Getting the best use out of a website’s content is one of the key principles behind an effective content strategy. And from an SEO’s perspective, making the most of a website’s content means populating it with keywords to drive traffic. Two very different utilities for the same set of little ol’ words.
Here are some tips that help our team work together to achieve our clients’ web content objectives:
1. Focus cold, hard SEO efforts on metadata and paid search ads.
The eternal battle between using enough keywords and creating meaningful content that sounds natural will wage on for an eternity, or at least until Google changes its algorithms. (Not likely in the near future.) Start with making the best use of your metadata and paid search ads. Write title tags and page descriptions that include not only keywords, but the keywords you want to rank for on each page. The more effort you put into optimizing your metadata, the more room you have to create content unscathed by awkward keyword repetition and blandness.
2. Create a keyword map for content in the beginning.
The best way to make sure SEO efforts don’t interfere with the quality of your content (and vice versa) is to consider SEO in the very beginning stages of a web project. SEOs, like writers and content strategists, don’t enjoy being handed a website to optimize at the very end of a project. Like content, keywords should be mapped out alongside the architecture of the site as it is developed. This requires the content strategist or writer to work very closely with an SEO to make sure both needs are being met, and in the right areas. When you involve the SEO in the beginning, you are in control of where and how keywords appear in your content. If you involve SEO in the end of a project, you wind up having less control over the context in which those keywords appear. Not to mention you create more work for yourself when you have to change what you've written to accommodate new keywords.
3. Stay current on the terms and search trends around your website.
Set up good old fashioned Google alerts to monitor keywords and use free social media monitoring tools and the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to keep up to date on the terms most relevant to your subject matter. This will help you govern your existing content, as well. If you’re constantly staying up to date on the content on your site, your search ranking should follow suit. (Plus, the more you update your website’s pages, the more often your site is crawled by search engines.) This goes to show just how well content strategy and SEO can work together to keep content fresh and relevant. It’s a win win!
4. Create consistent content and update it often.
If part of your content strategy is consistently updating your website by means of a blog, this is a great opportunity to create content in an attempt to rank for your keywords. Not to mention, the context in which you are writing blog posts allows for more flexibility in your writing as it pertains to naturally including those keywords several times. For example, if you’re writing a post about the popularity of designer BPA-free aluminum water bottles, you have more chances to work that long-tail keyword in than you would on a product page. Obviously saying designer BPA-free aluminum water bottles five times on a website page would just be weird, no matter how natural you tried to make it sound.
5. Use an Editorial Calendar for SEO.
Speaking of creating and updating content consistently, an editorial calendar can be used for more than just blog posts and updating site pages. Create an editorial calendar for SEO and blog posts together. Target keywords around events or times of the year that are relevant to your brand, company or product. For instance, if you sell outdoor gear, focus your SEO efforts on snowshoes as winter approaches. Pay per click ads have relied on this tactic for some time, so why not a blog post? It sounds simple, but people miss these opportunities all of the time. Of course, you don’t want to plan your SEO calendar too far in advance because keyword trends change, but planning keywords a good 30 days out should put you in the right place.
Let us know if you have any more tips for using SEO and content strategy harmoniously to achieve your website’s objectives in the comments below.
Image by dlisbona, licensed by Creative Commons.
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