Content marketing is becoming more important than ever before. Recent statistics show that B2B companies content as a marketing strategy generate 67% more leads than those that do not. But writing great content that no one sees won't get you far. That's why SEO is so important, it'll get the right content in front of your intended audience. As we refine our KPIs, knowing what content resonates with audiences helps us pinpoint the ROI of marketing activities.
Research shows that 89% of B2B marketers are using content as the main channel in their marketing strategy. With that said only 19% rate their organization’s efforts as successful and only 41% are clear on what an effective or successful content marketing strategy even looks like. While content marketing holds scads of benefits, it also involves some level of work and it can be easy to make simple mistakes that can impact your content marketing strategy.
Though there is indeed an impressive growth in the use of content as an essential tool in their marketing strategy, B2B companies and marketers are still making SEO mistakes that are simply killing their content quality and marketing efforts. This post will teach you the core SEO mistakes that are killing your content strategy.
SEO and B2B Content Marketing
The B2B space has its own unique requirements and considerations, and it differs from B2C in some core aspects:
Most B2B products/services usually cost more than B2C products (a pair of jeans profit potential in most cases is up to about $100 while a SaaS (Software As A Service) solution can be $1000 a month).
In B2C, it’s usually a single shopper who makes the purchase decision. In a B2B company, there are various decision makers involved.
Buyer’s Journey/Buying Cycle
For both B2B and B2C, the buyer’s journey usually goes as follows:
- Awareness Stage: Problem or need identification.
- Consideration Stage: Possible solutions research, comparing between the different products available.
- Decision Stage: Reaching a decision and making the purchase
Search engines are a great way to get in front of these prospects at earlier stages of their research process, but all too often, marketers themselves are the reason search engines hold your content back from prominent positions in their search results pages (SERPs).
Although they are usually treated separately, content marketing and SEO goes together like cereals and milk. SEO is all about keywords, backlinks, and great onsite optimization.
The best way to get backlinks is by publishing killer content and letting the masses link back to it.
Now that we’ve established the connection between B2B content marketing and SEO, we can start laying down the SEO mistakes that are killing your content marketing strategy:
1. Creating short content:
Google loves long, in-depth, informative content that satisfies the searcher’s needs. Generally, the more in-depth the content is, the more likely it solves the searcher’s intent or question. As opposed to that, what Google hates the most is when searchers click a link on a SERP, sees that it’s not what they were looking for, and immediately bounces off by hitting the back button. This is called Pogo Sticking.
This doesn’t mean you should be writing long for the sake of long (it also doesn’t grant you permission to be boring or paste large batches of text that are unscannable and tiring, but more on that later on). Do however make sure your content is comprehensive enough to answer searchers’ questions. A good strategy would be to determine the main keyword phrase and google it, to see how long the content in the 3 top SERPs is and make sure yours is longer, more concise and more in-depth. Make sure to add something to that content that others didn’t to make it more valuable to the readers (and the search engines).
2. Using too long paragraphs:
Without refuting the above, a good way to lose your reader’s attention is using long paragraphs. Most people SCAN, not read. Short paragraphs encourage reading by being easier on the eyes and are easier to understand.
3. Not making content breaks:
In the age of smartphones, the average reader’s attention span became even shorter than that of a goldfish. The importance of recapturing the reader’s attention continuously throughout an article became even bigger. Breaking up the text, using subheads, lists, and images will help you keep the readers on the page (and get noticed by search engines).
4. Misspellings in content:
According to Google’s Matt Cutts, while misspellings are not used as a direct signal in Google’s (over 200 different) rating factors, “reputable sites does tend to spell better than sites with low page rank”. While probably not hurting your ranking, misspellings can hurt your credibility in the eyes of the readers and chances of getting linked to.
5. Not doing optimization:
Your content is part of your website. Like the latter, every single piece of content should be optimized both for search engines and readers. You can, and should, optimize your content’s meta information like you do for your site. Write unique meta titles and descriptions for each of your content. Same goes for optimizing images and using CTAs. This will increase visibility on SERP and shareability on social networks.
6. Not creating outbound links:
The most unfortunate misconception in the SEO industry, is that a page/site will lose Authority/Page Rank/Trust if directing users to external sites with outbound links, this is utter BS. If your content is only “me talking” and does not link to other content, why would readers and search engines find it credible and authoritative enough to link to you (and rank you higher)? Content that is more well-researched usually cites sources by linking to it. Google also recognizes this as a signal for that site/page credibility and users will more likely trust and share (and link to) this content.
7. Not promoting your content:
Your content being better than anyone else’s doesn’t mean it will instantly go viral and reach No. 1 ranking on SERPs. Though it’s a more cost-effective way of promoting your content, a great (white hat) SEO strategy takes time. Today, marketers can’t afford to neglect any type of owned, paid or earned media in their strategy. Combining the three will help you attract, convert, nurture and close leads. Find what mix works for you by focusing on your overall marketing goals. Each goal will require a different combination of media, finding the right mix and constantly evaluating and measuring it against set KPIs will help you reach your marketing goals.
