There are plenty of guides on the internet covering the basics of SEO and why you need to invest in it for your blog, but I haven’t seen many on the subject of how to come up with a content strategy. So I wrote my own!
What is a content strategy and why do you need one?
A content strategy defines how you use content to market your blog or website and attract more visitors. For business websites, this is typically how you use content to improve conversions or leads on your site but it’s also important to consider for growing your blog and for monetization purposes such as adverts or affiliate revenue. If you’re a hobbyist blogger, this probably isn’t something you’ve given much thought to.
When it comes to SEO, there’s plenty available on why you need to implement on-page changes like including keywords in your titles and headings, but not much discussing what sort of content is actually going to provide search traffic and where you should prioritise your efforts.
For example, readers who find your blog through the WordPress reader are probably interested in reading your favourites post or your latest product empties, but is that what search engine users want? Think about the type of beauty-related Google searches you perform yourself. Chances are, product reviews and swatches feature high on your list along with guides, dupes and maybe even questions like how to sharpen a lip crayon or how to use specific products.
My advice for where to focus your SEO efforts is on those posts that are actually likely to have a search market like reviews and the other topics discussed above.
But don’t all my posts have a search market?
Maybe. But you need to think about what words someone would enter in a search engine to find your post. A problem I have with a lot of SEO articles is that they tell you to focus on a keyword phrase but don’t offer much advice on what that phrase should be.
If you’ve got a favourites post, for example, most of the time that’s only going to rank for search phrases that it answers the search query of. So someone might stumble across it if they’re actively searching for beauty favourites or whatever your post is, but it’s unlikely that it’s going to rank for the names of the products you mention or anything like that because it’s not relevant enough to those terms.
What would a content marketer do?
The difference between a blogger and a content marketer mostly comes down to strategy. While you might have analysed your post performance to gain insight on what your readers engage with most, your existing audience might be different to the potential organic search audience you could be bringing in.
A blogger tends to write content and then think about SEO, whereas a content marketer will generally conduct keyword research and set up a plan before they write a single word.
Having a strategy in place means that you can target a specific search market and predict traffic growth, rather than hoping that all of your content will have a search market. It’s difficult to think about your hard-crafted work like this but not everything you post will be searchable content and it’s useless trying to optimise it if a search market doesn’t exist.
How do I do keyword research?
What words would you enter in a search engine?
This is one of the most simple ways to think about SEO on your blog. When you’re writing content and when it comes to important SEO factors like the title and headings, think about how you would search.
Reverse Google search
If you’re posting a review of L’Oreal Pro Glow foundation, for example, you might try Googling ‘Loreal pro glow foundation review’ to see what the ranking opportunities are.
If the Google results are the right type of content- i.e. other blog post reviews rather than shopping results or videos, there’s a ranking opportunity. If the results are not what you expected and don’t align with your content then there probably isn’t a ranking opportunity.
In this instance, no amount of on-page SEO is going to help. My advice is to move on and spend time optimising content where there are ranking opportunities.
Use keyword tools
There are tons of keyword tools out there that will help you discover what words and phrases your potential audience is using. I’ll probably write an in-depth post on this in the future but I’ve put some links at the bottom for you to check out.
I like using keyword tools by inputting a general search term like if I wanted to write a review of the Barry M Under the Sea Nail Paints (which I will be doing soon!), I would enter something like ‘Barry M under the sea’ and see what phrases people search for around this. This gives you an idea of what keywords you could be optimising your content for as in the example image below:
As suggested above, I would always Google these terms myself to check if there is an opportunity or not. Some keyword tools will also tell you what the average monthly search volume is, so you know that you’re not wasting your time on keywords that are too competitive or that have too low a search volume.
So, should I be thinking about all my blog posts like a content marketer?
I would say no. Most bloggers already have an idea of what content they like to create and what their audience engages with so it would be bad advice for you to completely change your strategy. However, growing your traffic is all about finding new audiences and the organic search market has huge potential if you do your research!
TLDR: If you want to start bringing in more search engine traffic to your blog, the best way to focus your SEO efforts is on keyword research and establishing what people are actually searching for rather than trying to optimise existing content that has no ranking potential.