“Content marketing” is a topic of interest to many b2b technology marketers.
It’s incredible to think there’s almost no limit to how much digital information can be released online. But information only becomes useful to your prospects and customers when it’s organized into formats such as white papers, case studies, technology guides, FAQs, email newsletters etc.
Having then made it available online doesn’t mean that people will easily find it. You need to take steps, many of them automated, to help market that content 24 x 7.
Of course, a percentage of your audience will hear about it by way of a conversation or referral. This could be offline or online. Someone forwards your email newsletter to a colleague, and they sign up. Or your company’s name is mentioned on Twitter and followers take note.
But don’t forget that there are many others using online search to help solve a business problem… and who don’t know your solutions even exist!
You can increase their probability of discovering you online by:
a) Buying online ads (such as Google Adwords) and targeting people searching for specific keyword phrases or brands (yours!).
b) Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) procedures that help content rank highly for specific phrases likely to be of interest to these prospects.
In this post I’m highlighting the importance of b) to your content marketing strategy, so that when search engine spiders come visiting, your online content is more easily indexed and ranked.
And how to do that? Isn’t this the preserve of SEO consultants and gurus?
Well, yes, sometimes that is the case.
But there is a free and very valuable alternative way of gaining a good, working knowledge of SEO… and that’s to learn from Google’s own content marketing efforts.
Just visit Google.com and search for “Google Webmaster Central”, where you should find a section title ‘Webmaster Links’. Click on ‘Webmaster Guidelines’ and read that page for some good background information.
In the right hand column of that page you should find a section called ‘Help resources’. Click the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ link and you’ll be able to download (or just read online) Google’s 32 page pdf document, search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf. (File size 4 MB.)
Alternatively, if Google moves their content around and these links no longer work, just search for the pdf file.
This document is a great backgrounder for getting to grips with ‘on-page’ SEO and does not focus much on the ‘off-page’ aspects of link building. I found it useful to skim the sub-heads before reading the details. Here is the table of contents from the version I downloaded:
– SEO Basics
– Create unique, accurate page titles
– Make use of the “description” meta tag
– Improving Site Structure
– Improve the structure of your URLs
– Make your site easier to navigate
– Optimizing Content
– Offer quality content and services
– Write better anchor text
– Optimize your use of images
– Use heading tags appropriately
– Dealing with Crawlers
– Make effective use of robots.txt
– Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links
– SEO for Mobile Phones
– Notify Google of mobile sites
– Guide mobile users accurately
– Promotions and Analysis
– Promote your website in the right ways
– Make use of free webmaster tools
There is a wealth of free SEO information available at Google Webmaster central and I’d encourage b2b tech marketers to become more familiar with their content.
Mark McClure: Freelance IT Case Study Writer, Asia-Pacific
PS – This post was originally published on technologymarketers.com but is included here because of a change in business plans by the fine folks at technologymarketers. I very much enjoyed working with them and hope our paths cross again.