Do you know which SEO strategy to use in your content marketing strategy?
The question above can spur many answers. This article will focus on the 6 most effective SEO strategies to use in 2017 based on tried and tested industry standards and data research.
Although search engine optimization, or SEO, isn’t a science, it follows a set of rules or strategy that makes it effective in increasing a brand’s awareness. Relevant content goes hand in hand with SEO.
SEO helps create branded content that is relevant to consumers who are interested in a particular topic. That is why an effective content marketing strategy will be rooted in SEO, relevant topic and social media management.
Because of this, knowledgability in SEO has become a sought out skill in industries such as marketing, digital media and social media.
According to Forbes.com, there are certain strategies that when used consistently are great at increasing the likelihood of a brand’s website getting a higher ranking from Google Analytics. These strategies are metrics to make sure you’re spending time creating content that actually results in more traffic to your website.
This article will focus on some of the SEO strategies mentioned by John Rampton, a regular contributor who focuses on topics that help start up companies navigate online. The SEO strategies addressed by Rampton are guidelines that can be used to increase readership growth and increase brand visibility on the Internet.
Although there are many SEO strategies, the ones mentioned in this article are considered as best practices because they are aligned with Google’s ever-changing algorithm which determines a website’s importance or ranking. The list below outlines 6 of the most effective SEO strategies that you should be using right now to attract more readers to your website. Use it as a guideline when creating impactful and engaging content.
1. Is Your Content Optimized For Mobile Search?
In October 2016, Google made a major change to its algorithm that’s still affecting content creators to this day. Google launched their mobile-first index in November of last year which essentially means with this update, Google uses the mobile version of a website as its primary index. This update was a direct response to research that showed people use their mobile devices moreso than they use an actual desktop computer. The study shows mobile and tablet account for 51.3 percent of all web browsing.
As a content strategist that means all mobile content should be a priority. There are many steps that must be taken to optimize content for a mobile search. However, the most important factor that makes content optimized for a mobile search is by creating localized content. For example, if you’re writing content for a beauty spa that’s located in Sunrise, Florida, the content—specifically meta tags—must include the location. A meta tag for the post mentioned would be ‘beauty spa sunrise’ or ‘beauty spa sunrise florida.’
Because Google has moved towards a mobile-friendly mindset content must now be localized.
What does localized content mean?
Localized content is content that has been optimized for a specific region. Again, lets consider the meta tag above, ‘beauty spa sunrise.’ Sunrise is a city located in Florida. A woman who is searching for a beauty spa in Sunrise would likely enter ‘beauty spa sunrise’ within Google’s search bar to generate more accurate results.
In order to make sure your content appears in a localized search, content strategists for small businesses or services must create content that mentions the specific region in meta data (such as meta tags, titles, URLs or long tail keywords.
2. Is Your Content Populated With Backlinks?
Backlinks are important because they help build a website’s credibility and ranking on Google Analytics.
According to Google, backlinks are one of the top three factors the company uses to rank websites. It’s important to note that content is the other element along with
A backlink is defined as a link one website gets from another website to confirm or cite a statement or fact. Backlinks impact a website’s prominence in search engine results making them as important as SEO.
Backlinks are also important because they add integrity to a post or article.
A study by Stone Temple Consulting Corporation showed that the links play a major role in your website’s ranking factor.
As a content strategist, when you cite the source of a main point with an actual fact from a trusted source, this builds your credibility on the Internet. In order for this strategy to work, the backlink and the content that its being populated into must be relevant to each other.
For example, if a content strategist wrote a post about the importance of eating green vegetables and adds a backlink to a research study from the University of Miami that confirms this statement, Google interprets this backlink as an effective and trustworthy relationship. In fact, this backlink relationship will help increase a website’s ranking on Google because the cited source, in this case the University of Miami, is helping build the website’s validity.
Next time you’re creating content, ask yourself if it includes backlinks. If it doesn’t correct this issue as soon as possible!
3. Is Your Content Optimized for Voice Search?
While many content strategists consider SEO, they often overlook optimizing content for voice search. Voice search is a speech recognition technology that lets users search by saying terms aloud rather than typing them into a search field.
Put it this way: When you utilize Siri, Google Now or a voice activated search tool on your mobile device, you are using voice search technology.
According to KPCB’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, voice search queries have seen more than a 35X increase since 2008 and more than a 7x increase since 2010.
In order to optimize your content for voice search recognition you must include questions that would prompt a consumer or user to your content within the post. Search Engine Journal gives a helpful guideline on optimizing your content for voice search recognition.
4. Is Your Content Optimized For Rich Answers?
Rich answers is Google’s attempt to answer your search query without requiring you to click to a website.
The best way of understanding a rich answer is to think of it as a summary for a question. A rich answer refers to different types of content including snippets of text from third-party websites, answers provided by Google, charts, infographics, tables, sliders, maps, and forms.
As of 2015, Rich Answers were displayed for nearly 20% of all queries. This number will increase significantly by the end of this year.
As a content strategist, if you want your content to appear in Google’s search for common industry-related questions, it’s vital that you intentionally optimize your content for rich answers.
The easiest way to make your content rich answer-friendly is by following this trusty tip.
First, ask the question in your content. Next, include a direct answer followed by additional information that supports your answer. A great example of content that has been optimized for rich answers includes Q&A articles and listicles, which are list articles that feature a large amount of photos. For more tips on optimizing your content for rich answers read this guide.
5. Are You Creating Shorter URLs?
Although SEO is rooted in using as much descriptive, keywords as possible, it’s surprising that research indicates that shorter URLs may lead to higher rankings. A rule of thumb for content strategists is to use between 5 and 7 words when creating an article’s URL, making sure that the article’s primary keywords appears in the link. Again, this simple trick goes back to properly creating content for metadata. Remember: Google is constantly reading your content and an easy way to give Google an idea about your content’s topic is to have a short, descriptive URL.
6. How Do You Write More Content?
The trick behind writing more content is simple: put yourself in the mindset of the reader. Ask yourself, ‘What is the user’s intent for visiting this website?’ Once you can answer that question, as a content strategist you will have more opportunity to touch on many sub topics within your article relating to your topic, which will translate into a longform article.
Google loves longform content. As a content strategist you should also love longform content because its a great way to brand an SEO topic and litter your content with other relatable SEO words. A post with a minimum of 1,200 is considered minimum, per industry standards. Many experts, such as Neil Patel, suggest writing longform content that’s over 1,600 words (2,000 words to be exact) or more to attract a higher ranking with Google.
Why is Google’s search ranking more responsive to longform content instead of shortform content?
Simply put, Google wants to know exactly what people are looking for when they enter a query into the search bar. In theory, longform content should be highly informative, providing in-depth knowledge about a subject matter. The topic should be broken down in easily readable content that is quick and easy to read for the average person. Thus, from the perspective of Google, longform content answers many questions about a topic similar to a research paper or case study.
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