Events, Industry News, SEO & Content Marketing

An integrated approach to SEO and content marketing

Written by Sukh Singh on 4th November 2021

Diving into integrated strategies at our New Frontiers in Digital Transformation & Digital Marketing event at Space Park Leicester was Anicca’s Head of SEO Sukhjinder Singh and Amy Hayward-Paine, who leads Content & PR.

The area of Content, PR and SEO is broad, but the three disciplines are increasingly being grouped together because of the benefits each delivers when driving engagement and conversion. At Anicca’s recent New Frontiers in Digital Transformation & Digital Marketing event at Space Park Leicester, Sukhjinder Singh and Amy Hayward-Paine explained the effectiveness of blending the approaches.

Sukh introduced the session by looking at what skill set you would be seeking if you were to employ one person to deliver an integrated SEO and Content Marketing approach. They would need to be skilled in:

  • Keyword research
  • Copywriting
  • On-page optimisation
  • Technical SEO
  • Local SEO
  • Content strategy
  • Link building
  • PR (press releases, writing)
  • Conversion rate optimisation
  • HTML/CSS
  • Website admin
  • Project management

With such a broad skill set needed, and with each commanding years of experience, this cannot be done by one person alone. Therefore, you need the support of a team of people, such as the SEO and Content team at Anicca Digital, who can provide you with the strategic approach and practical delivery required.

Our Content, PR and SEO team

Our teams are made up of six people.

  • Amy Hayward-Paine leads the Content & PR side, bringing over 20 years of communications experience to the role
  • Working with her are Sarah Ross, an ex-journalist who has extensive link building and optimisation experience
  • Mark Janes has a background in Event Management and not only is an excellent wordsmith, will plan and layout client campaigns
  • Zak Averre recently joined the team and is building on his organic SEO experience with new techniques in link building and optimisation
  • Sukh leads the SEO side, with over 13 years of SEO experience and 4 years of web development experience
  • Brad Longman has over 11 years of SEO experience, specialising in Technical and Local SEO and tracking and reporting

The team works proactively together to identify opportunities, identify new methods and platforms for content delivery and create engaging and relevant content.

The evolution of PR, content and SEO

So how has SEO and Content got to where it is today? From the dawn of time, Man has been communicating. Drawings made on cave walls are an early example of how Content was being shared. Fast-forward to the age of Mass Media with the arrival of the telephone and later the television, to propaganda during the War, to the first formation of PR agencies in 1945. The arrival of the world wide web was then the biggest step-change we have ever seen.

Its introduction was the first step into the digital era, a place where communication was now at the touch of a button or click of a mouse. With it came the need for brands to be ‘seen’ more online, resulting in search optimisation techniques. But like anything, these have evolved. Long gone are ‘click baiting’ techniques, buying followers and creating ‘spammy’ content. SEO has got sophisticated, and as such, now needs ongoing skill and insight-led data to help drive results and achieve goals.

Our integrated approach

Content is at the heart of what an integrated SEO team will deliver for your business. To work effectively, and efficiently, it needs a mix of tried and tested techniques to research, identify, create and seed your message, to the right audience, at the right time.

Shared Goals & Methods

There are a number of stages the SEO and Content team at Anicca use to achieve this:

Below is a bit more detail on some of the individual tasks we perform between our teams when starting an SEO, content and PR project.

Technical SEO

At the set-up stage, we perform technical SEO audits to determine how well the website is getting crawled (seen by search engines), indexed (stored by search engines), and displayed in the search results. We then focus on how well content is being engaged with on the site, e.g. page load speed and usability (or Page Experience/Core Web Vitals).

This and much more analysis is done not only at the set-up stage but on an ongoing basis, ensuring we’re maximising the use of all content, staying ahead of all potential upcoming Google Algorithm updates and making use of the latest techniques and technologies.

Keyword Research

Performed at the start of a campaign and on an ongoing basis, we will look for keyword and topic ideas that match your KPIs and target audiences, ensuring we are serving the same keywords your ideal customers are searching for. We pull from various sources of data, from tools, clients, competitors, and collaborate with our PPC and content teams for multi-channel projects.

The keywords gathered at this stage will inform the upcoming content optimisation.

Onsite Content Creation

With content being at the heart of our collaborative approach, we ensure our clients’ content helps their users perform the desired action (progress through the conversion funnel/engage and/or convert).

We will produce different types of content to trigger different results, such as rich snippets (or position zero), and image and video content for these specific results – as these two types of content are gaining more prominent real estate in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keywords are at the heart of the content we produce, taking the research done earlier in the process and optimising all content to appear in front of your target audience. The use of keywords also improves engagement and conversion rates once people land on your pages.

SEO Link Building & Earning

We will perform a backlink audit to see how strong your link profile currently is (flagging good, irrelevant and bad or spam links) and we will look at your competitor’s profiles – determining what content marketing, PR or link building activities have contributed towards their performance. This information will be part of a link building strategy (and potential link removal or disavow action) which is then passed on to our content and PR team to build into an ongoing content creation and marketing calendar.

There are several SEO-link building tactics we will employ such as broken link building, identifying content and link gaps on industry-related websites – where we will produce content for these sites to link to and service their users better, and a lot of SEO techniques.

