You’ve heard it, your neighbors have heard it, and even your competitors are in on it: SEO is a hot topic in our digital world, and seemingly everyone is looking for hot tips on how to stand out from the competition for google searches.
With many continuing to work from home and conducting business from their dining room tables, the internet has become the latest frontier for sales and marketing initiatives. SEO, or search engine optimization, is but one of the tricks of the trade: produce a piece of content that is written in a certain way, and you too can appear at the top of search results for phrases like “SEO tips for writing content”.
But there’s a dark side to SEO that nobody seems to be talking about. For all of the promises that the internet claimed to offer in terms of diversity of thought, so much of what we encounter online is identical to other pieces of content. Rather than functioning as an educational tool, internet searches have actually narrowed our thought to generalizations and easy-to-digest listicles.
As an expert in your field, you have something special you can offer that your competitors have overlooked: industry knowledge in your field. If you have the time to synthesize this information into online content, you can stand out as a signal in the noise, and drive high-quality search volume to your website to generate leads or purchases.
There are thousands of blogs on how to optimize your content for SEO – this blog will teach you how to reverse-engineer your expertise into high-ranking, engaging, and original content.
The most common type of queries submitted into google come in the form of questions. Do I need a part-time CFO? Why is my sales volume low? What is this rash on my leg? There’s a joke in the field that googling symptoms can only teach you what diseases have the best SEO. This also reveals a fundamental truth about how people search online – they’re typically trying to solve a problem or fill a knowledge gap.
When you’re thinking about what kind of impactful content you’re trying to write, consider the needs of your audience. What matters to them? From a content writer perspective, our goal is often to convince readers that they have a problem that can only be resolved through a product or service you have to offer. That rash on your leg? We have the ointment to cure it – buy now.
Think quite literally about what SEO is going to accomplish, not what you are told it is. Search engine optimization is not a rocket science – it is simply a method for attracting web traffic to a web page. SEO teaches Google how to read your content, and what queries it is relevant for. It is up to you to make that content valuable to readers and net conversions. The more complicated the problem is, the more expertise is required to answer it.
Framing your H2 headings in the form of questions is a great way to generate solid keywords that your audience is interested in engaging with.
The best agency content writers are amateurs in the original meaning of the word: those who love to learn. Content writers produce work across a spectrum of industries, and are the true jack-of-all-trades yet masters of none. Their position depends on producing a large volume of writing on unrelated subject matter, and holding approximate knowledge of many things.
You, however, are an expert. You might have an MBA, or you have been in the field for decades. You’ve seen what works, and what doesn’t. This gives you a fundamental advantage – you can write on topics only a professional can solve, providing unique insight on topics. Google likes original content, and will prioritize new insights in their ranking algorithms.
When industry experts start writing content, they start from a top-down approach that prioritizes keywords and rankings first, much in the way content writers think about writing. If you’re a content writer, this is a perfectly sound strategy, but if you’re not writing dozens of blogs a month, this often leads to clunky, inarticulate writing, punctuated with keywords that weigh down the flow of your piece.
Instead, write what you need to write, and think about SEO second. If the topic you are writing about is valuable, build that value first, then edit to include keywords. While the best content is optimized around only one or two keywords, don’t over-optimize a piece – using a phrase over and over again will be recognized by Google as spam, and will actually damage your SEO score.
Would you feel a sense of relief if you visited a doctor’s office and they pulled out their phone to google your symptoms? I wouldn’t, but I also wouldn’t feel great relief if they spoke in pure medical jargon without explaining what is wrong with me. Experts turn to journals, scholarly publications, or draw from experience to answer their questions. Their role in content is to convert it into things customers can understand.
Content writers find success because they do simple research to answer simple questions. This isn’t a bad thing – often, little else is needed, and it has generated incredible success for many businesses.
Writing content as an expert does more than just drive search traffic – it is meant to provoke meaningful discussion. It can be shared on online platforms like LinkedIn to spark conversation around your ideas. Originality is the greatest strength you can offer to content. Start from the perspective of your audience, and use that as a springboard to produce something meaningful. Once you’ve written things that matter, use SEO to frame it to maximize your audience reach.
120/80 is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in a broad range of solutions that drive leads and conversions for B2B, professional services, in-home services, and SaaS clients. We provide data-driven solutions that help get your brand in front of your target audience through marketing automation, PPC management, search engine optimization, and more.
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