What if you could get a steady flow of traffic to your small business website? What if without any form of advertising, you could get customers to check out what you have on your site. And what if when they do get to your website, they find relevant content that engages them and leads to more of them signing up to do business with you?
While I was researching material for this post, I came across so many articles with slightly different perspectives on how to write good SEO content, from trusted and respected names in the content marketing and SEO Industry. They all had volumes to say on what makes good SEO content; I’m sure you’ve seen quite a number of these responses in answer to your search queries for how do you write excellent SEO content?
Focused on user intent
Page links to and from high authority websites
No keyword stuffing
Grammatically correct articles
Some lists were quite exhaustive, and if we were to pick the points above one by one, you probably could write an article around each of them. It’s a wonder how anyone can keep all these in mind when creating a SEO article.
In this post, I have summarised all the qualities and rules of good SEO Content writing in a straightforward formula- the G.R.E.A.T formula. Next time you sit down to write a SEO article or blog post, follow the G.R.E.A.T formula, and you’re good to go.
Great simply means
Relevant to user query and search intent
Engaging in style and language
Authoritative- having a high level of expertise and trustworthiness
Thick content that comprehensively covers the subject of the article.
Google compliant SEO content
How do you write SEO articles that are Google compliant?
Stop thinking in terms of Keyword optimization
Before the advent of Penguin and the Panda algorithms, SEO content writing was all about placing as many of your keywords as possible into the body of your text! I sometimes wonder at the readability of a lot of articles created in those days. Nowadays, writing good SEO content goes way beyond keywords and focuses on user intent.I’ll expound more on that when I talk about relevance.
No Backlink is way better than spammy back links.
According to Google having no backlinks or very few backlinks of high quality is way better than getting low-quality backlinks in their hundreds and thousands. You can find out what Google has to say about backlinks and especially what links qualify as spammy links by clicking on the link below.
While backlinks are necessary to improve your overall authority, page rank and trust score; they may not be the only significant factor when it comes to ranking of your blog posts. Other factors come into play too depending on the competition for the keyword you are targeting.It’s usually better to target long tailed keywords with low competition and high search volume If your site doesn’ t have a high DA or trust score.Gradually as you gain more links by building quality content, you can begin to target more competitive keywords in your niche industry.
Buying backlinks to boost your blog post or website authority could hurt you in the long run. Instead, you should target long tailed low competition keywords with a reasonably high volume of search queries.
You can get the complete list on the bad SEO practices that could get your website penalised from this article by Neil Patel.
Relevant to User and Search engines
Based on Google’s definition of high-quality content, we see that relevance is critical to determining how well your SEO article ranks on the SERP. To define content relevance, we will need to look at three parameters.
Relevance to Search queries
Relevance to Search intent
Relevant to Search engines
Must be relevant to search queries
The first significant question to ask would be how do you even find a topic to create a high-quality SEO blog post about? If people are not interested in the subject, no matter how well presented or well crafted it is, you are not likely to get as much audience engagement as you should. Creating SEO content is hard work, and it would be pretty much a wasted effort if you don’t research to find the right topics that are relevant to your audience. You can Find relevant topics by mining information from social media forums like Quora. Find the issues people are talking about in your niche. Join the conversation, and you’ll probably get a few ideas for your next blog post.
Must be relevant to user intent
Let’s suppose you are writing an article on how to make your first business presentation; it’s evident that the persons you would target are newbie salespersons or entrepreneurs with no experience in making public presentations. Someone speaking for the first time probably has a level of apprehension, and your article should cover as much of the topics below and more, to capture their search intent.
They probably want tips on how to introduce themselves properly.
They would wish to have suggestions on how to conquer their nervousness
They most definitely would want to know how to start the presentation- what icebreakers to use etc
They may be interested in a few real experiences where people had similar challenges and how they were able to overcome their anxiety.
The Keywords everywhere tool is a useful resource that can help you create content that exhaustively covers user intent.
