Content Strategy 101: The Do’s and Dont’s Of Search Engine Optimization
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If you publish content that no one reads, does it do you any good?
Content is an essential component of any successful digital marketing strategy. But, having good content is only half the battle. If your target audience does not have ready access to the content you’re producing, it’s as good as unpublished.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of maximizing the volume of traffic a website receives by ensuring the site performs well on particular search results. If your company offers global accounting services or sells high-end stationary, you want to make sure that when someone types the words “impact of GST on imports” or “best 2020 day planners” into Google, your site is listed on Google’s first page of search results.
In this article, we give you three important do’s and don’ts for any effective SEO content strategy.
DO Chose the Right Keywords
Choosing the right keywords is the most important part of all search engine marketing. Keywords are the individual words and phrases used in a particular article, blog post, or homepage that allow users to find your site on a search engine. Search engines like Google use algorithms to prioritize search results based – in part – on having the right related words. Basically, you need to know what your target market is Googling and include those words in what you publish.
Easy, right? Not quite.
Google’s first page of search results lists nine websites. Most users do not look past the first page of search results. Choosing the right keywords would be relatively simple if your company was the only one concerned about search engine optimization. However, depending on the product or service, you may be competing against many other companies who are all using the same keywords.
Google also prioritizes search results based on how much web traffic a site receives – so a sporting goods startup will probably not fair well using the same keywords as Nike or Adidas.
This is where creativity comes in.
Businesses can sidestep the crowd by choosing keywords that, while still likely to be used in online searches, are not already overused by competitors. In SEO-speak this is called keyword difficulty. Keyword difficulty is about how hard it would be to rank high in a particular search result. To make sure they are hitting the mark, many businesses will use content analysis tools to get quantifiable data on how their articles are leveraging keywords – and how their competitors are doing the same.
Use these keywords in your text, sub-headings, URL, embedded image descriptions, and even on social media when you share content. All of this gets indexed and all of it helps optimize your content.
DO Layer Your Content
You are your best advertisement.
An interesting, well-written article will make a reader want to further explore your site. Optimized content does the work for the reader by embedding links to their own content in every article. Having high quality, relevant links in an article or blogpost will not only keep a reader on your site for longer, it will also get your content prioritized by search engines.
Just make sure you don’t fill your article with junk links.
Search engines’ algorithms are highly sophisticated and actively try to prioritize useful pages while demoting confusing, misleading, or generally unhelpful pages. An article will be considered more authoritative if it links to relevant articles within and outside its own site.
DO Make a Content Calendar
A single article or blogpost should always be part of a larger strategy. Sites that publish often and consistently are more likely to be picked up and prioritized by search engines – it’s a tangible way of demonstrating your company’s authority in your field.
A content calendar is not only a way of ensuring consistency in what you publish, it also allows a panoptic view of your content strategy. A content calendar is the best way to identify any content gaps and ensure you are consistently meeting your SEO objectives.
DON’T be lazy with the details
What three small details can make an otherwise good article perform poorly?
- Bad spelling, punctuation, and grammar
- Formatting issues
- No metadata or tags
Remember that search engines strive to prioritize quality content. Spelling mistakes, too many exclamation marks, and unnecessarily capitalized will hurt an articles’ chances of getting prioritized by search engines like Google. Similarly, formatting paragraphs so they are easy on the eyes can have a big impact on how well an article performs.
When you publish an article online, be sure to add proper metadata and tags. Most website platforms have an inbuilt section for uploading these important details. However, they often get overlooked. The metadata and tags are your chance to explicitly highlight a given article’s keywords.
Don’t let old articles flounder in obscurity
There is no reason that a well-written piece of content shouldn’t be able to hold its weight two years after being published. However, many companies consider old content irrelevant, essentially letting all the work and creative energy that went into them go to waste after their initial impact.
Old content is a valuable resource. When an article or blogpost gets a lot of web traffic, it is more likely to be prioritized in online searches. By updating and repurposing old pieces of content, you can build off of the initial work that went into writing the piece as well as the legacy of the piece’s web traffic.
Update an old piece of content with new statistics, a quote from an expert, or more relevant information. Has an article become irrelevant? Give it a fresh perspective. And make sure you add a byline underneath the title that says how recently it has been updated.
DON’T Settle for Text Alone
Can you explain your point better in 500 words or 30 seconds of video?
Search engines favour articles with multi-media and thoughtfully designed layouts. Adding a couple photos or a brief explainer video can go a long way.
Needless to say, new media will only help your SEO if it’s relevant. Whether it’s infographics, photos, or videos, a robust SEO strategy will invest proactively into at least one form of media to augment its content search optimization.
- Choose the right keywords;
- Layer your content;
- Make a detailed, long term plan for publishing content;
- Pay attention to the details;
- Update and repurpose old content; and
- Incorporate multimedia.
Do-it-yourself marketing and quick fixes will only take your brand so far. To make it into the coveted top search results takes planning, foresight, and research. A strong SEO strategy will get your site more visits from the right audience, boosting brand awareness and increasing sales.