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Content strategy is an important aspect of SEO since content and links are among the top three ranking factors in search. This is today’s message of 411 Locals.

Nevertheless, creating content for content’s sake alone does not bring results. Every day, millions of blog posts get published and you have to create content that stands out from the rest and gets worthwhile links. This is where you should start building your strategy.

It includes:

  • Prioritizing topics and themes of smaller difficulty
  • Layering content and internal linking that is optimal
  • A good understanding of linkability and the opportunities for such
  • Regularly maintaining and upkeeping existing content

No complete SEO strategy can do without these processes.

The online space is flooded with the content that gets published online every day. That is why a strategy will increase your chances of success. Too many brands think that it is enough to publish numerous posts regularly to get more links, higher rankings, and an increased number of visitors to your website.

Truth is, SEO is far from that simple. You should be link worthy to ensure you get those links. A variety of factors that are beyond content affect rankings, so you should build strategic buyer funnels to secure the sustainable building of relevant traffic.

Here are some steps that will help you build a strategy of proven results:

LOW DIFFICULTY TOPICS SHOULD BE PRIORITIZED

This is the first thing to do if you want to create a content strategy – to decide upon which topics will be covered by your content.

For this purpose, you should do some research consisting of the analysis of keywords and themes that are relevant to your business. One tool to use is SEMrush, but there are many other tools that are suitable for this type of research.

In the process of analysis, you have to assess three main criteria:

  • Search volume
  • Competition/keyword difficulty
  • Traffic value/cost

What you’re looking for is high search volume, plus value and low difficulty. But not all your significant keywords will be within this ideal cross section. That is why prioritizing lower-difficulty topics is a also important.

In SEMrush, you will get an estimate of a keyword’s difficulty when you click Keyword Analytics and then Keyword Difficulty.

Since there are more than one tools to choose from when estimating the difficulty of a keyword, you should make sure to use the same tool when you compare the difficulty of potential topics.

It is also possible to manually assess this difficulty by analyzing the SERPs. Look at the pages that are currently ranking on the first page – if there are well-known brand names of high authority sites, this possibly means greater competition.

On the other hand, lower competition is indicated by low quality and/or low authority results, and this also means the potential opportunity of filling a content gap exists.

Unless you are an authoritative brand that is already established, you will have to prioritize lower difficulty topics. When you do this, you will be able to focus your efforts where they will be most impactful.

LAYERING CONTENT AND OPTIMIZATION OF INTERNAL LINKS

When strategizing and planning content, you should consider opportunities for possible content layering and internal linking.

Content layering is the practice of positioning middle-of-the-funnel content on top of bottom-of-the-funnel content by covering the relevant and complementary topics, after which internally linking between the pages.

Here are some of the benefits to doing this:

  • shared authority. Middle-of-the-funnel content is usually more suitable for linking than bottom-of-the-funnel content. By means of internal linking, you will ensure the passing of valuable equity from the links to your mid-funnel content to your converting pages.
  • increased brand authority and recognition. When your pages rank for mid-funnel queries, this can build authority and recognition, which will pay off later in bottom-funnel searches.
  • link acquisition for converting pages. Promote mid-funnel pages as this will yield links for bottom-funnel pages, but only if they’re strategically and contextually linked within the content that they promote.

Layering your content and internal linking should be part of absolutely any content strategy. When you do these, you will be able to structure your site so that it’s easy to follow by both readers and search engines.

Focus on linkability and opportunity

All SEO strategies — especially a content strategy — must take links into consideration.

Links are still a very important factor whose benefits extend beyond search. Since links are valuable, linkability should become part of the plan for your content.

Linkability is also known as link worthiness and it is the potential of getting links. Because people link to other sites online in various ways, you should think about why someone would link, in order to evaluate linkability.

The starting point is the potential outreach market for your content. Some people may be interested in sharing and linking your content if you reach them to inform them it exists.

The analysis of potential outreach audience should account for the following factors.

