Posted By Primacy on 05/21/2024

8 Tips to Integrate SEO Into Your Content Strategy

8 Tips to Integrate SEO Into Your Content Strategy

In the world of content planning and writing, search engine optimization (SEO) is often backburnered, outsourced, or in some cases, ignored completely. SEO is the process of optimizing website content to reach a wider audience and perform better in organic search results. SEO is not a one-and-done deliverable, but rather a critical component that should be integrated into every aspect of your content strategy. Understanding the impact SEO can have on your website traffic and ensuring your content is being served to the right people for relevant and intentional search queries is crucial. 

There are many reasons why SEO may not have been a priority in your content this far whether it be from lack of education, time, or resources. We understand the challenge of shifting priorities with content creation.

So, why is SEO so important for content planning?  Put simply, an intentional SEO approach to your content creation will help you target and address user search intent and funnel potential customers/clients to a conversion point. It places your site as a trusted source of information for searches that would lead someone to ultimately utilize your services.  

If there’s one aspect your content team prioritizes this year, it should be incorporating SEO into their overall content strategy.  

Getting Started With SEO 

As with most things in life, getting started is often the hardest part. In our experience, an initial investment either internally or with a third-party expert, will get you on a path toward exponential growth in organic traffic. Changing the way a department operates can be a difficult process, and it doesn’t have to happen all at once. But through an initial foray into SEO, you can see changes on key pages relatively quickly.   

Below are 8 tips to begin the process of incorporating SEO best practices into your content strategy.  

1. Garner Support from Relevant Stakeholders & Decision Makers 

The first step is investing in SEO as a strategic initiative for the year. Full stop. 

Now that you’ve made the important decision to go after search traffic strategically, this is the initial step of giving someone the keys to your digital kingdom: carve out time for an existing team member with technical expertise, hire a consultant or reach out to your digital agency for support.  

Your number one ticket to buy in on this initiative is that SEO will ultimately impact your business goals. More organic traffic, implemented with a well-planned content strategy will increase leads on your website. And without it? It’s simply not possible to stay in the game anymore—because your competitors are doing the work, and they’re getting the business.  

By benchmarking your current organic traffic, and tracking it over time, you’ll be able to see how this initiative leads to an increase in appointments, applications, or whatever your ultimate goals may be. While the initial investment may seem like a “nice-to-have," over time, the upkeep of SEO becomes a seamless part of your team’s workflow, and the payoff only increases from year to year. 

2. Understand the Value of Effective SEO Strategy for Content 

You don’t know what you don’t know. Demystify the process. Optimizing content for SEO is not rocket science, though there is an art to it. Ideally, this process begins with an audit of your site to get a good understanding of where there may be technical issues that could hinder performance. This can also help to identify opportunities to stand out among your competitors. Cleaning up any technical issues is a must to improve your site’s authority—otherwise, any work you put into optimizing pages may fall flat.  

Training and certifications from tools like AhrefsSEMRush, and Moz can be incredibly useful resources for gaining a baseline understanding of SEO best practices. There is a plethora of other resources in the form of articles, webinars, and videos that offer more specialized aspects of SEO, such as local SEO or multilingual SEO depending on your needs and market. You don’t have to become an expert overnight; you just need to understand the opportunities that SEO provides and how it will change your processes.  

3. Optimize Content with Keyword Research 

There are a variety of keyword research tools available to track and analyze the keyword landscape (see tools noted above). You can benchmark and monitor your current organic traffic using your analytics platform, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Educate yourself on what you can get out of the tools at your disposal. They’ll give you a wealth of information about keywords, so you can choose the best ones for your content.  

Here’s a primer: Monthly volume refers to how many people search in a month for a given keyword—the higher the better, but higher volume keywords can also come with more difficulty. Difficulty refers to how many other websites are competing to rank for that keyword. Sometimes a lower-volume keyword with less competition can garner more traffic to your page. You’ll see short-tail keywords—which refer to a couple of words versus long-tail keywords which are an entire search phrase. You can optimize content for a combination of both. Another thing to keep in mind: You can filter your results. Interested in U.S. traffic versus global? Mobile versus desktop? Play around with the results. 

