The Dual Purpose of Content in Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing Content
“Well-created content as part of your search engine marketing is like having your cake and eating it too.”
That expression is dated, so let’s revise it: “Well-created content as part of your search engine marketing is like having your car and driving it too.”
Whatever expression you use, the sentiment remains true: great content serves a dual purpose in your search engine marketing campaign. Keeping both purposes in mind is an important part of using search engine marketing to reach new customers.
Content’s First Purpose: Attract Visitors
As long as there are search engines, there will be a need for search engine marketing and SEO. To put it simply, your content is the engine that runs your search marketing tactics. The concept is easy to grasp, but putting it into effect is much harder.
For a while, SEO success meant taking shortcuts like keyword stacking or link farming, and using those loopholes to get to the top of search results. Thankfully, algorithm improvements have made that sort of tactic ineffective (and even negative) for search marketing.
But, while those algorithm changes eliminated manipulative tactics, the core of great SEO content remains unchanged – create material that people searching for a keyword will want to see and read. Of course, it’s important to research specific keywords and be sure to use them appropriately within the material, but it’s crucial that your content serve a purpose beyond simply ranking high in search results.
Content’s Second Purpose: Create Conversions
Are you in the business of getting people to visit your website? Probably not. Getting that visit is just a step, and often the first step, on a path to earning a new customer. That’s where the second purpose of content comes in – inspiring an action or forging a relationship with the reader/prospect.
What do you mean ‘conversion’?
Your content might be focused on getting a sale right away (if you have a short sales cycle), but a sale is just one type of conversion. Most of the time, your goals will focus on keeping the reader moving into or through your sales funnel (just getting them to click to another article on your site and extend their visit length is a perfectly suitable conversion goal).
Creating conversions may be the second effect, chronologically, for your search engine marketing content (people can’t read it until they’ve clicked on it), it’s the first one you should consider. Start by putting yourself in the mind of your prospects – what are they going to be searching for and what will they want to read based on that search? These two techniques can give you a good start:
- ANSWER QUESTIONS: What questions have prospects and current customers asked you? Answer them in your content. If one person asks a question, there are likely dozens more that search for the answer online.
- BE A TEACHER: Every business, from legal services to a burger stand, has information and techniques that a prospect might want to learn about. Use your content as a way to explain what you do. (If you’re worried about revealing your ‘secrets’, remember, clients and customers are paying you to do what you know – not just to know it).
As an added advantage, when you start with this perspective, you actually make the search engines happier too. Their algorithms are essentially being tailored ever closer to normal human search practices. Create your content to appeal to humans from the start, and you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Earlier I wrote that content is the ‘engine that runs your search marketing tactics’.
I think I was wrong.
Content isn’t just the engine that makes your SEO marketing work, it’s the entire vehicle that drives your prospects from stranger to customer.