Content is one of the few things where you can rank on the first page of search results if you research, strategize and execute really well.
Search engines have made giant leaps forward in determining the context and quality of a page. This puts a great deal of emphasis on how well you answer the intent of the search query.
Developing a killer SEO content strategy can give you business a solid foothold in driving traffic and converting visitors.
Keyword research is the new market research
In order to create the best content for your audience, you need to understand what their needs are and how they search for solutions. Effective keyword research is a foundation for creating a top-notch SEO content strategy.
The first stage in developing a keyword strategy is to list any major products and services that you want your site to be known for. For every major keyword theme, you’re going to develop content around that topic.
Assume you’re a real estate agent in Toronto and your goal is to get more clients looking at your residential home listings. A major keyword would be homes for sale in Toronto.
In order to make your site relevant for this keyword, it’s necessary to support it with the major topics that would demonstrate your expertise and provide depth regarding your main keyword theme.
Think like your ideal client to come up with keywords and content ideas that help them in their search for finding homes in Toronto.
For example, if you were looking to buy a home in Toronto, you would want to know about trending home prices, the average monthly cost for utilities in the city, property taxes, top schools in the city, the demographic in the different neighbourhoods, etc.
The more information you provide to help visitors on your site, the more of a resource your website becomes and the more users will enjoy the experience. The keywords you choose should reflect the most important topics that people want to know about. Finding your site for subtopics will ultimately lead them to your main keyword topic.
Develop a topic cluster
Clustering your content has proved to have a positive effect on your ranking. Search engines trust sites that have authority and expertise in their niche. Structure your site to demonstrate each of these attributes (E.A.T. = Expertise, Authority, Trust) by forming a topic cluster for every major keyword topic.
A topic cluster consists of a pillar page and cluster content. The pillar page is the central topic that covers a broad range of topics. The pillar page will link out to cluster content in order to go deeper into detail on a specific topic.
As you build a list of keyword options, group your keywords together based on intent. A collection of commonly searched terms will help you create optimized and relevant content that people are actively searching for.
Your list should be comprised of both broad and long-tail keywords and phrases. The cluster content in this model is best represented by long-tail keywords as they provide a narrow focus and target a specific audience.
Engage your audience at different levels of the marketing funnel
When you’re planning your content, you need to consider the search terms that people are asking at each stage of the buyer journey.
There are questions that should be addressed to educate your future clients about what your product or service is about.
Content should also be created to show the major benefits of what your company offers.
Your content should also be published to specifically convert your audience from a visitor to a buyer.
Use the marketing funnel concept to help identify the major topics that would be the most natural progression towards acquiring a client.
Find alternate keyword options
There are hundreds, if not thousands of keywords for every niche. Brainstorming your topics is the first step. The next step is to check each one of the keywords in your list by searching for them yourself on Google.
This practice will extend your list of keywords to include the suggestions being made by Google itself.
Include relevant keywords from the PAA box, featured snippets, and from the searches related to [your keyword].
Add them all to your list.
Automate your research
The use of a keyword tool is vital in confirming the popularity of your keywords. During this stage, you want to solidify your selection by matching the right phrases with an appropriate amount of volume while avoiding the most competitive terms.
Assessing the competition is a major part of the decision making process. Get a quick summary of the level of difficulty in ranking your keyword options from your keyword report. Ahrefs uses KD to represent keyword difficulty.
Each keyword tool uses a different measurement of presenting the level of competition. However, all tools base their competitive rating of a keyword as a direct relationship with the quality of the backlinks the competing URLs possess.
Choose the best keywords that have the highest amount of volume and the lowest competition.
Above all, choose the keyword that best represents the topic that you intend to educate your audience about.
Publish 10X content
Top-notch content is no longer an option when it comes to driving traffic from the search results. You have to produce the best answer to a search query and aim for your page to be the final destination of a user.
The keyword strategy you’ve developed is the blueprint for your content creation. To drive traffic from those keywords, your content needs to outperform your competition. Use persuasive styled essay writing to persuade your audience with facts, stats and expert quotes.
