Blogging and informational content output is a key tool in a long-term, well-rounded SEO strategy, and is designed to create lasting value for relevant users that directly translates to organic search presence.
A well-researched blogging strategy can help to feed new visitors into every stage of the purchasing funnel. From getting your brand in front of new customers who have never heard of you before, to helping with the decision-making process and even helping to encourage users to finally make a purchase!
Today, we’ll be sharing our top tips for creating an effective blog content strategy with SEO at its heart.
Getting Started: Why We Blog
Done well, a blogging strategy delivers multiple benefits across the business. Creating valuable and unique informational content for customers and general readers can provide targets for pre and after-sales support, and is an excellent opportunity to showcase your expertise or opinions in your field. This is especially important since ranking well on Google is now directly influenced by your website’s E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness).
From an organic perspective, your blog allows you to target longer-tail search terms with intent that your transactional pages might not be suitable for. By meeting these search needs with high-quality content, you could yield excellent organic results; attracting new users and traffic to your website.
Another benefit of creating informational content is the opportunity to expand your link profile. The content you create should be relevant to your business and industry, providing an opportunity to link to appropriate service and product pages and increase their visibility.
As well as internal links, any valuable, unique content you produce stands to attract backlinks from other websites, helping establish your website’s authority.
If all of that sounds like something you’re keen to employ in your business strategy, read on to learn how to create an effective blog content strategy for 2021.
Making Your Blog Content Strategy Audience-Focused
Before you can even think about creating content, you have to understand who your converting customers actually are, as they are likely to be the people you want to tailor your content towards.
For the majority of companies, traffic alone is not a useful metric for assessing the performance of their website. You can have millions of visitors but if none of them complete the goals you want them to, then you aren’t attracting the right people.
If you are unsure of who your audience should be, you might want to consider carrying out a persona exercise. This involves defining a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer”.
Think about the different kinds of people who might purchase your products or services, what their fears and aspirations are, and what they are looking for your product or service to solve for them.
If you’re not familiar with personas, we highly recommend Hubspot’s excellent resources on buyer persona research! They even have a free buyer persona building tool which you can use to quickly build your buyer personas to keep in mind when you’re creating content.
We will touch upon setting goals in more detail later in this guide but by taking the time to carry out persona work, you’re making sure that your content is always relevant to your audience and will be attracting the right kind of traffic; traffic that has a higher chance of converting.
Understand Your Unique Content Angle
Understanding your unique content angle is crucial for a successful blog content strategy. Without it your content will struggle to stand out from the crowd or showcase any particular expertise you possess as a business.
Search engines and users value unique content, so it’s important to bear this in mind for each blog post you produce. You should ask yourself – what knowledge or expertise do we possess as a business that we can showcase in our content and use to address our audience’s pain points?
Brands will often claim their products are unique, but any brand without competitors would logically succeed in search without any challenge (and we’re keenly aware this is not realistic), so it’s vital to dig deeper and find your niche within your industry. Think about what makes your business different from competitors and how you can use it to give your content its distinctive tilt.
Seven Steps To Build A Blog Content Strategy for SEO
Once you have identified your unique content angle and target audience it’s time to start pulling together your blogging strategy.
Here is our step by step guide to creating a blog content strategy that will not only complement your SEO strategy but could also help with other areas such as improving your internal backlink profile.
Step 1. Define Your Goals
When creating a blog content strategy, you should first set clearly defined goals. Ask yourself – what are we looking to achieve through the creation of content?
The answer to this question will vary depending on the type of business, but common goals that SEO content strategies look to achieve include: widening your audience, driving conversions, educating readers, and building expertise. It is beneficial to have more than one goal in mind when putting together your strategy, as this will broaden your opportunities when figuring out the type of content you want to create and the calls-to-action you should include.
We advise against setting goals such as “generate more traffic” for SEO blog content strategies as these types of goals can be achieved much faster through other less time-intensive SEO work.
