How to Build An SEO Content Strategy
Hey! Here’s one for you – why do SEOs love going to the farmer’s market? Because of the organic content!
At Kaizen, we’re often asked to build organic content strategies for a variety of clients. We’ve found that the challenges with content can vary and some brands may find it hard to identify the right topics for their vertical. While just using search volume and keywords to decide on what topics to write can be tempting, I’ll show you how a foolproof SEO content strategy means more than keywords with high search volume.
Identify your Audience, Goals, and Competitors
To start with, content created without an audience in mind brings little to no value. After all, content is made to be read by an audience. Only by knowing your audience first, will you know what content will be effective. Ask yourself – is my audience only looking for information? Are they visiting my website because they’ve specifically searched for my brand or service? Understanding your audience also works alongside identifying your goals.
Having clear goals in mind makes sure that user intent remains a central part of your content strategy. Having the right goals keeps you and your team on the right path to prioritise the types of content you need to create.
If you’re able to, you should also look at content gaps between yourself and your competitors. Tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs offer great insight into how you currently perform against competing websites. This may not be applicable if you currently have little to no content currently available.
Users generate keywords, keywords don’t generate users
Once you’re sure of who your audience is and what you want to achieve through your content, then your keyword research begins. You should spend the majority of your time in this stage.
Start by compiling a shortlist of short-tail seed keywords important to your business in a spreadsheet. Use your keyword research tool of choice to find other related “branch” keywords and start to build your keyword “tree”. Not only will you want to know the average monthly searches, but you’ll also want to identify search volume broken by per month from Jan to Dec to identify seasonal trends.
Continue building your landscape to include long-tail terms and questions that appear in SERP features such as People Also Ask through tools such as AlsoAsked. Make sure that you capture the key micro-moments that Google introduced back in 2015; I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy.
Don’t be deterred by the low search volume from long-tail keywords that you may see. The point of this stage is to identify the terms that are being used and shown to real people beyond search volume. For example, questions pulled from People Also Ask boxes are often 10 or 0 average monthly searches. However, they often rank on page 1 for high in demand terms. If we can create content that is the answer for this type of result, we are actually aiming to sneak in as a way around high in demand, competitive search terms/ SERPs.
As you build your keyword tree, you should be categorising. Label all your keywords across multiple categories. Whilst considering the themes important to your business, you should also be labelling by intent. Remember those micro-moments? All keywords should connect back to those 4 intent types. Seasonality labels can also be applied.
Pick the right content format
Now that you have your data split into several categories, you should use them to reveal the content you need to create. You may find that the majority of your keywords are focused on the I-want-to-know intent or that keywords for a particular service or product spikes in a particular month. The data will reveal what keywords to target while remaining focused on the core intent or goal as designated by your category.
This is where search volume and relevance to your core business products will drive decisions on whether you should create an authoritative sub-page or a content gap-filling blog post. The most effective content strategy is using a combination of search data with user intent insight to identify what type of content will be of most use to a user. In an I-want-to-buy moment, I’m not looking for long-form content. This will be the opposite in an I-want-to-know moment.
Organic content can only be effective if you’re serving the needs of a user. Create content with a real user as the end goal, not a search engine. For more details on how Kaizen can build a customised content strategy get in touch.
By Harry Clarke - 19/03/2021