Content marketing is a moving target. What could be considered a best practice today may be black hat tomorrow. But there are a number of content marketing best practices that should stand the test of time.
Let’s take a look at 4 content marketing best practices that often fly under the radar but are essential to success. We’ll also share a tip or two on how to implement them into your current content marketing strategy.
Semantic Search & User Intent
Before search engines rolled out semantic search back in the early 2010s, outranking the competition was a matter of publishing the most content with the most instances of a targeted term.
Since then, content marketers have been looking at a multilayered system that requires much more forethought and understanding of a target audience’s mindset around not only a brand but the industry in which it resides.
Quick Tip: After listing out the key terms you want to target, go 1 step further by placing those keywords into categories and compiling a list of mid-to-long-tail terms to incorporate into specific types of content and pages across the site.
Updating Old Content
Search engines thrive on fresh content. As such, the most recently published content tends to rank higher in search results.
A healthy blog will publish anywhere from 2–4 posts per week, around 100–200 per year. Add that up over a few years and a blog could be sitting on potentially thousands of posts, many of which no longer carry much, if any, SEO benefit. Instead of letting all that content collect dust in the SERP boneyard, breathe new life into it.
Quick Tip: Revisit content that was once high performing and see if the subject matter is worth an update. Or you can put a new spin on the topic altogether. Search engines will see these updates, recrawl the page, and treat it as fresh content.
Content Format Diversity
The format in which content is presented can be just as important as the subject matter.
While the Visual-First Method has become a dominant content marketing strategy, it’s not so much about jumping on the latest trends and producing content across all those formats as it is about picking specific formats that will have the greatest impact on audience engagement.
Quick Tip: Review past top-performing content and look for trends. Is it data-heavy or story-driven, verbose or succinct? This will provide you some direction on what alternate formats to research. If you find yourself stuck or are new to the content marketing game, consult a professional who can help steer you in the right direction.
Review Content Performance
When it comes to content marketing best practices, this may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s so critical to success that it needs to be included on this list.
There are plenty of tools out there (maybe too many) that provide more than enough data (maybe too much) for content marketers to make informed decisions on their strategies. The trick is to avoid vanity metrics. Instead, focus on those metrics that tie to conversions, and make sure to review them on a consistent basis — weekly at minimum.
QuickTip: Track your content by setting up custom campaigns in Google Analytics. You can do this by using Google’s Campaign URL Builder. Then set weekly, monthly, and quarterly reminders on your calendar to review content metrics.
The common thread in all these best practices is having a clear understanding of your audience and their interaction with your content so you can provide the information that matters most to them.
What content marketing best practices do you adhere to? Let us know in the comments below!