Too many marketers believe that SEO belongs in the end of a content marketing project. They create a content or finish a marketing campaign, and at the end comes the SEO part of the project, which include putting keywords and promoting the content.
Unfortunately, this is a completely outdated concept and is ineffective.
Robust modern day SEO tries to understand who the target audience is online, where these buyers are present in the buying process, what information they’re looking for and what content format they prefer. These practices lead to a more effective content strategy.
But SEO is called upon at the end of the project and it is difficult to use these insights when at that stage. To enjoy the benefits and optimize every content you must use SEO as a foundational part of every project.
- Keywords should help determine content, not decorate it
Most online experiences start with keywords, so the marketers should too.
There are a lot of ways to source ideas and inspiration for a content calendar, but questions that come in to customer service and comments overheard in the office aren’t necessarily what digital users are looking for. Content needs to be crafted keeping in mind the questions asked online and the needs of the users.
Effective content strategies start with keyword research, because modern keyword research provides significant insight into what audiences want and need. The process of creating content pieces requires marketers to brainstorm, and create content ideas that satisfy those needs, and create the right content the first time. It also helps generate ample content ideas for filling editorial calenders.
- Keyword Research Should Define Content
When expanded to discover user intent, keyword can tell marketers how to create content: what type of information is needed, who needs the information and at what buying stage the users who searching for this is at.
Marketers can conduct searches for keywords and use search results to gather important content insights:
- What type of information is needed? If search results for your target keywords provides information on an entry-level, how to guides or basic definitions, then the intent behind the keyword is general knowledge acquisition or learn intent. If the search result shows the price comparison of the same product, user reviews and brand landing pages, then the goal of the keyword is to create a purchasing decision or purchase intent.
- Who needs the information? If the search result is highly technical or provide very detailed information, then the information is directed at individual contributors. If the result are high-level thought leadership pieces, the audience is most likely executives. User persona searches are ways to find out who is searching for which keyword terms and hence can be used to tailor content by marketers for the appropriate audience.
- Where are searchers in the buying journey? if keywords are leading to introductory pieces of content then the buyers are generally in the introductory phase of the buying stage and are in the buying awareness stage, which means that they don’t even know of a problem which needs to be solved. Otherwise, if the keyword leads to search results which can be about product comparison prices and reviews then the user is at a lower part of the buying funnel and is looking for a solution to his problem which will help him purchase the product.
This type of detail helps expand ideas captured in the editorial calenders to be expanded with incredible detail. When content is written, it will include the right information, be addressed to the right audience and cater to the appropriate journey position, eradicating the waste caused by wrong information capture and helps target the buying process.
- SERP analysis reveals Google’s ranking priorities
SERP analysis helps decipher Google’s algorithmic preferences. In order to earn high ranking on SERPs, marketers need to understand which are the preferences and priorities for their industry, content, niche, etc. Otherwise marketers will waste time and effort pursuing things, such as certain keywords that might not be important to the business functioning.
Marketers can analyze the first page of the SERP results to find out what ranking factors for their niche or industry matter. By comparing consistencies in top results, such as publication date, page load speeds, use of visual media, and related topics covered the most pertinent and important ranking factors can be identified:
- If most results point to a video result, then the visitors prefer video content.
- If the most results point to text posts which are more than 3000 words long, users are looking for comprehensive, long-form content.
- If results point to inforgraphics, tables, pictures and all such things then the visitors are more likely to consider and prefer visual content.
Identifying your top ranking factors allows marketers to anticipate user preferences and create the right content.