Too many marketers still bring SEO in at the end of a content marketing project. They finish a blog post or finalize a new marketing campaign, and at the end of the line, SEO comes in to find related keywords and plug them into content. Unfortunately, this approach is […]

I came across this article today, while browsing one of my favorite digital marketing sites. It’s actually rather relevant to our own business working with clients and helping them structure their content and marketing plan effectively. We frequently have potential clients coming to us wanting to improve their organic traffic and rankings to generate more leads or traffic to their business website. Many times though, after completing an audit on their site, we find that the content and or structure has been created around a business, and not a market. Yes, it’s obviously important to create content relevant to your business, and someone visiting a website must understand what product or service a business offers. However this only works well when the content is also structured around the market, and in particular what the market is searching for. It’s critical for any new website to ensure the build plan is also structured around SEO. Below are 3 reason identified in the Search Engine land article:

1. Keywords should help determine content, not decorate it

Effective content strategies start with keyword research, because modern keyword research provides significant insight into what audiences want and need. The process enables marketers to identify user needs, brainstorm content ideas that satisfy those needs, and create the right content the first time. It also helps generate ample content ideas for filling editorial calendars. This means that in depth keyword research should be one of the first tasks you undertake in website build plan. A simple free tool is the Google Keyword Planner or Keywordshitter.com. These tools can quickly provide an understanding as to where and what people are searching for in a particular market. Content can then be planned around these results.

2. Keyword research should define content

This type of keyword research enables the ideas captured in editorial calendars to be expanded with incredible detail. When content is written, it will include the right information, be addressed to the right audience and cater to the appropriate journey position, eradicating the waste caused by discovering these details after content is completed.

3. SERP analysis reveals Google’s ranking priorities

  • If most results point to video content, it’s because users who search for that keyword prefer videos.
  • If most results point to text content that exceeds 3,000 words, users are looking for comprehensive, long-form content.
  • If results are a blend of tables, infographics, videos, and slideshows, users searching for that keyword likely prefer visual content.

This really is simply competitor analysis. An obvious place to start with your research, once you have completed your keyword research, is to then use those keywords to search in Google, and reverse engineer what your competitors are doing, both from a content point of view, and an inbound link point of view. There is not scope in this article to go into how to do this, but it is a post I have planned in the near future. Conducting keyword research at the end of a project, or after content is written, is little more than a shot in the dark for effective SEO. It’s user intent research that forms the groundwork for increased engagement and rankings by illuminating detailed information about who’s searching for specific keywords, what information they’re looking for, and what type of content they prefer.