  • search volume for associated keyword. Make sure somebody is searching for a topic, otherwise nobody will be interested in linking
  • the number of unique domains linking to top results. If the top results don’t have many links, you are also likely to struggle.
  • types of pages linking to top results. If you do a quick manual review of the linking pages, you will receive a good idea of whether your site will be able to achieve these links.

Just as important as evaluating the outreach market is the analysis of link opportunity. This analysis boils down to the single question whether you can create something better or more useful than the thing currently ranking.

The “skyscraper” technique of SEO expert Brian Dean, in which marketers determine which content is great, do something better and then reach out to the parties who have linked to content similar to yours – is a great way of capitalizing on your link opportunity. Nevertheless, the technique must be adapted to your specific situation.

The most essential portion of the skyscraper technique is coming up with something better than what is already ranking. This does not always mean you should spend a lot of hours creating the most comprehensive resource there can be – but only small tweaks in the direction of delivering that better something.

These are some options how to improve the already ranking content:

  • Create a more searchable title
  • Improve readability and formatting (headers, bullet lists, sub headers, etc.)
  • Optimize for page speed
  • Cite reputable authorities and sources (also providing built in promotion chances)
  • Expand on or explore the topic in more depth
  • Share new or original research.

Together with these improvements, use another way of elevating your content above the competition, and that is – adding extra formats like video, animation, and so forth.

When you add extra content types, this may require a greater investment, but it will be definitely worth it as it will make your content stand out in the sea of content online. This, in turn, will help you get the links necessary to outpace your competitors.

Existing content should be regularly updated and maintained.

Whereas the majority of content marketing strategies focus on creating new content, a comprehensive content strategy also accounts for existing content.

When you find potential link opportunities and content gaps, you should not forget to take stock of the content that already exists. It can be sometimes easier and more effective to update your existing content than do something from scratch.

Actually, some methods for the betterment of content that were listed above can be applied to the content you already have.

If you add some more content pages, this will help upgrade the existing content. When you add a video to a long-form ho-to post, you will have additional value and linkability, and you can even capture more traffic and attention through YouTube.

Repurposing is another option to upgrading. Instead of adding extra content formats or types, you should repurpose the underperforming content into something that will better meet the needs of the searchers. To do this, you have to analyze the SERPs where you want to rank, find out whether a prevailing content type exists, and then match that format.

Last but not least, let’s look at a simple way to freshen up your existing pages, which is adding a tag saying “Last updated” on top of the page. This way, you will be able to regularly update and improve a page with the evolution of its topic over time, keeping it competitive. It will also let readers know how current the information is.

The current SEO content plan you have should mainly focus on how you can deliver new and engaging content to your audience. However, you should not forget to spend some time on improving your already existing pages too.

Outline of an effective SEO content strategy

To summarize, we have made an outline that should be followed, of the practices that should be implemented in the planning of your content.

  • Lower difficulty topics should be prioritized
    • Opportunities should be analyzed, based on the volume of search, the difficulty of the keyword, and the traffic value
    • SERPs should be manually reviewed to find gaps and low-competition keywords and phrases
  • Content should be layered and the internal links – optimized
    • Layered content helps your convering pages via shared link equity and increasing the brand authority and direct link acquisition.
  • Linkability and opportunity should be your main focus.
    • Potential outreach markets should be evaluated.
    • Link opportunity should be analyzed, improvements made, and something better – created.
    • At least one sunk cost differentiator should be invested in
  • Existing content should be regularly updated and maintained.
    • Existing pages should be improved and upgraded.
    • Existing assets should be repurposed into something more link worthy and useful.
    • A “last updated” function should be included to manage freshness of content.

These steps are useful, but they are far from easy to implement. Our suggestion is that you trust the experts from 411 Locals with this job. We have a team of specialists in SEO, Web Design, Link-building, and Content Creation, who will definitely help the success of your project and business. Contact us whenever you need our assistance!