Content strategy is an essential part of SEO. However, producing content just for the sake of it is unlikely to achieve your content goals.
The online marketplace is as crowded as it has even been and it is still important to be noticed first, otherwise users could never find you. With millions of new articles being published on a daily basis, you need to create content that hits the mark with your audience. To achieve this, you need an SEO content strategy.
What is an SEO strategy?
An SEO strategy is a detailed plan to improve a website’s search engine rankings in order to capture more organic traffic. The process includes organising a site’s content by topic to improve the likelihood of it appearing in search results. An SEO strategy isn’t just about one pillar; it should include technical SEO, creating content for SEO, link building and detailed consideration of the overall user experience.
It should go without saying that one SEO strategy does not fit all. Every business has different motivations and objectives, so it is an SEO consultant’s job to take a comprehensive look at each company’s industry, discover what their target audiences care about and create an SEO content strategy that achieves their pre-defined goals.
If you are embarking upon the process of creating SEO content and a wider strategy, here are some steps you should take to improve your website ranking.
How to make your SEO content strategy a success
1. Identify your target audience
This cannot be said enough: SEO revolves around creating a good user experience and offering your audience relevant, high-quality content. If you are going to hit that sweet spot with your audience, it stands to reason that you first must find out who that audience is. The good news is, if you already work in a company with different teams, you have plenty of people to help you to define your audience.
Consider sitting down with team members from:
- Customer service
Chances are, each of these will have an opinion about who your target audience is, as they are likely to interact regularly with clients or customers. They will have invaluable insight into the audience’s pain points and concerns. If you are a small business owner and don’t have a wider team, you can also do some audience research via online forums and social media. By asking just a simple question, you can get some useful feedback from potential customers or people working in your industry.
How to define your target audience
Ask the following questions:
Who are your current customers?
- Use all the data you have at your disposal to work out who they are and why they are using your business or product
Who is engaging with your competition?
- Review who is responding to your competitors via social media and customer reviews
What do you have to offer that’s unique?
- Think about the products and/or services that you offer – is there something about them that stands out from the crowd and will benefit others?
What are your business reviews like?
- Look at how previous customers or clients have reacted to your business. Online reviews are a great way to better understand how your audience feels about you – they often also give you an insight into what else you could be offering and information about how you can improve your service. So don’t be afraid of looking at your customer reviews!
2. Define a list of topic areas
Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, you can start to look at the topic areas you should focus on with your content. If you are new to SEO and content marketing, it’s wise to start small. Perhaps focus on just one topic to begin with and expand from there. Your overall aim is to create content that people want to read, so spreading yourself too thinly is going to weaken your message. If you are an expert in a particular area, it seems right to focus just on that – don’t feel as though you have to write about everything all at once.
Try to figure out what makes your brand and voice unique. You might be surprised at what topic area you come up with, but if you consider yourself a voice of authority on one subject in particular, run with it for your SEO content strategy.
By now, you’ll be in a good position: you have identified your target audience and you have an opportunity to produce some unique content thanks to your defined topic areas.
3. Identify keywords
Keyword research will always be important when it comes to creating SEO content. A well-researched list of long-tail keywords will set you up for developing a strong SEO strategy. If the thought of conducting keyword research brings you out in a cold sweat, don’t worry.
Start with a broad search term that relates to your main topic area. Next, narrow this down by considering keyword variations, product features, your current top sellers and review any questions that people (i.e. potential customers) have asked Google about your products
You should now have a list of both short and long-tail keywords to start your research. Keyword research tools will help you with this process and there are plenty of highly recommended ones available online.
If you’re still unsure about where to start with keyword research, an experienced SEO consultant can help you to develop a target keyword plan.
4. Set your goals
An SEO content strategy without goals isn’t a strategy at all. Ask yourself what it is that you are eventually trying to accomplish through your SEO content. Perhaps it’s as straightforward as increasing organic traffic to your website. Or you want to achieve a certain increase in sales. You might even wish to build up the number of subscribers to your newsletter. Whatever your goals are, write them down and always keep them in mind when creating content.
By fixing your SEO goals from the start, you can more easily work out what type of content you want to create and better understand what it is you want your readers to do as a result.
5. Create an editorial calendar
You are unlikely to find a seasoned SEO professional who does not love an editorial calendar. Why? Because they work! When done correctly, they help to keep your strategy on track and keep you focused. Your editorial calendar should centre around your keyword research findings and must include exactly what your keywords are – this is especially important if somebody other than yourself is writing the content.
6. Keep content up-to-date
For your content to stay relevant, you can’t simply hit publish and forget about it. High-quality content is key to an effective SEO strategy, so it is important to regularly update any articles you write. Depending on your topics, findings might be updated or trends will change, so it is very easy for SEO content to become outdated. When updating your content, take a moment to fix any broken backlinks in your content, as these can still dent your SEO efforts.
With relevant, updated content and good links, you can gain the trust of both your audience and Google.
7. Determine how to measure success – and track it!
Once you know what type of SEO content you are going to create, it’s time to work out how you are going to measure success. Work backwards from the goals you set earlier in the process. To find out whether your hard work is paying off, you should regularly measure the success of your content strategy, and identify any areas in need of improvement.
To see if your strategy is working, you can monitor organic traffic using any of your preferred analytics tools, such as Google Analytics. Tracking indexed pages, conversions, ROI and your rankings on SERPs can also help you recognise any success.
The bottom line
An SEO strategy can help you to stay focused when producing content on a regular basis. By following these steps, you are in a strong position to create an SEO content strategy that achieves your goals. The next part should be fun – actually creating the content!