Once you invest in research, writers, and a website, it’s time to optimize your content for search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Through a combination of techniques known as search engine optimization (SEO), web users can connect their queries to helpful content like yours. And you know what that means—along with the steady stream of relevant traffic, your qualified leads and conversions rise with the tide.
As search engines evolve, so do good SEO practices. And today, you’ll need more than a keyword-stuffed landing page and a couple of high-authority links in each blog. Modern SEO content involves a thorough understanding of your target audience and business goals, as well as a long-term strategy for content promotion.
Read on to discover the most effective types of SEO content, how to optimize, and why all of this is worth your while.
Types of SEO content
You can apply content optimization/SEO practices to almost any type of online content to ensure you reach the intended audience. Naturally, resources are finite, so choose a type of SEO content that gives you the most for your money.
Here are 3 good places to start:
1. Landing pages
A landing page is a webpage designed to attract potential leads. Typically, web users will follow a link from a search engine, email, ad, blog, or social media post to reach a page that informs, inspires, or converts. Landing pages include links to the main site’s homepage, product pages, and campaign-specific pages.
A blog helps you produce a steady stream of effective SEO content. Unlike a landing page that tends to be somewhat static and evergreen, blogs can offer up-to-the-minute news, trends, statistics, and special offers. These can appeal to different audiences and take on an edgier or more casual tone than the main website.
3. Visual content
Visual content can expand your brand’s reach and catch the wandering eye of a prospect who may never read a corporate blog or landing page. Images, videos, infographics, ads, and social posts are all types of visual content you can optimize for higher search engine ranking.
A word to the wise: create a content marketing calendar for your website refreshes, weekly blogs, and visual posts for consistent output that aligns with your growth goals. Don’t let content production and optimization fall by the wayside as you pursue splashy billboards, Super Bowl ads, or conferences. The beauty of content marketing, after all, is that it’s relatively affordable—though it does require maintenance to keep momentum.
What are the keys to content optimization?
The term search engine optimization is somewhat misleading. We’ve all seen what happens when website owners optimize for Google bots: awkward phrases, clickbait headers, and little overall value. Instead, consider these 3 steps to optimize for your human readers—and the search traffic will follow naturally.
1. Consider your audience
Your audience likely consists of multiple types of prospects. Start with surveys, sales department feedback, and customer relationship management software to understand who your products and services attract—and why.
Once you have the data, you can build several core marketing personas based on common demographics, pain points, and needs. Then, think about what type of content each persona might seek throughout the buying process.
For example, a business-to-business website geared toward C-suite executives might publish use case case studies, downloadable white papers, or high-level landing pages. But a business-to-customer website for college students might feature videos, blogs, and email nurture campaigns. Or you might create a blog for one particular audience this week and a blog for another next week.
2. Write quality content
Quality website copy goes beyond basic information to give visitors a taste of what’s exciting in your world and prompts them to become more engaged. With emphasis on clarity, consistency, and balance, our 11 Rules for Writing Website Copy will steer you in the right direction.
Also, consider the following methods to level up your content for search:
Use content optimization strategies
A few quick steps will flag your content for search engine attention:
Step 1: Perform keyword research across the buyer’s journey
You’ll need top, middle, and bottom funnel keywords to build authority within your niche.
- Top funnel: If you sell financial services, a top-funnel keyword phrase might address a pain point like “how to get a mortgage loan”
- Mid-funnel: As audiences weigh their options, a keyword phrase like “Dallas mortgage lending firms with low interest rates” attracts attention
- Bottom funnel: Keywords tend to be branded or highly targeted to convert, so consider adding “get a mortgage rate quote” to your page
Step 2: Create topic clusters linked to a main pillar page to keep readers on your site
A cluster is a group of keywords that describe a topic from multiple angles. If your main pillar page pertains to “waterproof hiking jackets,” you might link out to related keyword pages about “spring hiking jackets,” “what makes a good hiking jacket,” or “tips for hiking in the off-season.” These pages can then link back to your main pillar page to increase authority and ranking for your target keywords.
Step 3: Sprinkle keywords into strategic positions
Certain locations have more search engine impact than others.
- Include your main keyword or phrase within the first and last 100-200 words.
- Write primarily for readers, but substitute targeted keywords for generic terms.
- Try to use a keyword variation at least every 200 words.
- Use keywords in title tags, subheaders, links, image alternatives, and meta descriptions.
Optimize links and alt text
Links are indispensable to SEO content creation, and you’ll want to use 2 types:
- Internal: Link to other blogs, product pages, or a contact page within your site to add greater value, keep readers engaged longer, and help facilitate next steps.
- External: Link to authoritative pages outside your site to give your article depth, back up your claims with research, and enhance reader trust.
Aim for 1–3 internal links and 2 external links per 1,000-word post for optimal density.
If your content contains images, you can optimize the alt text with a description of the picture that includes its context within your page. So if you have a picture of a beach, explains Google’s John Mueller, you can include alt text that says, “This is a picture of a beach in front of our hotel” or “This is the beach that we took a photo of when we were doing a chemical cleanup”—to connect with very different Google Image search intents.
Refresh old content
As search engines prioritize fresh content and updated websites, periodic article refreshes are a best practice that can rev up rankings almost overnight. To potentially double the amount of leads from your older content, go through your best content from 5+ years ago to make the following updates:
- Shorten your introduction and get to the point faster.
- Update all research links, dates, and statistics to more recent sources.
- Fix any typos, spelling errors, or grammatical inconsistencies you find.
- Add in new keywords and phrases that align with search intent better.
- Include graphics, charts, images, or videos to make your piece stand out.
- Link to other more recently published pieces on your site.
- Add a few new sections based on what competitors say about the topic.
- Promote your content again—as if it’s a new piece—to reach new audiences.
For more ideas, read: 20 Simple Ways to Repurpose Content to Boost Your Traffic.
3. Promote your content
One of the best facets of digital marketing is that the time you spend working on one aspect will benefit all others. For example, once you complete your SEO checklist for Shopify, you can then promote the pages through social media, advertisements, guest post opportunities, and email drip campaigns.
Tools you can use to your advantage
There are thousands of SEO content optimization tools on the market, so how you build your stack will depend upon where you feel your organization needs the most support.
For starters, Google Search Console and Google Analytics offer a lot of freebies, as does the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. Google makes it easy for you to identify issues that affect your searchability, research keywords, and test your site’s usability. And Yoast analyzes your post drafts for outbound links, keyphrase use, and meta optimization to ensure you don’t miss any SEO opportunities.
Beyond the basics, there are tools like:
- Canva: To create visual content
- Clearscope: To check your keyword density and readability
- SurveyMonkey: To conduct persona research
- CoSchedule: To build your omnichannel content calendar
- Ahrefs: To check the quality of your backlinks
- Twilio SendGrid: To build, test, and automate email marketing campaigns
The benefits of optimizing your content
Search engine optimized content is more than a marketing best practice: it’s evidence that you consistently produce high-quality content that meets the needs of your target audience.
There are plenty of other great reasons to optimize your content, including:
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