Let’s face it: not every content strategy is created equal. We have all landed on a website or blog and wonder what it is we are reading. There are many informative and authoritative websites out there, but there are also a lot of less than impressive ones. Your potential consumers recognize the difference, and so do the search engines.
Having an SEO-driven content strategy will guide you in producing the kind of content that will keep your website head and shoulders above your competitors. Simultaneously, you will attract more return visitors, achieve a higher conversion rate, and improve your visibility.
What is an SEO Content Marketing Strategy?
Gone are the days of creating content without a plan. Search engine optimization and content marketing now go together like two peas in a pod; there is no ranking or digital marketing success without a healthy combination of the two. So, unless you want to get lost in the pool of 1.94 billion websites online for some odd reason, stop working blindly and start strategizing.
A content strategy is the process of organizing, creating, and optimizing website content in such a way that search engines like Google are better able to understand a user’s intent when submitting a query.
Producing and optimizing content is now more critical than ever. Search Engines are getting smarter by the day, algorithms change regularly, and consumers have an endless supply of choices when selecting just the right business to satisfy their needs.
If you want to gain profitable traffic and attain promising, high-quality leads from search engines, you need to start creating your content with SEO front-of-mind. Not back-of-mind.
Not everyone excels at creative writing; however, following some basic guidelines will help you craft high-quality content that speaks to your target audience and abide to SEO best practices. Copy that is considered high-quality is well-written, readable, relatable, persuasive, and provides value for positive consumer experience. Done well, and you will naturally attract the search engines, too.
Before you start writing, you have a little homework to do. Create an outline by asking all the critical questions: who, what, where, and when.
The Foundation of SEO and Content Marketing:
The Who (No, not the band!)
Know Your Audience! Content should be user-focused first rather than trying to appeal to the search engines. Who is searching the terms for which you want to be found? What are their demographics? Habits? Where are they spending their time (and for how long) when searching for information, products, or services?
Compile a list of relevant keywords that match the answers above and turn them into content topic ideas. This way you’re literally creating content for your target demographic.
What is your business’ mission? Look at your goals and objectives. Are you in it to drive sales through creative advertisements? Do you hope to increase visibility through social media platforms? Or do you want to gain backlinks to increase your presence in the SERPs and thus, grow your organic search traffic?
Look at what your specialties are, where you excel, and what niche-specific characteristics you have that separate you from your competitors. Develop topics based on these findings and build your keyword portfolio around what it is you do.
Where is your target audience hanging out? Where are they shopping for products, what service-based websites are they reading upon, and what kind of information do they seek to answer their questions? Are they searching eCommerce websites, reading blog posts, or are they on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Facebook? Are your customers mobile device users?
Knowing the behavior of your potential customers and where they are in a sales funnel will guide you in tailoring content topics for the right medium.
When should you update your website or blog with fresh content? It depends on what type of industry. If your site promotes information on current events or news or what’s trending in your business arena, then regular, even daily updates are appropriate. If your online presence is more niche-specific and the content tailored and unique, than once or twice a month is sufficient.
Putting SEO Insights Together With Content
First impressions do count. When a potential consumer lands on your site, you want them to know that they came to the right place for the information, product, or services they seek. This message must be conveyed immediately. While all pages are essential, the landing page needs to stand out.
Start with the most crucial piece of information so readers will get the main point regardless of how much they read. Journalists have used this method of front loading for years.
The Inverted Pyramid structure of writing has been the backbone of traditional mass media content creation; the lead paragraph, or the “base” of the pyramid, consists of the most fundamental facts. All non-essential or supporting details follow in order of importance.
It was once common practice to create content based primarily on the keywords customers were searching. This is no longer the most effective or genuine way to attract the attention of the search engines. As technology continues to evolve, crawlers or spiders become more adept at understanding synonyms and which words, entities, and content are related.
Because Google has become better-equipped at scanning text, it is advisable that website owners output content that is readable and consistent across their website and other platforms. Be consistent with your voice and message.
When it comes to using the keywords you previously researched, you may be tempted to use them in as many places as possible to garner attention. This method will surely backfire if used out of context, on a page where it is not relevant, or unnecessarily repeated throughout the text. Enter the black hat SEO.
So, how many keywords should you use in your content? Keyword density is a measure of how often your keywords appear in your text.
“Some SEO experts believe the ideal keyword density is around 1-2%. This means the target keyword appears one to two times per 100 words. At this rate, the keyword appears enough times to allow the search engine to recognize what the page is about without engaging in keyword stuffing.”
Build Your Backlink Profile
Linkability will naturally improve your ranking as well as drive traffic. People link to websites because the content is either of interest or relevant to their own.
Create a list of other thought leaders and business owners in your field that would benefit from referencing your content and reach out to them sharing your most relevant content pieces and new ideas. Present them with content and linking opportunities to increase the value offered to their readers. You may also consider how their content will help your readers. Both internal and external links improve SEO.
If you maintain a website as well as social media outlets, layer content using the same titles and tags to create shared link equity. The result will be improved domain and site authority.
Final Tips for the Final Product
Content creation is delving deeper into the topics published. Now that Google and other search engines have intensified their search focus and are looking for content that provides more information and solutions for users, it’s beneficial to research the questions above to give the best content resources to your potential customers.
Marrying the components from the outline process, while keeping readability, aesthetics, and easy navigation in mind, are the ingredients for an optimized piece of content.