Welcome back to another installment of our SEO Essentials series! This week, we will be covering another important area of search engine optimization – content strategy.
The content you publish to your website and blog is a big part of what search engines pick up and analyze when crawling the web. Well-optimized content is like a map for search engine crawlers, providing them with a clear indication of your area of expertise and the services you offer. This can effectively help your site appear in relevant search results and gain exposure to new potential customers.
In this article, we will dive deeper into the purpose behind content strategy and the steps needed to develop a successful strategy. Everything covered in this article ties in with keyword and competitive research, so if you still haven’t completed those steps, now is the time!
If you missed our previous SEO Essentials articles, check them out here:
- Search Engine Optimization: SEO Setup Checklist
- Search Engine Optimization: Keyword Research and Competitive Analysis
Understanding the purpose of content
Content is a broad term. It applies to everything you publish on your website – pages, blog posts, images, videos, calls to action. It plays an important twofold role in helping you reach your audience online.
First of all, as already mentioned, well-optimized content can help you rank high in relevant search results. Using keywords related to your products, services, or area of expertise, providing explicit answers to popular questions, clean formatting – all of this can help Google make sense of your page and suggest it to your target users in organic search results.
But appealing to search engines is not enough to become successful. Your content also has to engage your website visitors, answer their questions or provide solutions to their problems, and guide them towards a conversion, e.g. making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
You may think that this latter facet of content strategy has little to do with SEO, but that’s not true. User engagement metrics such as dwell time and bounce rate are treated by Google as ranking factors and as such, they can affect your position in organic search. That’s why in order to build a truly successful organic online presence, you need to master SEO tactics and understand your audience’s needs to create content that will address them accordingly.
Analyzing your audience
In order to make your content useful and engaging to your audience, you have to understand your target customers and their online behaviours. Knowing what your prospects look for online will help you tailor your content to their needs.
If you followed the keyword research process described in our latest SEO article, you’re already equipped to research popular organic searches and drive inspiration from competitive analysis. But there’s really no other source of customer insights as valuable and reliable as… well, customers.
Review your current and previous customers who found your business through Google. Understanding the types of needs the majority of your clients turn to you with will give you a clear idea of which of your products or services are the most in-demand. Focus your strategy on them to reach an even wider group of potential clients.
Your customers can also help you understand whether your existing website content is straightforward and informative enough. Perhaps a lot of your customers ask whether you offer a specific product or service when they first reach out? Always take note of such inquiries – if any of the content on your website is unclear or confusing to your customers, it’s not doing its job and should be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.
You can also get a better grip on the search intent that drives traffic to your website by analyzing search queries in Google Search Console – you can find more information on how to do that here.
Defining your topic area
This part of the process should be easy if you completed your homework.
Following keyword research, popular search analysis, and an audit of your customer base, you should be able to create a core strategy. Here’s an example:
- your business is a skincare clinic
- you’ve discovered that ‘acne scar treatment Mississauga’ is a relevant keyword
- you know that most of your acne clients are interested in microdermabrasion and chemical peels
Use this information as a roadmap. Create separate service pages detailing all of the acne scar treatments you offer. Then plan blog posts that will go into more detail and answer frequently asked questions about acne, microdermabrasion, chemical peels. Consistently posting relevant content related to your areas of expertise will help Google recognize your site as an authority on the subject matter and will effectively help you move up in search rankings.
Once you have plenty of content covering services in highest demand, start branching out. Continue growing your position as an authoritative voice on everything related to skincare. Let your customers know that you can also help them handle eczema, signs of ageing, eye bags and dark circles, etc. Consistency is the name of the game, and the end goal is covering every service that your clinic is qualified to assist customers with.
Optimizing your content
Once you’ve created a piece of relevant and useful content that will engage your target audience, you can move on to publishing it to your website or blog. but before you hit that ‘Publish’ button, take some time to optimize your content. The steps listed below will make your content more comprehensible to both readers and Google.
- Make sure your content is easy to follow: avoid very long paragraphs, unnecessarily difficult phrasing, and passive voice
- Aim for neat formatting. Break your content up into smaller sections and use headings and subheadings to clearly indicate what each section covers (bonus points if you use relevant keywords in the headings)
- Where applicable, use numbered or bulleted lists to further improve readability
- Bold key phrases to help your readers – and search engines – follow your main point
- Link to other relevant pages or blog posts from your website (this can help users find additional information on the subject – and spend more time on your site, improving dwell time)
- Include alt-text when uploading images
- Add a clear call to action letting your readers know what steps they can take to further pursue their goal (solving their skincare problem), e.g. link to your consultation request form or your clinic’s phone number.
Once your content is optimized, you’re all set!
Following publication, make sure to check in on how your content performs. Analyze its performance in search results as well as traffic and engagement metrics. It’s likely that not every single piece of content you publish will become wildly successful, but every piece of content can provide you with insights on how to improve your strategy moving forward.
Looking for help with SEO?
If you need help building a winning content strategy, we’re here for you! Our team of leading SEO experts can help you set your website up for success, develop a bespoke action plan, implement on- and off-site optimization strategies, and guide you all the way up Google’s rankings.
Soulpepper Digital Marketing has helped numerous businesses of different sizes and budgets succeed, and we look forward to helping you grow your brand! Give us a call or get in touch via our contact form to see what we can do for you.