Any brand can pay to boost its visibility in Google rankings, but the true test of your ability to draw in visitors from the world’s biggest search engine is organic traffic. If you want people to find your website through Google, you need to earn your place on the first page of search results for […]
Beyond keywords: What else does good SEO content need?
Every business needs to factor search engine optimisation (SEO) into their
content marketing strategy or risk getting left behind.
Without a steady stream of SEO content on your website, you’ll find your company slipping down the search engine rankings to become undiscoverable by potential customers.
The most well-known element of optimised content is performing successfully for specific keywords, but good SEO goes beyond this single technique. There’s no suggestion you should avoid keyword research, but to rely on it in isolation would mean you miss the opportunity to create a complete SEO strategy that ticks more boxes.
It’s amazing the difference that can be seen in Google Analytics when you tweak certain aspects of technical SEO or pay more attention to backlinks. Any good content marketing agency you work with will help you balance all the right elements to make your content shine and explore beyond the not-so-humble keyword.
Why is content important for SEO?
Quality content makes the digital world go round, that’s a fact. It’s estimated there are approximately 4.66 billion active internet users in the world and they’re all consuming vast quantities of content. The question is how to make those blogs, white papers and videos work as hard as possible for you. The answer is SEO, because without good optimisation it simply won’t be found in Google search or other engines, meaning you’ll be overlooked.
So, why is content important for SEO? Without it you’ve got nothing to promote and no reason for your target audience to visit your web pages. In the ever changing digital environment, you should never consider your website finished, as it requires fresh content to demonstrate that your business is relevant and up-to-date.
A website without quality content has little SEO value. No search engine is going to rank a company highly in its results if it simply tries to sell to its customers without educating, informing or entertaining them too. SEO content should be created intentionally and meet the following criteria to ensure it’s contributing to your search engine optimisation efforts and not detracting from them.
- All content should be well-researched, error-free and grammatically correct.
- Your website should be regularly updated with fresh content that is original and interesting.
- Search engines reward sites with a variety of formats, so video content, infographics and articles should be part of the mix.
- Copywriting should contain backlinks to reputable sources.
- All website elements should be visually appealing and easy to use.
- Relevant keyword research should make content discoverable in search.
It’s a common misconception that anyone can write website content for a business. Instead of resulting in optimised, quality content that performs well in Google search, what often comes about is a jumble of articles that are not thematically linked or properly positioned within a comprehensive strategy.
To succeed at content marketing, you need to take a logical approach that works through the stages, from keyword research and writing to optimising with additional elements and analysing through SEO tools like Google Analytics. Even then, aspects may need to be tweaked to boost your content further so it can fulfil its true potential.
Quality content should be linked thematically and presented in the most appropriate format. Landing pages that are designed to capture leads and drive conversions must be distinct from blog posts, while video content should be accompanied by copy that is crawlable by search engines to make them more visible in the results pages.
Once upon a time, keywords were the beginning and the end of most businesses’ content marketing strategy. If you were trying to sell car insurance, then the number of times you could cram the phrase into your copy the better. But times have changed and search engines are far more sophisticated in their approach, with Google especially keen to rank content that’s useful to the reader.
Keywords are the words and phrases users type into a search engine in order to find the content they’re looking for. As well as exact matches, Google et al aim to link readers up with information that meets the search intent of the query, and rewards pages that achieve this. Nobody can be expected to know what their users are searching for, making keyword research an important task to carry out before any writing is done.
Apart from keywords, what else characterises good SEO content?
While keywords are undoubtedly important for SEO, they’re not the beginning and end when it comes to creating optimised content. As well as good keyword research, you’ll need insight into the wants, needs and habits of your potential customers in order to design a valuable user experience. All of your planning can then be transformed using a selection of techniques and clever gizmos that will make your SEO content shine.
Are keywords the only important part of SEO?
