Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing go hand-in-hand. Blog posts and other custom content can generate up to three times as many leads as other forms of marketing, and content costs 62 percent less. For content to drive traffic, though, it has to rank highly in search results and target your audience.
Search engine algorithms prioritize content that is authoritative, helpful, and relevant to a person’s search. This is what experts call SEO-friendly content, and it’s the holy grail of blogging.
The question is, how do you go about creating SEO-friendly content?
Search Engines and Keyword Selection
When search engine crawlers read your content, one of the signals they look for is keyword use.
Keywords are words and phrases that people use to search for a topic. To attract readers that will be interested in your services, your content needs to include the keywords that your audiences use to search.
This sounds simple enough, but keep two things in mind:
- Other attorneys and firms are trying to rank for many of the same keywords as you.
- Searchers use different words and phrases for the same topic.
To maximize your chances of ranking highly in relevant searches, target a blend of popular (high-volume) and less popular (low competition) keywords.
High Volume Keywords
A high-volume keyword gets a lot of search volume per month. More people will see your post if you rank well for these keywords, but it’s harder to appear on page one or even page two. There’s a lot of competition when a keyword is popular.
Low Competition Keywords
Competition is much less intense for terms that get fewer searches per month, so it’s smart to target some of those keywords too:
- If you’re doing paid search, lower-competition keywords are less expensive to target.
- Because fewer people use these search terms, you have a higher chance of matching with someone who would be a good fit for your services.
Tools for Keyword Research
Keyword research tools can help you to figure out which words and phrases are the best for you to target. These tools scour internet data and report things like:
- Search volumes for a keyword
- The chances of ranking for a keyword
- Popular alternate version of keywords
Keyword Generator, for example, will find you up to 150 alternatives for any single keyword. Answer the Public will give you questions and other complete search queries that people enter for particular keywords.
Some keyword tools, like Jaaxy, will tell you how many websites are trying to rank for certain keywords. Others, like Ahrefs’s Keywords Explorer, will provide in-depth analytics for different keyword options.
Different tools work for different people. Try out a few and check out some best-of lists before you commit.
A Word on Readability
SEO-friendly content isn’t all about keywords. It’s also about how authoritative you are as an author and even how well you structure your posts.
Search engines like blog posts that are easily readable and scannable. That means:
- Write short paragraphs.
- Use headings and subheadings.
- Include images.
- Create bulleted or numbered lists.
Structuring your posts for readability will also help to optimize them for mobile, another major factor in search engine rankings.
These are only a few strategies that help you create SEO-friendly content. If you’re interested in blogging as a serious marketing strategy, continue your research into contemporary SEO best practices. It’s worth the time investment.