With the internet at the tips of our fingers day in and day out, it’s so easy to find answers and the content we’re looking for at any second. This is what makes search engine optimization (SEO) such an essential component to a company’s lead generation strategy.
However, website SEO doesn’t just happen by chance—you need a well-thought-out strategy and consistent work being put into it to see the results you want. Therefore, it’s essential that you optimize content for search engines (and your target market) so your website can rank in search engines, be seen by potential buyers, and generate new sales opportunities.
So, where do you start?
If you want to optimize content for search engines, you must:
- Practice Keyword Research
- Keep User Intent Top-of-Mind
- Write for Quality—Not Quantity
- Create a Search-Friendly URL
- Consider Your Meta Title and Description
- Be Strategic About Your Headings
- Use Your Head Keyword in the First Paragraph
- Implement Relevant Graphics and Videos
- Craft an Entity-Based SEO Strategy
- Remember to Use Internal and External Links
- Write E-A-T Content
- Consistently Monitor Website Performance
Practice Keyword Research
Once you have an idea of what potential buyers in your target market are looking for regarding specific product or service solutions, it’s time to perform some keyword research. Keyword research is essential before writing content because it helps you align your topics with what prospects are actively searching for in search engines. When you write content that meets the needs of users and also has a high-volume monthly search, you boost your content rankings in search engines, ideally ranking to the top of the search engines results page (SERP).
Without practicing keyword research, you’re less likely to meet the topic wants, needs, and interests of prospective buyers. There are many tools in the market to help with keyword research, such as Semrush and Ahrefs. When deciding what keywords you want to use, it’s important that you look at keyword:
- Volume: This is an average of how many users search this keyword in the search bar per month.
- Difficulty: This is an average of how many other content marketers are also writing content around this specific keyword. More often than not, the higher the search volume is, the higher keyword difficulty is.
- Intent: This helps content marketers understand the intent of the keyword and whether it’s informational, commercial, or navigational. This helps them understand what type of content to create for the right users, providing them with value.
Keep User Intent Top-of-Mind
Search engines like Google and Bing are just like any other business—they want to provide users (or their “customers”) with the best experience possible. And the same concept is applied when writing content for search engines. This is what makes keeping the user’s intent top-of-mind when creating and distributing content on your company website.
If your website content caters to what users are looking for on search engines, the search engine will define it as valuable content that gives users a great experience and provide them with the answers and insights they’re looking for. By keeping user intent top-of-mind, you have the opportunity to rank higher on SERPs, making it more accessible by users who are looking for your content.
While better SEO content is generally longer, longer content doesn’t necessarily mean better. The more you have to say about a topic, the more search engines recognize you as an expert in the subject matter. But it’s important to keep content on topic without talking in circles or beating around the bush.
Search engines look at other factors on a page to gauge its value and determine where it should rank on SERPs. For example, they look at word count along with formatting, how long users stay on a page, what people do after visiting the page, and more.
As we’ve already discussed, many people rely on search engines to find solutions and answers, but let’s use a real-world example for the roofing industry. If someone searches “What is a TPO roof?” and lands on your page, but the content is so long they can’t navigate to the answer quickly, what do they do? Hit the back button and find another page that answers their question faster.
When that happens, search engines notice that users aren’t spending very long on your page searching for an answer to that question. As a result, your page either won’t rank or will start showing up lower and lower on rankings as other pages better serve the needs of readers. That’s why structuring content to provide answers and solutions as efficiently as possible is often a better determinant of ranking than content length alone.
Want to ensure your website content is impactful for users? Read our blog here to learn how to conduct a website content audit and boost the SEO value of your website.
Create a Search-Friendly URL
When creating your new web page or blog, it’s important to make the URL clean, relevant, and search friendly.
For example, let’s take these three URL options we could’ve used for this blog:
The third option (that we obviously chose) is much cleaner than URL option number one or two. We chose the third option because it’s much neater and matches exactly what keywords we want to rank for. Additionally, it’s concise and provides users with all the information they need to decide if our blog is the one they want to read and gain insight from.
As you upload your pages or blogs and push them live, it’s important that you optimize the URL so it’s easy to digest by readers and clear to help them understand what the content is about.
Consider Your Meta Title and Description
As you create content for your website, pay attention to your meta titles and descriptions. More often than not, meta titles and descriptions are the first interactions users have with your content, making them very impactful for improving click-through rate (CTR).
Think of meta data like email subject lines: if an email subject line isn’t interesting, you’re probably going to move it immediately into your junk folder, right? Well, meta data is similar. They should be relevant (but not clickbait-y) and apply directly with what decision-makers in your target market are searching for.
