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How To Write SEO Rich Content in 2020

So now let’s jump another decade forward. We’re in 2020. This year, what does writing for SEO mean? Well, a bunch of things.

  • Solving the searcher’s query matters most — writing that doesn’t do this tends not to rank well (for long)

Because search engines have gotten so much better, Google in particular, but Bing as well, have gotten so much better at optimizing to solve the searcher’s task, helping them accomplish what wanted to accomplish when entering the query, the writing that does the best job of solving search intent is the most highly prized in Google’s eyes.

Content that doesn’t solve the intent of the searchers tends to rank worse, or doesn’t rank for long. You can sometimes game the top of the search result, but you will almost certainly be outranked by someone who does a great job of solving the search intent of the user

  • Intent matching matters a lot more in 2020 than keyword matching

Today, no credible SEO would tell you to create separate pages for blue watch and blue watches and blue watch accessories. Instead, SEO is about figuring out what issue, function, or feature the searcher is looking to find.

If many keywords share the same intent we’re going to create a single page that serves the intent and covers all of the keywords or at least many of the keywords that the intent is represented by.

  • Only a few tags are still crucial to doing SEO correctly

When writing for SEO in 2020, there are really only two tags that critical. Those are the title tag and the H1 tag. That’s not to say that you can’t rank without using the keyword in these two tags, just that it would be wise to include the targeted keyword in both these tags. The reason for this is two-fold, it helps the search engine crawler and the searcher.

When users see the keyword that they search for in the title element of the page in the search results it is bold and users are more inclined to click than if they don’t see it. So while it’s possible that a page can rank without the keyword included in the title tag, not including it is a missed opportunity to generate a click-thru to your website.

A few other elements that are still advisable in 2020:

H tags (the H2, the H3), a continuation of the H1 tag to identify additional supporting paragraphs.

URL Optimization If you can include the keywords and phrases that people are searching for in the URL, that is helpful. It’s helpful for searchers who see the URL and would think, “Oh, okay, that is referring to the thing that I want,” as well as for people who copy, paste, and share the URL with others.

The meta description is not used for rankings, but it is read by searchers. When the users see a meta description that includes the keywords and phrases they’ve queried, they are more likely to think it will be a relevant result – which will generate a higher click-thru-rate. More clicks and higher engagement is a signal to Google (or other search engines) that your content is valuable, therefore improving the probability of ranking higher in the search results.

The image alt attribute is helpful for regular search results but particularly helpful for Google image search. Optimizing for image search is becoming more and more important. Just think about Pinterest. Google image search gets a tremendous amount of traffic and is another opportunity to capture the search market share.

  • Employing words, phrases, and concepts that Google has identified as commonly associated with the primary query

This can provide a significant boost. We’ve seen some really interesting experimentation on this front, where SEO’s will take a piece of content, add in ‘associated’ words and phrases (think keyword cloud) that users may also use when searching. The net result is greater coverage of the searcher intent, and in the eyes of Google you are demonstrating subject expertise.

As an example, I frequently use “Los Angeles Neighborhoods” and if a page is missing words like Santa Monica, Venice, Hermosa Beach, Downtown LA, that’s weird, right? Google is going to be much more likely to rank the page that includes these city names than one that doesn’t for this particular query because they’ve learned to associate these cities with relevance for the query “Los Angeles Neighborhoods.”

What I do want to make clear here is this does not mean LSI or some other particular tactic. LSI is an old-school, early ’90s computer /software tactic for identifying words that are semantically connected to each other. There’s no reason you have to use this methodology that became like pseudoscience in the SEO world. But you should be using words and phrases that Google has related to a particular keyword.

  • The user experience of the writing and content matters more than ever, and that is due to engagement metrics

Essentially, Google is able to see that people who click on a particular result are less likely to click the back button and choose a different result or more likely to stay on that page or site and engage further with that content and solve their need. That is a good sign to Google and results in your content ranking higher than your competitors.

The SEO Writing Process in 2020:

So, pragmatically, what does this history and evolution mean? Well, I think we can craft an SEO writing process for 2020 from this. This is what I recommend. If you can do nothing else, do these five steps when you are writing for SEO, and you will tend to have more success than most of your competition.

Step 1: Assemble all the keywords that a page is targeting

There should be a list of them. They should all share the same intent. You get all those keywords listed out.

Step 2: You list what the searchers are actually trying to accomplish when they search those queries

So someone searched for blue watches. What do they want? Information about them, they want to see different models, they want to know who makes them, they want to buy them, they want to see what the costs are like, they want to see where they can get them online, probably all of those things. That is the intent behind the query.

