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    How to create a successful SEO content strategy in 2023

    Brands are prioritizing content more than ever.  For The Drum’s Content Marketing in Focus week, here Connor Cohen (SEO & content executive at The Drum) explores why SEO is such a key component of content and how it can be incorporated into a brand’s content strategy.

    Content marketing has seen significant growth as brands produce creative content strategies that drive traffic, leads and conversions, while also growing their brand in different countries, through different channels, on different platforms.

    One of the key pillars of building a content marketing strategy for the future, is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is crucial to a content marketing strategy as it helps people find your content on search engines, increasing its visibility.

    Here we look why SEO is important, how to combine it with your content strategy, and our top five tips for creating a solid SEO strategy in 2023.

    What is SEO and why is it important?

    SEO is the process of optimizing a website to improve its ranking on Google and increase the quantity and quality of traffic from search engines. This process is multifaceted: it involves multiple elements such as technical audits, link building, keyword research, content optimization and more.

    The aim of SEO is to improve the visibility of your site; therefore, it is most important for brands that are looking to increase the amount of traffic to their website or those that want to position themselves as authoritative and trusted sources in their field or industry.

     

    Why you should combine your content and SEO strategies

     

    While SEO itself is an important distribution channel, it also plays a crucial role in improving the visibility of content on other channels. Here’s how some key elements of SEO can feed into your overall content strategy:

     

    Keyword research

    Before creating content, you need to recognize how a user is going to find your content. Keyword research is critical to understanding what terms your target audience is searching for and how often they are searching for them.

    Combining your SEO and content strategies can provide you with a list of keywords that you know your target audience is using to find similar content. You can then include the keywords from your research as hashtags on social media, in the descriptions of your video content, or in the copy of your long-form blog posts.

    Search intent

    Along with understanding which keywords are being used, incorporating SEO into your content strategy also enables you to determine the intent behind the keywords.

    By understanding the search intent of the user, you can position your content to be the most relevant.

    For example, for informative content such as blog posts, finding the most relevant keywords with the correct search intent can give you the edge over less optimized content, as Google’s aim is to present the user with the most relevant result for the query.

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    Content format & structure

    Creating content in an optimized format and structure is another reason you should incorporate SEO into your content strategy.

    Not only does SEO give you an idea of which content format is likely to yield the best results, e.g., guide, review, video, etc, but it also gives you a structural guideline to help you provide the best content experience and the best possibility of your content being seen.

    5 key tips to creating a successful SEO content strategy in 2023

    With 90% of marketers leveraging a content marketing plan, brands are finally starting to prioritize content marketing and spend more on content creation across a variety of channels and platforms. With more competition, brands will need to optimize their content to gain as much visibility as possible. That’s why SEO optimization is essential.

    Here are five tips that brands should consider when creating their SEO content strategy and aiming to get more eyes on their brand.
     

    1. Create video content

     

    There are a number of reasons why video rules content marketing and how it has become one of the most effective forms of content to engage your audience. Short-form video is extremely effective on social media platforms and is one of the prime ways that people are consuming content. This is why short-form video has the best ROI compared to all other media formats and why social media platforms are focusing on, and heavily investing in, the medium.

    Consumers are using video platforms as both a source of education and entertainment, and as search engines. Consequently, not only do brands need to be creating video content that resonates with their target audience when they watch but they also need prioritize SEO optimization to ensure that their content is easily found among a sea of other videos.

     

    2. Optimize for voice search

     

    The introduction of Siri and other voice assistants has forced brands to adopt innovative strategies to take advantage of new opportunities. With 27% of the global online population using voice search on mobile and over 4 billion voice assistants being used on devices around the world, brands that refuse to optimize their content for voice search are leaving significant opportunity on the table.

    There are several key aspects to voice search optimization, but one of the most important SEO elements when optimizing for voice search are featured snippets; a search result shown at the top of the search results page, specifically chosen by Google as the best answer to the user’s query.

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    Optimizing for featured snippets is good SEO practice in general, but the added importance of featured snippets for voice search means that brands that are not optimizing their content in this way are missing an opportunity for their content to be more visible in people’s homes and on-the-move.

     

    3. Repurpose your content for different channels

     

    Repurposing content involves recycling content and transforming it for use on different channels. For example, turning a long-form video into short videos or snippets for social media channels. It’s a creative way for brands to create new content and helps to reach different audiences that prefer different formats to consume media.

    Other ideas for repurposing content include turning a blog post or article into a video or social media thread, transcribing podcasts into blog posts, turning presentations into infographics, etc. As there are an abundance of options, brands need to ensure that they adapt the content style to the channel they are looking to use.

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    Some best practices when repurposing content include:

    Prioritizing popular, evergreen content.
    Timing the release of repurposed content with trends, news, and events.
    Using visuals to give your content the best chance of being shared.

     

    4. Optimize your site and improve user experience (UX)

     

    Creating a successful SEO content strategy is built upon the fundamentals of SEO, that’s why it’s important to optimise your site.

    Some of the most important SEO optimizations that brands should consider include:

    • Optimizing metadata
    • Updating canonicals to avoid duplicate content
    • Optimizing page speed and load times
    • Creating mobile friendly page layouts
    • Implementing structured data

    Stemming from these optimizations are two key SEO principles of ensuring the user a good experience on your site and making content as accessible as possible on mobile devices.

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    Mobile accounted for almost 60% of worldwide traffic in the first half of 2022 and is set to be more popular than desktop for the foreseeable future. With social media and entertainment becoming so mobile focused, people are now consuming media on their mobile devices more than ever before. Thus, as the use of mobile devices continues to grow, providing a seamless mobile experience will be crucial in 2023.

     

    5. Keep up to date with Google’s algorithm updates

     

    Google is constantly updating its algorithms to deliver the best results for a search query. Most of these updates are minor, but major updates can have a significant impact on SEO and content strategies.

    Google’s ‘Helpful Content Update’, released in September 2022, is a prime example of this. Over the last few years, artificial intelligence (AI) content has been growing in popularity as it has allowed brands and writers to streamline the content development process. Google’s answer to this was the ‘Helpful Content Update’ designed to devalue automated content and prioritize people-first content.

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    We don’t know what algorithm updates Google has planned in the future, but make sure you stay up to date as it could help you understand why your content is not performing as you expected.

    Key takeaways

    • SEO is a critical component of a successful content strategy, especially key elements such as keyword research, page speed and mobile optimization. Both SEO and content should work together to grow the visibility of your brand and content across various channels and platforms.
    • Video content is extremely popular and is one of the most effective forms of content to engage your audience.
    • Voice search is more important than ever with the consumption of media on mobile devices growing. It is a great way to make your brand visible at home and on-the-move.
    • Repurposing content helps to reach different audiences that may consume media on different formats, although, content will need to be optimized depending on the channel and platform.
    • Optimizing your site and improving user experience is crucial for Google to value and prioritize your content. It is equally important in satisfying Google’s key principles of ensuring the user a good experience on your site and making content mobile accessible.
    • Keeping up with Google’s algorithm updates will help you to understand the changes in the way your content is evaluated and ranked by Google, and how you can avoid any potential setbacks to the performance of your content.

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    Visit our Content Marketing in Focus hub for more news, insights, and strategies around content marketing.

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