The content you put out into the world is important. You know it, Google knows it, and your competitors definitely know it! It doesn’t matter where you are in your search marketing career; content marketing will always be the largest channel for boosting brand awareness, improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings and attracting relevant traffic.
Whether you’re googling “best pizza near me” or you’re one of the last people using Bing, you have to admit you probably can’t go a single day without a search engine. Did you know the average Internet user spends more than a third of their time online on search engines? For many people, searching the internet can feel like falling into a vast void of stuff, and good SEO is the perfect way for your business to wade through it all to catch them, and their attention! As business owners, it is imperative to learn as much as you can about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to lead people to your website time and time again.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
In short, SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that it performs well in search engines, which in turn will lead more visitors to your website. Many people understand SEO as the act of optimizing a site to obtain high ranking positions on search engines, but are missing the in-depth understanding of how exactly to get better rankings, or how those rankings are even determined. This guide will take an in-depth look at how search engines rank websites, breaking down different tactics you must employ to increase your site’s rank.
So, What’s the Secret?
If you want to be found online, you will first need the right content to catch the attention of search engine crawlers and indexers. One problem with SEO content writing today is that much of what’s out there isn’t very good. And when it comes to trying to find hacks and shortcuts — search engines are always one step ahead.
SEO content writing is one of the most challenging processes to master. But by focusing on keyword research, keyword targeting, and creating well-crafted articles, it is possible! Let’s start with the basics: Why content SEO is so important, and how you can write epic SEO content. Bonus: we’re getting on the trend train.
The three most important things to produce high performing content are keywording, copywriting, and site architecture.
Discover Who You Are
Just like that semester abroad, or that breakup where you cut your bangs 2am – it’s time to FIND OURSELVES! Establishing your brand’s personality and voice is one of the most important (and fun) parts of the process. Who are you, and what is your service? More specifically: who are you helping, and what are you helping them with? Your brand directly correlates to your audience, and to truly optimize your website to appear in searches, you need to know what your audience is searching for.
This brings us to market research! Market research is the process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting information about a market or an industry. By implementing this research into your SEO, you will be able to reach a larger audience of like minded individuals. More specifically, individuals who want to see your website!
Key words are the key to nailing SEO. To put it simply, people use Google to find things – so you need to figure out the words and phrases for which people are looking for. If we want to find out what keywords are worthwhile to target for SEO, we do keyword research.
Focus Keywords are the words you want to be found for. These are broad terms that your business can fall into.
Long-tail Keywords are more specific and less common. They can be just as important, with the added bonus of having less competition. You want to make sure your keywords are as specific as possible to reach the audience you’re looking for, and the one that is looking for you!
Easy Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
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Be sure to use variations of the same long-tail keywords. For example, Easy Lemon Meringue Pie Recipes can also be Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe from Scratch. These variations can also include plurals, singulars, synonyms, and antonyms to widen the reach of keyword portfolios.
You can find plenty of free keyword research tools online to help you find the best keywords and variations for your brand. Google Trends is my personal favourite. When you type Lemon Meringue Pie into Google Trends you can see that there was a spike in searches in late November 2020. You can also see which regions the keyword is most popular in (apparently Vermont loves this zesty treat). Lastly, you can find a list of related topics and queries that will help you see what is currently trending for the keyword. For example, Google Trends listed Clear Lemon Meringue Pie as the top query right now. This is something I would consider creating content about if I were doing SEO for a bakery website (more on this later).
Let’s be honest, we’ve all gone to Google to desperately search for the title of a song we heard 10 years ago, the address of that restaurant with the great burgers, or the article from that magazine you skimmed at the hairdresser. You desperately type in everything you can remember, and are let down when Google doesn’t know what you’re talking about. That’s because Google, and all other search engines, use a set of rules based on keywords. When you’re searching for a product or service, you’ll get better results if you already understand how search engines work. The same goes for SEO. Before you start your keyword research, I highly recommend you look into exactly how search engines work, and all the tricks that make finding that great burger spot so much easier!
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. Understanding the SERPs and being able to interpret them is critical to the success of your SEO. To get higher rankings in the SERPs, what we want is more traffic. Remember: Traffic = Sales. The goal is to get keyword phrases that have commercial intent, i.e.,people searching for products similar to yours, or those who want to evaluate a product category before shopping. But of course, without keywords research, we can’t select those high-traffic keywords to optimize for.
Analyze The Competition
It is so important to research your competition when working on your SEO. I recommend tools like SEMRush and AHREFS Content Gap Tool, popular tools for doing competitor research. They identify keyword opportunities that the main competitors and similar sized brands are not actively targeting, based on keyword rankings from Google Adwords.
