Search engine optimization (SEO) has existed for as long as search engines themselves. Most people just didn’t know about it or have a term for it yet. From the mid 90’s on, marketers and webmasters alike began writing their websites in such a way as to maximize the amount of inbound web traffic they received. Relevancy and keyword density took precedence over more standard features of advertising copy.
Since then, SEO has evolved to the degree that it affects almost every aspect of a company’s branding and marketing strategy, from their corporate positioning statement on down to the exact words used in a product description. Google has changed it’s algorithm to be smart and contextual, making it much easier to write for your buyer personas, but SEO isn’t completely dead. To that end, SEO plays a prominent role in the overall effectiveness of your company’s marketing content.
The Basics of SEO Content Writing
“Content”, as marketers use it, is a piece of information or a document that provides some kind of upfront informational or entertainment value to a potential customer. Content can be something as simple as a tweet or as complex as a white paper.
For the purposes of content, SEO plays a twofold role in that it helps people find your content , and by association, helps people find your business. Proper SEO is critical for both the content itself and wherever it may be hosted your company website, a landing page, a social media account, or what have you. As CoSchedule puts it, effective SEO for marketing content happens when you know exactly who you are, who you are trying to reach, and what you are trying to say.
Best practices for SEO content writing will vary from business-to-business and industry-to-industry. That being said, there are a few essential tactics to use no matter what type of company you run. These tactics include:
Selecting keywords that hit the right balance between uniqueness and search traffic popularity—general keywords (like “new car”) have too much competition, whereas more specific keywords (such as “affordable used car texas”) will give you a much greater return on investment
Writing content to include keywords that build relavency—you don’t want to “keyword stuff” and receive a penalty from Google so focus on using LSI keywords
Ensuring all keywords are relevant to both the content and your brand—for example, although “best women’s makeup” is a popular keyword, it wouldn’t be the best idea to use it in a white paper about the use of SQL in finance firms
Overall quality of writing—Google is smart and it’s getting smarter by the day. The world’s favorite search engine has the ability to screen content for grammar, clarity, and overall quality. Thus, it’s in your best interest to make sure your content is clean, readable, and informative
It’s also vital to remember that your content doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Effective SEO includes linking to other webpages, and having other webpages link back to your site. These backlinks prove to Google that other people find your content credible and informative, which helps to improve your search engine ranking.
SEO is a useful tool for spreading the word about your content. At the end of the day, however, it’s still the quality of what you create that ultimately determines its success. SEO can’t save bad content, but it can help good content improve it’s performance.