Must be relevant to search engines
Now that you’ve created a relevant blog article, how do you intend to get it to the first page on search engines, preferably among the coveted number 1-3 position where your readers can find it.This is where Search engine optimisation for the search bots comes in. To get the article indexed by search engines you need to present it in a format that allows for easy crawling and indexing.
You started your research based on a query- how to make your first presentation. Now what you need to do is optimise your meta titles, meta descriptions, headings and subheadings with this query and variations of it.
Make sure your page title is clear
You would also need to look at your mobile friendliness which is crucial because too slow a page leads to bad user experience, and we all know Google frowns on lousy user experience).
Next, optimise your images. Make sure to add alt texts and use compressed images.
Engaging content is content that has a high click-through rate and low bounce rate. Other telling features of engaging content includes likes, comments( this may not be totally true as some articles may spark negative comments), shares on social media etc.
For content to engage, it must first capture the user’s interest. Follow the guide below to write engaging content.
Use captivating meta descriptions: Bear in mind that meta descriptions are not really for the search engines as Google has been known to change meta descriptions of website content based on what it feels serves a query best. Meta descriptions are for your audience, and a good description would generate a higher CTR.
The mode of presentation of your SEO content should be appealing such that the person reading it does not get bored and is not overwhelmed with information. Break up the page into subheadings or multiple pages if the content is quite long. Use anchors to divide the page into subtopics to allow for easy navigation.This would help a reader who is interested in certain parts of the information you present, navigate to those parts easily. Generally, if the content on your page is more than 2500 words, it would be a good idea to use anchors or page breaks.
Use visuals that are relevant to the topic and your style of presentation.
Use videos and infographics to provide a richer user experience and increase the time spent on your site.
Actively encourage shares, likes, and comments on your blog posts.
Post your content to social media forums and promote or boost your post to reach a wider audience.
Engaging content would lead to higher CTR and more social shares which signal to Google that the blog post is of high-quality. It’s a case of cause-effect; it’s not the number of shares that lead to websites ranking higher on the net, the shares are only an indication of the quality of content as far as Google is concerned.
A- authority and expertise :
What’s your level of expertise or authority on the topic? The level of experience that goes into creating the content and the credibility of the source is fundamental in getting your human and robot audience to trust the information you present. In a situation like the one above, your audience is more likely to believe your article and read through if you have experience in presenting to audiences or if your business is related to making business presentations. The same thing goes for the search engines.
Does this mean you cannot create articles on a topic unless you are an expert? Generally, your items are more likely to rank on the first page for a problem, If you have a high level of expertise, authority and trustworthiness on that topic( EAT). Let’s see what Google has to say about this: According to Google’s definition of quality for various web content forms, there are some topics where an expert or authority in that field is necessary before it could be classified as high-quality article and rank as such. Such issues are referred to as your money your life articles (YMYL). Google classifies YMYL articles into six categories :
Information on scientific topics or research
Financial advice, legal advice, tax advice
Information on home remodelling, renovations and other advice that involves spending a substantial amount of money.
Specific hobbies or interests that require some level of hands on experience e.g playing a musical instrument
What this means is that to create quality content on YMYL topics where life, money, property is involved or where a high level of accuracy and expertise is required, you have to be an authority or expert in that field. There are some exceptions, though, and a major one is a life experience. Google content quality policies allow for sound first-person expertise as long as it is accurately written and is documented as such. Forums or blogs where people share personal experiences on YMYL topics are deemed as having a high level of EAT. Three ways in which you can show expertise if you are not a subject matter authority are:
Have good first hand experience on a topic
If you gain an interview from an authority on that topic
If you quote authority sources to back up your article.
The last quality to remember is content comprehensiveness. To write a good SEO article, you must completely cover the topic you are writing about. Based on what Google has to say about this, there is no ideal length for an article. The perfect length of an article would depend on what the topic intends to cover, which should ideally be based on satisfying a particular user intent.The screenshot below accurately sums up Googles thoughts on content length and breadth of an article.
You can download the complete Google guide on content quality here.
