The Golden State Warriors basketball team has already broken a number of NBA records in their pursuit to break the longest win streak in NBA history. However, even if you’re not a fan of the NBA or the Warriors, there are lessons that can be drawn from the team’s tremendous feat. Our team sat down this week to discuss content marketing, a popular marketing strategy, and how website owners can take a lesson from the Warriors to improve their content marketing… and their SEO score.
SEO is a strategy that takes some effort, and, contrary to some peoples’ beliefs, just because you rank for a keyword today (especially a keyword or keyword phrase that is competitive) doesn’t mean your competitors won’t put their own strategy in place to “steal” your relevancy through a more consistent and persistent SEO effort. Just like the Golden State Warriors, if your team (or you, if you’re the owner or sole proprietor) doesn’t show up every day and produce quality work, eventually you’ll struggle to compete with those “teams” that are executing day in and day out. But what do you do when you’re just starting out and/or operating on a tighter budget, and you don’t have much money to spend on a professional to handle SEO for you? We suggest you start with publishing relevant content. And often.
This may seem pretty obvious, but when we speak to many of our clients this is one thing we almost always advocate that they do even if we’re writing some of the content for them. Why?
• Your content will be unique and Google LOVES unique.
• It allows you to showcase a little of your expertise to prospects and partners, and can keep people coming back to your website for future ideas.
• If your targeted keywords are part of the content, it will help increase your page rank over time.
• You control the quality of the content. No third party can possibly care as much about your business and your industry as much as you, so your own content will help that enthusiasm shine through.
• You can be timely and relevant in the topics you speak about, which is an easy way to latch on to what’s trending and increase your odds that your content ranks.
So how does your company become the Golden State Warriors of content marketing and SEO? Here’s a process we would suggest:
1. Explore Google Trends and pull from ideas that have been popular in recent weeks. People always ask us why we advocate this, and it usually stems from this question: “None of the trending topics are ever about my industry, so why would I use this?” First off, the trending topics don’t need to be about your industry. Take the article you’re currently reading, for example. While we write this, the Golden State Warriors are trending as a result of their (currently) undefeated season in the NBA. So, what if the title of our article was, “How Content Marketing Can Be Improved By Analyzing the Golden State Warrior Winning Streak”? What would we write about? Maybe we would draw parallels between a team-written blog with consistently well-written and detailed articles and why not relying on a single player to win a game is the reason Golden State continues to beat its opponents. The reality is, it doesn’t matter. You just want to draw readers in, and take advantage of what people are already searching for on the Internet.
2. Once you’ve found an idea for your latest post, just start writing. Writing about what, you ask? Anything! Not every article needs to be researched and sourced, and not every article needs to be 3,000 characters long. Just look at Twitter. Twitter gives you 140 characters to convey a message, yet how many people view these tweets and act upon them in some way? Millions! The point is, don’t worry about the length. Worry about the quality and completeness of a thought, and whether it will get your readers to act.
3. Now that you’ve written your article, it’s time to maximize it’s benefits to your website through internal and external links. Internal links have great SEO benefit because they allow readers to easily transition from one page to another based on what they’re reading and the actions you want them to take. They also keep people from “bouncing”, or coming to your website and immediately leaving, and increase the amount of time spent reviewing the rest of the content on your website. So, read through your article and find words or phrases that can be used to link to other parts of your website. External links, on the other hand, are links that lead readers to another website. For example, above I linked to Google Trends. Why? It’s looked upon favorably by Google when you’re not constantly building links just to your site, and it also gives you an opportunity to swap links with another website. Let’s say that there is a complementary product (but not direct competition) that you referenced in your article. You could reach out to that other company to let them know, and ask them if they would mind putting your link somewhere within their website. What’s the benefit to you? It’s free advertising to their readership, and if their page rank is higher than yours it’ll give your website an SEO boost if visitors come to it through the link on that higher page ranked site.
4. With your article written, and links embedded, you’re probably wondering where to post your content. Before Google’s Panda update, which we saw more of a penalty around duplicate content, people who spent time creating quality articles thought it best to get it out on as many websites and social media accounts as possible. We no longer believe this is optimal. Even though we know you spent all that time writing a great article and want to make sure you maximize the number of eyeballs on it, it can actually do you more harm than good to repost your content in multiple locations. That’s why we suggest you put content in a single location only, or you make sure that any of the publishing websites you use (for example, Search Engine Journal) will allow you to use a rel=canonical reference to ensure Google doesn’t penalize you for duplicate content!
5. Lastly, if you want to go above and beyond with your content marketing, forum discussions and the like can be a great way to increase the number of backlinks to your article. Reddit, for instance, has emerged as a really powerful social medium for expertise in certain areas. If you join groups relevant to your industry, you’ll likely find tons of user-generated questions that you can answer (and reference your article in) that will give you a static link back to your article for future Reddit users with the same question. For the record, it doesn’t have to be Reddit. You can do this same strategy on all social media websites.
So, if you’re looking to improve on your content marketing strategy and also want to save some of your SEO budget, we suggest you start with the process outlined above. The Warriors didn’t become the team they are today overnight, so keep doing the right things week in and week out and eventually you’ll be dominating your competition! And if you don’t know how your website currently ranks, or just want a second opinion, we suggest you check out our Free SEO Report.
Good luck and good writing!