On September 16, 2020 Knotch hosted a webinar in conjunction with Teradata on how to create SEO content that doesn’t suck. Hosts Matthew Speiser (Content Marketing Manager at Knotch) and Ron Weber (Head of Global SEO & SEM at Teradata) shared practical information on creating winning SEO content from both a creative and technical perspective.
We covered a lot of ground in that webinar. For a deep-dive into the business impact of SEO, and the steps you must take to create a great piece of SEO content, watch the webinar recording above.
Here, we thought we’d share a few key highlights from the webinar that we think all content marketers will find useful.
Quality Over Everything
If there was only one piece of information from the webinar that we wanted all attendees to understand, it’s that no amount of SEO best practices can save you if you produce content that is of low quality.
With every piece of content you create, you should ask yourself: “would anyone share this piece of content with a friend?” If the answer is no, don’t publish it.
Of course, quality content can be a bit subjective. When we talk about quality content, we believe it includes the following elements:
- Crisp, clean writing that isn’t too word-y.
- A catchy headline that makes readers want to click.
- Information that is authentic, and not just a repeat of what other articles are saying (more on this later).
- A great on-page experience, including engaging imagery, a page structure that makes the content easily digestible (subheaders, bullet points, etc.), and technical optimization, including a page that is mobile responsive and loads quickly.
What the content says will obviously differ from writer to writer and business to business, but all content creators should keep these elements in mind when writing.
If your content is not of a high quality, no amount of SEO best practices can save you.
There Still Isn’t Widespread Adoption of SEO
During our webinar we polled our audience of writers, editors, and content strategists on their organization’s usage of SEO and their SEO strategy. We first asked them the level of importance their organization places on SEO currently.
46% claimed their organization views SEO as “very important.” While it’s positive that a majority of attendees believe their organization views SEO as important, 46% is still far too low a level of buy-in for any organization creating content.
In our presentation we noted that the top five search results in Google get roughly 67% of all clicks. So if you don’t rank at the top, nobody is going to find your content. Furthermore, 60% of marketers say inbound (SEO, blog content) is their highest quality source of leads.
Therefore, it simply makes no sense for any content creator to not be implementing SEO best practices. Why is this happening? Our second poll question provided some clarity.
If not enough content is being created with SEO in mind, it may be because there isn’t enough synergy between the content and SEO teams. 38% of respondents said there is only “a little” bit of alignment here, which is more than “a little” concerning.
For your content to succeed from an SEO perspective, the content writers and SEOs must be working in lockstep. The SEOs should know what the content creators are working on, and collaborate with them on creative ways to promote it—be it through guest posts, social media sharing, email marketing, or one of the myriad of other content promotion techniques that we covered in our presentation.
They should also be able to determine if their promotion techniques are working, which brings us to our third poll question:
58% of respondents said they were unsure if their audience enjoys the SEO content they create. This was arguably the most concerning response we saw, as it indicates a lack of understanding into how SEO content works.
In short, your goal when creating SEO content should be to rank highly in Google so that you maximize your exposure. This will lead to increased pageviews, click-through rates, and leads generated.
To measure this success, you must track hard metrics like domain authority, backlinks, referring domains, and social engagement, as these reflect sentiment toward your content. Only by having this hard data can you understand what’s working and what isn’t with your SEO content.
Of course, if you’re looking for a deeper understanding into how users feel about your content, Knotch Measurement can provide you with that qualitative and quantitative data. We also recommend a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs for backlink analysis.
Overall, these polls reveal that brands still have a long way to go when it comes to SEO content creation. But this can be an opportunity for the savvier SEOs out there to get a leg up on the competition by evangelizing SEO to your marketing team, fostering more collaboration between content creators and search engine optimizers, and diving into the data so you can understand how to fine-tune your SEO strategy.
SEO is Mostly About Matching Searcher Intent
Our third key takeaway is that good SEO content matches searcher intent.
By this we mean your content satisfies the searchers goals or motivations for typing a keyword into Google.
Understanding searcher intent requires that you have a solid understanding of who you’re creating content for, and that you do the research necessary to satisfy their needs.
To do the latter, you need to put your journalism hat on and find out as much information as possible so that you can write from the perspective of an authority (even if you may not necessarily be one).
To start, you should read the top-ranking articles in Google Search for the keyword you’re targeting because—by virtue of their high ranking—it’s safe to assume that they already match searcher intent.
Next, find experts who can provide you with unique insight into the topic you’re writing about. This could be individuals within your own organization, or third-party experts. To find people outside of your organization, we recommend a service like Help A Reporter Out or AnswerThePublic.com.
Another important technique is data collection. If you can provide proprietary data, it can help bolster your point while providing the type of “insider” advice that searchers love to look for.
Remember: Authentic information is the true currency of valuable content. When trying to match searcher intent, it’s important not to just regurgitate the talking points from the top ranking articles. If you want to compete with them, you need to improve on what they’re saying.
Take a different angle, write a better article, present a counterpoint, offer more detail, get quotes from experts. These are all ways you can please your audience and compete with higher-ranking content.
Watch Our Webinar to Learn More About SEO Content Creation
We’ve provided you with a high-level overview of our SEO webinar. For the nitty gritty, watch the recording at the top of this page. In just 45 minutes you’ll come away with a seven-step plan for creating great SEO content.
If you’re looking to continue your education, here are some additional resources we recommend:
- Ahrefs Blogging for Business
- SEMrush Academy
- How to Create SEO Content (Knotch)
- 3 Link Building Strategies That Will Boost Your Search Engine Rankings (Knotch)
- Moz Academy
- Neil Patel
- Content Marketing at UCSD Extension / Ron Weber
We hope to see you soon on the front page of Google!