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Content is king remains a mantra in B2B marketing and demand generation. In the past, simply plugging in relevant keywords was enough to power up content to the top of search engine results. But the dynamics of Search Engine Optimisation has changed. And dramatically so, thanks to Google’s consistent modifications and tweaks to its algorithm. Keeping up with SEO trends while simultaneously reeling off great contents for your readers can appear a distant possibility. But with a little thought to the process, it shouldn’t be all gloom and doom. To simplify the conundrum, we’ve come up with a handy guide that will let you leverage the power of SEO, without flouting the flow and consistency synonymous with great contents. Let’s dive in.
Why basic SEO isn’t what you want
For the most part, writers looking to drive organic growth integrate strategies revolving around basic SEO. By basic SEO we mean simply finding a relevant keyword, plugging it into the title, page Meta description, squeezing it into the first few sentences and liberally deploying it throughout the article. You then keep tabs on the post hoping something out of the blue sails it to the top of organic search result. The only caveat with this approach, though, is that’s what everyone is doing across the board, including competitors in your niche. And with Google algorithms inundated with many such SEO compliant, robotic styled and largely valueless contents, this is no longer a sure-fire strategy in today’s dynamic SEO content writing. Perhaps everyone falling for this trope rely on the fact that key plug-ins and experts are right and advance an approach that works.
What’s equally important to bear in mind is that true relevance transcends beyond plugging the target keyword a couple of times in an article. Sure, using the right keywords is an incentive for visitors to click through to your page. However, if there’s little to no value add for visitors beyond their search keyword, chances are they’ll look elsewhere for more, which is not what you want.
What this tells us is that relevance, in its entirety, delves deeper than the initial search query and provides more solutions to the anticipated questions or problems of the visitor. That’s the cornerstone of a truly relevant piece of web content – one that both your visitor and Google algorithms love.
So let’s say the target keyword phrase in your article is “content writing and SEO.” Plugging this phrase in key areas of the article is a good first step. But digging deeper is key, and so folding in insights from social media marketing, SEO and keyword research, video marketing, voice search, Google analytics etc. will come in handy for a truly relevant content.
Content depth and relevance is key
The understanding that relevance trumps keyword use, therefore, should drive your SEO content creation. With Google not mincing words in stating the prime importance of relevance in its search results, the least you should do is be on the same page.
If a user searches for “how to sell an ebook,” for instance, and stumbles on the top search result that matches their search term and nicely uses the phrase in the URL and description, there’s all likelihood they’ll click to find out more details. However, if they are met with robotic content choreographed only for search engines, they won’t stay any longer than a few seconds before closing the tab. What could have been a big step to gaining natural backlinks and increased authority quickly turns away your visitors, increasing bounce rates which does everything but improve your position on Google ranking.
Thus, churning high quality relevant content should be of supreme concern for writers looking to gain the unrivalled advantage of ranking high on search engines. Sure, SEO isn’t complete without doing the heavy lifting of link building and technical optimisation. But these trail relevance from the broader perspective. Let’s find out why.
Technical optimisation allows Google content crawling
Google needs to understand what your page is all about and whether it is relevant to a search term before making it visible to users accordingly. Here’s where the Google crawler bot comes in. Technical optimisation essentially turns the green light for Google to understand a page based on relevance. This has little to no effect on your search engine result position. It basically means your site won’t be found if it is not technically optimised, and the ripple effect means organic traffic is out of the equation. While Google has indeed improved on crawling sites with technical glitches, you don’t want to leave all it all to them. Here’s how to double down on your site’s technical optimisation.
- Fix broken links with a tool like Screaming Frog
- Install a WordPress plugin to redirect old pages to new ones – “301 redirects” that is.
- Deeply inspect your site for duplicate contents and take them off
- Anchor texts (text used for linking) should integrate relevant keywords of linked pages.
- Ensure internal links are savvily deployed to link to the most important pages on your website.
As for other technical parts, letting a developer come in will save time and ensure a more precise work. These include:
- Making your website mobile friendly. You can check how well your site does in this department using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is also something you may want to consider here.
- Creating and submitting both Robots.txt file and XML sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
What link building does
At its core, link building is all about having your page linked to from other websites. And there are plenty of ways to do this – guest posting on other blogs/websites or directly requesting a link back to your website are some ways. In the past, all content marketers needed to do was find shady ways to send massive links back their website, thereby circumventing the system and consequently increasing their page visibility on search results. This worked, to the detriment of value-rich contents. Thankfully, Google got wind of this caveat and have subsequently tightened their algorithm system to filter off the gimmicks.