4. Test Content Theories on Low Performing Pages 

Before you go and overhaul your content strategy and change roles and responsibilities on your team, there’s something to be said for learning on the job. Get in there and actually do it—spend a little time testing out what you’ve learned on “safe” low-hanging fruit. By safe, I mean pages that are not already driving massive amounts of essential traffic, like a program landing page or a page that drives most of your conversions. It should have an obvious target keyword (use your new SEO tool to research how much volume your chosen keyword(s) has and how difficult it is to rank). It should not be competing with other pages on the site for the same topic (meaning, it shouldn’t be too similar in topic) and should be relatively easy to optimize with impactful changes.  

Practice making changes to metadata and titles. Add related keywords to the copy. Keep tabs on how your organic traffic changes using your analytics platform. You can always edit the content again. 

5. Consider SEO a Part of a True Omnichannel Approach 

While on the focus is on-page SEO here, it’s important to mention that during your initial site audit and benchmarking a major factor in your site’s authority is your backlinks. If you don’t have credible sources linking to your site, consider how this should be part of your strategy going forward to build up your site authority (low authority = harder time ranking). Digital PR is a critical aspect of increasing your site authority through external coverage and placements.  

Consider your various marketing channels: How much are you spending on paid advertising? How much does social media or email drive website visits or are they mainly used as engagement tools? What are your goals for your respective channels and how might you want them to change with the introduction of more organic traffic? Are you hoping to decrease spending on paid media? Are you willing to put more effort into the acquisition of earned media to support your SEO efforts? It’s time to make key decisions about where you put your time and money. 

6. Integrate SEO Into Your Content Planning 

This is where the owner of your content calendar starts thinking through how to implement the new SEO strategy.  Identifying opportunities with keyword research should now be part of the ideation phase before topics have been solidified. It can be both a tool for topic generation and to validate whether an idea has an audience. Depending on your marketing plans, a topic with no SEO value may be pointless to put resources into unless you have other ways to get eyes on it.  

AI is a constantly evolving force in organic search, as search engine algorithms continue to refine crawling and indexation tactics based on machine learning advances. What remains true is that high-quality and helpful content will always rank well. Your website is not just an arbitrary source of information. As an organization providing unique services, you are an expert in your field. This gives you the ability to draw on personal experience and expertise to imbue your authority on the subject. Google’s E-E-A-T (Expertise, Experience, Authority, Trust) guidelines have become paramount in an age of AI-written content and it is more vital than ever to utilize the experts on your bench to be heard over the noise.  

7. Monitor Keyword Rankings and Analyze Traffic Performance 

Now that you’ve done your keyword research, created insightful, optimized content, and put it out in the world, it’s time to look at your site’s performance. The amount of time it takes to see change depends on your site and on the content itself, but over the course of weeks or months, you should start to see it in your search traffic as well as by tracking which keywords are bringing traffic to your page. And if not? It’s time to go back and make changes. 

8. Continuously Identify Opportunities to Improve Content 

They say SEO is never done, and it’s the truth. There are always more pages that can be improved and more content to create. If you see a previously performing piece of content suddenly start tanking, check it out and see if it has to do with search intent or if there’s new competition.  

As interest in different topics in your area of expertise shifts, be prepared to create targeted content quickly that addresses those issues. 

SEO should not just be an afterthought—it's an important part of reaching your audience where it matters. By investing in SEO, demystifying the process, embracing training resources, and optimizing content with targeted keyword research, you set the stage for success. As you implement and monitor your SEO strategy, recognize that this field is ever-evolving, requiring a continuous commitment to improvement. In the end, an effective SEO strategy for content ensures your voice resonates in search queries, making your site a trusted source for those seeking valuable education and offerings.  

Much of the work involved in SEO is figuring out how to communicate what you want to say while also keeping in mind what people are seeking. Elevate your content game, empower your team, and embrace the ever-evolving landscape of SEO.  

Lindsey Neugut

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