Post written by: Alex Valencia
The growing importance of search engine optimization (SEO) when it comes to website marketing has left business owners scrambling to grab a piece of that organic traffic pie. In fact, according to a study, 61% of website owners identify “improving their organic presence” as their top marketing priority.
Unfortunately, the increasing demand for SEO help and services has caused an influx of snake oil SEO “pros,” Google “gurus,” and just plain scammy SEO advice. All of this has caused business owners to question what it really takes to create a solid SEO strategy.
The industry secret? High-quality content. Search engines have an incentive to rank websites that gives users what they want in the form of engaging, informative content. Paired with technical SEO, great content is the undeniable backbone of any traffic-generating SEO strategy.
The Importance Of Content In SEO
Search engine optimization refers to the process of attracting organic traffic to your website by creating a user-friendly, technically-sound website experience. Part of building a site that is tailored to your target audience is providing content that offers value and keeps users engaged. Your website content presents the opportunity for users to land on your website by providing the information they are searching for.
And like the spine that sends signals to the rest of the body, your website content helps circulate that SEO “juice” throughout the rest of your website. The way to do this is by creating a content library and internal link strategy that helps your internal pages get the SEO traction they deserve.
Search Engines Reward High-Quality Content
Google clearly outlines what it takes to create an SEO-friendly website. In its Webmaster Guidelines, Google explains how search engines value (and, therefore, rank) high-quality content because it keeps users on its platform. If users know they can always find the information they are looking for, they will continue to use the search engine again and again.
By creating and publishing top-quality content, you can improve your website’s SEO and increase your chances of attracting organic traffic.
Content + Technical SEO = The Ultimate Website Marketing Combo
When it comes to creating a holistic SEO strategy, you need both high-quality content and technical SEO in order to make it work. It’s a common misconception that all you need is links or great content to rank highly in the search results. In reality, you need the ultimate combo.
Technical SEO covers all of the technical components of your website, such as site speed, URL structure and mobile-friendliness. This is what makes your site crawlable, functional and user-friendly.
Content, on the other hand, is the “meat” of your website that tells both users and search engines what your business is about. It provides context to the services or products you offer, the problems you solve for your clients, what your business’s mission is and what keywords you are hoping to rank for.
How To Create A Profitable SEO Content Strategy
The purpose of having an SEO strategy goes far beyond simply generating traffic. As a business owner, your goal may be to drive sales through your website, entice visitors to give you a call, or add new subscribers to your email marketing campaign. Therefore, you need an SEO content plan that drives profit as well as traffic.
Conduct Market Research
Your SEO content strategy will ultimately depend on what type of content your target audience wishes to see. This will be based on their pain points, questions, desires, interests and needs. That’s why starting with market research is absolutely essential.
Take the time to survey your target market to learn what they struggle with, what they like and dislike about your competitors, what questions they have about your industry, and what problems they are trying to solve. Their answers will give you an indication of what topics need to be covered in your content.
Identify the Right Keywords
Beyond identifying what topics to cover, you’ll need to align these topics with keywords that users are actually entering into search engines. For instance, if you are a criminal law attorney and your audience tells you they want to learn more about the appeal process, you might do keyword research around terms like “what is an appeal?” or “how to file an appeal in court.”
Keyword research tools such as SEMRush and Ahrefs will tell you whether these terms do, in fact, get searched for, how many users search for these terms per month, and how competitive these terms are to rank for. In your SEO content, you will want to target keywords that receive search volume but are not highly competitive.
Write Engaging Content
You can reverse-engineer your competition’s content strategy by seeing what they are doing well, and then applying those methods to your own content. For instance, if you see topics that your competitors are covering and you are not, you may want to add them to your keyword list. Also look out for components like block quotes, videos and lists that make their content more engaging.
Incorporate your focus keywords into your SEO content in a natural way without jeopardizing the quality of your content. Recognize that you are writing for people first, not Google. Your market research will help you craft a message that resonates with your target audience.
Map Out A Holistic Content Marketing Plan
Don’t sit and wait to grab Google’s attention. Your content can work for you in multiple ways if you create a holistic content marketing plan. That way, you can attract traffic via multiple channels by sharing your content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond.
High-quality content is the foundation of any profitable SEO strategy. Since search engines have an incentive to rank valuable, authoritative websites, it’s in your best interest to publish content your target audience wants to read. Focus on creating valuable content in order to attract organic traffic from search engines and convert that traffic into paying customers.