Why Your Content Strategy Success Depends on an SEO Strategy
You know what they say…
“Behind every starving millennial is a baby boomer who makes 6 figures but can’t open a PDF.”
We’re joking, baby boomers…we truly love you! That said, we think that sentiment illustrates an important point.
Everyday technology is changing, and, because of the rapid pace in which new systems and technologies emerge, it’s often hard to keep up with the latest trends.
Even worse, online strategies, such as search engine optimization (SEO), change every year, if not even more frequently–there have been over 16 algorithm changes since 2003.
This is vital to note because the success of your content strategy relies heavily on keeping up with these tactics.
No matter what your age or what industry you work in, it’s important to take an honest look at where we all stand regarding our SEO strategy that goes in tandem with the content we create.
Is your SEO strategy up to par with the latest trends?
Is it outdated?
Do you even have an SEO strategy for your content at all?
If you’re not sure of the answers to any of those questions, don’t fear…team Sūmèr is here!
Keep reading to discover why SEO is so important for your content strategy, along with a few tips on how to ensure your content stays up to date with keywords, metadata, and links…
Why SEO Is Vital for a Successful Content Strategy
When we talk about SEO and marketing content, we have a bit of “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” scenario.
In order to be successful, you need both things in place.
After all, you can’t create searchable content without SEO…or implement a well-built SEO strategy without content to use for it.
Now that it’s clear that you need both, let’s talk about why SEO is so stinkin’ important…
#1 – SEO is what helps readers find your content.
As a seasoned professional, we’re sure you understand that SEO is used to help categorize, rank, and filter content so you can easily find things online.
Without it, you wouldn’t be able to go to the search box online and search for specific topics or ideas.
While most people know it’s important, many people still fail to include any type of SEO strategy into their content.
#2 – SEO increases organic search traffic.
Wishing you could cut back on your paid search budget?
Implement a solid SEO strategy and you may be able to do just that.
SEO makes it easier for people to find your content. When your content is easy to find, more people will become exposed to it.
More exposure leads to more traffic and, hopefully down the line, more sales, or followers, or whatever goal you’re trying to reach.
#3 – SEO builds credibility.
Google algorithms look at several key factors, such as…
- Page length
- Focused keywords
- Internal links
…to determine whether an article is worthy of being positioned on page 1 of Google search results or not.
For this reason, quality articles tend to rank higher online where junk pieces of content get buried in the search results.
Clearly, it’s important. But, what SEO components do you need to implement in order to help your content rank online?
Here’s a crash course on 3 things you should do to get started…
How to Select a Focus Keyword for Your Marketing Content
As a general rule, it’s best to select a focus keyword for any web copy, blogs, or other online content that you write.
For example, if you own a bakery and are writing a blog on how to bake cupcakes, you could use the phrase “cupcakes” as your focused keyword.
You can test the effectiveness of this keyword with a tool called Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
Below is a screenshot that shows whether this is a good keyword choice or not…
As you can see from the stats, the keyword “cupcake” has a high monthly search volume, which is good.
What’s not so good is its difficulty score which tells you how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword based on the competition online.
According to Rand Fishkin from Moz…
“Broadly speaking, a higher keyword difficulty score means it will be more difficult to compete with the already-ranking results, and a lower difficulty score means it’s likely to be easier. But there are many variables.
If you’re a very powerful, important site with loads of links and other strong ranking signals, chances are good you could more easily rank for higher KW Difficulty scoring keywords (even those in the 60s and 70s)
Conversely, if your site is brand new or has few positive ranking signals, you may find that even lower difficulty keywords (those in the 20s or 30s) are pretty tough.”
The other two stats (Organic CTR and Priority) are pretty high level and are often unpredictable. So, for the purpose of this crash course, we’re only going to focus on the monthly volume and difficulty scores.
Now that we know the difficulty score is high for the keyword “cupcake,” it’s important to tweak the keyword so you have a better chance of ranking for it.
One of the best ways to do this is to use geo-targeted keywords.
For example, if you are a bakery located in Charlotte that is blogging about baking cupcakes, you might want to try out a longer-tailed keyword such as “Cupcakes Charlotte NC.”
As you can see, the difficulty score instantly dropped 17 points as soon as we added a location into the keyword.
