In today’s world ofomni channel marketing and cross-channel purchases, content isn’t just the king but the emperor. For most consumers and B2B buyers, their first port of call is Google, whether it’s to identify their problem, look for solutions, or compare prices and value between different brands.
Your company’s content is what encourages them to dig deeper into your products and services and trust your solution. It sounds simple, but producing effective content that not only ranks high on search engines but also delivers value to visitors has become more complex over the years.
Today, you need to consider not just keywords used in a search query, but also the intent behind the query. Google and other search engines use increasingly advanced algorithms that measure visitor experience on your site in general, as well as your overall authority for a given topic.
As a result, your content strategy can’t evolve in a vacuum, and your SEO research has to go way beyond identifying keywords to sow at intervals within your posts. In 2021, SEO research should direct your entire content SEO strategy, and your content strategy needs to be informed by the results of SEO competitive investigations.
Here are five ways to use SEO research to underpin your content strategy and enhance conversion rates.
- Uncover new topics
Probably the first use case that comes to mind is identifying topics that you can use as the basis for your next blog posts. With deep SEO research, you can discover short and long-tail keywords that go far beyond the obvious.
The right tools and tactics can help you find emerging topics that are trending upwards for search queries, even if the overall volume is still relatively low. If you’re one of the first to publish valuable content on this topic, it’s easier to establish yourself as an authority. You can even use these posts as “pillar pages” and structure other posts around them.
Equally, thorough research helps reveal topics that may seem like they should appeal to your customer base, but which actually aren’t driving much traffic. These might be keywords that you are over-indexing on, or could simply be on their way out as items of concern.
- Amplify your best performing posts
The best SEO tools enable you to track the traffic of your posts over time. This allows you to see which ones are “evergreen” and continue to drive visitors for months and years; which ones performed well for a short period of time; and which ones just fell short of the mark.
Once you identify evergreen, high-performing posts, take steps to amplify them by writing more content around that topic and linking back to the post, so you can both build off its impact and strengthen it even more.
Additionally, use those insights to shape your upcoming content. Perhaps listicles outperform thought leadership pieces, or vice versa. Either way, double down on what works, and fix what doesn’t.
- Outrank competitor content
Extend your SEO research to investigate how and what your competitors are doing. Even if you were fortunate — or quick — enough to be the first to write about a topic, you’re never going to remain the only one covering a specific issue. But you can make sure that your content is the best-written, easiest to understand, and most comprehensive.
Use SEO research tools to study your competition’s blog posts, visitor traffic, and authority ranking, so you can imitate their strengths and exploit their weaknesses.
The right platforms can reveal where there are gaps in content that’s already been written on the topic, and guide you to the angles and approaches that your customers wish to find.
- Develop the voice your customers want to hear
Your content strategy needs to include not just which topics to cover, but also what angle to take in discussing them and the tone or style to use in the process.
Do your customers prefer a broad and comprehensive overview that’s easy for the layperson to understand, or a detailed, deep dive that uses technical jargon and assumes a level of expert knowledge? Are they looking for witty humorous takes, or weighty, formal analyses?
SEO research can help you compare different versions of the same topic, so you can ascertain which voice your customers are looking for.
- Target for intent
Finally, you don’t have to have been in marketing for long to know that targeting intent is a key pillar in a successful content strategy. You need content that’s aimed at different stages of intent, including the awareness stage, consideration stage, and comparison stage, with each one requiring a slightly different approach and varying keywords.
SEO research can help reveal which level of intent your visitors have, and that can help you work out how to frame your post so that it gets chosen as a featured snippet or related question by your ideal customers.
You can also use it to find out whether to use longtail technical keywords, or shorter ones that are for earlier stages.
SEO research goes beyond keywords
Your SEO research has value that extends beyond keyword choices. By identifying new topics and your customers’ preferred tone of voice, discovering your best-performing pieces, targeting for intent, and taking advantage of your competition’s weaknesses, you can design an effective content strategy that encompasses best SEO practices and the biggest interests of your target market.