3 Content Creation Tips for Improving In-House SEO
Everyone who contributes to your website, be it writing blogs, creating content for external sites that link to yours, or keeping the site pages up to date, should understand search engine optimisation. These team members are impacting SEO success, whether they intend to or not.
Even if you partner with an SEO agency or consultant to help you with technical optimisations and management, your in-house SEO processes still need attention.
Investing in outsourced partners without ensuring your in-house SEO is best practice, is the equivalent to taking two steps forward and one step back. No organisation wants to pay for SEO services and then find its own processes are hampering the effectiveness of this!
That said, for the most part, it’s unrealistic to expect an in-house marketing generalist to know everything there is to know about SEO.
Yet there are simple and practical ways to ensure they at least understand and follow the basics required for good search visibility, particularly when it comes to writing website content.
1. Make SEO a focus from the start
Content that ranks well is crafted for both humans and search engines, so some consideration for SEO should happen at the beginning of the content creation process, before you write a single word.
Blogs written without a focus keyword in mind, or missing essential elements such as internal and external links, are much harder to rank. Or, they rank for words the audience simply doesn’t search and therefore, don’t help increase organic traffic coming to the site.
Some businesses get into the habit of writing content and then forwarding it on to an SEO expert to be retrospectively optimised. Depending on the topic, sometimes this can work but most of the time, a semi-relevant focus keyword will be shoehorned into a blog, rather than the content being really tightly aligned with the keyword from the outset. This makes it far less effective.
When writing content for a website, the first things that should be considered include:
- Is my audience actively searching for this information?
- What words and phrases does my audience use when searching for this online?
- Which other sites are already ranking for such words and phrases?
- How can the information I provide go above and beyond others in search results?
- What should the single focus keyword be?
- Which relevant, external sites can I link to within this blog?
- Which internal pages should I link to within the blog?
Having this information allows marketers to craft content that is competitive in search engine results and attracts the intended audience to your site.
2. Write about things your audience searches for
Example of keyword research
Too often you see marketers publishing frequent, consistent content but scratching their heads as to why this isn’t bringing more people to their website. What they’re writing isn’t irrelevant, it’s just based on company news, or events, or even the questions they think their audience has about their expertise or service.
The problem is: they’re writing based on what they, as a brand, want to share, not what the target audience is actively searching for.
Sometimes this is warranted, such as in the case of company news and events. When it comes to educational or informative content though, simply publishing what we want to say won’t help SEO.
Say, for example, a local mechanic publishes a blog post about engine computer diagnostics. It’s a relevant area of expertise that they know customers occasionally ask questions about and it’s something they’re passionate about. The problem is, their target audience isn’t on Google actively searching for information about ‘engine computer diagnostics’. At least, not the audience the mechanic is trying to attract.
Writing content which attracts your target audience is a balance between what you want to say, and what a searcher is proactively looking for online.
Keyword research is the first step in ensuring all in-house content is produced to positively impact organic traffic and ultimately drive enquiries or sales.
3. Create checklists for publishing content
When it comes to website content, in-house SEO best practice is not just about your topic and how you write about it. It’s also about how you upload that content to the website.
As much as Google claims writing comprehensive, quality content is the pinnacle of ranking well in search (and it is), there are also checkboxes we need to tick when publishing content.
- Formatting headers correctly
- Structuring the content well
- Having descriptive image file names
- Including alt text for images
- Ensuring a good ratio of text/image
- Including external and internal links
- Using structured data where suitable
The best way to ensure the people publishing your site content are across each of these is to give them topic-specific training in each area. For example, on-page SEO and/or content marketing training.
The next best step is to have clear, printable checklists on display in the office (or their work from home) environment. Checklists take the mental load off of staff, enabling them to simply run through these before hitting ‘Publish’ and making sure each point has been addressed.
It also helps to keep SEO front of mind throughout the whole content creation process, and not just an afterthought.
If you’ve reached the end of this post and realisedthe in-house SEO at your business could be better, get in touch to discuss our strategy and training packages.