SEO-friendly content is all about ensuring that your content is timely, relevant and useful for your prospects and customers. Creating SEO-friendly content involves some planning before you structure your pages.
First step: Plan your topics around search terms your prospects use
So how do you help the right people discover your content? It’s simple. Just try getting into the minds of readers and thinking like them. This will help you use the right search terms that users use when they search for your product.
Content planning in 4 easy steps
- Create personas of your buyers. This will allow you to map content according to their demographics, professions and interests
- Find keywords for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Map keywords to content.
- Understand how to create content for semantic search systems.
1. Create personas of your buyers
These tools help you understand your buyers’ habits and preferences:
- Facebook Insights lets you upload your customer list to help you understand what Facebook knows about them.
- Adwords Customer Match allows you to upload your email list to understand buyer behaviors so you can better target your ads.
- Survey Monkey helps you directly find out what customers want by creating polls and surveys.
- Twitter Analytics presents information on interests, location, gender, and people your followers follow on Twitter.
2. Find keywords for each stage of the buyer’s journey
Yes, keywords. So why are talking about keywords in 2017? Because keywords are still the best tool to plan your content and structure your pages since these are the search terms people use when they look for you. Using keywords on the page is an entirely different matter. You need to use keywords sparingly on a page but we’ll tackle that in the next post.
Most buyers begin with broad searches since they are in the research stage and once they know what they want their searches are more specific.
For example, let’s say I was planning content for a vacation tour agency. After studying my users, I came up with search terms for the different phases of my buyer’s journey. So searches in the initial phase would include these keywords:
- European vacation packages
- 6-day vacations in Europe
- Best places to visit in Europe
As I move through the buyer’s journey and become aware of options and narrow down where I want to go, searches will become more specific like:
- Paris vacations
- What to see and do in Paris
- Compare hotels in Paris
- Compare restaurants in Paris
- Compare fares to Paris
I’m now in the Comparison phase — comparing various hotels and their features to determine which particular one is the best for me.
Finally, I may get very specific as I settle in on what I want:
Hotel Green reviews
Now I’m in the purchase phase. I know exactly where I want to stay.
Some tools to help you mine keywords
- Google Suggest completes terms based on the first few letters users type into the search box. You’ll get an idea of the most frequently searched terms.
- Keyword Tool Dominator helps you find long-tail keywords your target audience is searching for.
- Google Keyword Planner gives you an idea of how often people search for certain keywords and how their search volume changes over time.
- Keyword Explorer by Moz helps you prioritize important keywords, and check keyword difficulty, volume, and competitive metrics.
3. Map keywords to your content
The next step is to actually map each of these keywords to one blog post or page. The most important goal with SEO and with anything on your site is to deliver the best user experience. For example, you could write a blog post on the different sightseeing options in Paris and link to the tour operators page for more info and to buy tickets.
4. Understand how semantic search engines work
Google and other search engines use complex algorithms to understand users’needs. They penalize websites that use keywords excessively on a page. So the trick is to use your core keywords sparingly on a page at the right places where they’ll be most effective. Semantic search systems look for synonyms and alternate words that describe your topic. For example for my vacation to Europe example, some alternate terms to use on my page would include holiday and trip.
Semantic search systems also look for other terms that relate to your topic. What else would you probably look for while shopping for a Paris vacation? You may also look for a hotel or a map.
LSIGraph/LSI Keyword Generator is a great tool for this. For my vacation in Paris, these are the alternate terms I got:
vacation in Paris reviews
holiday rentals in Paris
vip vacation in Paris
Paris vacation packages
map of Paris
best hotels in Paris
Measuring effectiveness of your search terms
Most experts agree that the best way to find out which terms are driving the traffic to your site, is to create content around each of these long-tail keywords. Your Analytics report will show you which pages are converting.
Second step: Create your SEO-friendly content
Once you have your keywords and semantic search times, it’s easy to build content. Next week, we’ll go through all the steps for creating and sharing your SEO-friendly content.
Have a trend to report that you don’t see here? Or used any of these techniques and want to share your results? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks.