s sales content, promoting your products. Now that transactional content is essential on your site – it definitely has a place, but it’s not a type of content that’s going to naturally attract and build links. It’s not a type of content that’s going to get shared in the social media. So, what you can do is think about, “Well, actually how can we create content that is maybe more interesting to a wider industry that will get shared on Twitter and Facebook, and so on?” And that’s kind of where content marketing comes into play.

The role of valuable content marketing

For example, if you find some content and it’s interesting, you think your Twitter followers might like it, you’ll share that on Twitter. For example, you might want to get into physio, you want to be a physiotherapist, and you might decide to follow that website because they’ve got such good content around that. So, content marketing can be a great way of creating valuable content, which is either related to your products and services, or quite often it can be in your wider industry as well.

Google’s search quality rating guidelines

The majority of how Google ranks a page, in fact nearly all of how Google works, is all automated through its algorithm, but they do actually have evaluators who periodically will review some search engine results pages and they will feed back to Google what they see and what they find. And Google might tweak its algorithm based on some of their findings.

There’s a 140-page PDF that you can get online, which is called The Google Search Quality Ratings Guidelines, and it has lots of good content in there about what you should be doing to make your website effective.

Google is looking for EAT Content:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust

So, if your content can show a high level of Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, then you’re going to score quite highly in terms of what these quality raters are looking for. And that’s a good mindset to have when you are creating content marketing pieces.

Using blogging to attract backlinks

One obvious form of content marketing is a blog, and this is where you’re writing generally a less ‘salesy’ piece of content on your site, more informative. And one good way to build up your blog is to actually guest contribute to other blogs, and what that does is it means if another blog has got a bigger audience than yourselves, then hopefully some of that audience will like what you’ve written and start following your blog. It helps portray yourself as an expert in your industry if you’re getting your name out there through other guest blogs, and you get backlinks from the other blog to your blog.

However, it it needs to be very related to what you’re doing. You don’t want to be just building links through guest blogging, through unrelated blogs, that could be considered a little bit spammy.

The skyscraper technique

A content marketing strategy that’s quite popular, and quite an interesting one to look at, is called the skyscraper technique. This comes from Brian Dean, who runs a website called Backlinko. He says what you need to do is to find content with a proven track record of generating backlinks. So, if you add in a website that you think might have generated good backlinks, particularly through content marketing, maybe they’ve got a good blog or very good videos, that sort of thing.

Step 1: Find content with a proven track record of generating backlinks

In this case, I’ve chosen copyblogger.com. I’ve entered in the URL. I’ve chosen top pages, which you can see on marker 2, and then this is showing me the top pages on their site that have backlinks, and it’s ordering them by the top, the pages with the most root domains, the most unique domains linking to those pages. So, I can systematically go through those pages and find ones which are relevant to what I do.

Step 2: Select content that you feel you could re-create and make better than the original

And that brings us on to step two, which is to select content that you feel you could recreate and make better than the original.

It doesn’t have to be necessarily better than your original, although that’s the best thing to do, but maybe it’s just different or unique to the original. Maybe you’ve done it in a much more visual way. So, in this case, let’s imagine that I have selected the URL “e-book in 30 days”, and I feel like I can write a good blog post on how you create an e-book in 30 days. And notice on marker 2 that this URL has attracted 52 different websites or root domains that link to that page. So, I could contact those 52 websites and say, “Hey, I’ve got some great content that I would like you to check out”.

Step 3: Reach out to the backlink source and let them know about your new piece of content

This where you reach out to the backlink source and let them know about your new piece of content.

This is an email that I received myself. I thought it was quite well written, it demonstrated that they’d been to my site, they liked an article that I had written, and they said, “I noticed that you linked to this resource, would you consider also linking to my new resource?” And in this case, it was very visual, and it was quite a nice and interesting resource. So, I decided to link to that resource because I thought it was useful for my readers.

And that is the skyscraper technique, so if you’ve got a lot of resources that are good at creating high-quality content, that can be a really good strategy for building backlinks.

Using Buzzsumo to find top influencers in your industry

We looked up Buzzsumo earlier, and we mainly looked at it for researching by keywords and by domains, but you can also use it to research influencers, which is very useful for content marketing.

So, in this case I’m entering in “sports nutrition”, and it’s bringing back influencers that Buzzsumo thinks are the most authoritative in the sports nutrition space. And that can be really good. If I’m creating some good content and I want to outreach to some of the noticeable players, then I can use this tool.  

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Joe Williams

Managing Director and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise

  • Founder and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise with 10 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimization
  • Zen Optimise is a London-based digital marketing training company
  • SEO consultant and trainer for hundreds of small, medium, and blue chip companies including Qantas Airlines, Sky, Eurostar, EasyCruise, and Anti-Slavery

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