Creating content is only half the battle. You have to help your prospects find your content too. So it’s time for content creators to pay full attention to SEO.
It may come as a relief, though, that SEO is no longer an add-on or afterthought to content creation. The twains are meeting, as search engines work harder to think more like people and less like machines.
While the days of technical SEO (focusing on the appropriate placement of keywords in an HTML document) aren’t over, Lee Odden said at B2B Content2Conversion Conference 2016, search engines are using artificial intelligence to produce search results that are better attuned to what users are actually asking. Part of Google’s vast algorithm, RankBrain is helping the search engine think and search like a person.
“If you’re a content marketer focused on creating content that’s really relevant for people, this is a good day,” Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, said. “Because that is the direction Google is focused on.”
The beauty of organic search is that it perfectly reflects the user’s intention and interests at that specific moment in their buying journey. There’s no mediation. “You’re actually tapping into the mind of the buyer,” said Odden. And the way to win the SEO battle at that point is to provide the best answer to users’ questions at every stage of the journey.
If you’re a content marketer focused on creating content that’s really relevant for people, this is a good day.
“To be the best answer,” Odden offered, “you’ve got to go deep” and find that specific thing that you searchers are looking for. From there, you’ve got to provide a range of content that creates a constellation of related topics and answers so that the searcher is completely satisfied by their journey and their visits to your site.
Note what Odden is tacitly saying here. Great SEO is a core element to providing a great customer experience. SEO isn’t just a way to lead users to your content and the experience you want to provide. It’s an integral part of that experience.
To win the SEO battle…provide the best answer to users’ questions at every stage of their journey.
Going deep to create specificity and relevance, of course, takes a good degree of customer insight and no small amount of technical savvy. On this latter point, Odden provided some fascinating tools to find out what questions customers are asking. Rather than list them all, let me share two that I’ll be testing in the near future.
Ubersuggest.io — An online tool to help refine keyword ideas to improve specificity and, ultimately, give the SEO marketer a better sense of what searchers are asking and thinking.
Keywords Everywhere by Keywordkeg— A chrome plugin for quick research on keywords. Highlight a word or phrase on a webpage and left click to find the search volume and cost-per-click of those keywords.
“Google is not paying the bills: it’s the customers that are paying the bills,” Odden said. It’s a powerful reminder that we need to include SEO in our conversations around customer experiences.
A picture being worth a thousand words, Quarry and Kelly Kingman captured 10 of the most anticipated talks at B2B C2C 2016 as Keynote Inks (Lee Odden’s is embedded above). See what the likes of David Meerman Scott, Tim Reisterer and Laura Ramos had to say at the event!