If you are relatively new to the world of search marketing, you may have heard the term “SEO content” in marketing meetings. This beginner’s guide is designed to answer three questions:
- What is “SEO content”?
- What kind of SEO content are there?
- What is my SEO content strategy?
If you have any questions about SEO content creation strategies that you don’t answer here, let me know in the comments and I will answer you here or in a future blog post.
What is SEO content?
To understand what SEO content marketers mean, it helps to break the sentence down into its component parts:
“SEO” refers to search engine optimization or the process of optimizing a website so that people can easily find it through search engines such as Google.
By “content”, we mean any information that resides on the web and can be consumed on the web (more information on the various types of content below).
So, putting these two concepts together: SEO content is any content created with the goal of attracting search engine traffic.
I’m not going to tell you everything you need to know about optimizing your content for search engines here; that’s a whole ‘nother guide. But here is a super quick update on what to do for SEO in your web content:
Keyword Research: If you want to drive traffic through search, it’s best to do a keyword search before you start typing. That way, you can focus on keywords for which there is already a certain amount of search volume; in other words, writing for topics (or finding keyword niches!) that people are already searching for information about.
Keyword Optimization: Know where and how to use keywords in your content to get maximum search power.
Content organization: Your website content should be organized logically. This is not only good for SEO, but it also helps your website visitors easily find other related content. (The longer they stay on your site, the better.)
Content Promotion: Increase the visibility of new content you create by sharing it on social media and linking to your content (both internally and on external sites).
Types of SEO Content
SEO content can include any of the following:
Product Pages: They are the bread and butter of any retail e-commerce site. A good product page can serve as a both SEO content and a PPC landing page.
Blog Posts: A blog is one of the easiest ways to create a regular stream of effective SEO content. In general, blog posts are more attractive and more likely to attract links than product pages, so they can be a great way to build some authority for your site. (Remember that blogs are very flexible, and you can use them to host any of the types of content below on this list.)
Articles: think of a news story, an interview or a report. This is the main type of content you will find on most newspaper or magazine sites.
Lists: A list is really just one type of article, but framing it as a list (like “10 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill” or “101 Things I Hate About Google”) makes it easy to scan. These types of headlines also seem to be more accessible when found in search results or on social media feeds.
Guides: A guide is longer content that explains in detail how to do something. (Guides are often divided across multiple web pages, although it is good practice to allow users to view long content as a single page if they wish.) You can post a complete guide on your website, or you can post a summary or excerpt, requiring visitors to complete a registration form to read the entire guide. This can be a good way to generate leads, but keep in mind that putting up a wall of records will likely reduce the amount of SEO traffic you can direct to this guide.
Videos: In general, there are fewer videos on the web than text pages; As a result, it can be easier to rank on the first page for a competitive keyword by creating a video instead of an article. Depending on the type of website or business you run, videos can be a great way to attract and reach an audience. Consider creating video tutorials on how to use your products. Or illustrate a process related to your business; for example, a plumber can make a video showing how to unclog a sink.
Infographics: Large format infographics or images that contain a large amount of data (usually in the form of graphs or tables) on a single topic, can accumulate many page views and links. However, since much of the content is embedded in the image and therefore cannot be read as text by search engines, it is important to carefully optimize the rest of the page.
Slideshows: A slideshow is a way of displaying a series of related images. Sometimes the images are more important than the text; Let’s say you’re trying to show what all the stars wore for Oscar. Here again, the SEO of your title, subtitles, image file names, etc. It is important because there is less for search engines to “read”.
Glossaries: I swear more people use Google to look up terms than a dictionary. (Do you even know where your dictionary is?) If you work in a niche industry, a well-crafted glossary can be a good way to capture some search traffic. Think in terms of cuisine, medical terms, fashion terms, architectural terms …
Directories: A directory is a useful taxonomy of links to websites or resources on a given topic. For example, a perfume blog might create a directory of places to buy perfumes, from department stores to independent stores across the country.
These are just a few of the basic types of SEO content, but don’t let this list limit you – the possibilities are practically endless.
How to Develop an SEO Content Strategy
If you’ve been churning out content at random, hoping, and praying that some of it will finally rank, it’s time to get down and commit to a more methodical SEO content strategy for the web.
Here are four steps to define and refine your SEO content strategy:
Define Your Goals
First, determine your goals as a website or business. Do you want to drive sales through your website? Do you monetize your site through ads and therefore just want to increase traffic and return readers? Your goals will determine what type of content you should focus on.
If you’re primarily trying to drive product sales, your main focus should be engaging and informative product pages, optimized for search and conversions. Your secondary focus may be helpful blog content illustrating when and how to use your products, with links to those pages when relevant (best if your blog isn’t completely self-promotional).
If your site operates on an advertising model and the goal is to attract new readers through search, you will want to focus on rich content (such as long articles or video resources that are informative, entertaining, or both) with “stickiness.” “sticky” keeps visitors on your site longer or encourages them to come back).
Consider Your Audience
Know Your Audience: Surveys and your analytics software can help you get a better picture of your typical customer or visitor. Consider developing characters or marketing characters that represent your ideal site visitors and customers. Next, think about the types of content these people would be looking for.
For example, if you operate a B2B website targeted at C-level executives, you can create high-level white papers that can be downloaded and saved to read later.
If your business is targeting teens and tweens, you may want to focus on frequent updates with less text and more images and videos. You also need to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile use.
Create an editorial calendar
Once you have an idea of who you are targeting and why you can start creating an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is a schedule that determines when new content will be published and what type of content it will be.
This will help you stick to a regular schedule (it’s especially important to create new content regularly if you have a blog), as well as avoid having a hard time finding a topic for new content at the last minute.
A few tips for creating and adhering to an editorial calendar:
Use Outlook (or Google Calendar) – Share your editorial agenda with your entire marketing team. Set reminders for authors to be notified when the deadline is approaching.
Consider creating ongoing features: for example, a food blog can make a meatless recipe every Monday. Many blogs summarize the links once a week (including this one). Create a category page for each ongoing features, so visitors can find all of your Meatless Monday recipes or link summaries in one place.
Give yourself plenty of lead time when produce more complicated types of content, like videos and infographics. They typically take several rounds of edits to refine and can be more difficult to optimize for search.
Don’t plan too far in advance – calendars often go off the rails after a month or two due to changes in marketing goals, budgets, or staffing, so don’t try to plan a program for the next year and you risk losing a lot of time and effort.
Analyze and re-assess
Lastly, stay on top of your site analytics. Periodically review your SEO content to see what works and what doesn’t. Good measures of success and engagement include page views, links, comments (on blog posts and some other types of content), social shares (Facebook likes, tweets, etc.), and conversion rates. Your analysis should have two objectives:
Study your successes so you can repeat these strategies: look for patterns. Does your audience love videos? Then make more videos! Adjust your editorial calendar in the future so that you can spend more time and effort on the types of content that really resonate.
Take the time to update and improve older SEO content: If you tried to optimize an article for a particular keyword, but you’re getting more traffic for a different variation of that keyword, go back and optimize for the new keyword. You can significantly increase traffic by placing that keyword in the title, for example.
There it is SEO 101 content. As mentioned above, let me know in the comments if you have any other questions about creating and optimizing content for SEO.