SEO Or Content Marketing: Which Is The Best Strategy?

I have a lot of experience in this area. I’ve been running an SEO agency for a number of years now and I’ve had a lot of success with content marketing and SEO for myself and my clients.

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SEO vs. Content Marketing: Which Is the Best?

This is actually a really good question.

I think many business owners are confused about the differences between the two.

For starters, they don’t know which one to use. They don’t understand the benefits or the downsides either.

At other times, they wonder whether or not they are mutually exclusive. And business owners often wonder if they can combine the two to achieve better results.

There are many different factors to consider for sure.

At times, SEO is definitely going to be the gold standard. And there are also times when content marketing is going to be the gold standard.

Guess what? Have you figured it out yet?

Sometimes a hybrid approach is the gold standard!

We’ll take a look at some examples below.

An Example of SEO as the Gold Standard

Without a doubt, most local businesses will do fantastic with just using SEO.

However, SEO has become increasingly competitive.

At this point, every business owner understands SEO. And many businesses have a lot of money to invest in this opportunity.

They recognize the value of spending big bucks for high quality SEO.

As you have probably noticed, Google has raised the bar for SEO over the past four or five years.

You know what I mean: Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird. Everybody’s favorite animal updates! I’m surprised Google hasn’t opened up a petting zoo! LOL

What this means for local businesses is most of them can probably still get the job done with just search engine optimization, and most local businesses are not investing in content marketing.

A successful content marketing campaign that really drives a bunch of traffic and many backlinks will absolutely annihilate anybody that’s still stuck in the SEO paradigm.

As a local business, you have the opportunity to decide to just stick with SEO and do nothing more. And more than likely, you should be fine.

Or you have the opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

Not only will you take advantage of SEO, but you can also apply the best content marketing practices to SEO for that added extra something that will help put you over the top.

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How Local Businesses Should Focus on Content Marketing

And when I say content marketing, I don’t mean writing content specifically for your neighborhood.

I mean create content so that you become a national thought leader. You’ll become a true authority in your market.

Just trying to tell people about your local community or the few things that you do in your business, it’s just not big or compelling enough. And the honest truth is that nobody is really going to care.

But they do care about certain things.

Your potential customers want to see that you’re an expert in your market. And by teaching your expertise to other people, you will show your target audience that you absolutely know what you’re talking about and you’ll become a true asset in your field.

And let’s not forget about the huge SEO bonuses that you’ll get when you share quality content.

When other websites find your content – by you sharing it with them or if they come across it on their own – they may find it very valuable and even link to you.

And before you know it; your website gets attention from national websites. And as you start driving more links, your domain authority goes higher and your search rankings improve tremendously.

Meanwhile, your biggest competitor has focused on only building citations and some cheap, crappy private blog network (PBN) postings while you’re getting links from some of the top publishers in your industry.

Which scenario do you think is going to be better for SEO? You already know the answer, right?

SEO is still the gold standard for many local businesses and content marketing isn’t cheap, but if you’re willing to invest a little bit more in content marketing chances are you’ll cement your place in your local community on Google for a long time.

SaaS: An Exploding Industry

Okay, right now we’re going to talk about SaaS. This stands for software as a service.

It’s a monthly subscription software model, and they are popping up everywhere as this business model is continuing to grow.

In general, most SaaS companies do better as they niche down.

They are catering to a specific type of audience that has a specific type of need.

For these types of companies, doing straight SEO is usually very difficult because there are already tons of competitors that are established in this market.

They have really high domain authority. They have many referring domains. And it’s hard to bridge that gap.

It makes more sense sometimes to do content marketing, although I would never say to just do that as a search engine optimization expert because I’ve seen the power of SEO when it comes to SaaS.

And this holds true even in hypercompetitive spaces. So it would really be a travesty to just recommend straight content marketing.

Truth be told, content marketing just isn’t that powerful for driving up domain authority.

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Content Marketing & Link Building: A Hybrid Approach

For most SaaS companies, this is the strategy that I would recommend.

On the SEO end, after you’ve optimized the site, you should begin building links to the company’s homepage and the company’s service pages.

Your goal is to power of the main internal pages of a website.

As far as content marketing goes, your focus is to expand the size of your website. You’re adding relevant content that your audience wants to consume.

And if you’re doing content marketing the right way, you are also promoting this content in the right channels.

