Businesses often ask how long search engine optimization takes. While it’s hard to give an exact time frame, some SEO experts suggest it could take several months to start seeing results, and those results should continue to grow over time.
But delivering these results is not a one-stop shop; companies need a good SEO strategy that is always active and constantly evolving with changes in search engine algorithms and end user search behaviors.
SEO is an important part of content marketing; it helps present the right content to the right people and should not be overlooked. Here are four tips organizations should consider when developing an SEO strategy for content marketing.
Understand what search engines are looking for when ranking pages
Historically, search engines have focused content ranking primarily on singular keywords. SEO meant how often businesses used these keywords on their website and how content was created for search engines to read. There was no consideration for the quality or relevance of the content. This was to make sure there was a page title, header, body text, and even alt text in the images. While these elements provide an important baseline, other factors are also important.
Keywords are always important in build authority around search terms, but the components of a good SEO strategy have changed. Search engines are now looking at how people interact with a brand or service, along with the following:
- page authority, which is the value that a search engine places on a web page: the higher the value, the more likely the page will appear early in organic search;
- internal and external page links in the content; and
- engagement metrics, such as page visits, exit rate, bounce rate, and time spent on the page.
Another consideration is intention – what users are actually looking for when they search the web – and the use of long tail keywords is the result of how search behavior has become more conversational and contextual. For example, users who type the generic term “cookbook” into a search engine will be inundated with results, but are unlikely to find what they want on the first try. By adding additional words, such as “classic French cookbook”, a user can narrow down the results to find exactly what they are looking for.
Create valuable website content
Marketers today have to create content that meets the needs of users or a problem they are trying to solve.
To create strong website content, businesses need to review the page content already present on their websites and meet the needs of end-user search queries. Website content should remain relatively static to build authority and ranking over time. Too many or too frequent changes to the base copy of the website will have a negative effect on SEO.
However, the creation of new website pages or copy in the form of downloadable offers or a blog up to date will support website copy and further increase an organization’s SEO performance.
Create backlinks for good SEO
Backlinks are another important aspect of an SEO content strategy. Backlinks are inbound links to a web page on a business’s website and are often a major metric for a web page’s ranking. They can improve organic rankings, index pages faster in search engines, and generate quality referral traffic.
An old practice for building backlinks is to find other websites and create “spam” links to a business web page. While these types of backlinks – found as referral links to a website from any webpage on the internet – are common in SEO strategies today, they do not yield any results of high quality for authority and page ranking.
Building a better backlinking strategy in 2020 is all about relationship building. Finding partners, influencers in the same industry, or business publications to cross-promote or share content with each other is the best way to build high quality backlinks.
Create subject clusters for better SEO
Topic clusters are the next evolution in SEO. This content marketing strategy is a collection of interconnected articles or pages that all relate to a generic topic, known as content pillar page. For example, a business might have a pillar page for cookbooks, with related pages for specific types of cuisine that flow from it.
These clusters allow companies to offer greater visibility to search engines to identify their content via a connected web. A content strategy that includes topic groups gives businesses the ability to get search traffic for highly targeted keywords and phrases.
These collections of basic topics – and the content related between them – help with contextual marketing practices, the use of internal links, and the creation of greater authority for a website’s content.