The opportunities and developments in content marketing – the relationship with SEO
Content marketing is an important topic for businesses to consider, but how can it play a role in search engine optimisation (SEO)? 1&1 SEO expert Torben Henke talks about the difference that good content can make to online success.
Torben, you work in the field of search engine optimization. Why is SEO also important for you internally at 1&1?
Torben Henke Although it’s a specialism, many of my colleagues, either consciously or subconsciously, have touchpoints in their work that relate to SEO – so it’s great to be able to offer them support in this field. As 1&1 offers a variety of web hosting services, we have a vested interest in ensuring our customers create websites that are successful. SEO is a crucial tool for this, and therefore plays an important role in product management.
Which role does “content marketing” have in this context?
Torben Henke: Content marketing is absolutely a trending topic, and something all SMB’s need to take into consideration. The fact is every business produces written content in some form, whether this refers to webpages, blog posts, reports or specialist articles. This content has a direct influence on SEO, as websites that regularly produce high quality written content will significantly increase their SEO.
That is why this potential relationship between content marketing and SEO is so interesting to us, as is our commitment to helping small businesses achieve online success. One of the ways we do this is through our Digital Guide, which offers numerous tips and tricks, background information and instructions for private users and small businesses around the topic of ‘being successful online’. This includes advice on topics such as websites, hosting and IT security, but also domains, online marketing and of course search engine optimisation.
How do you define content marketing?
Torben Henke: In short, content marketing refers to the support of customers and brands with meaningful content. For example, supermarkets often provide customers with content relating to recipes on their websites, as well as meal planner tools allowing consumers to plan and budget. This type of content marketing encourages and simplifies the purchasing process for consumers.
How are content marketing and search engine optimization related?
Torben Henke: I see it this way, if you were just to recite a passage of Shakespeare – that alone wouldn’t constitute a play. A play would require other specific factors such a stage and spectators. If you apply the same principle to SEO, the stage would be the technology with which content is presented optimally, and the spectators become the traffic on our websites. We ‘SEOs’ take care of both: we pay attention to technical solutions that make content available and, above all, easy to find. It’s through this visibility that we can then drive users towards relevant and interesting content, and in turn increase brand awareness for SMBs. By affectively marketing your content to web browsers, your SEO will begin to increase.
Also from a sales point of view, good content is becoming increasingly important for SEO. Take a look at Google’s quality approach: If you are a strong brand and offer high quality products, this must also be reflected in the quality of the content. Doing so, you clearly differentiate from spammers and improve your Google ranking.
Speaking of Google: What developments are currently being discussed in the SEO scene?
Torben Henke: Google is increasingly focusing on good content. Recently these have been highlighted on the search results pages. Matches that respond well to a search request will be displayed significantly larger and above the other search hits To speak in terms of SEO the phrase ‘place 0’ has been established to refer to these featured snippets, as they are displayed above the first regular search result.
This has caused some controversy; on the one hand, it offers an opportunity for wide scale read, on the other hand it means some questions are answered directly in the excerpt provided by the search engine, so clicking on the website becomes superfluous.
What do you have to keep in mind if you want to get started with content marketing?
Torben Henke: Whilst, as we’ve already mentioned, all businesses will produce a significant quantity of content, what’s more important is the quality. In a market that is so saturated – businesses need to stand out for the crowds. The goal here should be “10X content”, meaning your content must be ten times better than anything else on the subject.
Also think about your audience, the content must match the seeker’s intention. If the search request is a question, for example “What is webhosting?” don’t direct the searcher to hard-hitting sales offers. Instead, a neutral and detailed explanation can provide a positive first contact with the brand. At the other extreme, a customer who is looking for “cheap” does not want to read 2,000 words on the history of the internet. In this case, a list of savings makes significantly more sense.
In short: create good content and get it out there!