Step 2. Outline Your Team & Responsibilities
Before you can start to pull your blog content strategy together, you should hold discussions with team members around how it will be approached. This step is crucial for making sure everyone is on the same page, and that any issues are raised now rather than causing problems further down the line. A successful blogging strategy takes time and consistency, therefore making sure that you have the internal resources capable of delivering a strategy before you go out of your way to carefully create one is essential.
The first port of call is to create a blogging content calendar that outlines all the various dependencies and time frames required for the creation of content. This calendar can be bespoke to the organisation, but typically you will want to include:
- a timeline of when the content will be uploaded
- the content topic
- any notes from initial research to guide the content writer
- keywords to target along with the search volume
- details surrounding who is responsible for creating, proofing, and uploading the content
In addition to these details, consider whether you’ll be including any rich media such as images and videos and, if so, who will create or source them.
This blogging strategy template will provide an easily accessible document that can be updated and populated throughout the course of strategy ideation and implementation.
Step 3. Keyword Research
Once you’ve got a blogging content calendar set up, it’s time to start populating it with topics you want to create content around. As with the bulk of content work in SEO, you will want to begin with keyword research.
A successful blogging strategy will always start with keyword research.
This is because we want to make sure that the effort and time we put into our posts is going to deliver a return on our investment. Writing about topics with little to no organic search volume is unlikely to deliver you the results you hope to see from your strategy. The key with blogging is to find demand for a topic and build a strategy to produce optimised and unique content that will satiate that need.
Good informational content will target longer-tail keywords, which have lower search volumes but a clearer intent behind the search. For example, say you’re a business selling electrical goods and you want to create a blog post around headphones, discussing the various ranges of headphones you stock.
Using headphones as an example, you should look at headphone-related searches that are distinctly informational and are less competitive, e.g. ‘best in-ear headphones for bass response’, ‘best over-ear headphones for music production’, or ‘best headphones for rock music’ and create a post that answers the query.
When conducting keyword research, in addition to any SEO tools at your disposal, you can also get keyword ideas for your content by starting with a seed keyword around the topic you want to target, sticking it in your search engine of choice, and having a look at the “people also ask” box.
These can give a great indication of the kind of information users are looking for and can be good keyword targets for titles and headings:
Sticking with the headphones example, a quick seed keyword search has already provided us with valuable information around common questions and demand for information that users have that could form the basis of a blog post.
Step 4. Content Ideation
From your keyword research, you should have been able to identify and group keywords into ideas for topics. These ideas do not need to be prescriptive and can be put in a master list for other team members to add further input and ideas for content around those topics.
Based on your list of keywords, you can do further research into the trends and questions around particular topics to discover any audience pain points and specifically what content it is people want to find.
When ideating content, you should have a clear idea of the level of awareness your target readers will have. This will help keep your content focused and make sure it provides the answer that the user is looking for.
One way of doing this is to use Eugene Schwart’s 5 levels of awareness. This model provides guidance as to what content users want to consume based on their stage of awareness, with the 1st stage being complete unawareness and the 5th stage being the most amount of awareness. For the purposes of creating blog content for SEO, you should focus your efforts on one of the middle 3 stages of awareness: problem aware, solution aware, and product aware.
- Problem aware consumers: this person knows they have a problem, but have not yet become aware of a solution and this is the intent behind their search. Sticking with headphones as an example, a search like this may be “how to stop headphones falling out during exercise”.
- Solution aware consumers: this person is aware of the solution to their problem and is seeking out guidance and help to resolve the problem. A search for this awareness stage may be something along the lines of “best headphones for running”.
- Product aware consumers: this person has identified a way of solving the problem and requires assistance to do so. An example search under the product aware stage could be something like “bose soundsport wireless vs sennheiser cx sport”.
Once you have clearly understood under which level of awareness your target audience falls, you can then bear that in mind when creating the content to ensure it stays consistent and relevant to the user.
