Distributing and Measuring Part 3: Best Practices for SEO

by James Colvin - 09/23/15

Welcome to the final installment of our three-part series: Distributing and Measuring the performance of your content.

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To wrap up this series, let’s discuss the the final piece you should consider when crafting a content marketing strategy: SEO. Going back to the buying process, the goal of this content is to place it front and center during the Information Search step, so being optimized for search is integral. SEO is a large practice on its own (For a quick refresher, check out our infographic!), but you can focus on social sharing and the formatting of your content immediately.

Be a Social Butterfly

It might not be immediately obvious, but how much your content gets shared on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter can also affect how well it does in search engine rankings. If you want to dig a bit more into how these two channels affect each other, HootSuite has a comprehensive breakdown of how social media affects SEO.

Bottom line: A solid SEO strategy must also include a social media strategy. Post your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks. More engagement on social makes your content look good to Google, which means it will appear higher in search results, which means more people will find and share it, which means it will appear higher in the search results...It’s the circle of SEO. 

Write Headlines That Google—and Your Community—Loves

Convincing people to click on your content in the first place is another key part of SEO. Grabbing your readers’ attention immediately to convince them to look at the rest of the great content you’ve thoughtfully made is getting harder and harder. Just look at the research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information: The average attention span in 2015 is 8.25 seconds! Our attention spans are officially shorter than the attention span of a goldfish. That means you have a short window to pique readers’ interest and get them to really pay attention. If you can’t grab them with your headline, you’re going to lose them.

There are a lot of guides out there about how to write strong headlines (this one from Neil Patel and this guide to the perfect blog post from Koozai are favorites of mine). Here are a few general pointers to keep in mind:

  1. Use active voice. It’s more direct and engaging than passive voice.

  2. Make it short. Ensure your headline is 55 characters or fewer. Otherwise it will get cut off in search listings.

  3. Tell readers what benefit they’ll get from the content. Make it clear how this content will be of value. What will they learn, improve, etc. by consuming your content?

While I’ve condensed this process down to three large buckets, there is a lot of work that goes on inside each one. A good content marketing strategy doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of forethought and careful consideration, just like anything else worth doing. 

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