The growing importance of search engine optimization (SEO) in website marketing has driven business owners to scramble to grab a slice of this organic traffic pie. Indeed, according to a study,
61% of website owners
identify “improving their organic presence” as their top marketing priority.
Unfortunately, the growing demand for SEO help and services has sparked an influx of snake oil “pros”, Google “gurus” and simple SEO scam tips. All of this has made business owners wonder what it really takes to create a solid SEO strategy.
The industry’s secret? High quality content. Search engines are encouraged to rank for websites that give users what they want in the form of engaging and informative content. Coupled with technical SEO, quality content is the undeniable backbone of any traffic-generating SEO strategy.
The importance of content in SEO
Search engine optimization refers to the process of driving organic traffic to your website by creating a user-friendly and technically sound website experience. Part of building a site that’s right for your target audience is delivering content that offers value and keeps users engaged. Your website content gives users the ability to access your website by providing the information they are looking for.
And like the backbone that sends signals to the rest of the body, your website content helps circulate that SEO “juice” throughout the rest of your website. To do this, create a content library and internal linking strategy that helps your internal pages get the SEO traction they deserve.
Search Engines Reward High Quality Content
Google clearly describes what it takes to create an SEO friendly website. In his Guidelines for webmasters, Google explains how search engines value (and, therefore, rank) high-quality content because it keeps users on its platform. If users know that they can still find the information they are looking for, they will continue to use the search engine over and over again.
By creating and posting top quality content, you can improve your website’s SEO and increase your chances of attracting organic traffic.
Content + Technical SEO = The Ultimate Website Marketing Combo
When it comes to creating a holistic SEO strategy, you need both high quality content and technical SEO to make it work. It’s a common misconception that all you need are links or great content to rank well in search results. In reality, you need the ultimate combo.
Technical SEO covers all the technical components of your website, such as site speed, URL structure, and mobile usability. This is what makes your site crawlable, functional and user-friendly.
Content, on the other hand, is the “meat” of your website that tells both users and search engines what your business is all about. It provides context to the services or products you offer, the problems you solve for your customers, the mission of your business, and the keywords you hope to rank for.
How to Create a Profitable SEO Content Strategy
The goal of having an SEO strategy goes far beyond just generating traffic. As a business owner, your goal may be to generate sales through your website, get visitors to call you, or add new subscribers to your email marketing campaign. Hence, you need an SEO content plan that generates profits as well as traffic.
Conduct market research
Your SEO content strategy will ultimately depend on the type of content your target audience wants to see. It will be based on their weak points, questions, wants, interests and needs. That is why start with market research is absolutely essential.
Take the time to study your target market to find out what they struggle with, what they like and dislike about your competition, what questions they have about your industry, and what issues they are trying to solve. Their responses will give you an indication of the topics that need to be covered in your content.
Identify the right keywords
Beyond identifying what topics to cover, you’ll need to align those topics with keywords that users actually type into search engines. For example, if you are a lawyer specializing in criminal law and your hearing tells you that they want to know more about the appeal process, you can search by keyword around terms such as “what is a call? Or “how to file an appeal in court”.
Keyword research tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs will tell you if these terms are actually searched, how many users are searching for those terms per month, and how well those terms should rank. In your SEO content, you’ll want to target keywords that receive search volume but are not very competitive.
Write engaging content
You can reverse engineer your competitor’s content strategy by seeing what they’re doing well, and then applying those methods to your own content. For example, if you see topics covered by your competition and you aren’t, you might want to add them to your keyword list. Also look for components like block quotes, videos, and lists that make their content more engaging.
Incorporate your targeted keywords into your SEO content in a natural way without compromising the quality of your content. Recognize that you write for people first, not for Google. Your market research will help you create a message that resonates with your target audience.
Develop a holistic content marketing plan
Don’t wait to get Google’s attention. There are several ways your content can work for you if you create a holistic content marketing plan. This way, you can attract traffic through multiple channels by sharing your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond.
High quality content is the foundation of any profitable SEO strategy. Since search engines have an incentive to rank valuable and authoritative websites, it is in your best interest to post content that your target audience wants to read. Focus on creating valuable content to attract organic search engine traffic and convert that traffic into paying customers.