Top 7 SEO Tools to Boost Your Content Marketing
To help you avoid making these mistakes, and streamlining your content marketing strategy better with SEO, here are some Tools that will boost your content:
Squirrly is a WordPress SEO plugin which lets you do keyword research right in your post editor.
If you like to write content that’s both SEO and human-friendly, then this tool is for you. It not only let you optimize content, but also lets you measure the success of the content optimized.
Squirrly has a number of tools on its dashboard, but one notable tool which can help boost your content marketing is the Keyword Research Tool.
This tool helps you find the most relevant keywords for your articles. It also finds keywords used by your competition based on the specific keyword you entered.
With those keywords, you can craft winning content that’ll get ranked. Squirrly also shows what phrases are trending, useful for writing sharable content.
2. Google Keyword Planner
Though the Google Keyword Planner tool is mainly associated with PPC and SEO, you can also use it to enhance your content marketing strategy.
Specifically, there are three key features that are germane to content marketers:
- Search for new keywords and ad group ideas. This feature is useful for generating content ideas. When you enter a word in the search bar, the tool will generate new keywords from the search. From the new keywords, you can find content ideas that are related to the keyword you entered.
- Get search volume for a list of keywords. This feature allows you to examine the popularity of the keyword. Precisely, you can see stats like average monthly searches and the level of competition a keyword has—high, medium, or low (though the level of competition is for PPC only).You can follow the stats to pick keywords that have high search volume and low competition (which are the best keywords to use for effective content marketing).
- Multiply keyword list to get new keyword ideas. This feature enables you to create new keyword combinations.It does this by allowing you to enter the keywords into different columns. By this, you’d be able to discover new keyword combinations that you can use as content ideas. This will help you pick long-tail keywords which works best when it comes to content marketing.
3. Google Trends
Google Trends shows the popularity of a given search term over time; it shows how often people search for a keyword and where they are searching from.
This tool helps you stay ahead in your keyword research; it helps you see which keywords are best for your content strategy and which region to target.
Google Trends has many search-related features which can be useful for content marketers.
- Trending searches
- Trending on YouTube
- Top Charts
- Google Correlate
These features will help you see where you’re going.
For instance, after doing your keyword research on Keyword Planner, you can run the keyword through Google Trends to see if it’s waning or rising in popularity.
Google Trends shows a list of related search term after entering a keyword; this makes it a breeze to find new content ideas that people are interested in.
For instance, after entering the term “content marketing,” Google Trends suggests the following keywords which also have high search volumes:
Using Google Trends, you can also create a yearly editorial calendar for your content marketing campaign. That’s because Google Trends shows you those events and topics that gain traction at certain times of the year.
While it’s not completely advisable to base your content on trends, Google Trends is a great way to discover what people are talking about in your niche market.
4. Ahrefs Content Explorer
One way of creating great content is to find the most shared content in your niche, follow its structure and try reproducing the same for yourself.
Content Explorer by Ahrefs helps you do just this.
With this tool, you can discover top-performing content in terms of social sharing, get to see the keywords used in the content, and model the same by crafting your own content around that topic.
This will help you come up with content that will outperform the competition or at least produce similar results.
Content Explorer is pretty easy to use: Just enter your keywords into the search bar and the tool will list out the most shared content based on the keyword you entered.
For instance, the screenshot below shows the results for “content marketing.”
5. Google Analytics
It’s not just enough to create content. The content you create should bring you a measurable ROI.
Google Analytics helps you measure the ROI of your content.
But beyond that, you can use Google Analytics for nearly every aspect of content marketing—brainstorming/idea generation, targeting, optimization, testing etc.
For one, you can use GA to see what content your visitors like and then follow through to create more of that kind of content.
You can do this by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
The result will look something like this:
Keywordtool.io is a free tool for finding the words that people search for on Google.
This tool uses Google’s Autocomplete to provide users with great keyword ideas by generating over 750 long-tail keyword suggestions. It also works with 83 languages and 194 Google-owned domains.
Even more, Keywordtool.io allows users to export the keyword data to a spreadsheet where they can then examine and further categorize the same.
Here’s a screenshot example of Keyword Tool’s results with “content marketing” as the search term:
While QuickSprout mainly shows results for SEO and site speed, you can also use it for content marketing purposes.
After entering your competitor’s URL, click on the Social Media Analysis feature. There, you’ll see which content on the site received the most social shares.
Here’s how it’ll look:
The information shown there will let you in on what types of content readers love the most. With that, you can go ahead and create something better.
Ensure your content marketing success by applying these SEO techniques in its implementation to avoid making simple mistakes that could negatively impact your content marketing strategy. By using these techniques properly, you will lower marketing costs and help boost the results of your content marketing efforts.
With the right tools in your hands, you can improve your content marketing, make your website and blog more effective and drive as much traffic as you want. If you found this useful, learn more about leveraging your marketing efforts by implementing a rigorous SEO strategy.