If you’ve spent any time in marketing, you’ve most likely heard of SEO. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re up-to-speed on what SEO content is and why it matters. But you should be. Why? Because SEO-based content is one of the most effective ways to get results for your site. In fact, without optimized content geared towards your audience, it’s near impossible to rank in search engines. As a result, it’s imperative that you craft quality content that will get you traffic and results.
SEO Content Guide
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With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step look into SEO content creation. We’ll start with the basics, and then delve into more details.
When it comes to SEO content creation, keywords are the foundation of your content. Keywords are, simply put, any query placed into a search engine.
For example, if you’re looking for “Best Things to Do in San Francisco” the following results will appear on Google.
These search terms can be a single word or a phrase. Keywords are vitally important to SEO content as they are utilized to optimize search. Accordingly, SEO optimized content will focus on keywords in order to attract an audience, and therefore traffic, to your website.
What is Keyword Research?
Now that you have a better understanding of what a keyword is, let’s take a look at how to perform keyword research. This is a crucial step in your content strategy as keyword research forms the basis for the content you will later create. Moreover, keyword research will help you gauge what your audience is searching for and allow you to create SEO website content that generates traffic through search engines.
Why is Keyword Research Important?
As stated above, keyword research is vitally important to SEO content. Proper keyword research will provide a clear and concise look into what your audience is searching for online. Doing keyword research allows you to get a better understanding of your audience, their search intent, and how you can fulfill their search needs. Ultimately, you want to be the answer to whatever question (or search) they are posing online.
What are the Different Types of Keywords?
The term “keyword” is used a lot when discussing SEO based content. However, the term can be misleading. Why? Well, many times searches users perform entail more than one word. In fact, many times people use multiple words or phrases in an effort to find the best results online.
Here is a closer look at the basic types of keywords you should know about:
Short-tail keywords, also known as “head keywords,” are short in length (three words or less). They typically have a high search volume and are highly competitive. These keywords have a broad search intent, too. As a result, when implementing short-tail keywords, research is extremely important.
An example of a short-tail keyword is “San Francisco.” This top-of-the-funnel search could lead to a number of results with a variety of focuses.
The alternative to short-tail keywords are long-tail keywords. Generally, long-tail keywords consist of three or more words. These searches are more specific than short-tail keywords and have a lower search volume. However, these keywords provide vital insight into search intent and are often less competitive than short-tail keywords. As a result, it’s easier to see actionable results via new rankings when you implement long tail keywords into your content strategy.
An example of a long tail keyword is “San Francisco Weather.” In this case, the intent of the user is very clear.
Also known as “fresh keywords,” short-term keywords are more trendy than the other types of keywords listed here. These keywords, and their usage, is really dependent on your business type. Using short-term keywords allows you to focus on what’s hot in pop culture or the news at the moment. Ultimately, you can see a spike in traffic from implementing these keywords. But, it’s important to note there is usually a dramatic decline in traffic after that initial spike.
For reference, an example of a short-term keyword is “Mandalorian Season 2”. (Do note upon writing this the season two updates were just announced. However, you can easily insert whatever show or movie is currently trending to continue the example.)
Long-Term keywords are also known as “evergreen keywords.” They are literally what they sound like: long term keywords have search value that retains volume throughout the year. Yes, this volume may fluctuate but, overall, these keywords are always relevant. And, as a result, they are always consistently driving traffic to your website.
Take one of our Victorious blogs, for example. The article What is Organic Search? is a long-term, evergreen keyword that has year-long search potential.
When people use this search type, they are generally looking for something specific. With that in mind, product-defining keywords need to be very detailed. The best way to create a list of product-defining keywords is to look at the products (or services) offered by your company. Then, look at the descriptions for each. Next, pull one or two keywords from each description that define that product (or service).
For example, if you’re a parent searching for “Brown Toddler Boots for Girls” your search intent is very clear.
This keyword type is ideal for anyone that has their pulse on their target audience. Ideally, you have target personas for your demographics. Use that information to help create your customer defining keywords. For example, if you’re a travel company and know your audience is primarily composed of parents, your customer defining keywords could look like “Top Vacation Spots for Parents.”
Keywords that target a specific city, state, or country are considered geo-targeted keywords. These keywords are essential to any business that operates locally and wants to drive local traffic, both online and offline. The search “Golf Lessons Orlando” is a perfect example of a geo-targeted keyword.
Searches typically fall into one of three intent categories:
- Navigational: searching for a specific website via keyword
- Informational: searching for a specific answer to a question or topic
- Commercial: searches related to research done before purchasing
- Transactional: searches related to actual purchasing (done after commercial intent search)
Oftentimes, when creating SEO content search intent is the most overlooked factor. One of the main reasons it is overlooked is people simply don’t understand how to define a user’s search intent. Never fear, though, Google is a very helpful tool for this process. Simply search for your target keyword. Then, visit each of the results on Page 1 of Google. Look at what your competition is doing, analyze their content, and pay close attention to how they cater to the query of the user. Use this information as the foundation for your own content. .
