SEO Content Marketing 101
SEO Content Marketing 101
SEO writing can seem daunting, and the thought of it alone can cause paralysing writer’s block. However, crafting an SEO article needn’t be terrifying. But it is an essential part of your content marketing strategy.
The importance of SEO
We’re not going to bang on about the importance of SEO too much here. If you want to swat up on why it’s important, read this article. In short, SEO is the detail, and the signpost, that directs the right traffic to your site. This is important. It’s not just about driving any traffic, but the real good stuff that could result in sales leads.
As we have a habit of banging on about – SEO writing, and therefore each SEO article, is not do or die. You can start small and build. This is what SEO should be about anyway. Make small changes and you should soon be rewarded with improvements in your ranking results.
Nothing to do with SEO happens over night
This is another important thing to bear in mind. Introducing a smattering of SEO won’t suddenly propel you from page 7 to page 1 of the rankings in one fell swoop. However, SEO is a long-burn. Its influence gradually leads to more and more success.
So, all this said, where do you start, and what can you do?
The basic workings of SEO
When considering starting with SEO, you cannot separate it out from your content. This should be your fundamental starting point. Get some SEO writing, and SEO articles, on your site and you’ll start to make headway. Therefore, if you only have resources to focus in one place only, make it your content.
In terms of turning a regularly written blog post in to one that’s good for SEO, you need to do one basic thing: use keywords.
Keywords are a way of defining the SEO strategy for one single SEO article. They define it and tackle the search objectives in one distinct way. This is why throwing a whole raft of different keywords at one post is going to fail. Pick a couple and make them the absolute focus in one article.
The keywords will likely determine the direction, topic and scope of the article itself. This is of paramount importance because your reader, who does come to your article, doesn’t give a flying fig about SEO. In fact, more than that, if they spot hard-targeting SEO then they are going to shut that browser darn quick.
Therefore, make sure that with a sensible keyword, you create content that is of a high quality. Having picked that keyword, you almost need to forget it to focus on getting the writing A OK.
Where to get keywords from: In case we’re jumping the gun here, you have a few different options to pin down the best keywords for your website. Firstly, you could pay an SEO expert, perhaps a freelancer, to do the job for you. They’ll come up with a comprehensive keyword report.
However, you may not need this at this stage. What you could do go to the source. Use the Google keyword planner tool.
Then you need to start playing. Which are performing well for your site? Which aren’t?
How to include keywords in SEO articles
Once you’ve decided on the particular keyword you’re going to target in an article, you then need to know how to include it, appropriately, in the content. This is how you can also refine the keyword and find related ones which will work naturally in your copy (which is what we want).
At this point you’ll be making a small but important shift. You’ll be moving away from a strict keyword, and beginning to harness the power of the key phrase. This vital. 50% of all searches contain four or more words.
So, it’s time to don a different hat, and pretend you’re someone looking for information through a search. What would they type in? When you head on over to Google, what terms do you use?
Once you’ve entered a search term, what makes you click on a result? What makes you do the opposite and ditch one? What is it about the user experience that works for you, that makes you hang around?
The power of a headline
The first place you’re going to use your chosen keyword is in the title, the headline. There’s no real room for fluff here. It needs to contain the keyword, say what it’s about, and do that in just 50-60 characters. If you can, make it enticing.
Then there are some other simple ways of getting SEO in to an article without too much trouble.
You need two types of link in each piece of content to boost the SEO value.
Firstly, you need to use internal links. These take readers elsewhere within your site. You’re basically advertising yourself and building your authority in one hit.
Secondly, you need to use external links. You need to be a little more careful here as you don’t want to lose vast swathes of your readers elsewhere. So follow a few rules. Only link to pages of a high authority. For example, if you’re stating some stats and can quote the Office of National Statistics (ONS), go for it. Don’t, however, link to your competitor who themselves found that stat first.
Fresh versus old
Fresh content is great. You want to be posting new content to your site on a nice regular basis. The search engines lap it up because you’re showing that your site is still relevant.
However, we say this again: SEO is a slow burn. That means: it’s really important to go back to old content and make sure it’s up to date. You can also tweak it a bit to make it even more SEO-friendly.
Given how long SEO takes to work, it’s likely that older posts actually serve you better in rankings. Therefore, give them time, but also give them attention. You don’t want an outdated post reeling in the audience, who promptly ditch you because it makes references to something that was passé three years ago.
Tags, tags, tags
Meta tags are important. They are the little snippets of juicy SEO glory that signal that this page is exactly where the punters should come.
The title tags are a short sharp piece of info that describes what’s going on here. It needs the keyword, yes please.
Meta descriptions are a little longer and are about providing a little padding and a little context to the title tag. They are like the appetiser, whetting the appetite for what’s to come.
Then there are the little bits of text called ‘alt text’ or ‘alt tags’ which are also another opportunity for a nifty bit of SEO. These provide the text that will appear if an image in your post fails to load. In SEO terms this is important because, despite Google’s cleverness, it can’t yet see pictures the way humans can. Alt text signals what’s going on instead.
Sell your local side
If you can, use your locality to your advantage. Chances are that competing for a general search term on a global or even national scale is going to be a tall order. Compete with those same search terms with a local twist and you’re opening up a smaller, but likely more attentive, audience.
Using the local angle is a way of specialising, without specialising. In saturated markets, it’s essential. Your customers are specific in how they look for you, so be specific in what you give them.
Bring it back to the content
Finally, but most importantly, always make sure it’s a good read. The quality of your offering needs to surpass that of your competitors and be all singing, all dancing. SEO, as a conscious thought, should only be one small part of that.
This is where you also need to pay attention to length. No, you shouldn’t just churn out words for the sake of it. However, the average first page result on Google contains an average of 1890 words. That speaks volumes.
If you know your audience well, an article will become an SEO article naturally, organically, which is the best kind of SEO there is.
Chris Brown uses SEO techniques to leverage content. Seeing how SEO used effectively in content can transform performance is the driving force for sharing the love of all things SEO.