Years ago, before content marketing was consciously deployed and search engine optimization (SEO) was even a buzz word, SEO was frequently divided into three areas – On-page factors, off-page factors and programming. This was a good way to categorize and explain the different disciplines required to successfully optimize a website. Even back then it was known that the different categories could be divided up into subcategories. However, the three main factors listed above are still frequently used today by SEO hobbyists and entrepreneurs when describing their optimization needs.
Today, search algorithms are constantly changing. Factors such as social signals, and brand mentions aren’t clearly defined by the old on-page/off-page description. Local search offers up a large quantity of additional factors that aren’t easily categorized in the above either.
There are some good variations to the above that pop-up every so often like content, links, architecture, and social media when describing the different categories of SEO. The problem with the old and much of the new categorization of SEO is that it doesn’t do a good job of explaining content marketing’s impact on search ranking factors. Is it off-page factors it affects? Is it on-page factors it affects? How much of each does content marketing influence?
In 2005, SEOmoz published their first ever search engine ranking factors report. While it’s a far cry from the 2011 report it set the stage for six years of much needed clarity in the SEO world. The aforementioned questions cannot be answered directly. However, when the factors are divided up into relevant subcategories a much clearer picture begins to emerge.
According to SEOmoz’s 2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors Report:
A good sustained content marketing campaign effects the above in many ways. Given the J.C. Penney and Overstock.com debacle and Google’s newest algorithm update Panda, content marketing is the most holistic way to naturally build inbound links. Also, the more pages published on a blog means more opportunities to sculpt on-page factors and trailing URLs. With blog posts being published one to three times per day marketers will have much more fodder to distribute via social media too. Lastly, when good content is published frequently branded searches tend to grow exponentially.
After a year of monitoring dozens of content marketing campaigns the results are clear. It didn't require SEOmoz to release their 2011 report to convince us content marketing is the best strategy for inbound campaigns. However, it does solidify 12 months worth of analytics. For help getting started with your content marketing campaign feel free to download our Blog Post Optimization Playbook.