Knowing your buyer personas well and what they're looking for is an important first step. But ranking on search engines takes more than that. Read on to find out why.
By Liz Lemarchand, MediaDev
As everyone in the marketing world has come to know and accept, content is king. You can’t do anything if you don’t have content; it has become an essential part of the buyer journey, which now more than ever is happening with less direct involvement from sales. The purpose of any inbound marketing strategy is to help improve your brand’s visibility online so that people come to you. One of the best ways to do this is by writing content around effective keywords.
While I could get into a long post about SEO, algorithms, AdWords and online advertising, I’ll keep this simple. Writing content with keywords in mind helps. Is it the only thing you can do to rank higher in search engines and enable prospects to find you? No. But it still helps, and is a relatively easy way to ensure that the content you do create is relevant for your brand.
Determining the right keywords that are being used by your target audience and ranking highly for them on search engines can be a big boost to your inbound lead generation initiative. It’s crucial to use these keywords in your content to increase your chances of being found. Of course, if no-one is searching for the keywords you're targeting, it’s a waste of your time; and if you’re only targeting keywords that have an extremely high search volume, it will be hard to compete with bigger sites. There needs to be just the right balance between the two so that you can find your niche and rank highly for it.
Here’s how to get started:
Understand your buyer personas
Knowing the audiences you want to target and what’s important to them is the first step to successfully brainstorming those keywords. In the B2B world, this may be done around job roles since not all decision-makers are alike: a finance decision-maker is not going to have the same needs as someone in HR, or IT, or Supply Chain. Writing a few buyer persona stories really can help you put yourself into your ideal prospect’s shoes. It will help you understand what his/her challenges are, why he/she needs your product, and what he/she will use it for.
Keeping your audience's preferences in mind before you create content will also help you better engage with them and convert them into sales faster. Content is and will continue to be a driving force in the marketing world for years to come; making sure your content is relevant, and that it gets into the hands of the people you want to see it, is key to ensuring a successful beginning of the buyer journey.
Conduct an audit
Conducting an audit is a good way to understand your current content ecosystem to know what’s working and what needs improvement. By doing this, you’ll be able to analyze how your content is performing, and how you can optimize it. You may also want to take a look at your key competitors to see how they rank compared to yourself; this will help you determine ways to make the new content you create stand out from the crowd.
Once you have had the chance to get to know your buyer personas and you see how your content is currently doing, it’s time to brainstorm the keywords that are most important for your business. Again, the key is not to be too general. MediaDev provides many marketing services, but if I say my keyword is “marketing” that is way too vast — I can’t rank for that because it’s just too big. Think of something smaller, more niche that people could be looking for. Using MediaDev again as an example, if you search for “ISV OEM marketing,” we’re actually ranked 5th on Google… Pretty cool huh? Find that specification that makes you stand out, but still has the potential to be real terms people are going to use when searching.
Once you get to this point, it’s time to get started creating content. Think of interesting topics around your keywords that you find inspiring, and write the content you think is best suited to your audience. Blogs, vlogs, infographics and case studies are all great additions to any website; you may also need to give your website itself a make-over to get with the times. The sky is the limit — and if you’re looking to rank on search engines in multiple countries, don’t forget that local language content is key.
Monitor and convert
Ranking highly in keyword searches takes patience. Just because you write a great blog post with the perfect keywords doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you’re going to be ranked #1. It’s important to monitor results over time to see how the ranking changes — of course, the more content you have around those keywords, the better the chances you have of ranking higher. It’s important to keep in mind that ranking is a process (and actually involves the domain authority of your website and other SEO techniques as well) so it’s not one of those things you just check off of your to-do list and then you’re done. It needs to be continued over time and directly linked to your overall inbound strategy KPIs. Having prospects find you is the first step, but it doesn’t end there; converting visitors into leads takes things to the next level. Once a prospect starts engaging with your content, that’s when you can start to reel them in.
While keyword searches can be a complex topic (and vary greatly from one business to another), designing a successful strategy can be done with the right planning. Putting in place the framework to develop relevant content that your buyer personas find and engage with will help put you on the map, and soon at the top of the search engine results.
MediaDev is a marketing services provider serving clients in the IT and technology industries. For over 20 years and with over 200 employees globally, we have been helping big and small players alike to grow their businesses, branch out into new markets, promote their products and services, and connect with strategic business partners.
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