What Is SEO Content? A Beginner’s Guide To Ranking On Search Engines
You might have heard of the term “SEO content” when building a digital marketing strategy.
SEO content is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. You won’t rank for the keywords your customers are searching for without proving to search engines that your content is relevant.
We developed our SEO content beginner’s guide to answering three main questions:
- What is SEO content?
- What kinds of SEO content exist?
- What defines a good SEO content strategy?
What Is SEO Content?
If you want to understand exactly what digital marketers mean by “SEO content,” we’ll need to break down the term into two parts:
1.) “SEO” refers to Search Engine Optimization. This is a process of optimizing your website so that it’s more likely to be found by people when using search engines like Google or Bing. SEO is different than SEM or search engine marketing, which we have a comprehensive post on SEO vs SEM.
2.) By “content,” we mean any information such as, blog posts, web pages, images, or videos that can be indexed by search engines. Indexing is done via search engine robots and crawlers that search engines use to discover your website. You’ve probably heard people refer to something as being SEO friendly.
There are three key elements to consider when producing content for your website to rank well on search engines: keyword strategy, site structure, and copywriting.
SEO Keyword Research:
An important factor for creating quality SEO content writing is doing the keyword research. It’s important to determine what keywords you’re trying to rank for and then build a list of target keywords.
Create your content using relevant keywords, and the search terms people use. You want to create content that helps answer questions people ask search engines.
I like using Ahrefs to do keyword research, it allows you to see monthly search volume levels for the keywords you want to target.
Ahrefs also allows you to see the competition index on keywords so you can see how difficult it is to rank for any keyword. The competition index for keyword difficulty is on a scale of 0-100 with 100 being more difficult to rank for.
Find a list of competitor sites that you want to outrank for a topic, then write a better post than them.
Ahrefs will allow you to see the monthly search volume for a set of keywords, if you focus on keywords that have higher search volume, then if you rank for those keywords, your odds of getting more traffic will increase with quality content.
Keyword research involves three main steps:
- What keywords do you want to rank for?
- Prioritize a list of blog posts or pages you want to outrank.
- Build an outline of each article you want to write, making sure to include subtopics related to your target search terms. A good place to get these is on Google for “people also searched for” after you search for your target keyword phrase.
Write your content in the language that your customer will be using when using a search engine if you want it to rank high for those queries. Write down some of the most common questions your customers might ask when looking for products and services you offer.
Common questions for service businesses to answer:
- How much do your services cost?
- How long will it take to deliver?
- Why are you better than your competitors?
- Why is one product better than another?
- Comparisons of you vs. the competition.
Another great tool to use for keyword research is Answerthepublic.com. It gives you all the keywords related to the search.
If you’re focused on trying to generate web traffic through search engines, then it’s best to do your keyword research before you even begin writing. That way, you’ll be able to focus on using keywords with a proven search volume.
Every SEO content strategy must begin with keyword research. You’ll have to know what your audience is actually searching for.
The goal of performing keyword research is to help you to discover the search terms you should be aiming to rank for with your SEO content.
Proper keyword research before writing your SEO content will help you develop a better perspective about which search terms people are already using.
SEO Site Structure:
One main aspect of creating successful SEO content is the structure of your website.
There are two primary reasons that make your site structure an important search engine ranking factor when creating SEO content:
1. SEO site structure is how Google “understands” your website’s focus and relevance
The way you structure your site provides many clues to Google’s search engine about where it can find the most important content to display in relevant searches.
Your website’s structure will help determine whether a search engine can understand what your page and your website is about. The more detailed and focused your site structure, the more likely it will lead to higher rankings in Google search results.
By optimizing your SEO site structure, you’ll be able to use existing SEO content to attract backlinks from others. This will improve the odds of your other pages ranking, too. Good site structure will increase relevance and help spread some of the value from those backlinks to other pages on your site as well.
2. Site structure can keep you from competing with your own SEO content
Across your website, you’ll have several articles talking about similar topics. For example, at Digital Logic, we write a lot of content about digital marketing.
If we created ten articles on the topic of “digital marketing” without focusing on many unique keywords, then Google wouldn’t be able to understand which one of them is most important, such as “SEO Content” or “Online Advertising.”
