SEO and content marketing go together like cheese and Vino. It’s hard to have one without the other, and when you do, it definitely feels like there's a gaping hole that just needs fillin'.
After all, what’s the point of creating stellar, groundbreaking content if no-one’s there to see it?
Whether you’ve been around the marketing block before, you’ve probably already heard about SEO content and how valuable it is as part of your content marketing strategies. So, today, we’re going to deep dive into why you need an SEO content strategy in your life and how you can get the ball rolling today.
What is SEO Content?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and it’s something that’s widely discussed in marketing circles - so if you need to look clued in amongst the marketing social elite, you're welcome in advance. As far as non-traditional advertising goes, SEO is one of the most prominent and studied areas of digital marketing. But what is it? It's essentially a tactic for making your website visible in search engines so that you can encourage more traffic and awareness to your brand.
Content is, in short, anything that you create and publish online for an audience.
If we smush them together, like cheese you've held in a glass of wine for too long, we get SEO content.
SEO content is anything that you create to increase searches to your website. The goal of effective SEO content is, typically, to increase the amount of traffic you gain from search engines. Typically, you’ll see blog posts referred to as SEO content, but videos, podcasts, infographics, and even whitepapers can be SEO content if the end goal is to attract more visitors through organic search traffic.
SEO Content Formats
Let’s quickly go over some of the most common types of content for SEO, and why they should be used as part of your content marketing efforts.
- Product pages: Widely used by eCommerce businesses to make their products easier to find in search engine rankings. Can be both SEO content and a landing page - we love a twofer!
- Blog posts: Blogs are widely loved because they offer a steady stream of SEO content and can easily build authority and organic traffic. Also a great place to host pretty much any other kind of SEO content (and decrease those bounce rates!)
- Guides: Awesome “evergreen” content that’s similar to a blog post, just extra long. Designed to cover a tonne of different keywords and search intentions and cement authority.
- Videos: One of the most engaging types of SEO content, and it’s often easier to rank with a video than text alone. Consider transcribing your videos to boost your SEO campaign's effectiveness.
- Infographics: Contain a tonne of information that’s easy to scan and digest. Difficult to optimise on its own, but brilliant as part of a guide or blog post. Also a great way to start building backlinks.
Of course, there are plenty of different content formats that can work for SEO. These are just the most common.
Key SEO Content Strategy Aspects
Okay, so before you get too excited about building the blog of your dreams or creating a 20-part video series covering learning how to embroider, you need to consider the key aspects of SEO content creation.
Here are the bottom-line bits to remember.
Creating quality content with relevant keywords really is the bread and butter of SEO content. Keywords make up every single search that goes through your search engine of choice, so it’s vital that you know what your audience is searching for. You also need to know the difference between short and long-tail keywords, and what these mean in combination with user intent.
Each keyword will have metrics associated with it, such as search volume, competition, and how difficult it is to rank for that keyword. Don’t be put off by the heavy-hitting keywords, though - it’s balancing them with the underdogs that counts.
It’s not enough to know what keywords to use, it’s also about where you use them in your piece of content. And before you get any ideas in your head about keyword-stuffing, then don’t worry, Google’s long moved past the need to mention your keywords every three seconds. Use a keyword research tool to identify the right keyword opportunities for your content, and say hello to stellar content!
I know the overall marketing goal is to get your content ranking on search engines, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your other promotion avenues. You still need to post links to your content on social media to update your audience, as well as put plenty of links across the rest of your website.
A solid website structure is key to ranking well on search engines, as it helps both your users and search engine crawlers find your content. So, users will stay on your website for longer, which search engines only see as a good sign.
User intent is, in my experience, one of the most under-rated elements of SEO content. Too many marketers get wrapped up in what search engines want from their content that they don’t think about why users search for the keywords they use or what they’re looking for as a result. To attract new customers and keep them coming back, understanding what the user is looking for from your content is vital.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to SEO Content Strategy
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s what you really came here for - how to build an SEO content strategy, with some best practices.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
As with any marketing campaign - or anything you do in your business for that matter, you need to know what your goals are before you get going. Now, you might be thinking “but Liv, I thought it was obvious! I just want to get more traffic from search engines!”
And yes, that is a goal, but you also want to dig deeper than that. Why do you want more traffic?