Still, backlinks remain a crucial component of how search engines decide which content to pull up to users when a search is made. In simple terms, backlinks are synonymous with gaining the trust and approval of other websites. Your pages would do better when such links come from higher authority domains from Google’s perspective. Here’s where Page Rank comes in. But no high authority domain would link back to your website if there’s little value provided, which takes us back to why relevance should take precedence in your content writing strategy. Besides, while Google will fancy a page with oodles of backlinks, the algorithm is well developed to pull the trigger if it suspects a mismatch in the value add a page offers and the hype – in backlinks- it is receiving from other websites.
SEO round up
As we’ve discussed, today’s successful SEO strategy underpins on creating relevant content. Following which technical optimisation and link building come in. This means that an acute awareness of in-demand search queries and supplying relevant content to match is hugely fundamental to your chances of SEO success.
Harmonising your content writing strategy with SEO
As relevance is the driving force for well-optimised SEO contents, what approach then should you adopt in crafting a well-curated content optimised without recourse to the SEO lite strategy? What follows is how to do just that.
Selecting your content topic
This is a no-brainer, really. But it’s hugely surprising to find out many content creators come up with an idea that sounds great them – and one they feel would resonate with their readers – without actually putting the time to verify if the piece actually serves the need of their target audience. No matter how in-depth and value-enriching an article is, if there’s no one searching for the keywords employed, there’s really no magic that would drive traffic out of nowhere to your page. Enter keyword research!
Keyword research gives you a crystal clear picture of what your target audience need, and what search terms they are using to meet same. Organic traffic is largely a function of how many visitors your page gets, so keywords with a decent search volume are what you want. There are plenty of options to get started. And who else knows what is really being searched for than Google, which is why Google Keyword Planner Tool can be a perfect springboard here.
Before settling for your ideal keyword, however, you also want to ensure you strike the right balance between volume and dominance. Go with keywords racking up millions of monthly searches and chances are high it would be overly difficult to rank for them as more established domains would likely have taken dominance of those keywords. Too low and you’ll have too few visitors to convert.
Pick out the top keywords/terms to cover
With keyword selection out of the way, deciding what topics to cover to maximise your reach and provide more value should be next on your checklist. For most content writers, a workaround would be to type the choice keyword into Google and hover around results to see what others are writing about. Sure, this sounds like a cool idea, but it comes with obvious caveats. For starters, you may not have the accurate perspective of what’s in demand at that moment if the pages Google pops up are too old. And even if this is effective, it simply takes more time than should be allotted. Thankfully, SEO tools can do just that for you giving you a clear view of the leading organic content for any specific keyword, while simultaneously allowing you to figure out their order of importance. This aspect shouldn’t be left aside activity but a key process when defining how to outline your contents right out the gate. Adopting this strategy would help in making your content both relevant for search engines like Google and useful for the reader. This starkly contrasts what you get running an SEO lite strategy where the sole focus is on a specific keyword or phrase.
Take your content to the next level
You already have your keyword, relevant terms and ideas that should define your article. But there are plenty of other websites already ranking for these. Gaining a competitive advantage and appealing to your audiencerelies on uniquely bringing more insights to improve and spice up what’s already available. If you’re able to dothis and more, you set the ground for a thumping presence when you hit the publish button.
Don’t forget to optimise the title tag, headline, URL, and meta description
Before taking the plunge, optimising the title tag, headline, URL and meta description are also key. Search results only show these elements, and you want to be as magnetic as possible to a potential visitor. For example, a title tag “best B2B lead generation strategies” will obviously not be as magnetic as “The 10 Best B2B Lead Generation Strategies in 2019” when a visitor searches “B2B lead gen” on google. You get the idea.
Headlines are basically the name of the article when a visitor clicks to your website. The headline and title tag are often the same, but necessarily so depending on length restrictions.
Your article is often sectioned into subheadings. And here’s where you probably want to infuse suggestions from relevant terms. Integrate your target keyword in the URL, ensure the meta description does what it’s intended for – magnetically compel your target audience to your content and you should be all set.
The payoff? Superior organic growth and massive ROI
With WordPress welcoming millions of blog posts daily and powering 33% of the internet’s website, standing out and above the competition couldn’t be more difficult. However, our guide should give you a leg up in leveraging the power of informed of SEO strategies over the default strategy for many – basic SEO. Done correctly, you will have harmonised SEO without hampering the fluidity and relevance of your content – perfect recipe for superior organic growth, higher traffic and long-term upsides to your bottom line!
If you’ve got any tips, experience or advice please share in your comments below.