Keep in mind that intent targeting is not an exact science. In fact, certain keywords will have a mixed intent. (And that’s okay!)
The best content for SEO will have a purpose behind its creation. Why are you writing this content? Can you be an authority on this topic? Is your content optimized only for search or are you also humanizing your content for readability? These are important questions to keep in mind while writing your SEO content.
What is SEO Content?
To fully understand SEO content, you need to understand how SEO and content complement each other. The easiest way to do this is by explaining the two terms, then identifying how they work together.
SEO, short for search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing a website for search engines.
Content refers to any type of information, in various forms (noted below), that can be found on the web.
How do these two concepts combine to create SEO content? Simply put, SEO content is any content created in an effort to attract an audience, and therefore, traffic via search engines.
The bottom line here is that good content and good SEO content should be the same thing. SEO content is not content written with an SEO focus only. Rather, SEO content is high-quality content optimized for search engines but with audience (and humans) top-of-mind
How Much Content Do I Need to Rank Well?
For individual articles or core pages, Victorious recommends an 800 word count minimum. There are many factors to consider when discussing how much content you need. However, each page you’re focusing on should have enough content to be informative and allow placement for both primary and secondary keywords.
Now, when creating SEO content for articles more than 800 words are often not only recommended but necessary. Why? Well, it’s hard to be an authority on a topic in such a short amount of words. And, research shows that the average content length for the top 10 SERP results is 2,000 words or more. In addition, according to Ahrefs, there is also a correlation between word count and referring domains. This is important to note because referring domains (or backlinks) are crucial to getting your content to rank.
As far as the total amount of content needed to rank on Google, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Ultimately, though, websites that rank well organically have plenty of text-based content on each page of their website. Of course, you’ll also want to avoid “thin content” when creating SEO based content. “Thin Content” refers to content with 400 words or less.
Of course, it’s also helpful to perform your own search query. Then, research those results. Look at which pages are landing one Page 1 of Google, analyze their word count, and base your content length on those averages. After all, if they are appearing on Page 1 of Google they must be doing something right!
Why is Content Important to Core Pages?
When developing SEO content, many tend to focus on articles or blog-based content. However, SEO web content is also crucial to your core pages. These pages exist because you want people to see them, right? As such, targeting your core pages with keywords (and content) is also important to your overall content strategy.
Examples of core pages:
- Home Page
- Product Pages
Core pages, essentially, are the core pages of your website for which you wish to rank.
How Does UX Effect Content?
Quality content is key to your overall ranking strategy. However, it’s important to note that content also needs an effective UX design (user experience). Content should drive the user experience but the overall design of the site should be appealing as well. Ideally, the two will work in tandem with each other. Your UX should be attractive to visitors while your content will keep them engaged with your website. Without great content, the user experience will never be optimized.
Of course, page speed is also a crucial factor in creating an effective UX design. Before a page loads, there is no user experience available. And, if visitors are left waiting for your site to load they will quickly leave your site for a competitor. Moreover, longer page load times negatively impact conversion rates.
What are the Different Types of SEO Content?
There are a variety of formats to consider before you start your SEO content creation. The following are the main types to focus on:
Core Page Content
As mentioned above, core page content is key to not only your website’s success but to your overall SEO content strategy. These core pages need content that is high-quality, informative, and optimized with your targeted keywords.
Blog articles can take on a variety of styles. When creating SEO based content, focus on:
- Authoritative Articles
- In-Depth Guides
- How-To Guides
- Short-Form Content
- Long-Form Content
E-Commerce Content (Product Pages)
Leveraging traffic to your e-commerce content or product pages is essential to drive growth and sales for your business. As such, the content and SEO practices put into use on these pages is key to your success. Enhance the content of these pages by using strategic keywords to attract the right audience at the right time.
Also known as “Evergreen Content,” Cornerstone Content is the core of your website content. For content and SEO, Cornerstone Content consists of the highest quality and most important content (whether pages or posts) on your website. Generally, Cornerstone Content is long-form and will feature all facets of a topic in an effort to be both informative and engaging. However, if pages (as opposed to posts) are part of your Cornerstone Content it’s vital to make sure that these pages are well written and update-to-date.
How Should Video Impact Your Content Creation?
Videos are a vital part of any marketing strategy. As such, it makes perfect sense to include them in your SEO web content strategy. However, there are a few important elements to keep in mind:
- When creating video content, always think of your audience or customer base first. How can you help them? Videos are a great way to showcase how to use your products or a process/service offered by your business.
