Nelio Content Marketing Plan VII – SEO Strategy

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This post belongs to our marketing plan series. You can find all articles here:

  1. The Idea
  2. Strategic Objectives
  3. Marketing Training
  4. Marketing KPIs
  5. Buyer Persona
  6. Webdesign
  7. SEO Strategy
  8. Web Content
  9. The Blog
  10. Social Media and Emailing

Last time we talked about our marketing plan, I commented that our website is the most critical part of our entire marketing strategy and, thus, we discussed the importance a good design has.

Today I’d like to focus on the content strategy we’ll be applying. This strategy must ensure that our content is attractive and useful for both our visitors and SEO. To do this, we must define a SEO strategy, which basically consists of:

  • Keyword-research. Search for keywords related to our business.
  • On-page SEO. How to incorporate the previous keywords in our content.
  • Site-wide SEO. Structural elements which are necessary to achieve organic search visibility.
  • Mobile SEO. How to improve visibility in mobile searches.
  • Link Building. How links to your site (which enable inbound traffic) affect SEO and how to get them.

Keyword Research

According to experts in the field (see, The Beginners Guide to SEO by by Rand Fishkin and Moz Staff or The Fundamental Guide to SEO In 2016 by Jason DeMeers, among others), all content strategy must begin with the choice of topic you want to write about, which includes the basic study of keywords.

I guess it’s clear that keywords are the words entered by users into the search box on Google, Bing, and other search engines. That’s why they’re so important—these keywords are one of the many factors that search engines take into account when positioning a website in a SERP (Search Engine Results Page or Search Engine Results Page). But they are also the way users search directly for content on a particular website. That is, they are the words that best define the content of a page and that respond best to user searches.

It seems clear that identifying keywords and placing them correctly in the content is a key factor in SEO strategy. As a result, you might think that repeating your keywords over and over again is the best strategy to follow… why don’t you create pages with a bunch of keywords, if that’s what works the best? Well, because it isn’t. You can’t trick search engines that easily!

The goal if your website is to help your visitors find the information they need. So it’s your job to embed your keywords in broader content—i.e. a context that provides the answer your visitors are looking for. Therefore, during the process of keyword research, not only should you look for new keywords, but you should also identify relevant content to better structure your issues and determine what the needs and interests of your audience are. In the following video entitled, Keyword Targeting, Density, and Cannibalization Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin gives us his views on this subject.

Types of Keywords

There are several classifications of types of keywords. Let me share a couple:

Taking into account the user’s intention

  • Informative. Words that use your buyer persona to find information. For example: “how to look for keywords.”
  • Transactional. Words that promote conversion (to hire a service, register for a mailing list, etc.). For example: “cheap apartments.”
  • Navigational. The search is aimed at finding a specific website. For example, “Facebook,” “Amazon,” etc.

Considering the volume of searches:

  • Head Tail. Generic words with very high search volume and competition. For example: “houses,” “Cats,” etc.
  • Middle Tail. More specific, but still fairly general searches. Example: “buy cheap house,” “funny cats.”
  • Long Tail. Where the opportunities lie for highly focused searches with little competition. Example: “buy cheap house in Pedralbes” (which, incidentally, is the most expensive neighborhood in Barcelona, and a search with quotes on Google returned no results 😔), “Funny cats playing with an iPad” (it has more than 5,000 results! 😂).

In principle, the content of our website should have keywords that are useful regardless of the user’s intent. But there are several articles that insist that we should focus especially on long tail keywords as they position you better in a niche market and it’s where you get more conversions (users who buy from you). An example is the article Why focus on long tail keywords? by Marieke van de Rakt.

Long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords. Fuente: Why focus on long tail keywords? de Marieke van de Rakt

Keyword Research

First, we looked for companies that we thought would be our competition. Using SEMRush and entering the URL of each of them, I found the organic keywords that generate more traffic on those websites. The initial results were:

  • wordpress editorial calendar
  • calendar blogging
  • editorial calendar plugin
  • social media marketing plans
  • wordpress marketing automation
  • marketing automation wordpress
  • wordpress marketing
  • inbound marketing platform
  • inbound marketing platforms
  • content marketing software
  • content marketing platform

ThenI looked for more keywords using Google Keyword Planner and I created a spreadsheet with all the results combined. In total, I compiled a list with over 1,300 words. In the image below, you can see a small part of that list.

Small part of the keyword list
Small part of the keyword list

Fantastic, we already have 1,300 words! Let’s see if Toni and David are able to create a program that automatically generates posts using these keywords…

NOPE…

Pare Down the List

The next step was to reduce this list to just ten words. How did we do it? First, we ordered the list by search popularity and competition. This quickly highlighted the most “promising” keywords. We checked their importance by analyzing their trends in Google Trends, which helped us confirm whether they were still of interest to the public.

Google Trends capture in which three keywords are compared
Google Trends capture in which three keywords are compared

Following this filtering process we defined a list that seemed to make enough sense. Finally, we created a smaller selection of keywords for our most important goal. The funny thing is that after all the previous work, we were left with a very similar list to what we first obtained at SEMRush 😅

How to Use Keywords

The most important thing in any content marketing strategy is to consider your reader (or buyer persona). There’s plenty of articles that describe how to use keywords (for instance, I found the following one especially interesting: Case Study: Determining Site Architecture From Keyword Research), but the most important thing is to keep in mind your reader (or buyer persona) and make sure whatever you do is aimed at offering a great user experience and fulfilling their needs.

