It has long been known that a site’s content (keywords, amount of words per page, etc.) can either make or break a site’s rankings on Google. But, have you ever taken the time to understand why content is so important? Or how you can use it to boost your rankings?
Now is the perfect time to start. And we’re here to help! Within this article, you’ll learn how to use SEO best practice to create amazing website content that will get you quality and quantity traffic.
Aligning SEO With Content Creation
When it comes to marketing, things are always changing. Whether it’s new marketing channels, paid search tactics, or in this case, the type of content you create to boost your rankings, it’s important to stay up to date on what’s happening in the industry.
There will never be one BEST way to do things in the volatile world of marketing. However, aligning your content and seo efforts will help you market smarter.
Think of content and SEO as the peanut butter and jelly to your marketing sandwich. You need solid content creation tactics in order to do well in SEO, and vice versa.
But it doesn’t just stop at realizing there’s a positive correlation between quality content and increased search strength.
Transforming your content creation process to include more robust research and testing that aligns with SEO best practices is essential to a successful marketing strategy. Not only will this alignment help you rank higher in the search engines, it will also bring more purpose to your marketing process.
Ready to improve your content to SEO strategy? Let’s get started.
Step 1: SEO Research
If content and SEO are the peanut butter and jelly of your “marketing sandwich” then research is the bread or the overall foundation of your strategy. Without it, there would be no sandwich! Are you following along? Anyway, let’s talk research and how to be great at it.
Start with a braindump. Think of your industry and the topics surrounding it and then come up with several keywords you want to rank for. Make this list as long as you want. The more keywords you have to perform research on, the better your results will be.
Next, you’ll want to do some research on each of your terms. Keyword research can be performed on a number of different tools. Below are a few of the tools we suggest, along with a step-by-step of how to perform research on each.
Keyword Research on Moz
- Hover over Moz Pro
- Click on Keyword Explorer
- Type in target keywords
- Under Keyword Suggestions click “See all suggestions”
- Identify target keywords based on monthly volume
Keyword Research on SEM Rush
- Navigate to Keyword Magic Tool
- Type target keyword into search bar
- Click tab “Related”
- Filter results in descending order in the volume tab
- Identify related keywords with high volume to target
You can choose whichever tool you’d like to perform your research, but we suggest using several tools to compare and contrast results. For example, SEMRush does a great job of letting you know how difficult a keyword will be to rank for, while Google Trends can show you the seasonality of certain terms. Using both of these tools will give you much more insight than using just one.
Tip: Research doesn’t have to be just about keywords! In fact, to create the most optimal content, you’ll want to be an expert in your industry. Spend some time looking into industry trends, must-knows and even your competitors to start planning content that stands out and ranks!
Step 2: SEO Content Planning
Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to plan out your content. It’s important to make sure that each page of your site has its own original and unique content. Search engines in order to rank higher on your search engine.
So how can you make sure each of your pages have unique content? For one, make sure each page has a self appointing canonical tag. A canonical tag lets the crawl bot know that the content on a specific page is original. Without a canonical, your content could be considered “cannibalization” and that’s a big red flag for search engines. Feeling lost yet? Learn more about canonical tags with this article from Moz.
The Keyword to Content Map
Something Moz suggests is creating a ‘keyword to content map’ for each of the pages on your site. To create the map, you’ll want to create a spreadsheet with all of your pages, their respective URLs, page speeds, page engagement, keywords for each of the pages, the volume and difficulty of those keywords, and more. Take a look at this article from Moz to see how the keyword to content mapping is done
This map will allow you to choose a keyword for each of your pages and help you get a better look at what the content should be about on each page. Additionally, this map will help you concept blogs and other content materials to point to your main pages.
Note: Once you know what type of content each of your pages will have, be sure to collaborate with your inbound team to come up with the best strategies for
Creating Your Content
There are a few essential parts of content creation that are important to remember when it comes to ranking. Remember to implement your focus keywords in the following portions of your content:
- H1 (one per page)
- Title Tag
- Meta Description
Your focus keyword should be implemented into each part of your content. However, be sure that each of these aspects are unique. For example, your H1 should be different than your H2’s, though all headings should show your keywords.
Step 3: SEO Reporting and Analysis
Here’s the true test of success – analysis.
There are several metrics we analyze to determine how successful our content is over time. Here are a few:
1. On-Page SEO Grade
SEO Marketing tools such as SEM Rush gives us a quick glance at how effective our technical SEO tactics are by assigning a page grade. This grade takes into account titles, keywords, meta descriptions, header tags, alt image tags, CTAs, and internal links. Though a score of 100% is ideal, a solid content score is 80% or above.
2. Average Time-On-Page
Your average time-on-page should be between 5-7 minutes – that’s usually how long it takes for someone to read a solid 1600-word post. You can use Google Analytics to track this metric.
An average time shorter than 5 minutes means you need to find ways to make your post more engaging. Add more images or effectively use sub-headers to make your piece easier to read.
If you’re producing content for a blog, a logical metric to measure is how many subscriptions you’re receiving per blog post.
If you’re not getting many, rethink the location of your subscription form and maybe consider having 2-3 links throughout your page encouraging users to subscribe.
Here are some other great metrics to track:
- Visits – specifically organic traffic
- Links per post
- Number of post comments
- Number of social shares
- CTA clicks and CTR – leads from posts
And there you have it–SEO and content creation! We hope that this blog has given you some insight on how to better align these two portions of marketing to improve your rankings. And that you feel confident in your strategy moving forward.