If we didn’t clarify the focus of our content in our site structure, we’d be competing with our own articles on “digital marketing” in Google’s search algorithm. Solving site structure problems by using a clear internal link structure will result in higher search engine rankings.
Your site structure should look like a pyramid, with the homepage on top, including links to some of the main category pages, to explain to Google what your website content is about. Those pages should then link to even more pages which focus on sub-categories on more relevant and supporting keywords.
It’s important to constantly push internal links to the highest value pages on your site you want to rank for.
Important Features Of High-Quality SEO Content:
- Keyword Optimization: Knowing how and where to use keywords in your SEO content to gain the greatest search engine visibility. Incorporating your target keywords in SEO content writing will help make your site SEO friendly. Quality content will help both Google and your visitors understand what your page is about. Both will then likely favor your SEO content over other similar websites out there.
- Content Organization: The SEO content on your site must be organized in a logical way to inform search engine crawlers what your page will convey. Organizing your SEO content in a structured manner also helps website visitors navigate to other related pages. The longer your visitors stay on your site, the more that Google learns about the relevance of your pages. This is done according to the search terms of the visitor’s query.
- Content Promotion: Increase search visibility to new SEO content you create by sharing it on social networks and gaining relevant links to your content, from both internal and external sites. The more sites that link to your SEO content, the more relevant Google will understand your site to be in relation to the keywords found on the page.
SEO Search Intent
It’s very important to be reminded that focusing on gaining search engine traffic will make your results suffer when it comes to driving sales. If you rank for keywords that have no search intent, then it doesn’t matter if you gain an extra 10K visits a month if none of the visitors buy.
To rank within search engine results pages, while also gaining potential customers and return visitors, you’ll have to offer value above and beyond SEO content. Don’t produce “thin” content that ranks in search, but doesn’t provide any value to the visitor. They will risk penalization by Google’s search algorithm, since it also evaluates visitor experience.
Websites that don’t provide unique value to visitors experience higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates. Both will dampen the effects of any SEO content strategy you perform.
Main Types of SEO Content
SEO content can be created for many different purposes, although they all rely on keyword research. Here are some of the main applications of SEO content for your digital marketing strategy:
- Product Pages: Product pages are the main SEO content items for any online retail or e-commerce site. A good product page serves as both SEO content and a landing page for search engine marketing campaigns.
- Blog Posts: Blogging is one of the best ways to generate a regular stream of new SEO content. Because of their informal nature, blog posts are often more engaging than other drier forms of website content. This makes blogs more likely to attract backlinks. Writing blogs is a great method to build some domain authority for your site in the eyes of search engines.
- Articles: News articles, interviews, and feature pieces are the most common form of SEO content. You’ll likely find them on newspaper or magazine websites, or other information resources. Articles present a great way to incorporate many relevant keywords into long-form page on your site. They’re also more likely to be shared, like with blog posts.
- Lists: A list is actually another type of article on a website. If you format it as a list, it makes the SEO content easier to read by search engine crawlers, as well as your visitors. Lists are more likely to use headlines that beg to be clicked on (you’ve heard of the term “clickbait,” right?). They’re more often displayed in the search results or populate feeds on social media networks (like “10 Ways To Reduce Your Electricity Bill” or “101 Reasons To Love Google Search”).
- Guides: A guide is basically just a longer form page of content that goes into full detail how to do something that a searcher might want to learn about (like this page!). Guides are broken down into many sections or may span several web pages. It’s a good practice to let your visitors read long-form content on a single page if they want.
- You could post a full guide on your website to explain a subject within your expertise. Or you might post a summary which requires your visitors to fill out an email signup form to read the complete guide. This method is a great way to generate new leads. You should keep in mind that putting up a restriction to view your content will reduce the amount of SEO traffic you’ll be able to drive to that guide, in exchange for generating more leads.
- Videos: In general, there are fewer videos hosted on the internet than pages of text, but videos can be SEO content, too. It might actually be easier to rank on the first page of Google search results for your competitive keywords if you create a video with the target keyword and topical content you’re trying to rank for.
- Based on the type of website or business you run, videos might be one of the best ways to attract and reach a wider audience. You should consider making video tutorials on how to use your products. Or illustrate one of the processes that are related to your business to inform new buyers.