Looking at all the information online about SEO from products like a HyperSuggest advanced keyword tool to guides on how to complete an SEO audit, it would be only natural to think that if you get the keywords right, everything else will follow. This simply isn’t the case, however, as there are so many other elements of SEO content marketing you need to take into consideration too.
What other elements contribute to good SEO performance?
Google and other search engines factor in all sorts of things when ranking your website. A good place to start in your quest to improve your performance is to conduct an SEO audit and ensure all of the content you’ve already published is properly optimised. If there are areas where your site is lacking, then you can update these pieces retrospectively to ensure everything is pulling in the same direction. This will provide a positive overall user experience and your site will be rewarded accordingly in the search engine results pages.
Take a look at the following list of areas that require consideration. You can even use it as a checklist for your own audit and SEO efforts.
High bounce rates – where users leave your page within seconds of arriving – indicate to search engines that they shouldn’t be sending readers to your site. There are a number of reasons why users might not stay, one of which is slow page loading and another is that it’s not visually appealing. Replacing images with smaller files or formatting copy in a more digestible manner are simple things, but can make a lot of difference.
Diverse media offerings
Content should go beyond copy, with video, audio, infographics and GIFs all contributing to good SEO performance. Engaging users with multiple types of media will help them find the information they seek; understand your products and services better; and spend longer on your pages. Be sure to include keyword descriptions alongside these elements so search engines can find them easily.
Internal linking strategy
Directing visitors through your website and further down the buyer funnel is important for converting leads into customers. As well as being a vital part of your commerce strategy, it signals to search engines that your website is useful and that users want to explore it further. Internal linking is integral to the success of leading readers on the journey you wish them to take.
Relevant source links
It may seem counterintuitive to include backlinks to other sites on your pages, but they tell Google and the others that you’re connecting with well-researched sources. The thing about this is it’s easy to get it wrong if the site is out of date or a competitor, so think carefully about who you want to be associated with and regularly check that these links still connect to live pages.
If you’re posting quality, authoritative content then it should lead to gaining some useful backlinks from other sites. You want these to be well-respected as spammy backlinks have been discounted as a contributing factor towards your domain authority since a 2021 Google update. One of the clever gizmos you can use in this area of your SEO is a backlink checker tool, which will give you a useful overview of all your backlinks and should be part of your SEO audit.
Images are an important part of your website and can help you rank in search engines, but must have alt text attached to ensure Google and the like can understand them. Otherwise known as an alt attribute, alt description or alt tag, alt text is a short but detailed summary of the image and what it contains. When writing these words, it’s worth remembering the origin of alt text, which is to describe the picture to a visually impaired person, and to include the important keyword.
The featured snippet, which is the highlighted piece of text at the top of the Google search results page, gives a user a quick answer to their informational search query. Known as position 0, as it appears above the organic results, it’s an enviable place for any page to occupy, but it takes more than a good keyword or two to get it. Utilise a simple sentence structure, bullet points and H2 tags in your copy to increase your chances of becoming the featured snippet.
If you’re still seeing social media marketing as something a bit vapid or a nice-to-have extra, then you’re missing a trick. Sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can all be used as SEO tools in your arsenal. Google uses reviews on social channels, as well as your brand’s activity, to help determine your social authority, so failing to engage can impact your SERP ranking.
A brand and a business are not the same thing. Building a brand can sometimes feel like working with intangible concepts, but in terms of marketing, it’s vital you don’t overlook them. The identity of your company and how it’s perceived by potential customers is important and conveying its values throughout your online presence will boost its standing. Recognisable assets can help boost branded and non-branded search terms for your products and services.
Dos and don’ts of SEO
When it comes to quality SEO content that performs well in search, there are lots of things to remember, which is why it can be a good idea to call in the professionals. A multiservice content marketing agency will be able to provide you with everything you need from a keyword researcher to a qualified writer and a data analyst to make sure your rankings are going in the right direction.
Here are some of the main things your business or the SEO agency you’re employing should remember when producing content:
- Keyword research is a good place to start when planning your SEO content, but it’s not the be-all and end-all.
