The say that content is king, but to many this has become a vacuous and meaningless sound-bite for the digital age. This has caused some to overlook the importance of content creation, and particularly the technical elements that drive consumer engagement and increased levels of search engine traffic.

Herein lies the issue with content marketing, as while it is playing an increasingly seminal role in promoting brands many lack the awareness or the expertise to leverage this discipline effectively.

In this article, we will therefore look at the importance of leveraging content to market your brand, and share how you can create copy that engages human audiences while getting you higher on Google.

Understand the Types of Content That You Should Publish

Although there is need to create content that appeals to both humans and Google’s constantly changing algorithms, it is fair to say that some tactics enables marketers to meet both of these requirements simultaneously. By understanding the most engaging types of content and publishing these regularly on your blog, for example, you can appeal to a targeted human audience while also creating tangible, online assets that attract inbound links and enhance your search engine ranking.

So what types of content should you prioritise on your website?

In simple terms, content that offers value to human readers is the most valuable from the perspective of brands. Content that includes in-depth data and accurate statistics (that are relevant to your marketplace, of course) provides a relevant case in point, as this creates natural hooks for engaging readers and enables fellow authors to link organically to the page. This is a simple but effective content strategy, and one that has enabled authority sites such as the Office of National Statistics to build a profile with links from more than 22,000 domains.

Interactive content has also become increasingly popular in recent times, with real-time polls providing an extremely effective method of engaging readers directly and encouraging social sharing. Similarly, how-to tutorials (including both text and video) offer a clearly-defined and tangible value proposition to readers, particularly when they relate to the product or service that you are trying to sell.

With these types of content in mind, how should they be put together to enhance the universal appeal of your online proposition? Firstly, you should create a diverse array of valuable content for your blog and website, ensuring that each piece offers tangible value and includes tangible assets that authors can link to naturally.

Secondly, it is worth developing an overarching content creation strategy and calendar for your blog, as this ensures that you are able to plan ahead while maintaining the necessary levels of diversity and engagement. This also allows you to make allowances for future events, as you look to create topical content that can drive social traffic in real-time.

Manage the Technical Elements of Creating Online Content

With a progressive calendar and an open-minded approach to the type of material that you publish, the next step is to ensure that you meet the technical requirements of content creation.

While the most important aspect of your content is that it is valuable and engaging, for example, current trends suggest that it is wise to prioritise longer-form content where possible. There are

various reasons for this, but in simple terms type of in-depth and data rich material is decidedly more effective at engaging readers, driving social traffic and helping to establish your brand as a thought leader in its chosen field.

A study by Backlinko also highlighted a strong correlation between page length and search engine ranking, suggesting that the insight and value offered by content is emerging as an indirect metric that Google uses to appraise online material. More specifically, the average length of content ranking on Google’s first page is estimated at 1,890 words, so there is a clear emphasis being placed on longer-form pieces that strive to engage, inform and educate readers.

On a similar note, readability is also being given increased credence by content marketers, as while this remains an indirect ranking factor it is expected to play an increasingly significant role in appraising web pages over time. It is therefore crucial to optimise this when crafting content for your site, paying attention the visibility, perceptibility and ease with which your posts can be read at speed. In general terms, however, strive to use concise and impactful sentences, while also adopting an active tense and conversational tone to make your material more engaging.

These considerations, along with the optimization of your content through the use of keyword descriptions and meta tags, will help to ensure that you create insightful and readable material that can both engage and boost your online ranking simultaneously.

Choose (and Utilize) Your Keywords Wisely

While everyone knows that keywords have a seminal impact on your search engine ranking (particularly in relation to competitors), they can also influence the way in which your content is perceived by human readers.

After all, the excessive use of branded anchors or exact match keywords usually detracts from the quality of your content, devaluing the impact of your message and transforming your post into a clumsy and unappreciated sales pitch. While this type of overt approach, which prioritized the quantity of keywords and anchors ahead of the quality of the content in question, is extremely ineffective in the modern age and more likely to see your post penalized than boost its ranking.

With this in mind, what should be you key considerations when choosing and utilizing keywords for your content?

In terms of selection, much will depend on the competitiveness of your industry and your place within it. For those who operate in competitive markets that has several, dominant players, however, you may find greater value in long-tail keywords that tend to be more specific and more complex in their nature. The main advantage of these is that they have a relatively low search volume and are therefore easier to rank for, while they can also be cultivated to suit the precise product or service that you are selling.

This also enables you to create new and viable keywords from scratch, which can in turn provide you with a key competitive advantage over your rivals.

When it comes to applying your keywords and using them within your content, it is important to adopt a conservative approach that values the quality and the integrity of the post ahead of anything else. So, only include relevant keywords that fit organically into the content and do not detract from its unique value proposition, as this will ensure that you strike a viable balance that affords your work the best possible chance of success. The same principle applies when linking from specific keywords and phrases, as you must leverage natural anchors that fit within the context of each post.