To help you with your content marketing efforts, I wrote another detailed post on the anatomy of content marketing. I highly recommend checking it out.

How Do You Get Good Quality Content?

When it comes to content promotion, I use a six point blogger outreach program that has been incredibly effective. It converts like gangbusters.

To learn more about that, please click the following link:

http://www.outreachmama.com/6-step-guest-post-outreach-template-that-converts/

The Overall Benefits of the Hybrid Strategy

After this whole content marketing and SEO ball gets rolling, you’re now building authority to your main pages. Plus, you’re increasing the size of your site with relevant, high quality, unique long form content.

And you’re promoting many of these new blog posts amongst other bloggers in your industry and on social media. You’re even starting to generate some social traffic, your content is generating some buzz, and because of this you’re getting more backlinks to your blog posts.

Meanwhile, while all of this is happening, hopefully this content topic is compelling enough that people are beginning to sign up to your email list. Because as we all know, a huge part of content marketing is list building.

One of the key indicators of the success of content marketing is how quickly you grow your list.

You put a lead magnet on your page – the more irresistible the offer the better – and you use it to build your email list. This is another powerful metric to track.

The nicest thing about content marketing is that it’s very flexible. You can have different goals and different objectives.

As you do all of this, your domain authority becomes higher and you become more relevant in your industry.

Your thematic relevance gets a boost and you become a brand name and a major player in the space. And before long, you even become somebody that’s recognizable and become somewhat of a celebrity in your industry!

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When Is Local SEO the Better Play?

If you are a local franchisee, SEO is more than likely the better play.

Remember, you still have to rank locally, so local SEO definitely plays an important role in your overall strategy.

Yet again, you can compound your efforts with content marketing.

What about E-Commerce Sites?

With e-commerce, Onsite SEO is huge. And link building to your product pages is also huge.

If you build a high quality blog that drives a lot of traffic and backlinks, and then you add internal linking going to your product pages, it’s going to be huge too.

You are establishing thematic relevance for certain terms, and really, that’s the name of the game.

Conclusion

That’s about it for this topic. I gave you a lot of information, so take some time to digest it all and see how you can incorporate it into your own personal strategy or for your clients.

I hope you find value in my answer.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them here.

Good luck!

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How to Create Good Quality Content

The Anatomy of a Good Piece of Content

No matter what industry or niche you’re working in, good quality content is 100% possible. But it’s not something that you can slap together quickly.

In my opinion, creating good quality content takes several things to go right.

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  1. The Topic

The topic of course is key to whatever audience you’re marketing to.

And the audience needs to really care about this particular topic in a passionate way.

Not in a way like “that’s kinda cool” and then they completely forget about it. They have to be more like “wow! I’m really glad I have read this!”

Let’s face it. Your articles just aren’t going to get read from top to bottom in today’s world because attention spans are too low. Plus there’s way too much content out there and people are easily distracted.

It would be really naïve to believe that you’re going to create this content that 90% of the people are going to read all the way through. It just isn’t going to happen.

But, if the topic is hyper relevant, really significant, and puts people in the right frame of mind, you’ll have a major winner on your hands.

You have to convince your audience to say “wow, this is really interesting and I want to read more. This can really help my business or my problems,” you understand what I’m talking about.

That’s exactly what you’re shooting for during the content creation process.

This kind of content is really hard to find.

And for every 10 pieces of content that you make, even when you follow the best practices, only one of them is going to hit to this extent until you really get this down pat and dialed in.

How to Make a Topic Really Resonate with Your Target Audience

To make a topic resonate with your audience, it needs to be actionable, it needs to be unique and something that the reader can’t find anywhere else (i.e. an internal case study, data analysis, personal experiences – could be yours or one of your team members, etc.)

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  1. The Writer & The Copy Editor

The writer of the content can be you, somebody you hire, a data researcher, someone that you’ve met who is an expert in your industry, or anyone else for that matter.

If the meat and the potatoes of the content is of the highest quality, well researched, and you’ve chosen a good topic, then you’re probably going to be on to something good.

There are many things that make a good writer. And the easiest way to discover a writer is to read their content. You’ll know if you think they are a good writer or not.

As far as the copywriter/copy editor is concerned, he or she could also be the writer in some cases if you are lucky enough to find somebody that can edit their own copy.

