4. Come Up with Keywords
Keywords “explain” to search engines such as Google what your content is about. And when Google understands what your content is about, it displays it when people search for those keywords. The goal is for your content to show up higher than that of your competitors when potential customers search for a particular phrase, increasing traffic to your website and ultimately boosting sales. Not every piece of content you produce will feature the exact same keywords; however, you should have a pool of keywords to choose from that are relevant to your brand and what your ideal customers are searching for.
It’s vital to optimize your content for SEO. The goal is for your website to rank higher than your competitors’ in search engines such as Google.
We interviewed Chris S., SEO specialist at NuSvara with over 20 years of experience, to find out more about SEO best practices.
“If you take two pieces of content that are equally well-written and engaging, but only one of them is optimized, the one that’s optimized is gonna perform better. It does a better job telling Google what the content is about, which means it will outrank the piece of content that isn’t optimized. It’s only logical.”
He went on to say that there has to be a balance. Google can identify poorly written content. If a blog post is optimized for SEO but is not engaging, and people click on it and leave right away, Google will recognize that people don’t like this particular piece of content, and it won’t rank as high as a blog post that’s both engaging and optimized. As you can see, it’s important for your content to be both well-written AND optimized for SEO. Focusing on one or the other is only half of the picture.
Google’s ranking algorithm, RankBrain, can even recognize when your content is riddled with typos or grammatical mistakes. “You just can’t fake quality. RankBrain is too smart for that now,” says Chris. Don’t forget to proofread!
If you’re outsourcing your content creation, you typically get what you pay for. There was a time when poor-quality, cheap, short-form content written by non-native speakers could get people to your website. This kind of content lost its effectiveness 5-7 years ago. Thanks to the major updates to Google’s algorithm in the recent years, the search engine has cracked down on this kind of low-quality content, and it just won’t cut it anymore.
“Today, there’s really no place for low-quality content. Don’t waste your time and money. If you’re gonna do it, it has to be good quality. You could pay $2,000 and get something great out of it, or you could pay $1,000 and get nothing.”
We also asked Chris to tell us a bit about how to do keyword research to establish what keywords are most relevant to your brand. According to him, keyword research is the foundation of SEO. “Just put yourself in the client’s chair and think about how you want them to find you. Better yet, talk to your friends and ask them how they would find you. What keywords would they use?” Another way is to look into what keywords your competitors are targeting.
If you want to take your keyword research a step further, try Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner tool – it’s not free, but it’s very helpful. It lets you enter a few keywords and suggests a long list of other keywords that are relevant to the ones you entered. It also shows you how many people Google a certain keyword a month, which helps you prioritize the keywords that should be your primary target phrases.
Once you have your keywords listed, you can design your content based on those phrases.
Here are a few more SEO tips from Chris:
- Keyword density should vary depending on the length of the content. A good idea is to have a keyword every 250-400 words. In big blocks of content, shoot for 3-4 keywords.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. You don’t want your content to be over optimized – this can make it sound forced and negatively affect the user experience.
- “SEO is a marathon; not a sprint. It’s a game of patience; not perfection. It’ll get you where you want to go if you stick with it.”
Check out the keywords targeted by one of our customers, FocusMe – a company whose product is an app blocker intended to increase productivity. You can use the example provided below to help think about some of the keywords that you should be focusing on with the content you are creating for your business.
What are the main keywords you are targeting at the main campaign level?
Website blocker, app blocker, block sites, productivity, time management, how to block social media, how to block a website, productivity app.