Content promotion or content marketing simply means scaling content creation for marketing purposes, using different content creation tools and promoting on different marketing platforms.A successful content promotion campaign requires the use of analytics tools to measure the success of each content marketing campaign.
Content marketing leads to increased brand awareness, improved customer relationship,more leads, and ultimately, better ROI.
What does it mean to scale content for brand promotion?
Content scaling involves writing volumes of content for the right audience using the right people, systems, and strategies and delivering it with the right technology.
With the increasing importance of content as a ranking factor on the internet, more companies are championing large-scale content promotion as an effective lead generation. As effective as this technique may seem, it also comes with its pitfalls. This is especially true if your core business is not content creation.
A robust approach to scaling content marketing involves providing information while at the same time promoting your brand. Your content messages, style, and delivery methods have to suit your content marketing objectives. Scaling content production for brand promotion requires developing an efficient content creation system and an equally effective content marketing strategy.
How to start scaling content promotion
Starting a company blog is the best way to start a content promotion strategy.If you do not have a blog then it’s high time you got one. Posting content frequently to your target audience is an excellent way to rank higher in the search engines and drive more traffic to your website.
Starting a newsletter: Newsletter marketing is also another great way to promote relevant and engaging information to your target audfience. You can send your subscribed customers pertinent information by mail and probably link this to more in-depth information on your website or blog.
Social media marketing: There’s no gainsaying the fact that no content promotion campaign would be complete without a robust social media marketing campaign.
Sms marketing : Sms marketing is still a very cost effective way to promote content if you are on a low marketing budget. It comes in handy when you need to give urgent updates and vital information to your subscribers. The major limitation of SMS marketing is the limited amount of information that you can pass. Usually sms marketing is channeled at promoting a brand, but with a little bit of creativity you can pass along some beneficial information as well.
What are the Benefits to your Brand from Scaling Content Promotion?
Improves your SEO and hence your online visibility. Google loves great content and the more productive the content you produce, and the more the frequency at which you produce quality content, the better your chances of ranking higher on the internet.
Content scaling gives your brand a stronger share of voice; since you are always out there, in your audience’s face.
Helps you build credibility. By providing in-depth and regular information on your area of expertise, you stamp your authority as an expert in your field.
Helps your audience engage better with your brand. Using different content platforms enables you to reach a broader audience.
Creates trust and a better relationship with your customers. By providing your customers with useful information, you show you care about their interests too and not only about your bottom-line.
Helps you engage your customers at their level. By creating different audience personas and engaging each persona with the right language and style, you connect with them on a more personal level.
Allows you to funnel content effectively, to guide your audience through the various stages of the customer journey.
Leads to better conversion rates to business for your brand. The more your audience is engrossed in your brand content, the better the chances of them clicking on that button that converts them to customers.
By employing useful content analytic tools, you can measure the success of each message you deliver and track the progress of your content promotion strategies.
Content scaling for brand promotion- tools, tips, and resources.
So how do you start a content scaling strategy? Producing content on a large scale is hard work, and you need to sit down with your sales and marketing teams to determine the best plan for content marketing that would yield the best results.
Outlined below in detail, are useful tips and tools that can help y our online enterprise reap the most benefits from scaling your content promotion activities.
Define your Content Budget and Scale to Fit
One critical mistake any organisation could make would be to jump into content marketing without first defining a budget. Do you have the financial capacity to hire the needed human resources for content promotion regularly?When I mean resources I’m talking about writers and support teams like editors to make the work easier.
While large-scale production of the content may be an excellent way to keep your brand top of mind, it could also be a hole in your pocket, draining resources without necessarily yielding results
Hiring in-house writers too comes with its own cost; salaries, health benefit and other allowances. While out-sourcing to good content writers may be cheaper, it’s still some significant chunk out of your budget!
But you need good, constant content to rank, don’t you? Of course, you do! It’s far from a case of being between the Devil and the deep blue sea, though. It’s great if you can produce quality content every day or every other day, but if you can’t, one quality blog post per week would keep your brand relevant to your audience.