Situations When a Good Copywriter/Copy Editor Can Bring the Best Out Of an Article

  1. If the writer that you hire doesn’t engage the reader with the first sentence by not talking to them or asking questions, you may need the help of a good copywriter/copy editor.
  2. Or they aren’t formatting things in a nice way that the reader can skim and look at things in bite-sized chunks, you can certainly benefit from the help of a good copywriter/copy editor.
  3. If the writer isn’t making anecdotes that suck the reader into the story and get the reader away from monotonous facts and examples, you probably need a really good copywriter/copy editor to bring out the best in the article.

A great copywriter/copy editor can bring an article to life! And just remember that all great writers aren’t always great copywriters.

So think about putting someone like this on your team. Or if you plan to get big enough, think about adding multiple copywriters/copy editors to your team.

They are the people that can create the great formatting and everything else that I’ve mentioned that helps bring great copy to life.

Plus, they make sure the content is error-free which is also very important.

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  1. The Graphic Designer

Another key component of creating quality content is a great graphic designer.

Most people blog on WordPress now.

When you look at WordPress, the typical formula now is one random stock photo at the top of the article and its left justified. After that, you’ll see paragraph after paragraph of big long text separated by sub- headers.

That’s what I see over and over again when I look at typical WordPress blogs.

And in my opinion, this is total, total barf!

Articles need to have life, personality and branding. They need to be colorful and they need to have images that capture and recapture the reader’s attention.

If you aren’t a graphic designer and you aren’t spending time making these articles visually appealing and visually more helpful, then you are missing out on a great opportunity to produce a really high quality piece of content.

Tips for Graphic Designers

You want a completely custom featured image.

The image should have a title in it. It should match your website’s brand. It should have an interesting picture in the featured image – i.e. somebody doing something or a unique background that pops.

You should also have images that take interesting parts of the content and turn it into image form – i.e. quotes, section breaks, images that tell a story about what you’re writing about.

A graphic designer can put this stuff together with the proper direction.

And when dealing with a graphic designer, you have to set your standards upfront.

You have to be on the same page about the fonts they use, the colors they use, and setting those standards from the get go is going to save you a lot of back and forth on the backend.

If everything looks good, we can now move on to the final part.

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  1. A Great Headline

According to a recent study that I read, a CTR optimized headline will generate a magnitude more views when compared to a generic headlined.

In truth, it usually makes the most sense to write the headline after the article is done.

Why?

Well, after it’s complete you have a much better sense of what the article is about.

Before you write it, you may have a general idea but you could end up going in an entirely different direction. And if that happens, your headline will not match the content.

It’s great if you’re good at writing headlines.

But writing headlines is its own unique skill, so if you can’t find the time to write a great headline or write several headlines and A/B test them, you need to hire a professional headline writer with fantastic reviews to take care this task for you.

Summary

At this point you should have:

  •         Found an exciting topic.
  •         Hired a great research writer.
  •         Hired an excellent copywriter/copy editor.
  •         Hired a great graphic designer.
  •         Hired a phenomenal headline writer.

When you get this content up on your site, you’re going to have dynamite articles that everybody loves. They are going to talk about them, comment on them, and your target audience will really engage with your content.

And if you use this particular system with all of your content, you are going to be pumping out fantastic articles all the time.

On the other hand, even if you only apply this methodology some of the time, some your blog posts are really going to shine.

That’s my method for creating high-quality content. I hope you find it useful.

If you need a blog writing help, come check out my blog writing service over here:

http://www.outreachmama.com/blog-writing/

If you have any other questions, you can leave a comment here and I’ll get back to you.

Good luck!

 

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Do Your SEO Services Include Content Marketing?

I think I can help you with this question, so I’m going to do my best to answer it now.

Content Marketing vs. Blogging

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For starters, let’s not mix up blogging with content marketing.

You’ll definitely find SEO agencies that publish blog posts to a site as part of their package. Yes, they’ll focus on link building, content optimization, and publishing content to a site.

We cannot confuse content marketing with blogging.

Content marketing is a multilayer approach to building an audience and generating leads.

Blogging is a lot different since it just consists of daily, weekly, or biweekly publishing of a blog post on a website. There really isn’t much to it other than sharing posts with the world on your blog.

And as you should be aware, blogging doesn’t consist of a deeper strategy like the hub and spoke model of content marketing.