Here are some tips for writing meta titles and descriptions:
- Keep your meta title less than 60 characters.
- Keep your meta description less than 155 characters.
- Meta titles for pages should be clean and follow a format, while blogs should have an enticing title that is likely to be clicked.
- Always include your head keyword in the meta title and description.
- If possible, aim to be informative while also using a call to action (CTA).
Here’s an example of a meta title and description we use for our website:
Many web development platforms like WordPress have the option to autofill meta data with the blog title and the first sentence of the blog. While this may save time from having to create your own meta titles and descriptions, it’s not a best practice if you want to optimize your website for search engines. Crafting your own meta data makes your content stand out from other blogs, showing the uniqueness of your brand and encouraging users to read your web content.
Be Strategic About Your Headings
If you want to optimize your content for SEO value, be strategic when writing your headings. People usually gather key information from headings, and search engines read them first as well. The main heading (also known as the page title or an H1) should include the target keyword you’re aiming to rank for. It should also include copy that matches the user’s intent and encourages them to continue reading.
Once a search engine crawler reads your H1, it will read all the following headings (the H2s and H3s) and crawl the rest of your content to determine the value it has to provide for its users. Additionally, proper header hierarchy is a structure that helps crawlers and bots move through your page better to understand the context of the page.
While proper use of header structure isn’t technically a SERP ranking factor, the crawlability of the page is. Therefore, ensuring that bots can easily read your page, understand what each section is discussing, and how each section relates to overall page is essential so you can increase the likelihood of your page being crawled more efficiently.
Use Your Head Keyword in the First Paragraph
Trying to work in your head keyword as many times as possible may have worked once upon a time in the SEO world, but not anymore. Keyword stuffing is a quick way to debunk your ranking nowadays. It is important, though, to use your head keyword naturally throughout your content, especially within the first paragraph. It’s recommended that you include your head keyword in the first 100 to 150 words of your content.
Like we mentioned in the paragraph above, search engine crawlers scan content from top to bottom. When you have your head keyword in both the H1 and within the first paragraph, these crawlers can easily pick up what the web page or blog post is about, allowing them to more quickly understand what the content is about and boosting them higher in the search query.
For example, let’s say that you post a product or service listing on your website. If you want potential buyers to find your product or service, you must make sure the title of your product or service is optimized, and that the description of contains the right targeted keywords. Since products or services could be going after multiple keywords, its important to mention the best fit keyword within the product description.
Our SEO copywriters are experts in the latest content writing best practices, delivering B2B clients with high-converting web pages and blog posts. Learn more about our SEO Content services here.
Implement Relevant Graphics and Videos
Adding relevant graphics and videos to your content is great for SEO ranking factors and making web pages and blog posts easier to digest by readers. Graphics and images can help readers better visualize content that may be confusing by just reading the blog alone. Additionally, including a video in content can help increase dwell time, boosting the likelihood of them staying on your website and exploring more of your content.
In addition to providing the reader with helpful visual aids, implementing graphics into content also boosts the SEO value of your page because it can be optimized to rank for specific keywords that relate with the page. When crawling web pages, search engines check for alt text on images, which is brief text (under 125 characters) that describes the image and includes the head keyword.
For more insight into how you can convert graphics and other PDF files into SEO-friendly assets, check out our blog here.
Craft an Entity-Based SEO Strategy
Entity-based SEO is more important for optimizing content for search engines today than it has in years past, especially with the recent Google helpful content update. While this concept isn’t necessarily new, it’s become a more significant factor in search engine optimization.
Entity SEO refers to optimizing content for specific entities, like people, places, or things, so that they rank higher in search engine results. The goal of entity SEO is to help search engines better understand the content on a web page or blog post and match it to relevant search queries. Additionally, it can help you better align your content around user intent, which we know now is a crucial part of optimizing content for search engines.
While entity SEO doesn’t completely replace keyword research, it can be thought of as a way to better provide context for crawlers and bots that are browsing your site. Focusing on entities can help you understand which keywords are the most important to focus on. By marrying entities and user intent, you have a greater opportunity to explore if several keywords should be targeted with the same page.
For instance, in previous models of SEO, you might see the need to have a separate blog for topics around cold calling: “What is Cold Calling?,” “How to Cold Call,” “Why You Should Cold Call,” etc. However, by identifying user intent and marrying that with the entity of “cold calling,” you can see how all these blogs can be combined into a single piece of content.