- While videos can be an exceptional marketing tool, in order for them to be effective as SEO content we suggest including a text transcript of your video. A text transcript of your video will provide search engines something to scan in order to figure out what the content is about. (Googlebot and other search engine bots are smart but they haven’t actually figured out how to watch videos…yet!) As such, video SEO needs text transcripts to be searchable. Focus on your video titles and descriptions.
What Type of Content is Not Good for SEO?
When highlighting content SEO best practices, it’s also important to note great content practices that don’t necessarily fall into the SEO goals of content creation.
Images are an important part of content design, and I would never advocate for abandoning imagery within your content. That said, there are ways to improve the usage of pictures within your SEO content.
For SEO, make sure to add alt image tags to all visuals. Alt image tags are words or phrases that tell search engines the contents of an image. These tags should include your keyword. Placing your keyword in your alt text tag for each image will help improve your on-page SEO. It’s also extremely vital to use high-quality imagery within your content.
Podcasts are a perfect example of audio files, and we all know podcasts are extremely popular right now. As such, they’re a great marketing tool. However, it’s also important to optimize your audio offerings for maximum exposure (and traffic).
- Use keywords in audio file URL
- Create a meaningful, keyword-oriented file name
- Develop possible landing page to host audio files
- Add ID3 tags to audio files (These tags contain metadata relevant to your audio content)
As mentioned before, videos are an excellent way to deliver information about your business. That said, you’ll want to follow the content SEO best practices for videos outlined in the “How Should Video Impact Your Content Creation?” section to ensure optimization and better search visibility.
How Do I Create Content that Drives Traffic?
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating SEO content is to write for humans first. All too often people get caught up in writing for search engines. As a result, the content can be difficult to read and far from appealing. Yes, you want Google to love your content, but if humans don’t, the traffic simply won’t exist. With this in mind, be sure to not overly optimize your content.
When creating content, focusing on your audience and their search intent is key. After all, you need real, human eyes on your page. People are searching for answers on search engines and you need to provide those answers, or solutions, with your content. The ultimate goal of SEO content is to drive real human interaction. As such, it is imperative you are purposeful with your content.
Building these 5 steps into your content marketing plan is important to ensure an impactful SEO strategy:
- Perform keyword research
- Define search intent
- Write compelling content
- Implement on-page SEO optimization
- Distribute content deliberately
Do You Have a Content Strategy?
Even the best SEO content can fail without a properly-executed content strategy. As a result, it’s best to produce content with true intent and targeted goals. Let’s face it – if you’re crafting content with minimal research and undefined goals, your efforts will be stagnant.
In addition to defining your goals and focusing on your target audience, you can ensure content strategy success by creating an editorial calendar and creating a cadence for analyzing your content’s success, as defined by your set SEO goals.
When implementing a content strategy, I live by these mantras: Always keep your audience top-of-mind. Always try to be a solution to a search query. And, always pay close attention to your goals (analyze, reassess, repeat).
Site structure is a vital component of SEO content. In this section, we’ll detail why site structure is important to SEO content and how to design, or improve, the structure of your site.
How Does Site Structure Impact SEO Content?
Did you know site structure is a ranking signal for Google? It is! Google, and other search engines, uses your site structure to determine what your website is about. Likewise, it looks at how easy it is to find and index content on your site and notes whether it is pertinent to your site’s overall purpose. It’s also vital to use a good site structure to ensure you’re not competing with yourself for keyword placement. By implementing a solid internal linking structure, you can typically avoid this issue.
With this in mind, the most crucial content structure SEO tip is to create a pyramid site structure. The top of your pyramid will be your homepage. From there, you’ll list relevant internal links to other key pages. A well-developed content structure will have your more commonly searched keywords (and their corresponding pages) at the top of the pyramid. As the pyramid descends, pages optimized for long tail keywords will appear. Keep in mind that the content in the bottom of your pyramid should internally link to your pages noted higher in the pyramid.
How Should I Design My Site to Enhance SEO Web Content?
When designing your website, pay keen attention to the structure of your site. If possible, design your site using the pyramid method noted above. Then, be sure to do the following:
- Create cornerstone content
- Link to your cornerstone content on any long-tail search focused pages
- Use tags and taxonomies for added search engine readability
- Ditch duplicate content
- Remove outdated, irrelevant content
Are You Ready to Rank?
Using all you’ve learned reading our guide to creating SEO content that ranks will set you on the road to success. Still have questions? Reach out to Victorious and utilize our award-winning SEO services to create actionable results for your business.
Looking for a way to systematize your blog content? Download our SEO Blog Template & Cheatsheet.