Architecture of the Website

For this section we also followed the advice of the article, A Visual Guide to Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO by Rand Fishkin.

Categories and Tags

Categories and tags should be tightly related to the topics you cover in your blog and the keywords you identified. In our case, when we merged our blogs we were able to reclassify our posts into new categories and tags, which we obtained from the research described in this particular post. The results are as follows:

  • Categories. We ended up with 5 categories only:
    • Marketing Online
    • WordPress
    • Community
    • Inside Nelio
  • Tags. The most popular tags we’re using right now are:
    • Business, Strategy, Contributions, Conversion, Examples, Experience, Interviews, Marketing Strategy, Nelio A/B Testing, News, Opinion, Plugins, Products and Services, Readings, Resources, SEO, Social Media, Startup, and Tutorials.
Titles of Pages and Posts

The title of your posts and pages plays an important role in SEO. The more titles with your keywords, the better. And if the keywords are at the beginning, it’s even better, because those are the first words that will appear in the results page of a search engine.

As an example, Nelio Content Marketing Plan is part of the title of all the posts in this series you’re reading. Of course, the reason for the titles starting with these words, as I said at the beginning of this post, is that they are the words that best define the content of this series of posts.

URL

The URL should also include keywords. In our case, the URLs correspond to a simplified version of the title. For example, the permalink of this post is marketing-plan-vii-seo-strategy.

Post Body

There’s no need to go repeating the keyword in excess throughout the text, but you should definitely include them if you can. I mean, don’t push it—keywords should appear naturally. As long as the content is clearly related to your niche (and, hence, related to your keywords), you’d be good.

Images and Alt Text

We must not forget to add keywords to all alt text (attributes) for any image. However, not all images have to be directly related to the post. The important thing to remember is, first, make sure you optimize your images for SEO, and second, try to find images that relate to your keywords.

Internal and External Links

It is assumed that all pages and posts in your site should be accessible from any other page in a maximum of 4 clicks. You can achieve this goal if you build a strong internal linking structure—that is, if you try to link one post with another often (assuming it makes sense, of course). So far, we’ve achieved this on our website.

External links are a different story. External links are a great way to present alternative points of view and might help support your own claims (linking to expert opinions on a subject improves the quality of your posts). In our case, if we find items that are of interest on the issue we’re talking about, we include them, period. Maybe it’s a little professional bias (several years working in college), but we like any source of information that says something of value. Furthermore, some companies have even found that linking to external sites that use their keywords (although they can be competitive), has benefited them as regards SEO!

Mobile SEO

Another important issue is to ensure that the site is optimized for mobile. On this point, when putting together the design for our website, the requirements and decisions made were:

  • instead of using a predefined theme, we’d develop our own with only what is strictly necessary to load the website as quickly as possible,
  • it should be fully responsive,
  • during the design validation process, we’d check at all times to see how it looked on small devices.

Link Building

There is enough unanimity that Google gives weight to your web proportional to the websites that reference you. Therefore, the more and better sites that have links to yours, the better.

On this issue, we are preparing several marketing campaigns and will explain them in future posts: external reviews, direct mailing, promotion with our own plugin etc.

Objectives of SEO

All the work mentioned above would be incomplete if we were unable to track and control the way we are evolving with our keywords. To do this, we have decided that by the end of the year the URL of our new product website or the URL of our plugin in the WordPress directory must be among the top 10 results for some of our keywords.

How will we check this?

For now, we’re using any of the free tools available, such as SERPLAB, in which you enter a website and some keywords and find your position and who are positioned in the top 10. And why check the top 10? It’s for the simple reason that they are the ones found on the first results page on Google search.

Example of how NelioABTesting.com is positioned globally with two keywords "wordpress a/b testing" and "wordpress split testing"
Example of how NelioABTesting.com is positioned globally with two keywords “wordpress a/b testing” and “wordpress split testing”

On the other hand, with Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and Google Search Console, we can also control how we’re progressing with our keywords.

You can read more about tools for measuring SEO at Measuring & Tracking Success by Rand Fishking and Moz Staff or Quantify Your Results: The 14 Most Important SEO Metrics by Neil Patel.

Conclusion

It’s clear that the content of the website is no less important than its design. Good content aims to attract more visitors and convert them. As we focus on the content, our first goal is to get good search engine rankings and, therefore, it’s important to define our SEO strategy. As you’ve seen, so far the work done in this regard has been quite simple. We know that we still have a lot of work to do on this, and if you’re an expert in the matter, any suggestions are more than welcome.

And don’t miss next post: Web content.

Feature image: Uintah Climbing de booizzy.

by

Ruth obtained her PhD in Software Engineering at UPC and did a Master of Information Systems at DePaul University (Chicago). She has professional experience in the business world and at the University. Ruth has been University Lecturer at UPC, Vice-Dean for Corporate Relations of the Barcelona School of Informatics, and Associate Lecturer at ESADE. She specializes in software engineering and information systems management. She is also certified in Inboud Marketing.

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