Too many marketers still treat Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as an afterthought and bring it in at the end of a content marketing project. They finish a blog post or finalise a new marketing campaign, and at the end of the line, SEO comes in to find related keywords and plug them into content. Unfortunately, this approach is outdated and completely ineffective.
SEO research can decipher who your real audience is online, where visitors are in the buyer’s journey, what information they’re looking for, and what content format they prefer. These insights lead to more effective content strategies. But if SEO is only given a voice at the end of the line, it’s too late to utilise the insights it provides. To fully enjoy the benefits, and optimise every piece of content, SEO must be a foundational part of every project from the beginning.
1. Keywords should help determine content, not decorate it
Most online experiences start with keywords — so marketers should, too.
Content with SEO value needs to be inspired by the questions and needs that are being asked online; and the best source for that information is Google. Effective content strategies start with keyword research, because modern keyword research provides significant insight into what audiences want and need. The process enables marketers to identify user needs, brainstorm content ideas that satisfy those needs, and create the right content the first time.
2. Keyword research should define content
When expanded to discover user intent, keyword research tells marketers how to create content: what type of information is needed, who needs the information, and where searchers are in the buying journey. Marketers can conduct searches for keywords and use search results to gather important content insights. For example, identifying the persona who’s searching for a specific keyword, allowing to personalise content for the appropriate audience, or exploring a user’s buying timeline and identifying or solving problems that may arise.
This type of keyword research enables the ideas captured to be expanded with incredible detail. When content is written, it will include the right information, be addressed to the right audience and cater to the appropriate journey position, eradicating the waste caused by discovering these details after content is completed.
3. SERP analysis reveals Google’s ranking priorities
SERP analysis helps marketers decipher Google’s algorithmic preferences. In order to earn high rankings, marketers have to know which factors are priorities for their industry, content, niche, etc. Otherwise, they may waste time and effort pursuing things — such as certain keywords — that might not be important to their business. Identifying your top-ranking factors allows marketers to anticipate user preferences and create the right content, in the right format, the first time.
Modern SEO keyword research creates effective content strategies
Conducting keyword research at the end of a project, or after content is written, is little more than a shot in the dark for effective SEO. It’s user intent research that forms the groundwork for increased engagement and rankings by illuminating detailed information about who’s searching for specific keywords, what information they’re looking for, and what type of content they prefer.
Google — the master of connecting keywords to user goals — has all of the information needed to create effective content strategies, if you do the research or have a great partnership with your digital marketing agency.
It’s never too late to change your approach to content. Feel free to contact us for further information.
Source: Search Engine Land