Step 3: Create a visual layout

This is our headline. This is our subheadline. We’re going to put this important key concept up at the top in a callout box. We’re going to have this crucial visual next. This is how we’re going to address all of the searchers intent on the page visually with content, written or otherwise.

Step 4: Write first and then go add the keywords and the crucial, related terms, phrases, top concepts, topics that you want into the page

The ones that will hopefully help boost your SEO, rather than writing first with the keywords and topics in mind. You can have your target keywords in mind but start by writing a great piece of content first, then sprinkle in your keywords, related terms, and phrases later.

Step 5: Craft the call-out, a well written call-out will make influential people and publications more likely to amplify and link back to your article

Because, in 2020, links matter and they are still an important part of SEO.

If you follow this guide you’ll do a much better job creating great content that has the potential for high SEO value. And most importantly, you’ll solve the user’s problem which is what Google and the other search engines ultimately want from us.

The Top 3 Challenges Content Marketers Will Face in 2020

2019 has been a loaded year for content marketers. Research conducted by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) revealed that 76% of the organizations they interviewed will produce more content this year compared to 2018. 73% of the most effective marketers plan to produce more content while the 81% of the least effective content marketers plan to produce more.

With competition rising among brands and the volume of content increasing, how do content marketers overcome the challenge of planning, expanding, and optimizing content? Here are 3 challenges content marketers should watch out for.

2019 has been a loaded year for content marketers. Research conducted by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) revealed that 76% of the organizations they interviewed will produce more content this year compared to 2018. 73% of the most effective marketers plan to produce more content while the 81% of the least effective content marketers plan to produce more.

With competition rising among brands and the volume of content increasing, how do content marketers overcome the challenge of planning, expanding, and optimizing content? Here are 3 challenges content marketers should watch out for.

Achieving a Significant ROI

Proving positive ROI remains a core focus among marketers because of the investment required to achieve content marketing success. It’s difficult to prove success without reliable performance data. Metrics play a huge role in identifying content that is driving positive ROI, but unlike paid media content drives impact beyond direct-clicks. Key metrics include sales lead quality and conversion rates. According to a study by Hubspot, resopondents were 20% more likely to receive a higher budget in the previous year if ROI was tracked and measured. If these metrics proved that ROI was shown to be higher than the previous year, businesses will pour in more budget in the marketing department.

Despite this, it was revealed by the research of CMI that 48% of the respondents have content marketing strategy without being documented. Content marketers need to step up in tracking marketing data and activity in order to get a clear idea on what adjustments marketing teams should make.

Standing Out in a Crowded Space

With today’s technology, it is easy to get your idea out there. Anyone with a Twitter account or a smartphone can create content that competes with ours. Streamlining your storytelling and creating a connection with your audience is important as well as getting your content seen by your audiences. A neat solution to address this challenge is to up the ante: diversify and collaborate. Collaborate with other companies or individuals as influencer marketing can give a huge boost in your marketing efforts.

Re-evaluating Consumer-Marketer Relationships

Social media culture has evolved to a point where marketers can no longer rely on lengthy blog posts and product descriptions to show their importance. Marketers must work harder to make and maintain their connections with their target audiences. This is maybe the biggest challenge content marketers will have to face. Marketers need to innovate and develop new strategies that can develop better connections with their consumers. Consumer data and marketing research are always present for marketing professionals — it’s up to you on how you can use it to your advantage.

With competition rising among brands and the volume of content increasing, how do content marketers overcome the challenge of planning, expanding, and optimizing content? Here are 3 challenges content marketers should watch out for.

Why Startups Need to Apply the Holy Trinity of Digital Marketing

In every new venture, entrepreneurs are faced with a handful of uphill challenges such as breaking out to a larger market, becoming a relevant player in their respective industries, and driving business results under a tight budget. Startups need for their brand to stand out and grow in a competitive market. Startup companies with limited resources opt to bank their marketing strategies with digital marketing rather than traditional marketing. Digital marketing allows businesses to grow their consumer base without having to spend a large fortune. The strategy also allows a simpler way to measure what works best for business ventures with specific goals. The wonders of technology makes viewing of results in real time intuitive.

Startups on a shoestring budget need to be smart and efficient with their marketing strategies by heeding to the holy trinity of digital marketing: content marketing, SEO, and social media.

Being the Best Answer on the Internet with Content Marketing

88% of B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy. Content covers every area of the Internet landscape. “How-to” blogs, infographics, memes, GIFs, and other elements have become the fuel in the content strategy machine of businesses. Content marketing helps startups generate more traffic and leads, and build brand awareness. Publishing relevant content regularly and communicating your brand message through storytelling build trust. Gaining the trust of your audience is one of the major keys to building a relationship with your market.