- There are many elements that make up the best SEO practices and not getting one right can hold you back.
- An SEO audit will help you identify what’s working well and where tweaks should be made.
- Everything needs to be optimised, even if it’s paid for like a Google ad, as all your marketing must pull in the same direction.
- While there are some clever gizmos and SEO tools to help you on your way, you must make sure your content works well for people.
- Don’t assume that content marketing is easy and all of your goals can be achieved in-house, as it’s a specialist field that requires the relevant knowledge.
Can one agency advise on all areas of SEO?
Choosing an SEO agency can feel like a daunting task, but an effective way to cut down on the workload is to ensure you can pick one that can handle all of your SEO needs. That way you won’t have to complete the research on agencies for different areas of your digital marketing. It also means you can enjoy a joined-up approach to all aspects of your creative and technical SEO without worrying about multiple agencies working together.
Look for an agency with good SEO credentials, as well as experience in the industry you operate in. For example, if your real estate SEO needs boosting, then ask prospective partners to give you case studies that demonstrate their competency in this area. As we’ve pointed out, SEO marketing is made up of many elements, so look at the whole, as well as the specifics.
Think to yourself ‘What do I want if someone is to Google my business’ and go from there. This won’t be the same for every company, with local SEO much more important for some over others and competition for relevant keywords more vital in some markets. The best digital marketing agency for a different business may not be right for you, so do your research.
Can my copywriting agency help with on-page and off-page SEO?
The best way to answer the question of whether an SEO agency is as proficient in off-page techniques as they are in on-page practices is to ask them. And don’t just take their word for it; ask for the cold hard data. Search engine optimisation is measurable, so scrutinise the numbers in reference to the strategies the agency says they utilised and make sure everything adds up.
Quality copywriting is crucial to SEO performance, but it shouldn’t stand alone. It needs to be built on the foundations of solid keyword research and be backed up with technical SEO elements. With the right agency, you should be able to get all of these SEO services under one roof, with multiple departments carrying out these specialised roles.
Among the benefits of working with one agency that can cater to all your on-page and off-page SEO needs is a more streamlined approach. Not only will you only have to go to a single supplier, you can expect all your interactions to be managed through an account manager who’s dedicated to your brand. With departments used to working with each other, your SEO service team should be able to meet your needs with ease.
How will I know if my SEO efforts are working?
Right from the beginning of your digital marketing journey it’s important to be clear as to what you want to achieve. By setting measurable goals and KPIs from the outset, you can track your progress against these throughout the process. There are various SEO tools to use, with Google Search Console a useful resource for tracking multiple metrics in one place.
While you’ll be able to see increased traffic to your site and notice that you’re making more sales, this isn’t enough to take to the stakeholders at your company. Download the data from Google Analytics, give them the reports, graphs and numbers to demonstrate ROI and make a good business case for taking on an SEO agency.
This analysis is also crucial when identifying if there are any technical SEO elements that are holding you back. Is the upward trend not as extreme as you were hoping? Or have things plateaued much more quickly? Sometimes there are unforeseen reasons for these occurrences that can be straightened out with simple tweaks.
As all companies are different, some methods may work better than others, so trying them out and adjusting them is the key to success. When qualifying prospective SEO agencies, don’t overlook asking about this part of the process, as measuring success is as important as achieving it. No reputable SEO service will have a problem in answering these sorts of questions for you.
Finding the right SEO agency for your business
From keywords to content to tracking, you want an agency that will help with all elements of your search result rankings. They should use every resource available to them, whether that’s quality copywriting, a useful SEO tool or keyword research to make your business shine. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, seek examples and be clear on your reasons for requiring an SEO service, as this will help you find the right partner.
At Axonn, we offer SEO content built on strong keyword research with impressive results. We’re proud to be a full service agency and happy to share case studies with prospective clients to demonstrate our successes. Get in touch to start your search engine optimisation journey today.