If I told you that a solid content strategy could help you be more visible in search engine results, you wouldn’t be surprised. But how many of you can craft a content strategy that truly complements SEO?
If you think that it’s as simple as placing keywords in your content strategically, you’re in for a surprise.
SEO content used to be the holy grail of digital marketing before Google’s Hummingbird and RankBrain updates. Now, it’s all about meeting consumers’ needs through your content. An out-of-sync content strategy can be one of the reasons why your SEO efforts fail.
That’s not to say that keywords have lost their power. Keyword-optimized content still grabs attention, ranks higher, and improves your domain authority (DA).
Standing out on Google (among 4-5 billion daily searches) by virtue of keywords alone is challenging.
You need a unique, solid content strategy that nails on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. In this post, I’ve covered three such content strategies, which should be leveraged all together to up your SEO game.
Let’s get started.
Super-Effective Ways to Make Your Content Strategy More SEO-Friendly
If you’re expecting me to dive deep into keyword research and optimization, you’ll be disappointed. As I said before, there’s a lot more to SEO than keywords. But what exactly is this “more”?
According to Andrew Lipattsev, senior strategist at Google, current SEO is all about using high-quality content and link-building. Links, content, and intent have a bearing on how well your site performs in Google search results. All my strategies below are in-tune with this thought. Take a look.
Understand Search Intent
Your content won’t hit the target unless you know the search intent of your target audience. And it’s not as simple as running an advanced keyword search.
Do you get answers to all your questions in FAQs? No, similar keyword research will yield insights about what- and how-type queries. They won’t drill down into the “why” behind users’ queries (also called “search intent”).
Search intent pinpoints what motivates a user to browse the web. Google defines this as “micro-moments,” or high-intent moments when users turn to devices to find information.
Brands need to capitalize on these micro-moments. They need to understand which of the six canonical needs given below are driving a searcher.
Image via Google
If you know the exact search intent of a user, you can serve them content that is tailored to their needs and get them to convert faster. That can be a gamechanger in SEO.
Here is an example to explain this better.
Let’s say I am curious to know if N95 masks can be reused. I run a query like below:
I get all sorts of results: a page from FDA about N95 masks (informational) as well as an Amazon product page (transactional). It’s not until I scroll down that I reach the exact result I am looking for:
Clearly, Google is confused about my search intent. That’s why it presents me with a range of search results to choose from.
I had the patience to scan the results, but the experience can be frustrating for many other users. Some of them might abandon the search altogether. For brands with relevant information, that means one conversion opportunity lost.
To reveal the search intent of a query, you need to classify it as informational, transactional, or navigational. You can use the table of keywords below as a reference and locate the query’s keywords.
Image from Google
You get a fair idea about the kind of content that searchers are expecting to see in the query results. Then, you can create the correct content format. If your content is keyword-rich and high-quality, you can hope to rank well for the query.
Earn Quality Backlinks
Google can notice your site if authoritative websites link back to it. Guest posting is an excellent way of earning backlinks from websites. Plus, they give you an opportunity to display your domain knowledge and attract new audiences.
But before you do that, analyze your backlink profile. This will help you understand where you stand with respect to competitors in regard to backlinks. You can use backlink audit tools for this purpose. These tools can identify resultful backlinking opportunities for your website.
Once you have a list of websites that hold authority in your niche, investigate if they allow guest posting.
The next step is to write insightful guest posts for them and pitch them to their editors smartly.
While writing guest posts, ensure that you follow the target sites’ guidelines strictly. Study their existing content and target audience. Then, write content that is optimal for their site, niche, and audience.
Yes. Try to refrain from promoting your brand or your affiliates. Instead, provide value to readers through useful, unique content. That will improve your chances of getting published as well as establish your credibility as a contributor.
Create Share-Worthy Content
Social media shares can get your content a higher rank on search engines. It’s a proven fact that if your content is getting traction on social sites, Google perceives it as a good sign and indexes your content higher.
However, earning shares can be a challenging task on saturated social platforms. You just have a few seconds to hook people before they scroll past your content.
Social listening tools can help you identify content that is getting maximum shares on your target social platforms. You can filter content topics since your audience may not find all popular topics relevant or useful. Then, you can create similar and better content to share on your feeds.
Or, you can leverage my expertise and findings and create viral posts in no time.
I bet it does. I’ve analyzed the most-shared content across niches and found that they share the following common characteristics:
Social media users are more likely to share content based on current and trending topics. Since these topics are in the news, most people can relate and engage with content built around them. Keep referring to social listening tools to learn about fresh topics.
Visuals like infographics garner a lot of shares on social media. They are interesting, concise, and informational at the same time. Additionally, they are platform-agnostic, which means you can share them on multiple platforms without changing the content.
Even in your textual posts, add visuals since they grab attention. The visual content that you choose should have a good virality record on the platform you are targeting. For instance, memes are wildly popular on Facebook but not so much on LinkedIn.
Your content should be easy to read. Lengthy posts work well on websites, but not on social media. Short and crisp posts with compelling content get shared the most on social networks.
You can create listicles as they are favored by Google as well as social users. In other kinds of posts, include bulleted lists that search engines may pick as featured snippets.
In your blog or website posts, highlight important parts and add social-share buttons next to them. At the end of a post, add a call-to-action (CTA) encouraging people to share the post.
Since the web is flooded with similar content, lesser-known content on popular topics tends to grab eyeballs. This doesn’t mean that you should use clickbait headlines or share inaccurate information to hook people.
Then what should you do?
You should post well-researched but unexplored facts about the topics that engage your audience. You can use catchy headlines that reflect the search intent of your target audience.
Final Thoughts on a Solid Content Strategy
Getting your content strategy on track is vital for web-savvy brands and marketers. It can support SEO efforts in a big way.
The tips and tools I’ve mentioned above can help your content beat the competition and attract targeted search traffic.
Do you have any questions about the information in this post? Leave them in the comments below. I’m always happy to help.