The Intersection of SEO and Content Marketing. It’s the Unique Message That Generates Backlinks.

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In the past it was more science; write generic or re-purposed articles, submit to article and blog directory engines, and capture backlinks. There’s a lot more to back linking of course.

There are a zillion of articles and debates on the Internet on SEO tactics and factors that contribute to high ranking. That’s what makes it interesting; no one went to school and earned MBAs in SEO. Even the top professionals in the field work to stay ahead of Google; what of article submission services, what of social signals and bookmarking, how do I attract bloggers to pick up client articles, and on and on.

Content Marketing is now at the forefront of SEO; more so than ever. Writing interesting articles and posts that target audiences that want to read them; articles that problem-solve; articles that explain complicated things, articles that showcase a solution in an interesting way and urges commenting and sharing. This, my friends, is what will drive back links…

So here is a list of significant issues to keep in mind with regard to today’s (and tomorrow’s) search engine optimization tactics (forget what you think, or go ahead and debate me!)

  • Link building is time consuming, and ongoing. It’s a process of analysis, relationship building, and attention-to-detail
  • Paid link services and link exchanges are generally not worth the effort especially with today’s Google.
  • Stop distributing generic content to article directory submission services, and instead write quality, well-thought out content, and submit to high quality article directories or industry vertical ones if you find them. Distributing “article spam” may still work today, but does it really make sense to continue to fight Google in the long run?
  • Stop or limit blog network distribution for guest posts. Here’s an idea, let’s research blogs you want to be a part of, contact the blogger, follow the blogger, and create a relationship. Guest posting is a great way to achieve back links because you’re being exposed to a new audience, and you’re becoming involved in a community. Guest blog research and outreach can be a job all in itself, which is why I employ s specialist for this task. It’s more than SEO, it’s old-school PR.
  • Take advantage of Google Authorship. Blog posts that are linked to your Google+ Page that includes your photo drives more traffic than those not linked.

Linkworthy Content

Content that attracts links need to be original, unique, useful, and timely. Think about the kinds of topics you can write about. I brainstorm with clients frequently as we build blog editorial calendars. Examples:

  • Product Comparison
  • Research Reports
  • Survey Recaps
  • Industry News; Opinions
  • Case Studies
  • Tools and Tips
  • Glossaries
  • Checklists
  • Unique Features or Services
  • Executive Q&A or Interviews
  • Free Widgets or Calculators
  • Guest Contributors

The Content Challenge

The next step here is to put together an editorial calendar. I work with my SEO and content team to formulate two segments:

  • On-site blog. Topics of interest to website visitors of our clients, all with unique URLs, page titles and descriptions, with a promotion plan (newsletter, social, email)
  • Off-site SEO content. Topics of interest to third party blog sites or communities; those we are creating relationships with. We review each topic and determine the best approach for a specific content asset, whether it is a pitch to a blogger, an online editor, or an online press release distribution service. Usually this is planned content, but every so often we have to act quickly for any trigger events that occur. When these incidents happen we alert our client with the opportunity and then implement/promote the content event.

This post describes my brief approach to SEO and Content Marketing. Both strategies need to work together seamlessly for proper backlink strategies, which will eventually drive traffic to your website. If you’re SEO firm is automating most of its backlinking process, then I’d be concerned. We take a “human” approach to SEO. Like any lead generation program, it starts with the message.

I look forward to a discussion.

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