The Difference between Blogging and Content Marketing

In the early stages of content marketing, you identify customers’ needs and wants, things that they are interested in, buyer types, and start developing content specifically tailored to their ideal target audience.

On the other hand, blogging does none of this. It has no promotional strategy involved whatsoever. And the cold hard truth is that an SEO agency probably can’t be good at everything.

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Examples of SEO Strengths & Weaknesses

Example: an SEO agency is phenomenal at link building. But they might not be at Onsite technical stuff.

Example: an SEO agency is great at Onsite technical stuff but they aren’t good at true content marketing.

Advice for SEO Agencies

First and foremost, if you are an SEO agency and you want to offer content marketing services, please remember that the customer always comes first.

So, do a deep dive into what content marketing really is. You have to learn how it works and know what the key components are. Then you can start to hire people that fit the right profile.

Before attempting this with clients, try it out for yourself on your own website.

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Hiring a Content Marketing Team

Once you start getting a grasp of what to look for pertaining to content marketing, you can start hiring and building a team and then offer your services.

Don’t mix up blogging with content marketing.

We took this path in my SEO agency.

My company strictly started off as an SEO agency and we realized the real power that good content marketing could have on an SEO campaign.

Content marketing is so authoritative that it gave us 10 times the firepower in our SEO arsenal.

When you are creating content that generates links, builds an email list, and generates traffic on its own, client satisfaction figuratively goes through the roof. You’re going to have very happy clients in this scenario.

And it’s so much more than client satisfaction. The quality metrics of your site also go sky high. And you’re generating links, your domain authority is going higher, and everything is working really, really well.

Your actual SEO activities compound the effects of content marketing and make them that much stronger.

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Approach This One Step at a Time

Yes, you have to take things one step at a time.

If you plan to offer blogging services, there’s a place for increasing the size of your site, and increasing the internal linking of your site. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with just blogging as long as you do it correctly.

On the other hand…

If you plan to offer content marketing, make sure you have a content manager on hand, you’ve got some really good content writers, you have a content editor on hand that can make sure everything looks clean, you have a graphic designer that can make images pop and look good, and your articles need good formatting.

And talking about articles, they need to be easily skimmed, and the longer the article is, the more likely it is that it’s good. So, never discount the value of long form articles.

Using Your SEO Chops

And this is where things get interesting, because you get to use your SEO chops on the backend.

Many content marketers are really great at the content portion, but they aren’t so good at promoting their content.

As a search engine optimization expert that specializes in something like high quality link building, not private blog network (PBN) stuff, you have a leg up on most content marketers because they don’t have the chops to drive good link building like most SEO marketers do.

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You can potentially offer the best of both worlds to your clients if you use all of your resources to the fullest.

That’s about it. I hope this helped.

If you have any other questions, you can always contact me here.

Thanks for reading.

Good luck!

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Reasons Why SEO is STILL the Best Marketing Strategy for Local Businesses

“SEO is dead!”

Outraged cries fill the streets as a disgruntled mob of entrepreneurs and marketers march towards Google’s headquarters, pitchforks in hand.

After all of these years of following Google’s best practices and slaving tirelessly over their precious keywords and algorithm updates, they have come to the unsettling realization that their efforts were all in vain.

And now, they are ready to exact their revenge on the “Wonder Twins” to make up for the years of lost time and money…

But there’s just one tiny little problem with the above scenario.

The angry mob has been wildly misinformed…

SEO is far from dead.

In fact, it is stronger and more important than it has ever been.   

From Google executives to top ranked marketing wizards like Neil Patel, nearly everyone in “The Know” agrees that SEO hasn’t died, it has just changed forms.

And this is especially true for smaller businesses.

If you can learn and master SEO, the sky is truly the limit.

It is the key to attracting high level clients in 2017 and if you learn to use it properly, you will experience an explosive growth in your client base and revenue that is unlike anything you have experienced before.

Imagine if you could cut your current marketing budget in half while simultaneously doubling or tripling your customer base.

Imagine if instead of spending hours upon hours endlessly searching for new leads and clients you could just sit back, take a sip of your iced macchiato, play a few rounds of Candy Crush, and watch clients come to you.

I know that this might sound like a pipe dream to some of you.

But for the entrepreneurs who have learned how to overcome Google’s psychological warfare and leverage local SEO, this is their reality.

