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Winning Semantic Search with Smart Content Marketing

Marketers are buzzing about content marketing and with good reason. September’s Hummingbird update signaled Google’s largest algorithm overhaul since 2001 and refocused marketers’ attention on semantic search.

What exactly is semantic search?

Semantic search is essentially “conversational search,” an effort to improve search engine understanding of user intent with contextual intelligence.

In short, Google released Hummingbird to specifically increase accuracy for long tail search queries and the anticipated increase in spoken mobile search.

Where does content marketing come in?

Quality content is the foundation of a successful SEO strategy. As Google Head of Webspam Matt Cutts is often quoted, “Content is King.” What you really need to know is how to build a content strategy that satisfies both prospects and search engines. Here’s how to get started:

1) Pass the Google quality content test.

First, assess your content gap. How much content do you need to even compete for the coveted top search rankings?  Start with the content gap analysis formula:

[(# of Possible Topics – Covered Topics) * # of Buyer Personas] * # of Funnel Stages

This will give you the bare minimum amount of content you need to cover your bases as the foundation of your SEO strategy.

Frequent, fresh, and unique content passes Google’s quality content test. Creating fresh content frequently encourages Google to crawl your website frequently. Track your progress with Google Webmaster Tools.  Submit your XML site map and take note of the indexed-to-submitted pages ratio. If your content strategy continues to close that gap overtime, it’s working. Then, establish uniqueness by claiming your content with Google authorship and publisher markup

2) Win the new self-informed buyer with content.

So, now that your brand is visible in search, what happens when prospects find your content? The new self-informed buyer moves 60% of the way through the sales funnel before they engage with sales reps. Brand content has to be good enough to do the selling for you.

Nurture your prospects by creating content for each stage of the sales cycle. Whether it’s an educational blog post, intermediate how-to guide, or a cutting-edge industry whitepaper, your content needs to cater to your prospect’s current needs.

For more tips on building a content strategy that sells, watch our on demand webinar, “Secrets to Brilliant Content Marketing”.