You’ve built your SEO strategy. You’ve done your keywords research and identified key search terms your business should rank for.
Now comes the critical step: aligning that SEO plan with your content marketing strategy. Readers of the N6A blog already know why this integration is critical; but how do you go about activating the integration? How can your landing pages, product pages and blog articles be optimized for search?Here are six tips you should follow every time you publish new content on your site.
1. Write for humans.
Yes, you want to please those Google bots crawling your site. But your first priority is writing something humans want to read.
A piece written with only SEO in mind can come out awkward, repetitive, lacking voice and, worst of all, boring. If people who come across the content don’t enjoy it or can’t easily find the information they came for, they won’t stick around. That high bounce rate is going to undo all of the careful optimization work you put in.
So ask yourself a few questions: What information does this content deliver to my customers? Is that information easy to find? Does the voice sound the same as the voice used across the rest of my brand?
Once you have a human-friendly draft, you can always work back to layer in SEO. Write for people, then optimize for search.
2. Don’t stuff keywords.
You’ve probably heard of keyword stuffing before. It’s an antiquated tactic used in the early days of the internet, when search engines weren’t sophisticated enough to do much more than count the number of times a keyword appeared on the page.
The smart folks at Google have long since figured out how to teach their algorithms to contextualize on-page keywords. So if you’re trying to rank for “automated customer CX”, you don’t need to repeat that phrase in every other sentence. Perpetrators of keyword stuffing—intentionally or otherwise—will see their search rank go down instead of up.
The best way to avoid this? Go back to point one and write for humans. If a keyword is repetitive or annoying, cut back.
3. Focus on headlines.
Anyone familiar with HTML—the computer language that constitutes the majority of the web—knows that the size and style of a heading is dictated by something called a heading tag.
The heading at the top of this page that reads “6 SEO Tips…” is an H1 heading tag. The subhead a few lines up? That’s an H4. The lower the number, the larger it typically appears.
Heading tags aren’t just relevant to web designers concerned with aesthetics. Search engines know that H1 tags are the most important indicator of a page’s content and scrutinize them accordingly.
What does that mean for you? Make sure you’re getting the most important keywords into your H1 tag… and, preferably, early in the heading. But don’t forget Rule #1: if the heading isn’t readable or appealing to a human, it doesn’t do you any good.
4. Break up copy with subheads.
Once you’re done optimizing that H1 tag, turn your attention to subheads. The goal here isn't so much to optimize for search engines (though including keywords isn’t a bad idea), but to optimize for readers.
Let’s face it: our attention spans on the web aren’t particularly long. We’ve become scanners. Anything that helps break up a page and make it more scannable will likely increase time on page. Remember, good SEO strategy not only drives people to your page but keeps them there; longer time on page and lower bounce rates means higher search rankings.
5. Don’t forget metadata.
Think of meta tags as instructions written to search engines in invisible ink. The people who visit your website won’t see them but they convey valuable information to the search bots crawling the page.
When preparing your content to publish within your CMS, you’ll come across metadata fields like page description and keywords. Put some real thought into filling these fields, as they can have an impact on search ranking.
But be selective: trying to cram too many keywords into these tags can blunt their significance to a search engine.
As Moz puts it: “Think of your page code as a set of step-by-step directions to get somewhere, but for a browser. Extraneous meta tags are the annoying ‘Go straight for 200 feet’ line items in driving directions that simply tell you to stay on the same road you're already on!”
6. Share your content on social media.
Whether social sharing has a direct impact on a website’s search ranking has long been a topic of debate. If there is a direct impact, it’s likely minimal.
But sharing on social certainly has an indirect impact. Social sharing in general can raise the visibility of your brand and drive higher engagement rates. Sharing any particular piece of content increases site visits from loyal followers who can boost page-specific, SEO-relevant engagement metrics like bounce rate and unique pageviews.
So share that blog on Twitter and Facebook. You’ll see long-term benefits.
None of these six steps on their own provide immediate virality and millions of views. But following each one consistently over time can be the difference in publishing away in obscurity and getting your content in front of potential customers.
Need a hand building your content marketing strategy? Contact a Studios expert today.
Posted by Jeff Gray