Is it so you can increase sales? Do you want to generate more ad revenue? Do you want to work with other brands that have traffic requirements before they consider collaborations?
Whatever your goal, you need to get it squared away before you even start thinking about what content you want to put out. And that, my friend, is where SMART goals come in. Yes - everyone's heard of 'em, but they’re so dang useful. Need a refresher? Remember to make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound when you’re planning.
Step 2: Build Buyer Personas
With your goals in mind, you need to understand who you’re targeting and what problems they have that you can address. Our friends at HubSpot have an awesome buyer persona builder that you can use for free, and this will walk you through the steps of figuring out who your target audiences are and what they want.
When you know who you want to sell to, then you can start planning your content and the topics that’ll help your audience.
If you’re struggling with answers, then a great place to look is where these people usually hang out. Places like LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, and subreddits are awesome forums that, more often than not, will help you find the questions that are most frequently asked within a certain community.
Plus, there’s also no harm in asking your ideal audience what they want to see. Running surveys on your social media platforms is a great way to learn more about your audience while also giving them the ability to have some input in your business.
From here, you need to create a list of topics that you want to cover, and what angle you’re going to take with this content. Building topic clusters and pillar pages is a key ranking factor for SEO content marketing.
Step 3: Determine Content Formats
Now you’ve got a better idea of your readers, this puts you on the right track to determine what content formats you want to use.
As we touched on earlier, different formats have different SEO benefits. For instance, blog posts and articles may be able to improve rankings for more keywords, but a video might rank easier on a higher-competition keyword because it’s a more engaging format that many businesses neglect.
But, you also need to bear in mind what kind of content your target audience wants to consume. After all, it’s all well and good to get your content to rank on Google, but if your audience isn’t engaging with it, then it’s a big waste of your time and money.
A good way to determine what type of content your audience wants is to look at what they already enjoy. Again, things like subreddits and social media groups will be a great place to start with your research here.
Step 4: Create an Editorial Calendar
So, you know who your audience is, what problems they’re facing, and the kinds of content they love to consume. If you too believe that Marie Kondo-style organisation is what dreams are made of, then you’ll find this next bit exciting - building a content calendar for content success!
One of the most important parts of content marketing strategies is consistency, and SEO strategy is no different. Whether you publish fresh content once a week, once every two weeks, or even only once a month, your audience needs to know when they can expect to see new content. Not only will this lead to more people searching for your content to see if there’s something new, but it’ll also be a big driver of traffic on your publishing days.
Plus, the more you publish, the better chance you have of some content ranking on the first page of Google. I hate to use the phrase “if you throw enough spaghetti at the wall, some of it will stick”, because it seems a bit haphazard in the context of SEO strategy, but there’s some truth there. The more content you create, the better your chances of ranking for a keyword.
Step 5: Create, Publish, Distribute
Yep, it’s time for the fun part - making your content for search!
Whether you make your own content or you outsource it, we recommend that you have a couple of month’s worth of content before you publish something for the first time. Yes, that does mean you’ll have to invest some money before you start seeing results, but it’s worth it in case you can’t produce anything because of a business emergency or something happens that means you need to kill a certain topic.
Once you've hit publish, don’t forget to distribute your content. Sure, you want people to find it through search engines, but you also want your audience to know that it’s there. Social media, email newsletters, or even word of mouth are great ways to do this.
Step 6: Analyse and Re-Adjust
It’s important to remember that it’s going to take at least 3 months to see any meaningful results from your SEO strategy, and at least 6 months to gather enough metric data to analyse the outcome of your SEO content campaign.
So, if you don’t see any major changes in your traffic or towards your goals in that timeframe, please don’t panic, throw in the towel, and call it a day.
You’ve just got to keep on trucking, regardless of if the data you get shows that your strategy isn’t working. It’s easier said than done, particularly when you’re new to the process, but you’ve got to keep the faith, re-adjust.
Need Help With Your SEO Strategy?
If you’re not sure where to start with your SEO strategy, Neighbourhood is here to help. Our awesome SEO gurus and content marketers are here to help you with any part of your strategy, whether that’s understanding buyer personas or knowing where to go when your metrics don’t stack up the way you wanted them to.
Whether you prefer DMs, phone calls, funky online forms, Bat Signals, or good old fashioned snail mail, get in touch with our people today and we’ll do our very best to get your SEO strategy off the ground.