A winning SEO content strategy in 2021 is tough as nails. But it’s almost guaranteed to generate traffic. Also, better rankings. Sometimes, even without building a single link. Google has time and again, emphasised that content is king. It is now one of the top ten ranking factors. So, everyone knows that content can improve SEO. But how many know the right strategy?
Generating content without a strategy is like blind fire in war. You waste ammo and energy with a slim shot of hitting the enemy. To win in SEO, we need to conserve both. You need to understand the many factors that make for winning content. More importantly, you must know how to strategise it to boost your SEO efforts.
That’s precisely what we are going to look at today. So strap in and enjoy the ride.
Devise an SEO content strategy based on your reader
SEO is about user experience. When it comes to content, user experience comes from providing value. If your content addresses your reader’s pain points, it adds value. It’s that simple. That in turn, enhances the user experience. With user experience comes lucrative rankings. To do this effectively, you must know who that reader is.
That’s what your SEO content strategy must begin with. Identify your target audience. This is easier said than done though. At Rockstar Marketing, we create distinct audience personas. Then we use keyword research and analyse the competition. Finally, we create content that appeals to these personas. You too can begin there.
- Start by researching your current customers. If you are not selling something, check your website visitor data. What’s the average age of your website visitor? What’s the gender? Which demographic stays the longest on your website? Who are the ones that hit the back button the soonest? These details will give you a broad description of your target audience.
- Analyse your competition. Check their blog for comments. Read their social media posts and check for engagement. Read their customer reviews on review platforms. What part of their service receives the most positive feedback? What are the most common customer complaints? Work on ways to address those complaints. Those are the pain points.
You can even use surveys. This will give you a clear picture of how a customer perceives your business. Use all this data to segment customers. You can even create personas and craft personalised content for each persona.
Work on the topics
Audience analysis will give you a rough idea of what your reader expects. Now it’s time to brainstorm content ideas that address their problems. There are two primary things to be aware of.
- Your content must be unique. No, we aren’t talking about it being free of plagiarism. That’s not discountable. What we mean is that it must offer something unique. The value proposition. Something that the audience is not getting already. Ideally, none of your competition offers it either. That’s when it offers real value. It brings exclusivity to the table. In other words, it offers a legitimate reason for a visitor to come back to your website.
- You must come across as an authority on the subject. If you are writing content that sounds like an 8th grader wrote it for pocket money, your user experience rating will tank. How do you come across as an authority? You spend hours on research. Most of the authority content you see on Page 1 are not rehashed stuff. The writers probably spent days looking for real data that adds value. An easier way, is to hire a team of expert writers. At Rockstar Marketing, we have subject matter experts in different industries who help us craft content.
There are numerous ways in which you can brainstorm topics. We usually write down as many content ideas as we can in 10 minutes. Then we start to rank each idea on the basis of its relevancy and proximity with our audience’s pain points. This simple exercise works wonders.
Keyword Research is a critical part of the SEO content strategy
There are so many ways to do keyword research. Each SEO guru out there peddles their own secret formula. Some sell courses for thousands of pounds. Based on our experience, here’s only one winning SEO content strategy. Find low competition keywords based on the content topics you brainstormed earlier.
Here’s a brief guide on how to do that:
- Start with broad terms. Here’s an example. If you have an e-commerce store that sells ‘treadmills for tall people’, start with the keyword ‘best treadmills’. Yeah, the broader the better.
- Start narrowing down further. You can use various subcategories of your products. For example, bestselling treadmills. Now, use product features to narrow it down even further. ‘treadmills with full-sized running decks’. Check for questions relevant to your brand and product. Ubersuggest is a terrific free tool. If you want a basic version, check the Google ‘People also ask’ box for keyword ideas.
- Think like your audience. More often than not, people like to search for questions. These read more like real people talking than two word phrases. These are ‘Long tail keywords’. These are generally the low hanging fruit. Low competition and laser targeted relevancy.
Time to put it all together. You should now have a list of preliminary keywords. Remember, this is not the be-all, end-all of keyword research. You will have to dig down further to find really low competition keywords. But it will be worth the time.
Create the best content that you can
This is where the money lies. How good is the content that you create? Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for this. You have to do it the good old fashioned way. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a trick or two up our sleeve. Here are some ways that we have used to create some of our best content.
Use Case Studies – Case studies are goldmines for traffic and links. People like to read about real world results. Presenting a case study goes to show that you went the extra mile. You took action and have the results to show for it. There’s no better way to add credibility and authoritativeness. You don’t even have to rack your brains too much. We spoke about competitor analysis in the first step. Did you find some reasons why customers are disgruntled at your competitor? Create a case study that shows how your business is more effective at addressing those problems.
Use Trends – We are all for evergreen content. But why ignore trending topics? You can generate a fair amount of buzz with it. The buzz may be temporary, mind you. As the trend fades, so will the traffic. But hey, if it generates a few hundred shares on social media, you get permanent eyeballs.
Swim against the tide – Take an unpopular opinion and create a content piece around it. Ensure that you have enough facts to back up your argument with. Going against the conventional status quo can reap huge benefits. A case in point is this article from Search Engine Journal. Almost everyone believes that long-form content works best. But Search Engine Journal proved that it’s not mandatory. The article got great traction.
Speaking to your audience is a great SEO content strategy
There’s something about authoritativeness that makes you want to read more. It’s not a quantifiable thing. We can’t explain it either. But when you read an authoritative content piece, something clicks. Aim for that tone. Be the guide your audience seeks.
Speak to your reader. Show them facts, statistics and add your two cents to it. Link to relevant studies and citations when necessary. Check keyword intent to customise the content tone. For informational intent, use a mix of information and entertainment. Nobody likes to read a journal. Make it fun. Use storytelling to create a compelling content piece. Here’s how Buffer used stories to increase visibility by 300%. Stories are easier to read. Besides, the reader finds it easier to connect with it.
For buying intent, show them what to buy and why to buy it. Depending on what stage of the buying funnel they are in, give them the push they need to convert.
Keep adding information
Updating your content is an easy way to make it evergreen. For instance, if you are linking to an outdated research article, change it. There might be broken links. Statistics might have changed. Content with the most recent information looks fresh and current. That’s not all. Google uses ‘freshness’ as a ranking signal.
If you wrote a milestone article in 2019 and haven’t touched it since then, maybe it’s a great time to revisit it. The rankings might bump up too.
Track your content to know if your SEO Content Strategy is working
Lastly, track your content. Analyse organic traffic. Measure engagement on your posts. Check for social media shares. Use Google Search Console to see if your content is indexed. Are you getting conversions? Are you able to generate leads? Is there progress?
To sum it up. Your SEO Content Strategy can amplify your marketing efforts. When done right, it can be a great asset to all your marketing channels. Be it improved rankings in search or more traffic, content is a cost effective way to optimise it all. Don’t shop pig in a poke, though. If you have never strategised for content, speak to our expert content marketing team today.