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CONTENT MARKETING: MAKING YOUR CONTENT WORK FOR YOU

If you’ve already read through our SEO Playbook, you’re now well aware of what keywords are and how they’re beneficial to your company’s website. However, we’re willing to bet that you haven’t quite figured out which keywords you can rank for and how to work them into your overall website.
The answer? Keyword optimized content. Our goal in this article is to walk you through some best practices for content creation, how to find topics for your content, and how to make it as easy as possible for Google to read your site.

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To start, you’ll need to take a look at this article to figure out which keywords not only best describe your business, but are also easy to rank for. Once you figure this out, you’ll be able to start writing content surrounding them, which will help organically boost your ranking in google’s search results instead of having to pay to be ranked higher.
In order to do this, your content will need to be high quality, and valuable to the reader so that it will be actively promoted and shared. Well written blogs generate a lot of social shares, which in turn generates comments and a ton of backlinks, which helps you rank higher in search engines over time. You’ll need to do some extensive keyword research and find the questions that your audience members are asking online.
You can incorporate keyword variations and keyword phrases in your content as well if you’re looking to rank well for a variety of keywords.
Building unique and engaging content around your keywords helps you to get your audience’s attention. For example, plumbing companies could write blog content on questions like “How to save money on water bills? How to prevent pipe breakage in freezing cold temperatures?
How to fix a clogged drain?” and more. The best content will address your audience’s pain points and mention how you can solve them. To help boost your content’s engagement, you should consider sharing it on your social media platforms, as well as in groups and forums.
One of the many benefits of content marketing is that it creates a unique and compelling customer experience that generates more engagement and customer loyalty. It also positions you as an industry expert and places you front and center in conversations about industry best practices. You can also use this content to align yourself with influencers and industry experts.
When publishing content, make sure that you’re consistently putting out pieces that organically include your keywords/terms and location. Content could take the form of local promotions, news, and industry trends depending on your industry and niche.
For example, you could write about local events in your community and how they relate to your business, or share efforts to raise funds for a local charity. Whatever makes the most sense for your brand. You should also write articles aimed at convincing your audience why you’re the best choice, like product reviews, product comparisons, or articles that highlight ways you’ve helped customers and your expertise.
Be sure that you check these items off before releasing your content:

HOW TO FIND TOPICS

When it comes to finding topics to write about, remember that your goal is to post as much valuable content on your website as possible so that Google can find it and rank it. If your content ranks well, when a user goes to search for a service like yours, they will stumble upon your website.
Ask yourself, what are some articles your audience will be interested in? A simple way to get ideas is by Googling a topic you want to talk about and seeing what the results are:
In this example, we can see that ‘dallas ice storm’ is a common search. So if you’re a plumber, you could write an article called “Dallas Ice Storms: Protecting Your Plumbing System.” You should also take a look at the related searches that Google presents both in the search bar, and at the bottom of the first page. The more of these questions that you can work into your content, the more likely it will be to rank well.
Once you’ve picked out your topic, you’ll need to write a 500-700 word article about the topic. When doing this, try to use some of the keywords you’ve picked out in your headers and introductory paragraph. Remember, the keywords in your title phrase and permalink must be kept in the same order, and should be mentioned at least 1-2 times throughout the article.
Need some more inspiration for content ideas and topics? Take a look at the resources below.

GUEST POSTING/CONTRIBUTED CONTENT

Remember when we mentioned backlinks in the beginning of this article? Well, guest posting and contributed content are where they come into play.
A backlink, otherwise known as an inbound link, are links that go from one website to another. For example, if a large tool supplier posted your article on their website and linked it back to your site, this would be a backlink.
Remember, you don’t always have to have large companies backlinking to your site, although those backlinks are very valuable and boost your authority in Google. You can get backlinks from local news sites, community blogs, and other local forums that will help solidify that your business is trusted by your neighbors.
One way to achieve these links is through guest posting. This is where you provide content for a blog or other publication, which will be attributed to you. You’re probably asking yourself, “where do I find these opportunities?”
Well, you can start by looking for local bloggers who have a small following, but that entire following is within your locality. You can also look for bloggers via social media platforms like twitter and instagram. Search for local hashtags such as #dallastexas. Bloggers will likely appear on the first page if you’re look for blogs around specific niches or the location.
You should also run a quick google search for bloggers in your area, as well as look at our influencer and public relations playbooks for more suggestions on who you should be reaching out to for guest postings.
You’ll likely run into one of two types of bloggers when conducting your search: company/business bloggers, and influencer bloggers. Company/business bloggers are generally more serious, and will likely give you a specific set of guidelines. In contrast, influencer bloggers are much more free form and flexible, however they may request a small fee for posting your content.
You can also find opportunities with local event pages that write content about what to do in a locality, such as tourism sites, downtown directories, chamber of commerce. Other local businesses that also have websites and are open to having a local partners page or a ‘businesses we love’ page.
Local charities are also a great option, but you’ll likely need to sponsor or volunteer in exchange for guest posting opportunities..

