What should you spend more time doing? Search Engine Optimization or Content Marketing? As it turns out, you can focus on both by only focusing on one – content marketing.
Let me break that down.
It’s easy to come up with any old topic for your new piece of content, but if you want to know what people are actually interested in, you need to find out what they’re searching for. If you’re creating content about something that people are searching for, you will gain more website traffic. That’s oversimplifying it a bit, but that’s the general idea.
But, how do you know where to start?
This is where research comes into play. You need to spend a few hours doing keyword research, question research, and competitor research.
Keyword research is essential because that will tell you what keywords and phrases people are actually searching for.
Question research is essential because that tells you what questions people are actually asking that pertain to your industry.
And competitor research is essential because you definitely don’t want to write about the exact same things your competitors are writing about. No point in rehashing their old news.
[pull_quote]If you’re creating content about something that people are searching for, you will gain more website traffic.[/pull_quote]
Once you’ve done all this research, you’re going to have a handful of topics that are worth writing about. Those same topics also double as organic search opportunities for your website.
Now, create your content.
Once you’ve got your content written, there are a handful of things you’re going to do, before you publish, to make sure that it helps your website’s SEO.
1. Title and subheadings
First things, first. When writing a title, you can’t just give it any title that sounds good. You need keywords in your title for Google and the other search engines to understand what your content is about. For example, I could’ve titled this blog post: The One Thing You Should Focus on With Your Marketing Efforts. But, the keywords I’m writing about here are content marketing and SEO. Both need to be in that title.
Subheadings are also important for SEO. They let Google know what else is important on your page. That’s why the subheadings on this blog post cover a few keywords.
2. Internal linking
This is one thing that almost everyone misses. But it can make such a big difference with your SEO efforts. Internal linking ties your current blog post in with other pages on your website. It’s a relevancy ranking factor for Google. Not only does it link to another page, it carries that anchor text with it. Both of those things let Google know that your website is focused on that topic.
3. URL Structure
Alright, before you publish your shiny new blog post, you need to pay attention to your URL structure. It matters. A lot. I’m focusing specifically on the URL extension. Once you’re past .com/blog there are still going to be words there. Most blog editors have the entire blog title as the default URL extension. That’s wrong. Cut it down so that The URL is only the keywords that are the focus of the post, and maybe a word or two for context.
Here’s a great example from Hubspot. You’ll notice that the title of the blog post is “How to Grow Your Audience on Snapchat, According to Data From 217,000 Snaps” but the URL extension is just: /grow-snapchat-audience. That’s concise. That’s what you should be doing. Cutting those few words matter. Do it.
So with just those few adjustments, you’ll have a blog post that can truly support your SEO efforts, and not just pretend that it does.