There’s nothing wrong with a little sneak peek at what your competition is doing to appear on the first page of the search results.
In fact, you can develop your content more efficiently by having a clear idea of what will rank by reverse-engineering the top-ranking pages.
Remember that Google displays its top 10 search results as what it considers to be the best answer to a keyword search. Your first task is to identify any similarities in the top-ranking pages.
The type of content that is published has a big impact on how your content will answer intent. If there are 6/10 results that use list styled articles, it’s a style of content you need to seriously consider.
If the majority of pages that rank on the first page are over 3000 words, this gives you an idea of the depth that is needed to satisfy the user’s query.
Don’t mistake word count as a ranking factor.
You’re looking for clues on the breadth of topics and level of detail. Word count is the first indication of these aspects of what is required. It gives you an idea of how much research you’ll need to include in creating an article that outperforms the ranking pages.
Content gap analysis
One way to research which topics to include is to perform a content gap analysis. When a site ranks on the first page, it will typically rank for dozens of keywords and variations.
Identifying those keywords indicates what content is included in the article.
Publishing 10X content, which is also referred to as the skyscraper technique, is highly effective in many different niches for many different keywords.
Create content 10 times better than any other site that ranks on the first page.
Give search engines every reason to rank your page highly.
Publish articles on relevant sites within your niche
Having the best content isn’t always enough to rank your page. There is also the challenge of acquiring backlinks to compete with the authority of ranking pages on the SERP. Guest posting is one of many link-building strategies an SEO consultant Toronto will use to earn you authoritative backlinks from relevant content.
Guest posting is favoured because it coincides with setting up an ideal backlink profile. A guest post earns you an editorial link that is contextually relevant from authoritative websites.
The challenges faced are prospecting, pitching and scaling up your article writing efforts if you require a lot of links for your page to rank.
Only pitch sites that are topically relevant
When you’re creating a list of prospects to pitch, make sure they are relevant to your niche. Great links come from within your industry or have a very strong relationship with your niche and topic.
Aim for high authority sites
Keep in mind that in order to improve the authority of your page, you need links from sites that have authority. Getting a link from a site that has a DA over 80 (using Moz scale for domain authority) is worth 6 links from sites whose domain authority is rated 25.
When you write great content, include the best sites in your niche on your list to get the most impact from the links you acquire.
Make your pitches count
One of the biggest reasons for pitches getting rejected is because they aren’t relevant to the topics the blog publishes. Make sure you read the blog and get an idea of the style and type of content that is being published.
It’s difficult to write a completely original pitch for every prospect when you’re pitching hundreds of sites. The solution is to write a template where you replace the most important aspects of pitching an editor/website owner.
- Use their first name in your email
- Tell them why your content is a match for their blog
- Give them title options
- Show your expertise (recently published articles)
- Prove you’re not spamming their site (reference an article)
Scale up your writing
Writing a lot of guest posts can get you stuck for content ideas. You don’t want to keep writing the same articles, however, you need to write content that’s related to the pages you’re trying to rank.
Give your content different spins and perspectives when you pitch titles. If you pitched “How To Execute A Broken Link Building Strategy” to one website, you can pitch prospects with more titles like:
- “How To Execute A Broken Link Building Strategy On A Shoestring Budget”
- “How Small Businesses Execute A Broken Link Building Strategy”
- “Broken Link Building For Medium-Sized Businesses”
Drive traffic with a killer SEO content strategy
It’s no secret that publishing SEO content is the driving force behind ranking highly in the search engine results pages. People want information that’s useful and covers the problems that they need to solve.
Search engines will display the pages that have the ability to satisfy the intent of the user. In order to sustain long-lasting results in driving traffic, your content needs to meet and exceed the quality of your competition.
Keyword research is the foundation of every good SEO content strategy. When you understand what your ideal audience is searching for you can accurately publish the content that answers a demand, ranks highly and drives traffic to your site.