A few years ago, content marketing was all the rage. It was going to save Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts and was present in nearly every online marketing strategy available. So, what has happened to the reputation of content marketing? Why is it getting a bad rap, now (or is it)?

First of all, content marketing is not dead - far from it; though it may be ineffective for many who are going about it all wrong.

It has, however, gone through a drastic change. For this reason your SEO marketing methods and goals need to evolve and progress as well if you want success. Why? Because content marketing and SEO work together, despite what others may believe.

3 SEO Ranking Factors to Consider

Search engines are constantly tweaking their search engine algorithms and approaches to deliver accurate and valuable search results better to online users.

While there is no magic "formula" you can follow to skyrocket to the top of the pack, there are methods and strategies to improve your rankings.

First and foremost is understanding what major search engines consider when determining good, quality websites to include in applicable search engine results.

Google has identified its top three overall factors in 2016:

  • Content - Website content, blogs, video, images, tweets, infographics, slide decks, reviews and more.
  • Links - Incorporates ranking, trust flow, citation flow and more. Links are especially important for local SEO strategies.
  • RankBrain - Google's machine learning algorithm that works to improve search results based on the user behavior data that Google feeds it. RankBrain simply scours Google to produce the most relevant search results.

These ranking factors incorporate a virtual list of subcategories, features, and criteria to determine where your website will "land" in various searches.

Related: The Top 3 Local Search Ranking Factors for 2016 [Video]

7 Reasons Why Content Marketing Fails

If you're creating tons of content, linking to it and promoting it on social media, what on earth can you be doing wrong?

The mere existence of lots of content and links is not sufficient. The quality has to be there, as do other factors that can either boost your visibility or relegate it to the dark, back pages of the internet.

1. Content Quality

Visitors to your website love high-quality content.

You need content that delivers compelling, yet engaging and information. That means, your content is free of grammatical errors, is recent and original.

If users find it shareable (linkable), you have succeeded.

2. Duplicate Content

Unique and original content is still essential to your strategy. Duplicate content, copied blogs and repetitive topics and information are taboo. Search engines detect this issue immediately, and you can be penalized in the search results.

3. Lack of Optimized Visuals

Failing to incorporate visuals into your content is a big mistake. Don't rely on the written word in today's internet. Search engines consider your content to be of higher quality when accompanied by incorporate images.

Outside of search engines, people want images, visuals, video, infographics, slideshows and other methods of active engagement to attract and hold their attention.

Pro Tip: Add Alt tags containing a relevant keyword for every image you have on your website.

4. Inadequate Meta Information

Users have a lot of choices. Even if your website appears on the first page of the search results, you may not get the click you need because your title and meta descriptions are simply not convincing users to visit.

Read: How Changes in Title Tags and Meta Descriptions Will Impact Local SEO

5. No Keyword Strategy

You must understand how users are searching, what terms and phrases they use and the most likely ones to garner the leads and potential customers you're trying to attract. An adept and well-researched keyword strategy also helps to target users in the right phase of the buying process.

The architecture of your site and how you link pages, blogs, and other content significantly affects user experience and satisfaction. Deliver an excellent user experience and your site will reap the benefits.

Read: 5 Tips for Better Keyword Research for SEO

6. Internal Linking

Keep visitors on your website with internal linking in your content. The creation of quality content helps this process immensely and strategically placed links to additional helpful and engaging information on your site work to extend the time they spend there. Well-planned site architecture is vital here.

7. External Linking

If you create valuable, reliable content that encourages engagement and sharing, you sharply increase your chances of garnering more external links, that in turn helps your search results rankings.

Pro Tip: When external linking (from your own site to that of others), that are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Link to authoritative sites and steer cleer of bad sites
  • Use your keyword in anchor text of external links

It's clear that content marketing and SEO go hand in hand.

All of the above factors combine to enhance your SEO strategies and increase the likelihood that your clients are able to find your website and your business online. They are essential for any small to medium business the constantly stresses over local search rankings.

These content marketing SEO factors are just a few of Google's 200+ ranking factors. To learn more about the most impactful factors, download our free report: 77 Top SEO Ranking Factors.

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