You also may have noticed that the search volume dropped. Don’t let this alarm you.
Naturally the search volume is going to fall because you are now targeting a specific location with your keyword instead of using a search term that’s used globally.
Not to mention, keying in on search terms and ranking for them locally will help you build SEO credibility and will help you rank for more competitive keywords in the long run.
How to Effectively Use Metadata
In a nutshell, metadata is text that summarizes basic information about the content you are creating.
This data is plugged into the back-end of the content you create in an effort to help Google web crawlers better understand what you’re writing about so they can categorize and rank your content.
At first, metadata may seem complicated, but it’s really just a collection of a few additional keywords, tags, and a descriptive sentence about your content.
Here’s an example of the metadata we wrote for one of our recent blogs, 5 Reasons People Stop Reading Your Marketing Content.
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that not everyone uses all of the metadata categories that we do. A lot of what you will write metadata for depends on what the website platform will allow.
That being said, metadata should always include a focus keyword and a descriptive sentence that describes your content.
As you can see in our example, we start with “Category” because we filter our blogs into different categories to make it easier for people to find things. This isn’t 100% necessary, but it does play a small part in helping web crawlers understand what type of content we are publishing.
It also makes it easier on the people who are reading our blog to find valuable content, which directly impacts the amount of time people stay on our site and the number of articles they read.
All of these things contribute to a better-ranking score online.
Next is our focused keyword: Marketing Content. You can select this keyword using the info and the Moz Keyword tool we mentioned above.
After the focused keyword are additional keywords. Not as much research needs to go into these keywords, although it doesn’t hurt to play around with the Moz tool to see what else you might rank for.
For this section, I recommend you try pulling some other important keywords out of your copy. Using the example of the cupcake bakery, you might select words such as…
- Cupcake recipe.
- Frosting recipe.
- Cupcake decorating.
Next, you’ll notice we include tags. I don’t want to spend too much time on tags because, as the algorithms have changed, tags have begun to play a much less important part in ranking for SEO.
In general, they provide additional high-level descriptors that web crawlers use to identify what the content is about.
And last, we have what we call “metadata.”
Don’t get confused by this…metadata isn’t just the sentence we provided in our example. It’s everything we just covered. For all intents and purposes, however, we label the sentence we create to describe our content as metadata.
Here’s how the metadata appears when your content shows up in the SERPs…
This sentence is very easy to create. All you have to do is create a brief sentence that will capture your audience’s attention and make them want to click on your article to learn more.
While creating this sentence, we also advise that you include your focus keyword in it as we did in the example above.
Once you’ve got all of your metadata written out, all you have to do is plug it into the back-end of your website.
Most website platforms, like WordPress for example, make it easy to submit this information via plugins such as Yoast SEO.
If you’re not sure how to get the plugin set up or how to add metadata on your website, get in touch with your website platform provider. They should be able to walk you through the process!
How to Implement an Internal Linking Strategy for SEO
Internal links are clickable links inside of content that transport you to another piece of related content.
See exhibit A…
Using internal links serves two important SEO purposes.
First, they signal web crawlers about important keywords.
According to Moz.com…
“On an individual page, search engines need to see content in order to list pages in their massive keyword-based indices. They also need to have access to a crawlable link structure—a structure that lets spiders browse the pathways of a website—in order to find all of the pages on a website.”
Using internal links builds this crawlable structure for spiders so they can more effectively categorizes and ranks your content.
Second, internal links make it easy for the people reading your content to better navigate your website and, in turn, read more of your content.
This is important because part of how Google ranks your content is by how long people stay on your website and how many pages of content they consume.
If people are staying longer and viewing more pages, Google will believe your content is valuable and will rank you higher in search results.
So, how do you add quality links? Easy…
- Look through your blog/web copy and pick out 2-3 keywords per page.
- Select blog posts or webpages on your personal website that relate to the keywords you’ve selected.
- Link your keywords.
It’s really as simple as that!
You can experiment with linking to single keywords or even long-tail keywords or phrases.
The good news is that you really can’t go wrong with linking, as long as you limit yourself to just a few keyword links per page.
SEO is just one of the many important moving pieces of a content creation strategy.
If you’re interested in discovering what else you can do to ensure your content strategy produces revenue-generating buyers, check out our Content Conversion Code!