Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often thought of as a strangely mystical practice that many people, including marketers, don’t understand. It then becomes an afterthought. The thing is though it is just a strategy that starts with the question, “what are people searching for online?”
Keyword research is instrumental in answering this question. It can help determine who your real audience is, where they are in their buyer’s journey, help you discover what information people are really searching for and what formats they like the best. This will help you develop a better more effective content strategy.
SEO is the number one lead-generating source reported by inbound marketing professionals. – You should be thinking about search every time you create content!
Once you understand that the next question you might ask yourself is when do I need to start the process. There’s an easy answer to this too. As soon as possible!
Too often companies wait until too late to get their SEO team involved in content projects. Then it either creates more work because copy needs to be rewritten or it is not effective because not enough consideration was taken when creating content and campaigns. Your SEO team should be involved from the very beginning.
I’ll say it again. Your SEO team should be involved from the very beginning! And here is the first of 3 reasons why. We’ll talk about the other two later in the series.
1. SEO should drive content not be a fluffy decoration that is nice to have.
When you wait until a campaign is developed or a new page is created to consider SEO, it becomes a decoration, not a driver.
When you’re looking for ideas for your content calendar you want to answer questions that your visitors ask. Yes, questions or issues that come from support or your sales team may be good topics to address, but are they really what people are looking for digitally? Online content that has SEO value needs to be developed based on the questions that people are asking, you guessed it, online.
Developing an effective content strategy starts with keyword research. This will give you insight into what your audience wants, needs and questions for which they are searching for answers. The keyword research process helps marketers brainstorm to come up with content ideas, create effective copy the first time and find plenty of ideas to fill their content calendar.
There is, however, one caveat to this one. You do need some direction from your business objectives before starting. Your SEO team will need to understand what you would like to accomplish. Are you trying to sell more product, teach people a new process, etc. For example, if you sell carpet and your keyword research shows that a lot of people are searching for “chairs” is this really helpful to your content strategy? A better scenario would be if you have a new product coming out that is great for offices and if the SEO team is up to speed they will know to look for what office managers are searching for when they think about flooring.
Make sure to involve your SEO team in the very beginning when you are building your marketing strategy. This will keep them close to the business objectives and provide deep insight into what people are looking for online.
Next, we’ll talk about how keyword research should define your content.
Need help with your keyword research and content strategy? We can help!