- For example, a roofer might make a video explaining how to unclog a storm drain. This provides value to new visitors and highlights their expertise in the field.
- Infographics: Infographics are long-form images that contain lots of relevant data on a single subject. They’re able to rack up tons of page views and links by including colorful charts and graphs. Since so much of your SEO content is embedded within the image, it isn’t readable as text by the search engines. It’s important to optimize the rest of the page to make sure its relevance is noted by the algorithms. Of course, users will love it, and likely want to share your infographics with your friends, as well.
- Slideshows: A slideshow is a great way to display a series of related images and develop some unique SEO content. The pictures can sometimes be more important than text for SEO.
- Glossaries: People seem to use Google more often than the dictionary to look up terms these days. If your business operates in a specialized or niche industry, a glossary can be a great way to generate new SEO content. Glossaries can carry loads of search traffic to your site. Good examples are medical sites.
- Directories: A directory is a taxonomy of links to helpful websites and resources about a specific topic.
These are some of the most common forms of content you’ll find on higher ranking pages in search engines. But this list does not cover all the possibilities, as they are almost endless when it comes to SEO content.
How To Create A Successful SEO Writing Strategy
Don’t create SEO content aimlessly, in hopes that some of it will rank high for your desired keywords. Now is the time to commit to a more successful SEO content strategy for your business.
Here are four steps to creating and optimizing your SEO content strategy:
- Define your SEO content goals
First, you’ll need to determine your specific SEO ranking goals for your website. Are you wanting to drive traffic to make a sale on your website? Do you want to monetize your website using ads and increase traffic and clicks for more revenue? Your business goals will determine which types of SEO content you should be focusing on.
If you’re going for product sales on your site, then your primary focus should be creating attractive, informative product pages. They should be optimized for both search engine ranking, as well as sales conversions. Another focus might be creating blog content that explains how to use your products. Then link those to the pages with relevant product pages.
- Know your target audience
Understand your target audience by using surveys and analytics software. This can help to get a better picture of your typical visitor or client. Plan out SEO content for different buying personas, or example characters that represent website visitors or customers. Then, create SEO content that is helpful to those persons when they are using search engines to answer questions or solve a problem. Start with building a marketing plan.
For example, if you’re operating a B2B website that aims to attract C-level executives, then you’ll want to develop some high-level white papers. This type of SEO content can be downloaded and saved for later reading, which is helpful for busy CEO’s.
If your business targets teens and young adults, you may want to focus on frequent updates using less text, but with more images or video for SEO content.
- Establish a consistent editorial calendar
After you have a clear picture of who you are targeting and why you can generate an editorial calendar to follow when creating new SEO content. Your editorial calendar is a schedule that dictates when you will publish new content, as well as which types of content they will be.
A content calendar will help you stick to a regular content posting schedule, as well as prevent you from rushing to choose a topic for your new content at the last minute.
Some helpful tips for creating and sticking to your editorial calendar:
- Use a shared calendar. Share your editorial calendar with your whole digital marketing team and set up reminders for the authors and other key content developers so they will receive a notification as a deadline approaches.
- Create reliable ongoing related topics.
Consider creating a new page or post for everything having to do with your business so you can get more pages indexed.
- Don’t plan too far in advance. Editorial calendars are likely to be derailed after a month or two. This is often because of changes in goals, budgets, or staff. Don’t try to plan out a schedule for the whole year and risk wasting a lot of time and effort.
- Analyze and update often
Stay on top of your website’s metrics by analyzing your SEO content to find out what is working and what isn’t.
Successful engagement metrics may be pageviews, backlinks, comments, social media shares, or conversion rates. There are some of the many possible key performance indicators (KPIs).
Your website’s SEO content analysis should have two main goals:
- To understand your successes and repeat those strategies. Look for patterns that develop in your key performance metrics. Is your audience engaging with your videos regularly? Then give them what they want!
Aim to adjust your editorial calendar as you go forward. Then you’ll be able to focus the most time and effort on SEO content that resonates with your target audience.
- To free up more time for updating and improving your other SEO content. You may have tried to optimize one of your articles for a particular keyword, but it’s still receiving more traffic for a variation of that keyword. It’s helpful go back and optimize it again, according to the desired keyword.