Focusing on entity SEO is important because search engines use them to put the content into context and determine which search queries it should be included in the results for. Optimizing content for entities improves the chances that it will appear in the search results for relevant queries, leading to increased web traffic and visibility. Additionally, by highlighting specific entities in your content, you can create a more relevant and informative experience for users, increasing the likelihood of them staying on your website to learn more about your product and service offerings.
Remember to Use Internal and External Links
Internal linking is another way to show Google how valid and relevant your content is. If you’re writing and notice an opportunity to link to another page or blog on your website, it’s best practice to link to the page. This is because it can guide a user’s experience on your website, navigating them to other parts of the site that they want to learn more about.
Linking to external websites with high authority also shows search engines that you know what you’re talking about. It also helps search engines better understand what your content is about and it can increase trust and authority in your website. Credibility is a huge part of SEO, and Google will rank sources that are deemed trustworthy higher in search engines. As a best practice, it’s important to include at least two internal links and at least one external link on every page. While the more the merrier, they should be relevant and make sense to the content you’re sharing.
Another way to boost website credibility and optimize content on search engines is through backlinking opportunities. Getting backlinks directed to your website is a great way to bring more users to your website and establish E-A-T, which we’ll expand on more in the next section. Many companies get backlinks to their website by reaching out to other notable companies with similar expertise. If you craft good website content, it’s much more likely that companies will reach out to you first, so you don’t have to do as much “prospecting” to find businesses to potentially collaborate with for enhanced SEO-value.
Write E-A-T Content
E-A-T is another acronym commonly used in the SEO world. E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness—all crucial things that search engines look for when ranking content on SERPs.
While we’ve briefly touched on each of these already, these are the three main things that Google looks for to protect its users from low-quality content that isn’t helpful to searchers. Content marketing experts must be aware of these three things anytime they’re writing content. According to Google, every high-quality page needs a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Let’s get into what this means for each part of the acronym.
- Expertise. Your content should provide insightful knowledge in a way that engages your audience. You need to be an expert on your subject matter, but also know how to deliver the information in the best way. Simply put, you should be creating relevant content that your audience loves. To do that, figure out what your target audience is searching for (keyword research) and aim to understand searcher intent.
- Authority. Being an expert and creating great content to showcase is a start, but it’s not the only thing that’s important. When other websites cite you as a source of information, you become more than just an expert—you become an authority. Ways to build authority include backlinking (other websites linking to pages on your site), sharing your content across social channels, being mentioned in the news, and so on.
- Trustworthiness. Last but not least, Google likes to rank websites that are trustworthy. Expertise and authority definitely improve rankings, but lack of trustworthiness can quickly move you down in rankings. Positive reviews on review websites help a lot. In addition, make it clear to users how they can contact you, list your physical address, include author biographies with blogs, and make sure your website domain is secure.
Following E-A-T as a part of your digital marketing and content strategy will help you to be successful and move up in search engine rankings.
Consistently Monitor Website Performance
And last but certainly not least, measuring performance is an essential part of content marketing. Monitoring the performance of various pages on your site tells you what’s working and what isn’t.
One of the main things you could look at is the bounce rate of a specific page or blog. If the bounce rate is high and users aren’t staying on the page long, maybe you need to make your content more engaging or rework your meta data to make it align better with the content. If there’s a lot of time spent on the page but no follow up (low conversion rate), look into adding more CTAs that help guide readers to their next stage of their journey. Looking at performance can be extremely valuable and helps you turn your content into something you can actually use to grow your business.
When you consistently monitor website performance, you can also check to see how keywords on different pages on ranking and whether or not there is any keyword cannibalization going on. As keywords rank more on your website, the more likely to are to generate traffic and convert users into leads. If there happens to be any keyword cannibalization, you can combine the blog or pages if they are similar enough in context, helping that single page rank higher on SERPs.
Once you’re consistently publishing SEO-friendly content, you can share content as much as possible and drive even more users to your website. Having SEO-friendly content will drive organic traffic, but it also gives you a reason to post on your company’s social media profiles.
For more insight into how to effectively track your website’s SEO performance, read our blog here.
A lot goes into optimizing content for search engines. It’s not just a one and done deal, but requires consistent action and thoughtful approaches to get the results you want. Whether it’s ranking higher on search engines, driving more traffic to your website, or generating new sales opportunities, SEO is a crucial digital marketing strategy that can guide you in the right direction.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our inbound lead generation strategists are knowledgeable about all things SEO to help growing B2B companies maximize their online presence. If you need help building and sustaining an SEO strategy that yields long-term results, contact the SEO experts at Abstrakt!