Every business in 2019 will have heard about SEO and be well aware that SEO optimised website content is essential for attracting visitors to your site.
SEO, after all, is the practice that gets your site found by the search engines -- Google, Yahoo, Bing and the likes -- who then offer you up to users as one possible site which may have answers to their search queries.
Without SEO content, your website is basically hidden in the dark depths of the internet, with no way of reaching the search pages of your customers or readers.
Unfortunately, despite the widespread knowledge that SEO is critical to being found online, many businesses are still moving around in the dark, unsure as to exactly how to set their site up, from the ground up, with SEO optimised content.
In this article, we are going to bring clarity to this process and walk you through every step needed to create a killer strategy for SEO optimised website content that converts.
Step 1: Start with Wireframes
Wireframes are the visual guide that helps you to map out the layout of your web page before you get into web page writing. Starting with a visual allows you to see how your website content will look in context. They can help you to design the customer journey, how you will engage your users with content and move them to an action step -- download, contact, sign-up, buy, etc.
Step 2: Identify Your Personas
Designing content that speaks to your audience requires identifying who they are. This is done by creating user personas.
Identifying your personas requires some time to sit down and think about who these people are. It's advisable to think of 2-5 different personas, as it's likely you will have a few different kinds of customers.
Start by identifying the data points you want -- age, gender, location, income, education, interests, etc. -- that will help you find out more about your audience. Then dive deeper into what their motivators might be -- what are their challenges, goals, values, fears, lifestyles?
A great way to fact check what you come up with is to go online and ask your audience if they relate to these challenges, goals, values, fears, etc.
With the completed personas in mind, you can create content that connects with them, offering solutions to their problems or appealing to their values.
Step 3: Research Your Keywords and Keyword Density
Keywords, when used correctly, will mirror the search terms which your customers enter when looking for information on search engines.
You already know who your personas are and what you think they need from your business. With this, you need to look at what searches they would conduct to find this information.
Once you know the queries they would enter, you can create keyword lists that are most relevant to your business and what your audience searches for.
But density matters. Too few keywords and you won't be found. Too many and it looks like spam. It is recommended to keep the keyword density at around 1 to 3 per cent.
Step 4: Know Your Competitors
Why reinvent the wheel completely when you can learn from others? Your competitors offer a fountain of information, all sitting online ready to be reviewed.
Analyse the messaging, promotional tactics and social media activity to see what their audience (your audience) engages with. This can tell you that they love XYZ feature about this brand, and you can then identify areas where you stand out and add more value.
Keeping an eye on their social is a good idea, but you can also use online tools such as SpyFu and Alexa.
Step 5: Make Content Useful and Easy to Read
Highly ranking content is high ranking because it is readable and useful. Search engines see through empty content and favour the best content on websites by looking at where website visitors stay and engage.
With all of your research in mind, the best place to start is with useful. Create topics and articles that are useful to your audience personas. Answer questions. Share unique perspectives. Give them information that they can apply.
Then make it readable and easy to scan:
- Use bullet points
- Break up long paragraphs
- Include visuals
- Write in an engaging way
This keeps people on the page and tells the search engines that this content is readable and relevant.
Step 6: Use Headings (H1, H2, H3)
Heading are useful to provide structure, get readers excited about the next section, and break up text to make the content more readable. Moreover, they can also help to get your content in Google's featured snippets.
Try using long-tail key phrases in your heading and then answering these queries with the content below. Also, use numbered headings to help get picked up for lists.
Step 7: Use Optimal Word Count
While there is much information out there about the magical content length that is favoured by search engines, the reality is that it can differ across industries, depending on what the search engines need, in terms of depth, to make the content most relevant.
Rather than looking for a set number, it is smarter to do search engine results page (SERP) research.
Simply type in your topic idea using target keywords and see what comes up. Analyse what this content looks like and how long it is. Then you know roughly what is needed to get your content ranking highly.
Step 8: Get Linking
Internal and external linking of the website is critical to winning favour with search engines. Internal linking helps to keep your audience on-site by offering them additional links that support the page they are on.
For example, readers viewing this article are likely to be curious about what businesses need to know about SEO in 2019. Internal linking is a must. Every time you create content, consider if there is other relevant content on the site that can be linked to that page or article.
External linking is a little more tricky and can only really be achieved by creating content that others find interesting. External linking comes from pages and articles being shared on social media or being linked to as a reference on other businesses or individuals websites.
Step 9: Include Content Sharing Options
As just mentioned, linking is most easily achieved by having content shared online. Therefore, setting up content sharing on your pages is critical for getting your brand out.
Be sure to create shareable content -- insightful information that readers will want to share with others -- and then make sure that the options to share are visible and easy to action.
Once you've set up your SEO content following the 9 steps above, all that's left is to analyse, learn and continue to create. If you need help with this, we'd be delighted to work with you.