If we spend all of our time and effort creating awesome, detailed content that is visually engaging and loved by our customers, prospects, and customers – why not get some of Google's love and increase your qualified organic traffic too?

In many ways, the things that the Google algorithm prefers are similar to what your target audience is.

They all want relevance, structure and authority:

The best answer to a search query.

In today's search results, great content has the best chance of ranking well.

Read on to learn how you can integrate content marketing and SEO to get the best possible traffic and conversion for your content marketing.

Explain the obvious

If you followed Kevin Rowe's ideas in 20 places that you should share your content, you are already distributing your content for more awareness and links online.

Links are still one of the most important ranking factors for Google.

It is equally important to cover a topic thoroughly in order to increase its relevance.

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Not all content needs to be optimized for search.

There are other reasons to write content (e.g. for social shares or to increase trust and conversion). However, if you want to get the most out of your content marketing and improve ROI, SEO should be on your radar.

Take SEO into account

In order to develop a holistic strategy for content marketing and SEO, I invite you to consider three factors:

  • What you want to communicate: your vision, your value proposition, your issues and problems – the things that you stand for as a company and that you passionately love.
  • What people are looking for: Use keyword research as an opportunity to research your target audience, market demand and interest online.
  • What Google prefers: Check page 1 to understand what Google thinks is the most relevant answer – and replicate something competitive.

How to integrate content marketing and SEO

Google likes structure

Let's talk about your content ideas from an SEO perspective.

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Clarity and structure win the Google Play.

Any of your content ideas, pages, or blog posts should cover a topic, intellectual unit.

Think of your pages as a Wikipedia entry (a knowledge base that covers a topic in depth) rather than a collection of long-tail keywords.

A page should cover the topic well enough to match the user's search intent.

SEO course silo map

Each page is optimized for a keyword cluster consisting of main and supporting keywords.

We use keyword variations and synonyms to make it easier for Google to understand what we are writing about and the context of the topic.

The keyword research process helps us identify topics that are relevant to our target audience. With SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush we can check the following:

  • Synonyms, variations, and related keywords to be covered on a page
  • Monthly search traffic to understand marketing interest
  • Click potential by estimating the click rate to take into account ads, selected snippets, etc.
  • Difficulty prioritizing keywords based on chance of success

Making data-driven decisions increases your chances of success online.

When evaluating content ideas, these metrics should always be considered.

Avoid cannibalizing keywords

For each unique and distinctly different topic idea, you want to create a specific page and cover the topic in detail.

Likewise, you should make sure that each topic is only covered once.

The questions are:

  • Have we covered this topic before?
  • Can we update or revise an existing page?

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From an SEO perspective, you'll always want to update an existing page by creating a second, third, and fourth piece on the same topic.

Evergreen content wins for SEO.

They are already competing for the top rankings with billions of pages on the web. Why should you compete with yourself?

When several of your own pages are battling it out for page 1, it's known as keyword cannibalization, which really hurts your SEO efforts.

For the most part, you'll want to review your existing content and find the blog posts and pages that covered the topic before.

Take advantage of the post's age, ranking, and links by turning a medium-performing post into something great.

If you want to create a "Christmas Gift Guide for Women", it's better to revise, adapt, and redesign the existing page every year – than create a new post that never makes it to the top.

If you find that you have multiple posts on the same topic, consider migrating them all to one page and using that as the basis for your new content item.

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Only create a new content item if you have a real content gap and haven't covered the post in the past.

Understand page

Before you start writing any content, let's take a look at Google's Page 1 to determine the right type of content to rank well.

Often times, content creators and marketers guess the intent of the user behind a query and the type of content they should write.

The best way to find out what users and Google want is to review page 1.

You will find that there are at least nine different types of search results that offer different types of content to the user.

  • Research: Definitions, long instructions, knowledge graphs or presented excerpts
  • Answer: Common zero-click searches like weather, currency conversion, time zones
  • Transaction: product and category pages, e-commerce results
  • Local: maps, local results
  • Visual: images, thumbnails of media elements
  • Videos.
  • News: newspapers, tweets, top stories
  • Branded: Homepage with sitelinks, social media channels of a brand
  • Mixed: Unless Google clearly defines search intent, they offer a bit of everything. Google "Panda" or "Jaguar" to check it out.

The short answer is, you want to create the type of content that is currently shown on page 1 for your topic and keywords.

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Additionally, by studying page 1, you will have an opportunity to understand:

  • Sub-topics and concepts used by top performing content
  • Headings in the articles
  • Keywords used
  • Average content length of the results

You can use tools to save time in your review, but ultimately, a good content creator always leaves the tools and has a real look at them and incorporates the insights into their content review.

And sometimes creating the best answer isn't about creating an ultimate guide.

Yes, we still do keywords

Finally, make sure that your content is suitable for SEO.

Each content is classified according to many synonyms and variations as Google understands concepts and contexts better and better.

But The Google algorithm is still an algorithm too.

So make it easy for Google to understand what your article is about.

Yes, you would like to keep using your main keyword in:

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  • Url
  • Heading H1
  • Meta page title
  • First paragraph

Not only because it makes sense for Google, but also because it makes sense for users to be congruent as they go from entering a search query to finding your result, to clicking and reading the article.

Yes, you want to optimize your images, especially if you're trying to get a visual search results page.

Some technical love

Lastly, to be truly SEO-worthy, you should make sure that schema markup and structured data are implemented.

Technical SEO helps increase clarity for Google.

You can highlight details about the author of a page, the product being viewed, lists, videos, and other items, your company, and the organization as a whole.

Summary: Make the most of content marketing and SEO

Your content marketing has the best chance of succeeding in organic search if you consider:

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  • Select specific, clearly different and unique topic ideas.
  • Use keyword research to prioritize content ideas.
  • Update existing pages if you want to come back to a topic.
  • Review page 1 to understand the type of content to be created.
  • Optimize your page with keywords.
  • Implement the schema markup.

And you have content that has the best chance of generating sustainable, skilled, and long-lasting organic traffic.

Photo credit

Featured image: Paulo Bobita
In-post images: Created by the author

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