Content is an essential part of search marketing. It helps brands reach target audiences, attract new customers and build relationships over time. 91% of companies already use content to engage audiences and market products and services. But it’s getting harder for brands to be found by customers online.
Balancing between SEO and customer-focused content can be tricky, 41% of companies see minimal success from their approach to content marketing. Too much focus on SEO may please search bots but will fall flat with audiences, and while focusing on content looks great to your audience, without SEO optimisation, they won’t find it in the first place.
Content is split into 3 categories: Hygiene, Hub and Hero.
Each category meets different SEO and customer engagement goals. They’re made up of different types of written and visual content but are all crucial for making content strategy successful.
Hygiene forms the foundation of your content strategy and website, providing answers, getting conversions and driving enquiries online. It includes:
- Website copy
- Product descriptions
- Category pages – including imagery, videos and copy
As it is search-focused, the aim is to get content ranking for relevant search terms to draw in customers. It might also fulfil customer journey micro-moments meaning you’re better placed to show up for searches like ‘restaurants near me’.
A great example is product pages. With the right content structured for SEO they’ll appear at just the moment when users are looking to buy something. Along with website content, product pages should give customers everything they need to know before committing to buy. Getting them right increases the chance of conversion and reduces return rates because customers know exactly what to expect.
It gives customers a feel for your brand, and is the perfect way to establish your messages and tone of voice.
Hub keeps your site fresh by regularly showcasing your expertise. It is the regular content you produce and post on your website and the focus of most content marketing efforts. It includes:
- Articles and blogs
Just like hygiene content, hub helps to pull in audiences from search engine results pages. It should focus on topics and questions that relate to your brand and audience. Search engines are always seeking out and indexing new content because the more up-to-date it is, the more relevant and helpful it is for users. Keeping your blog updated improves chances of gaining a higher position.
Hub content can be pushed out on social media, email and with outreach, giving it value beyond organic search. It should be interesting and helpful to position you as an expert, while appealing to your audience’s interests and meeting their needs.
By talking about customers’ interests, you can resolve an issue they have, answer a burning question or give them an idea. This draws in new customers and re-engages existing customers with content that interests them, making them advocates for your brand.
Although hub content doesn’t drive many direct conversions, it engages audiences, builds awareness of products or services and positions you as a helpful expert – growing your base of fans who will come back for more.
Hero is the big campaigns that build brand awareness and boosts site traffic and new customers. The “cherry on top of the cake”, it’s content that is newsworthy or extremely sharable and comes in many formats:
Hero content generates interest from the media or relevant websites making it ideal for link building and off-page SEO strategies. If they pick up your content and create content based around it, they’ll often include a link to the original –passing on referral traffic.
Search engines treat links directing users to a page as a virtual thumbs up. They show that the page is helpful and high quality, otherwise people wouldn’t link to it. This helps your site’s domain authority (DA), which informs search engines’ rankings.
Hero content helps potential customers find your brand. From a link featured in their favourite publication or by discovering cool content you’ve created after their friend shared it on social media. Although this is mass targeting, creating link building content based on a relevant topic and building links from publications aligned with your target audience will get you in front of the right people.
And going big with content will keep your brand in the front of their minds.
With hygiene content as the basis of your website, regular hub content to engage your audience and the occasional hero campaign, you’ll have a well-rounded strategy that works for both your organic search and your customers.