Defining a content gap requires you to understand your audience and needs. Identify what terms your audience is using in Google to arrive at similar articles that are not directly addressing their needs. Understanding your competitors blindspots will help you to fill in those gaps with relevant content for your audience!
Writing Quality Content
Writing compelling, relevant, original content is the key to success when it comes to SEO. Your articles, blog posts, and landing pages should never be made up of “filler”, especially if you’re trying to drive new users to your website. In order to save time and money, many people feel they must choose between quality and quantity. Fortunately, we’ve entered the future where this is no longer the case!
Websites like Craftly.ai are prime examples of how you can prioritize both quality and quantity, while saving time and money. This AI platform generates unique content in seconds, making it easy to write blog posts, do research, and come up with content ideas! One of the best features is the topic generator, which can fill your monthly content calendar in less time than it takes for you to get a coffee!
Fun Fact: Craftly.AI has written parts of this article.
Writing for Your Audience
When writing your content, think about what you want your audience to do after they engage with it. Do you want them to purchase your product, click on another article, watch your video? Whatever your goal is for the article, make sure that there is something that will motivate them to engage or take action. Try to think of a unique angle for this article and how you can provide value to your visitors. Useful content that is enjoyable to read can turn someone who just stumbled onto your page into a conversion!
It may seem logical to optimize your content after you’ve written it by changing some phrases and adding keywords before posting. I’m challenging you to go backwards. Before you write your content, think about what your audience wants to hear. This is a great time to use your research into what they’ve been searching for! (Remember when I mentioned Clear Lemon Meringue Pie?) By using platforms like Google Trends, you can find the content that people are looking for right now. This is especially helpful if your competitors research shows that your competition has yet to write about the topic.
Publish “Skyscraper” Content
Creating “Skyscraper” content can be done by using ideas that are already performing well online and making them better! This can be done by adding more information, or creating longer content. For example, if you see 100 Recipes for Lemon Meringue Pie, write an article with 101! It can also be done by simply updating the information to be more relevant to an audience reading today. An article for “The Best Lemon Meringue Pie” can be turned into “Making the Best Lemon Meringue Pie with a Modern Twist”. Lastly, looks matter (for websites anyway). You can outperform an already successful website by simply having a better looking, cleaner, or more appealing structure to your page.
Here is a great resource for seeing the Skyscraper Technique: https://ahrefs.com/blog/skyscraper-technique/
The Ideal Structure
Your site structure is the foundation for all of your SEO. The key is to make sure all of your pages are optimized for on-page SEO and that relevant keywords and phrases are used throughout your content and in any links you have pointing to your site. It goes without saying that you should centralize your content around a topic to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for, but even within those topics, there should be plenty of opportunities to optimize individual pages based on very specific ideas. Each page on your site should be designed to provide a clear cut customer benefit and lead the viewer to take an action. Each page also needs to be in tune with the other pages of your website in terms of content, title tags and keyword use.
Ideally, your website should be shaped like a pyramid. Your homepage is the top of the pyramid, under that you have your categories, which lead to more specific pages that relate to each category. These specific “long-tail” pages should always link directly to the pages higher in the pyramid.
The better structure you offer, the closer you’ll get to ranking well in search results. Don’t get overwhelmed! There are always ways to focus on the structure of your website without disrupting the core or flow of your design.
Don’t Compete With Yourself
Say for example you have a page that ranks in search engines for “Lemon Meringue Pie Recipes.” If your whole website revolves around lemon meringue pie recipes and has multiple pages of these recipes, chances are you will be competing with yourself to land on the SERP. This problem can be solved with an internal linking structure that will result in better rankings for the website as a whole. You may also want to delete older content, or duplicate content so as not to be competing with similar articles that link to your website that are less relevant to your audience. You always want to prioritize your best content so that it will have the best chance to land rank higher on the SERP. The better the content and the higher it ranks, the more likely this new audience member engages with your content!
2021 And Beyond
SEO is a rapidly evolving field of digital marketing that incorporates content optimization, online reputation management, social media, and many other elements into a cohesive strategy. And while content SEO is becoming more important every day, our approach to writing it has not changed that much over the last decade. By implementing the tried and true tips above, you can begin tackling Google, the driving force behind SEO strategy.
It is important to remember that SEO isn’t as intimidating as it may seem. At its core, it is a helpful tool that allows us to more easily access the content that we want to see. And when used correctly, it will connect you with the best audience for your product or service!
This article is a great example. Here you are, simply reading as someone interested in search engine optimized content, marketing content, or maybe you got here by Googling “Lemon Meringue Pie”. You may not have known about Artificial Intelligent copywriting or its capabilities. However, by bringing you here and subtly plugging in how amazing the AI copywriter is who assisted in the writing of this article, you may be my next conversion!