Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective online marketing tactics to get your website in front of your audience. But it is also complicated, especially for beginners.
This blog post simplifies an SEO campaign by focusing on two critical factors that can give you the best head start: content and keywords.
What Is SEO Content Strategy?
Before we get into SEO-friendly articles and keyword research, let’s define SEO content marketing.
According to Digital Authority Partners (DAP), an SEO content strategy is a plan that helps you figure out what content types to publish.
Yes, you just don’t create a blog post about your product or service and hope it will bring in revenue immediately.
In fact, the best SEO content roadmap answers the following questions:
- At what stage of the buyer’s journey is your target audience? The content you release during the awareness stage will be different from the ones you publish in the decision stage, even if we’re talking about the same type. A curious prospect may need an informational post, while those ready to purchase want something persuasive.
- Who are you writing for? Your target audience’s characteristics will also dictate the content. Articles riddled with industrial jargon won’t work if you’re targeting stay-at-home moms, for instance.
- What are your business objectives? Your SEO strategy should also revolve around these. Do you want to increase brand awareness or get more website visitors to convert into leads?
A solid SEO content strategy also involves:
- Creating a content calendar to help you plan, publish, and measure your progress over time,
- Determining the most effective distribution channels for your target audience,
- Building relationships with other websites and influencers in your industry to earn links and amplify your reach.
How to Write Rich SEO Content?
The first section clearly defines a content plan, which is the pillar of any SEO campaign. At this point, let’s tackle the techniques for writing an article that humans and search engines will love.
A Checklist for Making Any Article SEO-Friendly
All articles you produce for SEO should satisfy both humans and search engines. The reason is simple: the latter seek helpful, valuable content.
Keep in mind that the likes of Bing and Google are in the business of providing the best results for anyone looking for information. Articles that are mediocre, unoriginal, or, worse, misleading can erode the search engine’s credibility. Fewer people will visit them, impacting their bottom line.
It hurts you too, since your website may get penalized or de-indexed. It also damages your brand’s reputation, which can take years to build.
Making an article truly SEO-friendly means ensuring it passes the following criteria:
- Relevant to your industry and keywords. How do you convince people you’re trustworthy and knowledgeable? Churn out copies that are relevant to your industry and keywords. Otherwise, adding keywords like “how to bake a cake” when selling shoes will make any article unnatural and unhelpful.
- In-depth and comprehensive. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no such thing as an ideal word count. What makes it winnable is the depth of the article. In other words, write research-based, factual, and informative copies.
- Written for humans. An excellent article is straightforward, sounds natural, and uses keywords only when necessary. It considers mobile use and peppers copies with visuals to emphasize vital points. The copy is also free of errors, such as misspellings and grammatical mistakes. Most of all, it offers solutions to your customers’ pain points.
Where, When, and How Should You Use SEO Keywords
You cannot create an SEO-friendly article without keywords. That’s why we have to discuss it here.
A keyword is a word or phrase that best describes the content of an article. It is what people type into the search engine when looking for something. For this reason, content should include them at all times.
How Many Keywords Should I Use for SEO?
But in case you missed the memo, Google is no longer fond of heavily optimized content. Keyword cannibalization, which is using many similar keywords in a copy, can even hurt your rank. So how many should you have? And how do you use them?
Consider using two to three primary keywords per article, depending on the length and topic. Anything more, the article becomes less topical, sounds less natural, or even spammy.
Make these key phrases or words more effective with these tips:
- Pick long-tail keywords. They are often less competitive, so they’re easier to rank for. They can also deliver more targeted traffic.
- Use keyword variations and related keywords. They help keep your articles more specific in relation to the topic. For instance, if you’re writing about the “best CRM software in 2022,” sprinkle related terms like “sales automation” and “lead management.”
- Strategically place these keywords. Right off the bat, tell Google that your copy is related to the keyword. Use keywords in the title, meta description, header tags (H1 and H2), and within the first 100 words of the article. You can also use them in the alt text of images and in anchor texts (text you hyperlink to other related articles on your site).
How to Check If Your Content Is SEO Optimized?
After doing keyword research and writing the copy, you’re ready to check if they can appear prominently in the search results. Here are a few tips:
- Check search engine standards. Google, for example, has the E-A-T guidelines. You can also use the Google Search Console. If your pages are indexed but not getting traffic, it’s time to revisit your SEO strategy.
- Perform a site audit. It will help you check for any technical issues that may keep your pages from ranking. These include duplicate content, sitemap errors, and broken links.
- Conduct a competitor analysis. Are these posts performing better than yours? Do yours appear above theirs in the search results? What keywords are they using, and how are they doing?
- Monitor your progress. Check things like your organic traffic, rankings, and click-through rates (CTR). If there’s no improvement after a few months, consider changing your approach.
A Brief Look at SEO Tools
You can also use various SEO platforms that will help you write and assess the SEO quality of your articles and know if your strategies are improving:
- Analytics tools. Google Analytics, for instance, can give you insights into your website’s traffic.
- Keyword research software. These include Google Ads Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest. They help you find the best keywords to use for your content.
- Content optimization tools. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and Yoast SEO are two of the most popular ones. They help make sure that your headlines and articles are SEO-friendly.
The beginning is often the hardest, especially when dealing with digital marketing techniques like SEO. We created this guide to reduce the learning curve, focusing on content optimization and keyword research to cover your bases as soon as possible.
When it feels overwhelming, a digital marketing agency can always help. They can develop an SEO strategy tailored to your business goals and monitor your progress over time.