SEO is essential for your content strategy. Your blog is one of the primary entry points for customers to your brand, so optimising it is vital.
But it’s easy to focus too much on your keyword research, playing to the algorithm and neglecting your content’s creative value.
Thankfully, it is still possible to create SEO-driven content that is fresh, creative, and engaging. Here’s how.
Stay ahead of the news
Evergreen keywords can help your content strategy stay relevant and engaging.
But while relevance is important, you also need to stay current. Staying abreast of the latest developments in your industry achieves this, giving you immediate relevance and giving your content a fresh, current feel.
Keep your eye to the horizon for your business niche and create content that addresses new trends, events, and so on for your audience.
You could trawl the web and industry publications every day for the latest developments, but it’s much quicker (not to mention easier) to set up a Google Alert for keywords relevant to your business.
As well as simply reporting on the latest industry events, consider offering your own take on them too. Providing original thought and insight increases your expertise and authority as a brand, strengthening its value as a result.
At the same time, if your content is optimised, it might also appear in search results as people make queries around the latest industry happenings.
Answer the question and add value
One of the best ways to blend SEO and real creative value is to simply answer the questions your audience are asking. This goes back to the heart of what search engines are about: delivering value.
Don’t make your audience (and Google) work to find the answer they need.
If they want to know how to hard reset their smartphone, don’t preface it with a rambling explanation of the history of the hard reset, or why it matters, or why it does—just tell them how to do it.
While it’s certainly fine to add these other details, it’s important to format them in such a way that they don’t dilute or eclipse the actual answer your audience needs.
Interactive tools are worth a mention here.
Simply answering the question in a blog or video is good, but it is a somewhat passive way of learning—indeed, as any teacher can tell you, the best way to learn is through interactivity.
Quizzes, calculators, even simple point-and-click games—they each offer your audience the ability to learn, self-educate, and glean new information through content that requires them to actively engage.
These are straightforward enough to make too—there are plenty of tools (such as Typeform) that let you create embeddable quizzes, for instance.
Break down your question into an interactive format for your audience to get to grips with. As ever, keep it simple—you want your audience to engage, not be put off.
Interactive tools make it easy to convey complex information, improving user experience and adding a dash of creativity to your usual content strategy.
Look elsewhere to learn what your audience wants
Keyword research provides a data-backed method of creating content that your audience is guaranteed to want and be engaged with.
But this doesn’t account for everything. Your customers (both existing and potential) likely have niche, unique, and complex pain points that don’t appear in your keyword research.
As such, it’s worth making enquiries in avenues beyond your keyword research tools.
One such method is to use forums.
Forums give you an insight into what your audience (particularly potential customers) want and need to know.
Of course, there is a lot of rubbish to sort through on some forums, but this method can give you a unique and genuine insight into what real people are asking around your industry, in an organic, natural setting.
Alternatively, if you have the time and resources, you could simply speak directly to your customers themselves.
Identify your most loyal, repeat customers and ask them how they use your product, what for, how often, and so on. Encourage them to share their problems with your product, particularly in relation to their lifestyle.
This is also an effective strategy for sourcing user-generated content (UGC). Real customers sharing their pain points (and how your product solves them) makes for fine social proof content that adds a layer of authenticity and creativity to your strategy.
Such a tactic is also particularly effective for SaaS brands. Your customers are likely to come from all walks of life, from enterprise-level brands all the way down to homespun business entrepreneurs.
Consequently, their experience of your product will differ wildly, with issues and pain points unique to them. By speaking directly to your customers, you can get a better grasp on their situation and create useful content that addresses them.
Refresh and revamp your old content
Refreshing your old content is a good way to blend creativity with SEO value.
What might be fresh and accurate one day might not necessarily be so six months or a year down the line.
Audit your old content and identify those pieces that were most popular, but whose organic traffic has since decreased.
Naturally, you should reassess your keyword strategy for this page—search interest waxes and wanes, so it’s important to make sure your content is optimised and current.
But beyond this, you will also need to ensure your content is accurate and updated with the latest data and stats.
Conduct a quick link check as well. Broken links are bad for SEO, so make sure your links point to recently-published web pages.
It’s also worth giving it a quick onceover for spelling or grammatical mistakes too. If there are any sentences that don’t quite read right, rejig them to improve readability.
Be sure to include multimedia when you update old content too, such as video or photos.
As well as increasing user engagement on a page, images and video also helps with ranking. They are also great for helping people grasp more complex concepts—essential for making your content more accessible.
Yes, SEO should play an important role in your content strategy—but not at the expense of freshness and creativity. Bear the tips above in mind as you build out your content and create a strategy that is both SEO-driven and creative at once.