A well-designed content marketing strategy focuses on solving your ideal client's pain points. When you align your SEO strategy and content strategy and prioritize writing for your buyer persona, you will find that your target audience grows. I'll celebrate six years as part of the SMA Marketing Team in a few weeks. In that time, we've endured multiple Google algorithm updates, some more challenging to understand than others. Yet, SEO best practices remain a core part of Google instructions for developer guidelines through each update.
Read about the August 2022 Helpful Content Update here to see SEO best practices prioritized.
Google frequently reiterates its goal to improve the platform's user experience. This is something that all digital marketers and website owners have in common with the largest search engine in the world.
Our goal is to provide the best experience for our ideal clients, delivering helpful content about our products and services so we can build trust with prospective customers and retain them long term.
Nielson has studied how website content is read for over twenty years and has released two in-depth studies. The 2020 How People Read Online report covers everything from the eye patterns used most frequently to read a page to the types of words a reader's eye is most likely to hoover over. While several statistics were updated in the fifteen years between Nielson's reports, how people read web pages remains unchanged. People skim web content.
Because people skim web content, using SEO content best practices creates the best digital platform for both your reader and AI bots. However, before you start writing, you must first ensure you're creating content your ideal client is looking for.
How do you determine the best way to serve your ideal client? By listening to what they are asking about related to your products and services. There are many strategies to gather this information; however, you will need to select a focus keyword for each page on your website.
Keyword research is the foundation of implementing SEO content best practices. By taking the time to identify relevant keywords that your ideal client is searching for and creating the type of content that matches the search intent of the keyword phrase, you can increase the relevant organic traffic to your website.
Using a unique keyword phrase for each piece of content will reduce your chances of keyword cannibalization. The best way to incorporate unique and relevant keywords in your content is to use long-tail keywords. These phrases will allow you to answer pertinent questions and target content around your ideal client’s specific needs.
Now that you know the content you're writing is important to your customers, it's time to focus on on-page SEO best practices. Because readers skim as they read web pages, incorporating SEO content best practices such as headers, bulleted lists, graphics, external links, and internal links, increases the readability of your content. As an added bonus, this structure also helps search engines identify the context of your content faster.
Check out: The Do’s and Don’t of SEO Content Writing for more information.
Every piece of content you create for your online presence should focus on communicating an aspect of your business message to your customers. So, whether you're writing about your product’s features or you are explaining a new add-on service, you need to write to your buyer persona.
Content creation that considers the users' intent will improve UX in several ways. The web page should have high-quality content that adds value. Additionally, each web page should have an eye-appealing design that will allow readers to quickly consume the most important information.
Nielson's case study reports that readers have predictable eye tracking patterns that can be divided into a few categories.
How people read content on a web page depends on:
Your page must have the correct information related to the search and a clear layout. This begins with your keyword choice, as discussed above.
For example, when someone goes to a storefront to purchase clothing, they don't need to read a blog post about how to wear a shirt. However, images or a quick video styling the shirt with different pants, sweaters, or skirts may enhance the user experience.
Regardless of how great these elements are, if someone is looking to purchase an airline ticket and your website pulls up in a search query, they aren't going to be happy, nor are they likely to return. Additionally, if the call to action button is missing making it impossible to complete the purchase of the shirt, you're going to lose potential customers.
Clearly understanding your buyer persona will make it much easier to create relevant content for your audience.
Your content should:
Consider each page layout and the best way to present the information. Should you include a video or images to ensure the complex answers you're explaining are clear? Do you need to reference specific sources for additional learning? If so, include these elements in your content to allow potential customers to engage with your brand on a deeper level.
Writing SEO content that ranks in organic search for your ideal client is the goal of every blog post added to a content strategy. We know that our readers are most likely to skim an article and that the design of a web page will impact how content is consumed. We also understand that each web page needs to have a primary keyword.
You need to understand the keyword intent when choosing a keyword phrase. Depending on the author's word choice, the keyword intent will be very different. For example, the phrase "a layer of dust" can apply to dust on your furniture, powdered sugar on a dessert, or debris after a hurricane.
While you may argue the phrase is incorrectly used in one context, search engines look for volume in search trends. Just because professionals in your industry use a specific term to discuss a product or service doesn't mean the typical consumer knows or uses the technical term.
Additionally, there may be keywords that are both branded terms and used commonly. Consider how terms such as Kleenex are used to refer to tissues, whether someone buys the generic brand or the original.
As you become an expert in understanding your buyer persona, you need to understand the terms they use to search for your products and services, as well as the search intent phrases they choose for each stage of the buyer journey.
Search intent is the explanation of why someone is looking for your content. There are four categories of search intent:
Informational: Informational content answers questions. Hopefully, the content is thorough and connects with the reader. When the reader values what you offer, you build trust as an expert, and they will return to your website.
Navigational: This content offers directions. It navigates the searcher.
Commercial: While both commercial and transactional content focus on the later stages of the buyer journey, your ideal client is still trying to determine exactly what they want to buy in the commercial stage of search.
Transactional: When using these words, the buyer is ready to complete a purchase.
SEO content best practices are an integral part of creating compelling content for your ideal client. For example, when choosing informational keywords, you will most likely write a blog post that provides helpful insights on a subject related to your business. SEO and content best practices work hand in hand. Each set of SEO best practices has a corresponding content best practice that should follow.
Here is an example of an SEO content workflow:
While the goal of your content creation should never be to write content for search engines, there is a practical consideration in that you are placing content on a website in hopes that a search engine will read it. By using SEO content best practices, you will enhance your user experience and improve the readability of your content for search engines. Learn more about SEO content best practices in The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing
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