Content and search are aptly placed at the center of Edelman’s Media Cloverleaf for good reason—great content deserves to be found.
Owned media is the one area where you can potentially produce and control content powerful enough to be counted with traditional, hybrid and social media search results. Combine rich owned content with a targeted PR campaign, and you can start playing on the same field—and with close to the same rules—as the media, supporters, critics and communities.
So, how do you talk the walk in Search Engine Management—search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM)—to help your content rise to the top? Here are five ways:
1. Listen online to identify keywords
Listening is one of the most crucial steps in creating digital media content. What are your key publics saying about your company? Where do they say it, and through what media—on blogs, in forums and through video or comments? Social media monitoring tools like Radian6, BlogPulse, Social Mention and Simply Measured can help you easily identify keywords and mediums so that you can arm yourself with a strategy to talk to your target audiences in their lingo and find them in the places where they’re having those conversations.
2. Does your company’s brand align with what consumers/key audiences are searching for?
Search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of knowing what we want to ask before we ask it. Step inside the shoes of your target audience. If you were trying to find a specific company, what would you search for? Social websites like Quora also provide insights into trending topics by identifying frequently asked questions. Maybe your company is just the brand to provide the answer. Use Google’s keyword tool to find commonly-searched terms related to your brand, product or service. Use Google Insights for Search or Google Trends to understand geographic considerations, rising related searches and spikes in conversation over time.
3. Tagging isn’t just for Facebook
But, in the same way that “tagging” a picture helps you easily see your friends’ latest pictures in your newsfeed, tagging your content helps your key publics find your content. Meta tags are keyword descriptors attached to the content you have created and are important for search engines to determine the subject of the webpage. The meta tags that matter are title tags, description tags and keyword tags.
4. Make it relevant
With your newly discovered keywords and phrases, you may be tempted to slather them over content like frosting on a birthday cake. But, as they say, less is more. The last thing you want is for your content to sound like a sales pitch. Be authentic. Search engines are equipped to recognize spam and websites that are looking to “game the system” so to speak. When publishing content, make sure it reads and sounds natural. For a keyword to be recognized as relevant by search engines it should have a 3-7 percent keyword density. Also, consider these tools for checking out keyword density: SEOBook, SEOCentro and WebConfs.
5. Make it shareable
Integrating social media into your website and online initiatives can have a tremendous impact on the visibility of your company or brand. News content receives on average a 7x lift in average search views when shared socially vs. when not. Evergreen content receives on average a 3x lift in average search views when shared socially vs. when not. Additionally, whenever possible, consider embedding video from YouTube, especially the company/brand’s channel, or images from Pinterest. This tactic allows you to boost the optimization of the post, as well as the brand’s content and Flickr and YouTube channels.
Have you had success in creating owned content optimized for the Web? Let us know what tools you used and why it was a success in the comments below!