Use data insights to drive your content creation
Use data to drive your content marketing
Research, analyse and strategise your content creation using data in your particular Industry or field of expertise. What are the topics that are currently trending in your industry? What topics are your competitors leveraging to boost their brand Image? You probably have written a few pieces of content in the past; which of these topics did well and ranked on the first page? Which ones had the highest shares or comments on your blog or social media? You can find issues that are trending by looking at social media business pages such as LinkedIn or discussion pages on Quora. Once you’ve analysed the necessary data and found out the topics that are likely to do well, the next step is to create broad outlines for the content you plan to promote.This takes us to the next tip on content scaling for promotional purposes.
Create a Structured Guide for your Content creation
Trying to produce volumes of great content without a structured plan or the right tools is akin to sailing a ship without a navigation tool, and relying on the elements. You may eventually make it to your destination (after losing your way several times) or be cast adrift on the wild seas.
Define your objectives for each piece of content you want to write- brand awareness, launching a new product line, generating leads, getting customers to sign up for your newsletter and so on. Be sure your writing team is clear on purpose for each piece you’re writing.
Create a broad content outline that aligns with your organisational goals. How do you intend to weave your brand messages into each piece and not sound like an enthusiastic salesperson? Decide how each part of the content you create will link to the next to form a seamless flow in your content promotion activities.
Create an editorial calendar and use this to note down all the milestones for all your content goals. How often can you produce fresh content ( weekly or bi-weekly)?
Plan content ahead for events and holidays. While it may not make so much sense to plan for the Christmas Holidays in January, it could certainly help to note this down in your Calendar as a to-do. That way you avoid last-minute rushes in content production. Apart from the big Holidays, plan content for the smaller ones as well. If you cater to a broad client base from different cultural backgrounds, you should create content that would fit all the major holidays your potential customers celebrate as well.
Plan content for a 3-6 months period. This time frame would be long enough to give you a long-term focus, and short enough so that you are not overwhelmed.
Define the technologies you want to use in your content creation- online and offline content writing tools. It’s always a good idea to plan to vary your content forms as well.
Plan content for all stages of the customer journey: Ideally, you should write content to guide your customers through each step of the customer journey starting from awareness, to when they engage and interact with your brand and all through to when they subscribe and after that. This step by step approach to ‘marketing-content’ creation is what is commonly referred to as content funnelling.
Target broad marketing channels
Unless your objective for producing content is because you like to write, it makes sense for you to define before-hand how you intend to market the content you create. While Instagram, Facebook, and You-tube are great for promoting your brand to a large market, there are other more focused channels for your niche audience, and which could help you reach your marketing goals faster. Publishing your content on as many of these platforms as possible would give you more visibility for your brand.
Important! Install analytics tools on your web pages
Okay, so your content team has produced viral content that people are sharing on social media. Good job! Obviously, a lot of people would be visiting your site as a result.
The question is how does this translate to sales for you? What analytic tools have you put in place to determine if your content marketing is generating ROI? What’s the conversion rate to business for you? How do you quantify the profit or perhaps, the loss you are making with your content scaling and promotion activities?
The screenshot below shows how you can set objectives to track your content promotion success using Google analytics.
The first step is to install the analytics on all your important web pages; your landing page and contact pages, especially.
Next, you set up goals in the analytics site. Your goal could be the amount of time spent by visitors on your web pages. It could also be the number of visitors that migrate to your contact page. The Google analytics tool allows you to assign monetary values to these goals and this would enable you to estimate your ROI.
There’s a useful resource on how to measure marketing metrics from optinmonster that explains in detail how to use Google analytics to measure the impact of your content promotion.
Get the Right Content team for your Project
Writing creative content is not something you assign to just anyone. While a lot of people could probably write some good lines if they put their mind to it, scaling quality and quantity that will get you to the top, requires a team of professionals.