The SEO, content and PR team will then collaborate on creative, content-lead link earning campaigns, leveraging good ideas and content to earn links. PR activity is also a big part of this activity, gaining links from this activity and out-reaching our content in a more proactive way.

Supporting Content Creation

Once the SEO team has completed the initial stages involving keyword research and mapping, backlink strategy and technical SEO audits, this information is then shared with the content team to facilitate this next stage of ongoing content creation and marketing. We will use several tactics to link-build and gain online visibility, depending on what is available to our client and what is going to be most relevant to their audience and KPIs, and of course, deliver the best results.

These tactics include utilising:

  • Blogs
  • Unique research
  • Guides
  • FAQs
  • Articles / Whitepapers
  • Press Releases
  • Video / webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Case studies

Content for B2B, STEM and Niche Markets

The B2B sector is unique in many ways and presents content marketers with a range of interesting ways to maximise reach and link building. Keyword research alone is a vital component of content creation as we can identify high search volume keywords that are low in competition and can trigger various types of search results – allowing you to take up more search real estate and get as much awareness as possible. This might include looking at what can you do differently to others in the sector and searching for the questions that are being asked – but are not being answered by other businesses.

The main objective is to build long-term relationships and drive conversion. Don’t look at content creation as a one-hit-wonder and something that will achieve your objectives and exceed your KPIs. Instead, consider it as a long-term plan, so ensure you can produce content consistently and with regular frequency. Whilst defining what you want to achieve from it, you also need to ensure it is relevant, valuable and consistent. We will also look at ensuring your content displays E.A.T. – Expertise, Authority and Trust, as these characteristics are a strong ranking factor to Google.

To facilitate the objective of building long-term relationships and drive conversion, your content has to generate interest, be engaging, educate, inform and entertain. B2B does not have to be boring! You want your customers, followers, fans, to bookmark your pages, visit your site regularly because of the content you are posting, build loyalty, resulting in conversions.

One way in which you can achieve this through content is by being a thought leader and sharing unique information and opinions. In other words, be the go-to for your industry.

PR Content Distribution

Tried and trusted PR techniques are still relevant, but instead of simply issuing a press release, we now ensure the information is optimised for keywords and to trigger specific search results, and is seeded to relevant media sites.

Make sure your outreach is regular, comprising of news, opinion pieces and insights sent to your target press. The B2B sector benefits from being able to tap into the Forward Features service offered in target publications, allowing you to proactively plan content, the most appropriate time to execute launches and seed features. To make this more effective, have proactive relationships with key editorial staff to enable more effective ‘pitching’ of stories and articles.

The press is still using Twitter to share news and views and is their go-to social media platform. Therefore, even if your business is not on this platform, follow your target press for news, insight and opportunities that will help you to cut through the noise.

Another proactive way to procure content and to get your business known is to have press-ready assets. Having an online newsroom facility with downloadable assets will enable you to get your stats, facts, and imagery over to your contact ahead of the crowd. And finally, as a B2B or STEM organisation, don’t disregard the national press. Broadsheets offer huge opportunities with supplements and features to publish your news and articles.

Third-Party Sites

Earned media, so likes/shares, coverage and blogs, can work harder for your business if shared on other sites. Why is this so effective? It drives credibility and adds a personal touch to your content marketing, something that is very important for B2Bs But, the key to this being effective is needing to know where your audience is consuming their content. You also gain SEO authority (depending on how high the domain authority of the site is) and potential referral traffic – which equals qualified visits. This means doing your research and using data-driven insights to inform where your opportunities lie.

  • Tactical ways to do this include creating specific content for sharing on third party sites, but our tip is to make it easy to access and post.
  • Consider building relationships with influencers and professionals who will run takeovers or post on their own sites.

Email

For B2Bs, using planned and frequent newsletter updates are a tried and tested format. By having ongoing, targeted communication with your existing customer base presents a great opportunity to grow conversions. But…manage your list, ensuring you update and refine it.

Make sure it is optimised for mobile and make room for repurposed newsletter content online – this allows you to benefit from SEO as well as “pushing” content to your audience.

We would suggest making it as easy as possible to generate sign-ups and conversions, but also be mindful of generating new data with gated content as this is perfect for lead generation. Finally, measure and refine your outreach and CTR, always having the customer journey front of mind.

Social

Depending on your target audience, social media presents another effective content platform. However, be clear on your objectives and personalise your content. To ensure you are making the most of SEO content, bring your story to life via case studies and socially driven insights, using your customers to tell your story.

Look beyond your marketing team for content generation, instead of looking inwards to those who help deliver your business and showcase them. B2Bs can leverage corporate news on social and expand your reach beyond LinkedIn using easy to touch language and imagery.

The popularity of video (and TikTok) is not going away, so use these insights to embrace visual content and video to tell your story. But importantly, measure and refine your message and distribution, and use paid social to amplify any organic messages that resonate with your target audience.

How can we help you?

We offer a seamless and integrated approach between our SEO, content and PR teams, with the option of us working for you on a task-by-task ad-hoc basis, or as an integrated part of your team on larger, long-term projects. We can also project manage and work with multiple stakeholders. We can also train your team to perform some tasks in-house and collaborate with them. We can help advise what solution we think would be best for you depending on your KPIs, internal resources and timeframe for performance.

The bottom line: We are flexible and here to help you reach your goals, so please contact us to get started.

View the recording here.

Download all slides from here.