If you are a small business owner looking to truly take your company to the next level in the new year, then you need to take a good, hard look at the following information.

The train is leaving the station and I can promise you that you don’t want to be left behind.

Reasons Why SEO is Still The Best Marketing Strategy for Local Businesses

Reasons Why SEO is STILL the Best Marketing Strategy for Local Businesses

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10 Content Marketing Hacks to Boost Your Business

Content marketing is by no means a new strategy. It’s a tried and true strategy that works.

Don’t believe me? Think of all the content you consume on a daily basis. Not just blog posts, but magazines, newspapers, books, TV advertisements.

All of these thrive on good content, and content marketing.

The best part?

Good content brings your website more traffic and can help attract more prospects and even convert them into paying clients.

Luckily, it also isn’t one you need specialized training or knowledge to use. Here are 10 things you can do right now that will help you get the most out of your content marketing.

#1 Make your content layout super easy to navigate.
When someone lands on your site, make sure they know how to find what they are looking for. Tag your blog posts appropriately to help your readers easily find your related posts. Also, make use of your website menu bar. It should be clear and really easy to navigate, like this:

#2 Write content with your customers in mind.
It’s one thing to get traffic with your content. It’s another to get targeted traffic. So, who are you trying to attract with your content? Take the time to research your ideal customers and find out what kind of information they are most interested in. Even better, ask your actual clients! Finding out what your current clients want will help you attract similar consumers.

#3 Keep them on your site longer.
If they like your content, give even more of it! Link to related posts within your content, as well as after your post. If you’re on WordPress, use a plugin like Yet Another Related Posts Plugin or WordPress Related Posts to automatically display content that’s similar to current post your reader is on.

#4 Target the right keywords.
Help new readers find you organically through the power of Google. To increase your chances of getting found, target a relevant long-tail keyword phrase that you know your audience is searching for. Where should they go in your content?

Plug your keyword phrase in your:

  • Blog post title
  • Within the first 100 words
  • Subheadings
  • The blog post URL
  • Image name and ALT text
  • Meta description

#5 Write content that goes viral.
I know; easier said than done. Exactly how do you write something that everyone wants to read and share? Here are some tips;

  • Write something really informative. It should go above and beyond other how-to posts out there.
  • Disprove something. Is there a common belief in your industry? Refute it and back up your point.
  • Write something emotional. Appeal to readers’ emotional side but writing something that will get into their minds, and into their hearts.
  • Take them back. Write something that resonates with your target audience. If your readers mostly grew up in the 80s, write something filled with nostalgia that will have them thinking back to their childhood.
  • Cover current news. People care about what’s happening now. If you can use it to your advantage go for it! Look at Oreo. During Super Bowl XLVII’s famous blackout, they jumped on it and immediate tweeted out this:

#6 Encourage social sharing.
You want your content shared, so make is really easy for your readers to help you out. Use a plugin to easily get social sharing buttons on the top and bottom, or on the side of each of your blog posts.

#7 Collect email addresses.
They’ve read your content, but they’re not quite ready to become a paying customer yet. And that’s okay!

So what’s the next best step?

Getting them on your mailing list. Place an opt in form right after your blog post to really increase conversions. Add your email subscription box to the end of each post using a plugin like Magic Action Box or PopupAlly.

#8 Include a call-to-action.
If your content relates to a product or service you offer, use it! Slip in a call-to-action into your post. One word of caution: Don’t be spammy. Make sure your content is extremely valuable and helpful, before you use it to promote.

And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a prompt for a paid product. You can simply ask people to sign up for your mailing list, or download something for free. Here’s a great example of a call-to-action at the end of blog post. It’s a free workbook, but signing up gets people on her mailing list.

#9 Write great content.
Quality over quantity definitely rings true in this situation. Make sure your content is

informative, actionable and well-written. Use tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to make sure your headline is catchy and engaging. And Hemingway Editor can help check your grammar and make sure your content is readable.

#10 Reuse your content.
You take all this time writing something worth reading and sharing, why not reuse it? Turn your most popular content into a video or podcast to reach a wider audience. Or group together similar posts into a downloaded eBook or an online webinar. You can even use quotes from your posts on social media.

Using great content to market a business has long been a successful marketing strategy. Use any of these 10 hacks to help you use your own blog content to really boost your business.

Bonus Resource: The Essential Guide to Content Writing for Explosive SEO Growth

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