Being Accessible on the Internet with SEO

Two words that explains SEO the best: optimization and authority. An optimized website can help businesses be visible in search engines and direct organic traffic to their website. You wouldn’t want to let visitors be turned off by non-optimized layout for mobile, slow loading times, and broken links. Authority is about letting search engines know your business has the best content for their users. Treat SEO as an ongoing investment, not a short term project. Have an SEO specialist to check your website and make recommendations according to Google’s algorithm changes. Not ranking for queries on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is as bad as not having your content to exist at all.

Building a Voice with Social Media

In a survey conducted by Forrester Consulting, 41% of the users who engage with brands on social media discover and respond to paid ads on social networks. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter enables brands to interact with potential and actual customers. Your business doesn’t have to be present in every platform, but ensure that your brand is worthy to be followed or to be part of. Social media is one way of nurturing your relationship with your community and potential customers through conversations and interactions. In times when a company website is no longer enough, it is vital to develop your brand’s image through engaging social content.

Is Content Marketing Really Worth the Effort?

Despite the rapid changes in the marketing landscape, content marketing is a tactic that will never go away. It’s not only a priority among marketers, but a top initiative in c-suites across industries.

Although highly prioritized, confidence levels among marketers is spiraling down. After all, with everyone creating content, how can we ensure our efforts are standing out in an ocean of articles, blogs, white papers, newsletters, tweets and Facebook posts?

To ask if content marketing is worth the effort is a painfully rhetorical question. If all you do is follow content marketing best practices, you can expect the results you get from ‘doing’ content marketing. In today’s always on firehose of content, rising above the noise requires creativity, variation, and out-of-the box thinking. Let’s look at how you can adapt your content strategy to achieve better business outcomes.

HIGH QUALITY LEADS – LESS IS MORE.

If you were to choose between buying an email list and sending generic messages vs investing in targeted content and sending it to an audience whose attention you’ve earned organically over time, which one will you choose?

Although it requires more effort, it clearly makes more sense to choose the second scenario given that companies publishing relevant, rich, and timely content generate 2x more leads than companies who don’t.

Segmenting your content based on audience will not only drive more leads, but the leads will also be more qualified saving you time and money.

The takeaway – it’s better to invest in quality over quantity. Be a resource before you try to be a vendor.

INBOUND TRAFFIC

By regularly developing content that provides a solution to a need or content that caters to an identified interest, you can generate higher click-thru rates and increase website traffic. Along with the increase in website traffic with each piece of content you are generating brand awareness.

Think about the search intent (keywords) your audience is likely to use to search for information specific to your expertise. Use that research to create a variety of topic segments which guides your content creation for your website, blog, social, podcast, and videos.

Once you publish your content, make sure to add tracking including the key variables (channel, medium, source, title) so you can easily understand which topics, publishers, and types of content are driving business outcomes. If your content isn’t generating inbound traffic, research topics that haven’t been tapped – even if those topics have a smaller addressable audience. The takeaway – if you are just getting started look for niche topics or specific long-tail search queries.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

Did you know that simply adding more visuals to your content can increase audience engagement by up to 94%?

By enhancing your content with photos, videos or infographics, your audience is more likely to engage with your content, share it with their network, and most of all anticipate similar content from you in the future.

While these tips are nothing new to most content marketers, consider engagement over reach next time you create a social post, blog, or newsletter. While reach is always important, understanding what type of creative drives engagement is critical to judging content success. If a tree falls in the forest does it make a noise? If a post doesn’t gain visibility, you’ll never know if the content was valuable. Always keep the photos, videos and infographics relevant, while using each post as an opportunity to test engagement. The takeaway – test headlines, CTA’s, and creative to drive engagement with your content.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Good content marketing not only translates to be better sales but establishes your company or brand as a thought leader in your industry. This is why creating and sharing relevant and rich content is critical to driving better business outcomes.

An example of a company or a brand that has established thought leadership through content marketing is SAP. D!gitalist Magazine is SAP’s online tech publication where topics such as big data, cloud computing, analytics, and Internet of Things are discussed. It is targeted at a specific audience – individuals who are leading their company’s digital transformation.

Achieving the level of a thought leader is an ongoing process, but the payoff can be tremendous. A properly executed thought leadership campaign generates influence – which elevates you as an industry expert people turn to when making key decisions. The takeaway –

Improved rankings on search

Practicing good content marketing is not only good for brand awareness and revenue. It is plays a pivotal role in SEO too. As algorithms evolve, websites that have been practicing good content marketing are rewarded accordingly by Google.

While SEO is a consideration in content marketing, think first of how attractive your content is and how well your content can be consumed by your audience. If you can do that, your level of attraction with Google will also follow.

So, is content marketing worth the effort? Yes.

The results of good content marketing may not be instant, but just because it is not easy to win does not mean it is a waste of time.