Step 5. Competitor Analysis
In addition to content ideation of your own, another way of discovering topics to create content around is by analysing the competition. You can do this by taking a look at search engine results pages (SERPs) around any topics you want to target and taking inspiration from competitor’s content that is performing well, being sure to make your content unique, and more importantly, even better.
You should also understand how competitive a SERP is before trying to target those keywords. If you are trying to compete against the biggest corporations with huge websites that command a wealth of authority, chances are that your content will not perform as well as you’d hope, no matter how high in quality it may be.
As well as analysing SERPs, you can also take your competitors’ domain, and stick it into Ahrefs Content Gap Analysis tool. This allows you to take a look at any content your direct competition has that you currently do not.
Not only may you wish to take inspiration from their best-performing content and which keywords it targets, but also take a look at any content they may have which is underperforming and work out what can be improved for it to climb up the rankings. The caveat with doing this is it requires your competitors’ informational content to be sat under a subfolder – such as /blog/ – in order for you to isolate the informational content you want to analyse on that domain.
Step 6. Structuring Your Digital Content
The way you structure your digital content is equally as important as the content itself, and a poor structure can destroy your strategy before it even begins.
The first thing to ask yourself is – where can we place informational content on the website?
You may already have existing infrastructure to host informational content on site, but consider whether this is adequate for your content strategy and change or modify slightly to suit your needs.
Is your content going to be broad and cover a wide range of topics?
If so, consider implementing a tagging structure that will allow users to filter between content types and only view content that’s relevant to what they’re looking for.
You should also consider how often you will be updating the content. If you are producing content at a high velocity, then you’ll want to make sure that the content hub does not cause fresh content to disappear too fast.
Alternatively, if you aren’t producing content on such a regular basis, you may want to accommodate your structure for low-velocity content so that the hub does not appear as a static resource that isn’t being updated with new content.
Your URL architecture is also another factor to consider. Many websites will have their informational content under a “blog” or “news” subfolder e.g. www.impression.co.uk/blog, with all posts housed within that subfolder and linked to from the main hub. This is the most logical way to organise content and provide a strong signal to search engines as to where content sits. If your site wasn’t set up in a subfolder approach and instead has all pages in silo, it may be easier to keep that approach with a doorstop informational page, such as blog hub, that links off to the posts that are separate pages off of the main domain.
No matter how you structure your blog, you should ensure that all posts have at least one internal link pointing towards them. “Orphaned pages”, as they are known, lack any internal links across your domain and are bad for SEO. Not only do they not inherit any authority, their isolated nature makes it unlikely that they will be discovered or regularly crawled by search engine spiders.
Step 7. Creating The Content
Creating a strategy is only the first step of achieving successful results with blog content, and it’s important to stay consistent with the creation of fresh content.
Once you have been through all the above stages, you’re finally ready to start creating your own SEO blog content.
When you are creating your content, don’t forget to link to any relevant category or product pages on your website. As an example, if you’d like some support with your content creation, be sure to check out our on-page optimisation services!
You can make use of any pieces of cornerstone content by having a dedicated section on the blog hub or relevant category page in order to increase its visibility to users. Here at Impression, we’re working to build out a ‘resources’ section on the site where we can host all of our useful whitepapers, webinars and podcasts!
In addition to showcasing evergreen content, consider implementing authorship across your blog platform, the accompanying schema, and including links to authors where relevant. Schema markup is a form of structured data that tells Google about the author and allows it to connect the author to other authority signals such as an author profile on other high-authority sites or social media profiles. With Google’s focus on E-A-T, author boxes are an easy way of giving your blog posts a nice boost in credibility that might help with climbing up the rankings.
This guide on how to create an effective blog content strategy for SEO should have given you a solid foundation on which to build your website’s blog as well as the tools to allow you to ideate and create great informational content.
If you require any more assistance with your informational content or blogging strategy, get in touch with our SEO team today.