Your content team should include SEO experts, content strategists, content writers, and content marketers. It is at this stage you have to decide if it’s better to onboard a few content writers or out-source your content strategy and writing. Whatever your decision, make sure that your content teams , both internal and external are all aligned with the content forms, delivery channels, and brand messages. It is also essential that you get the buy-in of your customer-facing associates as well as your management team.
For your content promotion to succeed, apart from your content team, it’s essential you get the buy-in of your sales team as well. They could give some useful tips that would help you better define the buyer personas of your target audience( more on that later).This will enable you to write compelling content specifically targeted to appeal to each group and yield better results from your promotion.
Put an Effective Project management Plan in place
Whether you’ve decided to employ an in-house content team or outsource your content promotion activities, you still need to coordinate their businesses properly. How do you ensure that your team is still working within the specified timelines? Sending emails back and forth or hollering at Jack from across the hall may not be the best way to keep your team on track with your content goals. A much better approach would be to create an online project management system where you can check on everyone’s progress in one place.
Optimise for your readers first, then for the Search Engines next
Your goal for creating content should be to engage your target audience and then Google, in that order.With this goal in mind, create content that is fluid and readable and go for quality, every time. Content SEO is necessary to help you gain visibility because if people don’t stay on your page for long, you will gradually lose your position. You need high quality content to keep your readers engaged and get as many of them to stay long enough to click on your CTA buttons.To scale content quality, you need to follow the G.R.E.A.T format
G– google manual compliant, meaning no shady keyword stuffing and no funny SEO stuff.
R – Well researched and should provide in-depth information on the topic.Should also be relevant to your field of expertise and of course to your audience.
E– Engaging. Nobody likes to read boring stuff. Save the big words for the medical encyclopedias. Use analogies your audience can relate to and write for a 7th-9th-grade reading level.
A – Accurate.Even though the search engines may not mind a few errors here and there, I’m quite sure your human audience would be put off. Your style and writing language must be consistent and should appeal to your target audience.The data you present must be accurate.Check and double check for typos.Get an editing team or invest in an online editing tool like Grammarly.
T-Thick as opposed to thin.The dos of SEO include creating long-form content that provides all the information your readers need, in one place.That way you ensure loyalty to your brand.
Create evergreen content for all your content promotion strategies.
Choose topics that will be relevant for years to come and write extensively on such issues.This way you can always recycle the content when your writing team needs a break or when you are on a tight budget. ‘How- to’ guides are usually the most common topics for ever-green content creation, and making an Ultimate list seems to be the in-thing these days. Other topics that will stand the test of time include ‘where to’ topics especially if they direct readers to cheaper alternatives or make valid comparisons between multiple service providers.
Topics that answer questions people ask about a particular field, are a sure-fire way to get audience engagement. These guys right here did a beautiful job of explaining the problem; how much does web development cost? Their content deserves to rank every time. Just think of topics that would provide useful information to your target audience, and you are well on your way to scaling great content.
Customize content for the customer life cycle
Plan an A-B shift for your customers to guide them through the four stages of the customer life-cycle for your brand.
While offering promo codes, freebies and discounts are an excellent way to get new customers, keep in mind that they could get this free stuff elsewhere too. This method of marketing content to take your customers through all the stages of the buying process up until getting them to become brand advocates is known as content funnelling.
This short video explains how funneling content creation would help you create awareness for your brand and turn potential customers into repeat buyers and advocates for your brand.
Stick to your Brand Identity
One pitfall your team needs to be mindful of when scaling promotional content constantly is veering off your brand Identity.This is more likely to occur when you have a large group managing different aspects of your content promotion activities. To avoid this, you need to ensure that the team continually refers to the content guide you set at the beginning and understand how each goal aligns with the organisation’s vision and mission.
Your brand message, logo ,and style of delivery should also be consistently clear in all your content promotion activities.Failure to stick to a consistent brand message would create different impressions and versions of your brand value in the minds of your customer. Telling different brand stories will also detract from your overall goal of creating loyal customers because you come across as confused about your own identity.
