SEO Strategy – Getting Found is Half the Battle
SEO strategy is a vital part of good content marketing. Writing fun and engaging content is great and everything, but if nobody is reading your writing then it begins to feel like you’re talking to yourself.
Never a good look.
Get talking to a journalist or creative writer about writing SEO content and they’re likely to beg you to stop. Just before falling on their creative sword, or jumping out a big old window to avoid having to change their style.
But just like riding a Segway or bathing a defiant dog, creating a good SEO strategy is really quite simple when you get the hang of it.
Here’s a few simple steps you can take today to enhance the standing of your blog – and your company – in the eyes of Google and other search engines.
SEO Strategy – Consistent, Simple Layout
Having a discussion about how your content should look can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
Think about your headings, which come in different sizes, usually ranging from H1, H2 etc down to H6.
This is a H1. Try to have just one, usually the title of your content.
This is a H2. Use these as subheadings.
H3s are used for smaller headings.
Make sure to sprinkle some of your main keywords (more about them in a second) among your headings.
Try to keep all of your text short. This includes headings and also all of your sentences.
It also includes the amount of sentences per paragraph and even the amount of syllables in each word.
Check out the Flesch reading ease score, which is a way of measuring how easy your text is to read.
It gives you a higher score if you have short words in short sentences in short paragraphs.
SEO Strategy – Using (But Not Overusing) Keywords
Keywords are one of the important parts of any SEO Strategy. They should constantly be on your mind when writing content.
First, have a think about what sort of search terms you want your site to rank for e.g. marketing automation.
Then consider what phrases might work best. For example ‘what is marketing automation?,’ ‘marketing automation software’ or ‘marketing automation tools.’
It’s also helpful to type in your phrase into Google, then scroll to the bottom of the page and check out the phrases in the ‘Searches Related’ section.
Make sure you have a mix of short and long keywords (e.g. ’email’ and ’email marketing tools’) that can help you appeal to different audiences.
There are services available that generate your keywords and give you an idea which ones are more effective than others.
The most important thing is to use them consistently throughout your content. Include them in headlines, H1 and H2s, in your categories and tags and in the body of your text.
SEO Strategy – Keep It Readable
However, all your effort to find the best keywords will go to waste if you just cram them in everywhere.
An important part of SEO strategy is to write for people, not just for search engines. This means finding natural ways to include keywords and not constantly using the same few phrases.
As well as the tips above about keeping your paragraphs, sentences and words short, it can also help if you make your writing more dynamic.
This can involve varying the length of sentences between long and short. Just try to keep around 25% or fewer of your sentences below 20 words.
You should also make use of the active voice. This places the main subject (say Lead Generation) at the centre of the action, rather than something that is acted upon or passive.
So instead of the passive ‘The software was designed to help with Lead Generation,’ you could write the active ‘Lead Generation is one of the key features of the software.’
Also make use of transition words that imply a sense of movement in the text. Examples include also, since, in general, this time, all things considered, unlike, etc.
SEO Strategy – Include Strong Images
Adding images is a great way to break up your text. Huge blocks of text can quickly put readers off.
Simple but striking images work well and develop a theme if you can (perhaps around Scrabble for example…)
Videos and gifs are good too, as they can draw in your audience with a bit of movement. Try to keep them appropriate to what you’re saying.
Images are also an opportunity to add a few keywords here and there.
Change the title of your picture to include a relevant keyword before you upload it.
And don’t forget to use the Alt description section to include a few keywords – keep it natural (and short) though. It all adds up.
SEO Strategy – Link, Link, Link
Make sure to build up a network of internal links within your own site. When writing a blog, include some links at the bottom to other relevant blog articles, or relevant sections of the main wesbite.
It’s also important to link to sites outside your own.
Try to pop a link or two into each post to a well-respected site, perhaps a popular news site or somewhere like LinkedIn or Youtube.
Make the link relevant to the topic you are talking about if you can. But be careful not to lead your reader away from your page entirely, particularly to a competitor’s site.
SEO Strategy – Don’t Forget…
One of the easiest elements of SEO strategy to overlook is the Meta Description. This is the little bit of text that appears under your post title in search engines.
They are often generated automatically using the first few lines of your content, but that may not always be the best idea.
Meta Descriptions are yet another opportunity to get in some relevant keywords. Make sure they read well too, as your readers will see them before they even get to your blog.
Meta descriptions are needed for every page on your blog (and your entire website for that matter.) Don’t forget to write some for any category pages, the main blog home page etc.
From SEO Strategy to Social Media Strategy
Once you have a strong SEO strategy in place and your content is perfected, it’s time to time to think about sharing it.
Check out our recent blog posts on social media for more information, including 5 Facebook Post Lessons From Mark Zuckerberg, as well as Relationships that Drive Results on Social Media Part 1 and Part 2.
Written by Cathal McGuigan – Digital Content Manager at Zymplify
Cathal is a writer and journalist from Co Derry. He has written a book about his native county and has also been published in The Irish News, Cracked.com and on The Guardian’s website.
He has been told he bears a resemblance to hobbit Samwise Gamgee in appearance, height and mood and enjoys boxing, cheese and hedgehogs but not necessarily at the same time.