This shouldn't be news to anyone: Content is one of the most important factors a business has to execute properly if it wants to boost search engine visibility and rankings. The point of common confusion lies with how the content should be generated.

What's challenging is that there are seemingly a million different kinds of content, and the rules for what's most effective seem to change regularly ... and too often, completely without warning.

Mobile content, guest content, and social media content are the three areas of top importance if you hope to increase your site traffic and search engine optimization. So how can these three types of content be created and employed most effectively? What are best practices for combining business content and SEO?

First, SEO is not the only piece of the puzzle

Search engine traffic is one of the biggest ways to get your brand in front of new customers. But there are other ways to attract new traffic, and it needs to start with an analysis of your current traffic sources.

To get a clear picture of where most of your company's traffic is originating, start with Google Analytics. Check out the overview to see the breakdown of your traffic sources.

It will list the percentage of traffic from each of the following seven sources: direct, referral, paid search, organic search, social media, and email. Failure to address the whole picture with your content strategy (ie, all these sources) leads will hamper your ability to succeed.

Keywords must be chosen and deployed correctly

Before Google got wiser about content marketing strategies, keyword stuffing was a common practice. Material posted on business sites didn't even make grammatical sense, sometimes, because it was common to use software to automatically generate gibberish which would fool search engines; but keyword-heavy pieces managed to lift their search engine rankings substantially.

More recently, Google has focused its eye on those who attempt to game the system. If you create genuinely useful content through which keywords are sprinkled naturally, however, your rankings will be boosted without any hitches.

Of course, you have to use the correct keywords. Do some research for which keywords you should be optimizing your content for. How do people get to your site? Are they finding what they're looking for when they do?

Producing quality content when writing may not be your forte can be a challenge. Fortunately, practice helps. According to Betty Bennett, the Director of Content for, "It's worth investing in learning how to write quality content for your business. Learning a few simple practices can take your business a long way."

If you'd rather hire someone to do the writing for you, there are plenty of online services and options.

Social media assists SEO

With the arrival of the Google Hummingbird update, social media has become a more vital piece of the content puzzle than ever. It's critical for marketers to implement a strong social media strategy that incorporates keywords and content knowledge.

One of the best ways to boost your SEO through social media is to create sharable content. Find a way to build a story with your product or service with value that goes beyond your own commercial goals, and it will more likely be shared.

Another great way to get your content shared is through promotions and giveaways. If your followers have an incentive to share, they will.

People have never been more likely to find a business through social media than they are today. As such, businesses have begun to use social media to share events and promotions.

Potential customers may be more interested in what your Facebook page has to offer than your actual website. Keep this in mind.

Optimize for mobile

Mobile traffic now accounts for 60% of all Internet traffic in the United States. This unprecedented figure has formulated a new priority for content marketers: mobile optimization.

Content is about writing. However, many people who use their mobile devices aren't expecting to read an essay. For mobile optimization, short, catchy pieces work better.

Don't underestimate the power of images and videos either, particularly when it comes to mobile traffic.

Obviously, your website should be optimized for mobile usage in terms of web design. Many businesses today are pursuing responsive design. This approach contrasts with the old mobile version/desktop mentality that used to be common practice.

In its place, mobile optimization relies on one site that changes itself for optimal viewing on whatever device gets used -- including tablets. If your content is not legible on mobile, you're bound to be missing out on an enormous amount of traffic, now and into the future.

Feature guest content

One excellent way to reach an audience you previously had no knowledge of (whether we're talking about its very existence or proper optimization strategies to reach it), is by featuring guest content on your site. By attracting important people in the industry to create content, you bring in fans of those experts' work. This untapped market will then be exposed to your business.

Depending on whom you choose to feature, you can find guest creators who are affordable and can create useful, interesting content for your site.

Content marketing is an ever-changing field. Luckily, you can keep up with the transformations if you prioritize quality content. Remember the multifaceted nature of your content strategy, and don't neglect any part of it.

With this attitude, you can make content work for you.

December 29, 2014

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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Search Engine Guide > Jayson DeMers > What Businesses Need to Know about Content and SEO