Yes content marketing is a primary strategy for your business, so optimizing your content so that people can find it should also be a key strategy. First and foremost, your content should appeal to your audience. But just as important, it should also be clear to the major search engines for them to index it correctly. This is why you should plan your SEO content strategy before you start writing.
Importance of an SEO content strategy
You might be wondering what an SEO content strategy is. This is a consistent strategy for creating content and optimizing that content for search. It might sound simple, but in many cases those who create content are different from those who optimize content. Content creation and content optimization must work together for the following reasons.
Content is strategic
Writing content that is never seen is a waste of time. Linking your content to the needs of your target audience makes you more valuable to them. The main goal of your content is to drive qualified organic traffic and leads to your website.
Writing just to write or distribute a lot of shoddy content won’t help you gain visibility in search results. In fact, it could do the exact opposite. With 5 million or more blog posts being published every day, you have to make your content valuable to the desired customer. Having a plan for the content you are going to create and when is important to the success of your content marketing.
Optimized content is visible
Having great content that doesn’t show up in search engine results doesn’t help your business. Optimizing your content amplifies its visibility and can drive more traffic to your website. But search engines are smarter today. They no longer need exact match keywords in content to figure out what it is.
Content can be indexed for a keyword based on a thematic match. Google cares more about how your content covers the topic. This allows you to optimize your content by not only using the keyword focus but also by using its synonyms.
Define your SEO content strategy
A content strategy is the planning, creation and delivery of targeted content on what your customers want or need. Quality content demonstrates your expertise and how you can help them. A content strategy helps you determine:
- What content will you provide
- Why do you want to provide it
- How will it be organized
- Where the content will be distributed
- To which target market
Planning your content strategy before you start writing helps ensure that your content is relevant, visible, and valuable to your target audience.
Set your goal of results
You need to define what you are ultimately trying to accomplish with your content.
- Increase leads by a certain percentage?
- Building your mailing list?
- Drive traffic to a sales page?
This will help you prioritize what kind of content you want to create and what the calls to action should be.
Know your audience
Before you can implement effective marketing activities, you need to know your audience intimately. Find out what is the biggest challenge for your audience.
- Who is my audience?
- What problem are they trying to solve?
- What types of content do these people want to consume?
- How do they look for these solutions
Now map your Value proposition how you can meet the needs of your audience:
- What is the unique value of your offering that encompasses the entire customer experience?
- How can your business use this expertise to help your audience?
When you focus on a target market, your messages are clear, your offers meet their needs, and your marketing efforts are more effective, even to those outside your target market.
Do your keyword research
Effective SEO content strategies start with analyze keywords relevant to your business. You will need to use tools to help you determine your best keywords. Keep in mind that keywords are no longer just one word or single sentences. People are now researching using questions, so keep an eye out for those. They can inspire some of your topic ideas.
You can start with Keywords everywhere and Ubersuggest. They both use Google’s autocomplete to generate hundreds of relevant long tail keywords for any topic. Both have Chrome extensions and Keywords Everywhere has Firefox extension. Both can help you get the data you need to determine which keyword phrases will work for you.
It is important to know the search volume of a keyword. While it would be great to rank for a very competitive, very high volume keyword phrase (short tail keywords), most small businesses will do better to focus on low volume, less competitive keywords. (long tail keywords). By lower volume I don’t mean zero because if no one searches for this topic it won’t drive any additional traffic to your website. But long tail keywords are more targeted and will help attract those who search for what you are offering.
Create a content plan
Using your keywords, identify and prioritize topics that are relevant to your customers. While there are keywords you can create content for and increase your organic traffic for, not all keywords will help you achieve your goals. If the content doesn’t match your target audience’s needs and your expertise, will the traffic you get be valuable to you? Will this content attract visitors who will convert?
Once you have your topics, build your subject groups so that you can structure the content of your website for easy access. Then add your content to an editorial calendar to stay on track in producing your content.
Write your content
Now choose your topic based on your chosen keyword phrase and start writing. Knowing which keyword you want to rank for before writing your content will help you be more focused when writing. It should be well written, authoritative, and cover the topic in depth. It doesn’t mean length or complexity. The content should directly cover the intent of the search query in layman’s terms but in a comprehensive and exhaustive manner.
Not everyone is a writer. If content creation isn’t your strength, there are plenty of ways to do it without you having to worry about it. Consider outsourcing to someone who can produce the content for you.
- Dictate your thoughts and send them an audio file to use.
- Ask them to interview you for your expertise.
- Give them an overview of the key points and let them fill in the rest.
Always monitor the process so that what is created aligns with your vision and beliefs. Then edit the content they produce and add your optimization.
Optimize your content
Once you’ve written your content, go back and optimize it for your chosen keyword. Install a quality WordPress SEO plugin (Yoast or All in One SEO) and use it to guide you.
- Title of the article – Include your keyword in your title. Create a headline that appeals to the reader.
- SEO Title – This is the title that appears in your browser tab and as a title in the list of search results. It might be the same as your post title, but there are times when you might want to change it a bit.
- The URL of the page – Include your keyword in the URL slug. Keep the slug clean and short if possible by removing unnecessary words.
- Content – Use the key phrase in your content. It doesn’t have to be exact, so you don’t have to look like a robot. Use the keywords in your titles if that makes sense.
- Meta Description – Although this meta tag is not used for SEO, it is used as content that shows up in search engine results. Use the keyword in the description, but write it down to draw the searcher to your post.
SEO and content must work together
An effective SEO content strategy balances the needs of your customers with optimization efforts. If you only choose one of the two components, content or SEO, you’ll either have great content with no traffic or traffic with no one sticking around. But, when content and SEO are unified, your content will more likely show up in search results, being delivered to potential customers who are looking for that content.