It’s easy to think of search engine optimization (SEO) as a one-time exercise. When you create web content, you probably think carefully about how to craft meta tags and include keywords in page titles, headers, etc. But do you think beyond that?
SEO is not just about placing keywords in key places. As search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, SEO has evolved into something that’s more helpful to both content marketers and consumers. SEO can help you gain insight into your target audience and create content that’s better tailored to them.
Follow these tips to use SEO in a way that’s mutually beneficial.
Write Like a Newspaper
Print newspapers may be bastions of the past, but the writing style they pioneered is well-adapted to the internet age. Start with the most essential information and work your way down to additional details and background information. This helps you get keywords and oft-searched phrases near the top of the page, and it gives readers what they need quickly so they can make a decision.
Put Your Content to the Test
The way Google ranks search results is so complex (and secret), that it’s hard to know how content will perform until you roll it out. You probably know the value of A/B tests for determining what gets your emails opened. But did you know you can do something similar for web pages? You’ll get penalized for having duplicate content, so instead, pick some web pages to test and divide them into two groups. Make your SEO-targeted changes to one group, then analyze SEO metrics to see if it outperforms the control group.
If It Ain’t Broke, Keep Refining It
Optimizing SEO is a continuous process. As you learn from your analytics and your experiences with your audience, revisit and update your content. Even pages that perform pretty well might be boosted with some attention. For example, have you discovered new keywords high in popularity? See if those keywords apply to any of your existing content and work them into page titles or adjust headlines.
Make the Old New Again
Your high-performing older content plays an important function in driving SEO traffic. Build off that content by creating spinoffs — new pieces on related topics. This widens the net for catching SEO traffic and gives your audience more of what you already know they want.
Keep the Basics Fresh
It’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. As you get savvy, don’t forget the basic SEO best practices. No matter how compelling your content is, it won’t do any good if it doesn’t get noticed.