Post frequently, but allow sufficient interval between posts
There are several opinions about how regular the frequency of posting content to social media platforms should be. Many agree that posting no more than once daily or less than three times weekly should be the ideal. As for me, I say go by the rule of common sense. What is your purpose of posting content? If its only to keep your blog ratings up, then post as many times as you like in a day( let’s hope your audience has all the time in the world to read your posts).
If, however, the intention behind content marketing is to generate more ROI, then it would be a better idea to wait for a little to measure the success of one promotional content before dishing out the next.How well are people viewing your post? How much time are they spending on your website as a result? Allow at least a day between posts to measure the impact on your target audience.
The same goes for targeted email campaigns. I’m hoping you have optimised your emails for mobile devices as well and installed triggers that show when a client reads your emails. If you don’t know how to do this please save this article to read later. In the meantime, shall we continue with the frequency of your sending emails? Guess what the click-through rates (CTR)for most emails are? A measly 2%, that’s what. Think of all the time and resources you spent creating one beautiful email that a prospective buyer never even opens. Frustrating. Huh? Okay, be wise. Nobody likes to get bombarded with emails daily. However, marketing professionals recommend staying in touch with your potential customer regularly.
The question is how often is too often? Let’s get a little more scientific: when is the best day of the week to send an email to your potential clients? This research by Get Response has all the fantastic facts and figures on how clients behave in response to an email. Can you believe it? The best day of the week to send an email is Tuesday! Some marketing mail gurus did more research showing that 90% of your target audience would like to receive promotional emails only once a month. This may sound too long an interval, especially if you’re planning to grow your business reach. Interestingly, 61% said they wouldn’t mind getting such mails once a week and only 15% say they don’t mind being bombarded with emails daily.
On the average, it looks like posting twice a week may be better, to strike a balance between customer preferences and your promotional objectives. The best way, though,would be to customise email sending preferences for each customer. Click here to find out how you can do this.
Create content that resonates with your audience.
Bust your assumptions of what your audience likes best and tailor your message to what they actually would love to read. A great way to do this is to create buyer personas. Buyer personas mean fictitious marketing characters you create that have all the human elements( based on your knowledge of your users) as well as the demographics of your target audience. These personas enable you to step into your audience shoes and design content that will best appeal to them.
To create great buyer personas you will need to follow some of the steps listed in this great article from Forbes.
Ask yourself all the right questions about what benefits of your product would best appeal to your different personas
What are the pain points that your brand can solve?
How do they currently manage these needs?
Why have they not found a solution to it or if they have, what are the shortfalls of their current solution?
The final step is to create brand stories that appeal to these personas using impact- benefit selling model. What is the impact of not using your brand? Fear is a strong emotion that galvanises people into taking decisions. What unique selling point does your brand have that could mitigate this impact?- Slay them with these benefits and you probably will have given them solid reasons to convert.
Frequent Content Curation is not an Option
While curation is an excellent way to get content out to your audience like this, if not correctly done, it could get your target market slipping through your fingers like that (grains of sand). Content Curation while presenting you with an easy way to Scale content promotion, comes with its own challenges too.
You need to ensure that you thoroughly vet whatever material you are presenting, so you don’t end up endorsing an article with wrong information. Also, a significant disadvantage to curating too often would be that it could hurt your SEO. While Google may not penalise you for copying the work of others( since you cited your sources), it would not recognise your content as original either. The chances of you ranking high with such curation would probably be less than if you created the content yourself.
Get Creative with your Content forms.
Get out of your comfort zone. Rather than sticking to writing blog posts or articles, you can switch it up a bit with video marketing and infographics. Today’s generation of internet users interacts more with content if it comes in the form of exciting videos, which is probably one of the reasons why You-tube has risen steadily to become the second most popular social media platform on the internet.
Scale content to promote your brand as well as to provide valuable information:
While maintaining a consistent brand message and Identity, ensure that your brand promotion is not at the expense of providing useful information to your readers. Every customer wants to feel like you genuinely care about them even though they know you care about your profit margin too. They are likely to be more interested in listening to what you have to say if the ‘what’s in it for them’ is consistently clear throughout.
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