The balancing act between ranking on Google and producing quality, timeless content isn’t an easy task. Even the top SEO companies have to contend with the challenge of building their clients’ brand equity through value-added content, all while hitting the right frequency and placement of their target keywords.
Upping one’s content game, however, remains a must for those looking to survive in the digital marketing industry. Without a good handle on the principles of SEO and content creation, you stand to lose the trust and attention of targeted buyer persona you’re seeking to impress.
This article aims to cover the basics of effective content creation and provide SEO practitioners with tips on how to write compelling, authoritative, and front page-worthy evergreen content.
Beating the Algorithm
Let’s begin with the messy business of SEO: a field with as many different sorts of advice as there are people who practice it. While the concept may be confusing for unexperienced marketers, the writers behind the best SEO companies have learned to treat on-page SEO like grammar: rules and constraints that come like second nature when producing content.
Choose up to a maximum of two search terms, and make sure they comprise at least 1% of your copy—that’s one instance for every hundred words. Your keywords have to occur naturally, and it’s advised that they appear in the title, h1 tag, and above the fold (i.e. the visible section before a user scrolls down).
Part of SEO happens at the backend of your site. Make sure your programmers are familiar with Google’s rules on data structuring, and that the various objects on your site are classified according to their preferred format. This helps the search engine recognize the data that occurs on your webpage, and makes for an easier time satisfying their demand for relevance.
Source: Kissmetrics Blog
Finally, recognize that the psychology behind searcher intent is the current go-to principle when working with SEO. There are thousands upon thousands of sources that cover the technical aspects of what it takes to be one of the best SEO companies, but they all point to the fact that Google’s end goal is to connect users directly to the content they’re after. Keep your target audience’s needs and expectations in mind, and most other SEO principles will come naturally.
The Anatomy of Expert Evergreen Content
- Tailor Your Writing to Answer Questions
Good copywriting is like good business: it satisfies a demand. In the case of digital marketing, that demand is a need for information related to the search terms your SEO agency has chosen as its keywords.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, and imagine the circumstances that led them to a particular search. Not only is it easier to capture individual impressions when you’re writing with a clear purpose, but you’ll also find that answering questions will lead to content that better stands the test of time. There’s no expiration date on information, especially when it’s written for the genuinely curious.
- Go Deep, Not Wide
Influencers know the value of focus. Exhaustive knowledge on a particular topic is the secret to developing an identity of expertise, and each new piece of content is an opportunity to showcase the depth of your brand’s knowledge on a subject. You’re far better off building authority in a specific niche than being a jack-of-all-trades. What’s more, going deep means you’re likely to hit information that stays fresh no matter when you put them to page.
Run through every possible angle that comes with the chosen topic for a particular article, and try to answer questions that your visitors didn’t know they had. This approach enables you to link to existing content on both your client’s site and elsewhere—remember, an important step in SEO is providing inbound and outbound links to quality pages.
- Keep an Eye on Your Article’s Structure
When packaging your ideas, be sure to adhere to a structure that’s friendly for your readers. I recommend following the dominant trends in copywriting, as they stand the test of time.
A compelling hook, for instance, is a must-have; begin your article with something to catch your reader’s attention, like a pain point or a situation that demonstrates the value of what your writing has to offer. Listicles are also popular for a reason: they allow readers to follow each key idea with ease, and are easy to skim.
- Include a Powerful CTA
Written content isn’t complete without an effective call-to-action (CTA). At the end of the day, you’re writing to generate leads for, and promote your client, and the best outcome for them usually takes the form of a subscription, a reservation, or a sale.
Source: Marketing Land
Your CTA should capitalize on the momentum you’ve built in your efforts to inform: lead your reader through the problem and what it takes to solve it, then invite them to consider your client as their best option for a solution. It should also be written using the most persuasive words you have at your disposal, and packaged with simplicity.
- Play the Long Game
The top SEO agencies keep their eyes on the bigger picture. Every article and web page is a brick in a fortress, and the final product isn’t a slate of stellar content, but the execution of a strong content strategy.
Work with your client to develop clear expectations about the growth and development of their brand identity, and familiarize yourself with their top conversion boosters. Your services ought to make a lasting impression on their reach, impressions, and conversions—their metrics and KPIs are your benchmark of how well your content is performing.
It takes time to build the skill set that results in powerful, evergreen content, and time to translate those skills into ROI for your clients. Only the most dedicated can compete with the best SEO agencies on the market, but it’s definitely a goal that can be achieved.
Finally, it bears repeating that effective marketing is about tapping into the power of niche markets. Everybody wants to dominate the playing field, but those who do know that it isn’t possible without starting small and building from there.
About the Author: Kevin Payne is an inbound marketing consultant that has helped multiple SaaS startups increase their online sales through the use of inbound marketing, growth hacking, and social selling. When he’s not advising startups he often writes about the many lessons he has learned from the trenches.