When working with marketers and website owners, we put a lot of emphasis on helping them balance SEO and the freedom they need in creating content. We've written about some of the more technical aspects involved, so now we'll focus more on content creation.
Give fewer f***s about keywords
When thinking about SEO and content creation, you're probably thinking about keywords. Whether it's researching them, aiming for keyword density when writing, or ongoing SERP battles with your competitors, it's easy to get bogged down by the pressure to make everything about the holy keyword. As a result, your content comes off as a bit unimaginative.
Here's a crazy thought:
Stop obsessing over keywords.
Sure, your keywords strategy matters, but if you're spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to shoehorn them into your content and assuming it'll work, not only will it affect your content's quality, it'll appear pretty obvious that your article is just an SEO play.
Instead of focusing on keywords, you should take a step back and figure on the main topics you want to be seen as an authority on. Then, build out the groups of keywords and keyword phrases associated with those topics and build your content out in a way that drives people towards the topic pages you create. This is why marketing tools like Hubspot no longer include a keyword rankings tracker.
If your content doesn't stand out then what's to like? Why should anyone read your article or case study? Go ahead and write about something topical but if you're just parroting what other, more popular sites are saying, why should anyone visit your website over another?
Unique content doesn't have to be groundbreaking or over-the-top but it should offer something that no one else is offering: you.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does what I am saying have value for my audience? Will they learn something or discover they need what I'm offering?
- Does what I'm saying reflect my true thoughts and perspective? Do I write in a way that naturally reflects my personality?
- Is how I'm saying it memorable? Am I using my natural voice and does my story keep the reader engaged?
- Is how I'm saying it making use of the tools at my disposal? Am I making use of images, video, and other rich media to tell my story?
- Does my story end with the reader wanting more? Can I provide them a call to action to keep them engaged or convert them into a subscriber or customer?
- Am I willing to throw some sh** at the wall and try something new? Am I comfortable breaking out of a pattern of "been there, done that" with the content I'm outputting?
If your content strategy is driven entirely by your race for keyword dominance then don't expect much magic to happen.
Let's get visual!
People like shiny objects. They also have short attention spans. These are two of the biggest reasons why visual content is so popular and how adding the right image or video to your page can make all the difference when it comes to your user data.
- Use featured images in your articles. Using the right image helps create interest and set the tone. It can also help create interest where the title and snippet alone may not. This can be especially true with articles shared on social media.
- Put people on your pages. Quite often, a photo of a person or people that are representative of your target audience can help make that connection that words alone may fail to do, or do as quickly.
- Create a video. Sure, you can keep it on the cheap and easy and use someone else's video but why not create your own? There are many reasons why video is critical.
- Add an infographic. When it comes to catering to short attention spans, infographics can be a great way to get information across quickly and also add a visual pop. They're also portable and, like videos, sharable!
- Add some screenshots. This is a great idea for tutorials or demos, especially for self-service support sections on product websites.
Of course, everyone likes a laugh, and adding some humour to your visual content can be effective, as in this commercial from Dollar Shave Club, which was successful because it was entertaining, memorable, unique, and had the added value of being shareable as its own. It's no wonder the video has over 25 million views.
Don't just re-publish old content
When re-purposing older articles and content to help juice up your SEO, do something different with it. Simply updating any outdated information may be enough but you can always do better!
- Add visuals. Don't just update your sales data or survey results in a yawn-inducing HTML table. Turn it into an infographic!
- Add an explainer video. Your Product or About page needs updating. Why not add an animated explainer video to help add some entertaining dimension to your offering?
- Add some internal links. You may have some new opportunities to add some links to your other site content or social channels.
Collaborate with others
This can be a successful tactic and is one we briefly mentioned in our article on optimizing your YouTube channel's SEO.
By collaborating with others, whether as writers, interviewees, or to provide a testimonial, you not only add another voice to your content that reflects the value of your brand, it can also open up your audience by including theirs. Whether it's through social shares, subscriptions, or ongoing user engagement through comments, the added eyes means more traffic, which means more potential for returning traffic and engagement.
Reward your audience
Keeping things fun and fresh while gaining traffic and building an audience isn't easy but one of the less complex ways to get there is by rewarding your users. Giveaways for likes and shares on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are quite common because they work. Quite a few YouTubers do the same thing by inviting viewers to post a comment to be entered in a draw for the free goods.
Don't be afraid to fail
You've heard it before, but it bears repeating. Finding your voice takes time, patience, and a lot of failure. Embrace it when it happens. That's when you'll learn the most. The most creatively successful people aren't afraid to get their hands dirty and screw up once in a while.
If you need any help with SEO, finding your voice and/or developing content, reach out and we'll see how we can help.