place your focus on the quality of your brand stories and answering your customers’ questions through content. A solid content strategy is one of the first steps in an effective SEO strategy. Once you’ve established your content strategy, you can turn your attention more to off-page and outreach efforts.
You should approach being a content proponent within your organization as your job, even if it’s not. I mean, shouldn’t it be everyone’s job to advocate for your customers? That’s what being a content champion is all about: providing customers with the information they seek. When you position your influence as championing the user, rather than championing a tactic, you’re more likely to find success.
Google has stated that ‘content’ is among its top three ranking factors, but what makes content ‘good’ from an SEO perspective? Columnist Nate Dame outlines what makes high-quality SEO content.
Too many marketers are still waiting until the end of content creation to bring in SEO as a promotional tool. They try to figure out what they’ve just created, so they can plug in a few keywords and links.
But an effective content marketing strategy should start with keyword and user intent research. Once you know what queries your audience is using, and what kind of content they are looking for, you can design a content strategy that answers their specific questions and helps move them through the funnel.
- is based on an understanding of your audience, as well as keyword and user intent research. Use your audience’s language, and provide the information they’re actually looking for.
- helps the reader complete one specific task. Long content (1,000+ words) tends to rank better in organic results, in part because it is thorough. That said, stay on task and don’t let the content lose focus.
- features an enticing call to action or a clear next step. When you know your readers and their buyer journeys, your content can point them to more of what they want.
Check your keyword usage
You started with keywords and user intent research, of course, so this is not about figuring out which keywords apply to the piece of content in question. This is about examining how that keyword is being used in said content.
It’s true that keyword stuffing is very, very out. It was never cool in the first place, but now — thanks to Google — it’s also ineffective (if not dangerous). It’s also true that Google is very savvy about keywords. None of that, however, means that keywords are “dead.” It just means SEO needs to use them better.
(It is also worth noting that users look for keywords. Google is smart enough to recognize common synonyms, but when a user types in a keyword, he/she is looking for that bolded keyword on the SERP.)
- is not stuffed full of the primary keyword. There’s no real math for this. A good way to visualize is to use the “Find” feature in your document and search the keyword. If it looks oversaturated, start plugging in some synonyms.
- organizes thematic subsections by primary related keywords. Google is getting better and better at understanding related terms. Don’t be afraid of it.
- makes natural use of keywords and variants in content. Don’t overthink it. Use synonyms, abbreviations, plurals and so on like a normal human being.
- makes natural use of keywords in image text. Image titles, alt text and captions are strategic places for descriptive language. Don’t force keywords, but do use them as applicable.
- makes natural use of keywords in titles. Write for people first, but if you can keep that target keyword toward the front of your title and/or H1, do so.
- makes natural use of keywords in the URL. This shouldn’t be too hard if you’ve used it in the title.
- makes natural use of keywords and variants in the first 100 words. Don’t be awkward, but do, as much as possible, lay all your cards on the table as quickly as possible.