3 Ways to Stay Creative and Relevant with SEO Content Strategy
Chaos in 2020 created new, hot SEO keywords and phrases - “coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” “lockdown,” “phased reopening,” “flatten the curve,” “non-essential workers” and so on.
This created an obvious set of questions for sharks. Should we engage this directly? Or is it something to swim with in a parallel, indirect sense?
The SEO game is rarely cut-and-dry, as in “Just add the hottest keywords and you’ll increase traffic.” If it were that simple, everyone would do it. You need more detail and context as to why certain keywords are popping.
The simplest, most direct route to getting on top of this wave is to have a creative, relevant SEO strategy for the duration of COVID-19 (or any other national / global event of great significance, for that matter).
WHY YOU CAN’T “FOLLOW THE HERD” WITH SEO
There’s nothing worse than getting an overwhelming response to your offer … from the wrong kind of customer.
If you take it out of the digisphere for a moment, imagine the practice of setting up at a trade show to capture contact information. You have a red-letter day, with hundreds of people filling out your form.
You return to the office excited, with plenty of new prospects to call on. You get on the phone, and you’re pleased to discover that plenty of them actually answer their phones.
It’s only then, in a cruel irony, that you discover you’ve spent a ton of money and time collecting contact information for the wrong audience. These people don’t remotely fit your target demographic or client avatar. You have hundreds of leads who don’t want what you offer.
If you want to avoid this painful experience, you have to do your thinking before you pay your money and deploy your assets, rather than afterward.
3 WAYS TO STAY CREATIVE AND RELEVANT WITH YOUR SEO CONTENT STRATEGY
I recently came across a great quote that describes why the best SEO content strategies work. It goes like this:
“Everything that matters most … is invisible.”
When we talk about “invisible” here, we’re primarily referring to the work you do in the shadows, up-front, before anyone sees it in the public sphere. This is the thinking, testing, research and interviewing you’re willing to undergo before you execute SEO campaigns.
Although you run the risk of “over-thinking” things if details become an obsession, most digital entrepreneurs never approach that degree of thoroughness.
Instead, they try to pretend they can catch a North Atlantic fishing boat’s worth of fish (traffic) by staying safely on the docks at the mainland (guesswork). They assume they know what their audiences want to hear.
That shark won’t hunt.
But if you can keep your presence of mind enough to think, “I may not actually know what questions, concerns, pain points or problems my audience is trying to solve,” you’ve got a glimmer of hope.
So, here are the three ways to stay creative and relevant with your SEO content strategy, for the duration of this COVID-19 crisis.
- Reverse-engineer the “conversational query.” According to HubSpot, Google has become very good at calculating some of the context and intent behind searches and queries.
Practically, this means you want to appear in more specific searches than ever before. Eight years ago, you might have been able to get away with “digital marketing agency (in your city),” but those days are gone.
You now shoulder the responsibility of digging deep to plumb forums, executive roundtables, Q&A sites and keyword searches to speak to the problem, not the solution.
As a primitive example, it’s better to know whether your target clients search the phrase “why isn’t my marketing working” than “digital marketing agency near me.” The market expects to be able to research this question, and return viable answers.
While you may not know the exact wording to maximize your traffic, you can approximate the prospect’s fears, frustrations, uncertainty or lack of knowledge, until the keyword data helps you structure the phrase correctly.
- Use, Don’t Abuse, COVID-19. Obviously, if you’ve started a mask business in the last three months, then the jumble of COVID-related keywords we mentioned at the outset is something to consider.
But most sharks aren’t selling masks, or hydroxychloroquine. This makes us foolish if we occupy either pole of the spectrum. If we go all-in on SEO for the virus, we’ll get a bunch of traffic we can’t convert; if we ignore it, we’ll get less traffic than we could.
Instead, you need to understand how your preliminary research, conversations and interviews with the target market collide with the virus. If Zoom was your client, COVID is the best thing to ever happen to them. But it’s still peripheral to the service they offer.
The market adapted to this quickly, and phrases like “virtual events during COVID” quickly became hot topics.
- SEO with Pictures or Sound
You know how some people are visual learners, others are verbal processors and still others need to read? Well, the good news is that Google can be all three.
SEO is sufficiently advanced that so long as your content contains the keywords and phrases you’ve developed in your strategy, the search engine will find it. The more sound and motion you can attach to your content, the better.
If you host a podcast or YouTube channel, this is an excellent opportunity to repurpose content from one medium to the next, using the same keywords strategically. Over time, it will bring your videos, podcasts, blogs and website content together to work in concert with each other.
Obviously, there’s more to it than this, but it should give you a start with some practical steps to take when choosing how to build up your online presence.
Don’t forget, if you need professional help with your SEO content strategy, we’ve developed a list of Recommended Products and Services you can access HERE.