The SEO diaries: part 2 – content is king, but strategy is kingmaker

Blog published by KISS, under Business Development, Education / Training, Marketing, PR, Search Engines

McKinsey’s 2022 Future of B2B sales report found that 'around 57% of B2B sellers feel the content their marketing team produces is "generic and unresponsive"'.

If this is how the sales team feels, then the end customer is likely to be completely uninspired by it or very unlikely to ever see it, whilst seeking information online. It’s an outdated and backwards notion in 2024 to think that the old adage ‘build it and they will come’ still applies.

To create content that is discoverable, and stand out, it needs to be:

  • Delivered proactively
  • Effortless to find
  • Crafted in a way that makes the audience feel it was made just for them
  • Signposted and verified as trustworthy

But cruically, content must also be easy for you as a marketer to produce, adapt and scale.

A content strategy is all about framing your day-to-day communications and marketing activity across all channels to give them purpose, meaning and impact:

Purpose, such that everyone from the senior leadership team to the marketing and sales team know why time, energy and budget are being put towards these activities.
Meaning, a focus that goes beyond internal considerations and actually addresses key messages that add value to your teams, clients or customers.
And impact because why go to all this effort for it to go unnoticed?

A robust content strategy helps you thoughtfully plan placements, budget allocation, audience targeting and success metrics, ensuring that the content you create purposefully and meaningfully achieves its intended impact.

When considered through the lens of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), a content strategy is your blueprint

It starts by constructing the overarching narrative purpose of your content and aligning it to your corporate goals, and business and marketing objectives – this is your grand plan for success. The next tier of actions creates the focus for messaging, channels and content creation – what is unique or similar about each of your audiences: who are they, where are they, how do you reach them, what are the challenges and opportunities, what do you need to communicate with each and what questions are they looking for answers to?

In terms of application of SEO to a new or existing website, answering these questions will help to uncover how a website’s information architecture should be structured to enable users to fulfil an ideal journey based on specific audience needs, and what you want from them. A comprehensive content strategy should detail content pillars assigned to each audience including a key messaging structure, ideal content themes, and the types of content to be created to facilitate user journeys. At this point, keyword suggestions and required landing pages will become apparent, and adaptation of the content strategy for SEO can begin.

Having a great strategy in place is all well and good, but it needs to be activated

The skeleton that has been built will need to be fleshed out and this is done in a two-fold way; firstly, by reviewing and revising the appropriate existing content on your website with consideration for SEO aligned to the strategy, and secondly, through the creation of new content to increase SEO.

In 2023, Backlinko found, 'posts that contain target keywords or similar terms in the URL have a 45% higher click-through rate compared to those that don’t'. This means that considered destinations for all key words or terms are essential to content being successfully found by the relevant audiences, addressing the right queries and ultimately having the desired impact. Don’t make your audiences, or search engine for that matter, dig for the content that meets their criteria. Your audiences may do it, but search engines definitely won’t! Keywords should be present in titles, URLs and tags, as well as naturally peppered throughout the content on the related destination page. This means ensuring sematic and contextual relevance in the content that accompanies the signposts, put in place for SEO that say, 'this search result answers your query'.

Mapping your keywords and keyword clusters for each audience, product or service is a great way to see where the gaps in existing content might be. Further content requirements will begin to show if you then assign landing pages to each keyword – looking for overlaps, gaps and omissions. Are there landing pages on your website with no clear keyword focus, or pages that are being used to communicate multiple things or complete multiple journeys? There are numerous tools avalible that can help with the seemingly overwhelming task of reviewing your website for keywords: Google Analytics, SEMRush, MOZ and Google Search Console, to name a few.

With the creation of the right content based on your strategy, you will see significant changes in how audiences find and engage with your website

According to McKinsey’s 2022 report, 'you can see a 5-10% increase in B2B revenue from increasing the relevance and engagement of your content'. Having clear intent behind the creation of new website content, measurable conversion goals and delineated steps in the user journey is essential. Andy Crestodina believes content marketing is about ‘help not hype’; it’s a way of ‘attracting, teaching and entertaining’ your audiences, and ultimately answers the question of ‘why invest in content?’. The universal answer being to organically demonstrate your value in your space – to lead thought, to instil trust, to own conversations or topics and to meet your audiences at the point of need.

Finally, I’d be remiss in a discussion about content strategy to allow you to think of content as just copy. In its 2024 SEO content predictions blog, MOZ, asked 27 SEO experts for their view on changes to watch for in the ever shifting landscape of SEO. And it was Suganthan Mohanadasan’s view that leapt off the page for me. He says, 'as people's attention spans continue to decrease, how we search for information changes. Instead of relying solely on Google, we're seeing a shift towards shorter, more easily digestible content on various platforms'.

The reason this stood out is that the declining attention span of the masses has often been cited, whether justifiably or not, as a core reason behind the strategy of numerous media campaigns lately. It left me thinking that there is still a lot of catching up to be done in the B2B sector and with, '70% of B2B buyers reporting that video makes the most impact over other content formats', SEO and content strategy must extend beyond the written word.

Look out for the next instalment of the SEO Diaries series where we’ll discuss creating non-written content formats for SEO, and don't forget to check out the first blog in the series - mastering the dark art of SEO.

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