HELPING GOOGLE READ YOUR PAGE

When your website shows up on Google, it shows three parts of your website: the page title, URL, and description. Let’s take a deep dive into those three items and why they’re important for helping Google read your page.
Here’s an example of this:

Page Title

When including the keyword in the title, keep in mind that Google only shows about 67 characters for its titles (including spaces).
In the example above, Google cut off ‘water heater repair’ because the title is far too long. Keep in mind that Google will index up to around 85 characters, meaning that while people viewing the search results won’t be able to see ‘water heater repair’ it’s still there. Google itself can and will factor that information into how it ranks the page.
PRO-TIP: Often, users don’t search using full sentences. So, while it might make sense to write PLUMBING REPAIR IN DALLAS, the user will be searching for PLUMBING REPAIR DALLAS. A trick for dealing with these kinds of situations is to break the text up using | and –. Google ignores these symbols. So, you might use: DRAIN CLEANING | ATLANTA.

Meta Description

Your meta description doesn’t directly factor into whether or not your website will rank, but it helps to grab the searchers’ attention since the keywords they searched for get bolded.
That means the primary goal of your meta description should be to ensure users choose to click your link instead of the other results present on the page. The better your click through rate, the better your rankings. Ideally, meta descriptions should be between 139-156 characters.
If you go over (not that you should with a meta description as it won’t benefit you or your readers), Google will use an ellipsis.

URL

When creating a link, the website name should be organized similarly to your navigation structure. So, URLs should be organized like so:
As can be seen above, we used our keyword ‘drain cleaning’ in the URL to help Google understand our page is about drain cleaning.
You should also be sure to:

ON-PAGE RANKING FACTORS

When you’re writing an article or text for a page on your website, there are several places you want your keywords to appear:

H1

This is the most important factor because when people link your website, they’ll most often link using your title. If Google sees your article is being linked often using the words “drain cleaning” Google will go: Aha! This page must be about drain cleaning – and since so many people are linking it using that keyword it must mean this is a good result to show people when they search for it. I’ll rank it higher.

Content

Your keyword should be spread throughout your article 2-3 times.

Images’ Alt Keyword

Add an image and use your keyword in the alt text of the image in order to gain more visibility in search.

OTHER ON-PAGE FACTORS TO CONSIDER

Synonyms

Keep in mind that your primary keyword doesn’t always have to be an exact match to what the user is searching for. Google will read NYC vs. New York or advice vs. tips as being synonymous. That’s why in the search result example shown below, MAINTENANCE has been bolded even though we searched for REPAIR.
These synonyms help Google better understand what your page is about. Google has also confirmed that by using more LSI keywords (synonyms), your page will rank higher.
If you need some assistance finding synonyms, Google can help. Perform a search in Google with the ~ tilde sign directly in front of the word you want a synonym for. And Google will tell you keywords might be related in bold. For more information, take a look at this resource.
You can also use the website lsigraph.com to find keywords associated with your search.
PRO-TIP: Make sure to clear your browser history and log out of Chrome/Google or use incognito mode so that your former searches don’t affect your results.

Links

Google likes it when you link to 1-2 reputable websites within your content. Reputable websites act as sources to show your material is credible and has authority.
For example, you might place a link in your content to your BBB listing. Google also likes when you link to other, connected pages on your site 1-2 times. This does not necessarily keep people on your website so much as it makes it easier for search engines to crawl the content.

Content Length

A general goal to aim for is around 400-500 words for your page to rank well, but Google seems to be giving an advantage to longer content (1,000-2,000 words). Longer content is also more likely to be shared, leading to more social signals (shares on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) which tells Google to rank your article higher.
Users are also more likely to link/share (70% more often), stay on your page longer, and treat it as authoritative as the content is seen as a quality reference (instead of a short opinion piece) when your content ranges between 1,000-2,000 words.

Demoters

Be sure that you don’t over-optimize. Google doesn’t want your exact match keywords to be in the title, image alt, URL, content, and anchors. That’s where your synonyms come in.
Additionally, don’t make separate pages to rank for similar keywords. Instead of making three pages for the keywords USED CARS SEATTLE, USED AUTOS SEATTLE, and PREOWNED CARS SEATTLE, it’s better to have it one page and mix those keywords together like so: USED AND PREOWNED CARS IN SEATTLE.

OUTSOURCING

Remember, if you don’t have the time or expertise to write content for your website, there’s no shame in contracting this work out to a professional. You can utilize websites like clearvoice, fiverr, and upwork, which will let you select what writer you want to use, as well as present that writer’s background information and expertise.
We’d recommend using ClearVoice or Upwork if you’re looking for a more professional resource, however, Fiverr can also work if you’re just looking to get the job done fast.
You’re well on your way to creating stellar content that will help draw in the attention of searchers, as well as set you up for success to be ranked well on Google. For more information on how to optimize your website for search, take a look at our Website Playbook.

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