High performing web content is crafted so search engines understand what your brand does and how your brand solves for what users are looking for.
You know your value prop, target customer and brand voice. So, you’re ready to create your web copy, right? Maybe, but maybe not. If you want to drive people to your website, you might need a separate – yet complementary – search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Your search strategy is what sets you apart from every other organization going after similar keywords.
The most successful web content includes writing for the search engine as much as the user. It should be crafted so that search engines understand what your brand does and how your brand solves for what users are looking for. Search engines use machine learning to determine context. But why not just tell the search engine what the page is about? Page titles, meta descriptions and headers using the targeted keywords help search engines match your website to users’ queries.
What is messaging?
Messaging positions a brand and its value proposition. It’s included in website copy, promotional copy, and everywhere customer-facing. Sometimes messaging can solve for a pain point for which customers hadn’t been aware there was a solution. How ever messaging is crafted, it’s usually designed to invoke a feeling which motivates a customer to act.
Why is your search strategy different?
While messaging raises pain points to resolve, SEO capitalizes on existing demand. SEO content places your brand in front of the customer when – and how – they’re looking for it. People use search engines looking for answers to their questions. A successful search strategy must tell the search engine what types of questions your brand solves.
How to choose SEO keywords
Start by understanding the keywords your customers use to search for a solution to their problem. This might not include your messaging or value proposition. For example, “innovation center” or “collaboration community” sound impressive and might position a brand well. But people are more likely to search what they’re looking for, such as “startup space.” Your SEO strategy will need to account for the more familiar language to capture that traffic.
Be mindful to look at your solution from the perspective of the customer, not your industry. “Reputation management” and “crisis communications” accurately describe a solution, but if someone’s not familiar with these industry keywords, they may simply search for “help dealing with bad PR.” As another example, people might be unfamiliar with “virtual private networks” yet understand the need for “internet security.” In both cases, research into what keywords your customers use can help identify the right SEO keywords to target.
Reevaluate regularly and adapt to change. New conversations occur all the time. Any time your community is talking about something, you should be addressing those topics and keywords. Before the pandemic, “cycling tours” were exclusively for exercise enthusiasts. But during quarantine, there was an increase in people searching for “things to do outdoors.” Staying on top of popular keywords in this case can also help you identify new messaging or offerings, such as cycling tours for more casual riders.
Incorporate your search strategy with your messaging
Consider how your solution solves a customer’s pain points. Are your customers asking themselves questions where your solution would apply? SEO keyword research will tell whether those questions are being used in search engines. If so, then copy can be written so that the person and the search engine find you when those questions are asked.
Research has shown that when readers are looking for information, they scan headlines to determine if the content will include what they’re looking for. To capture their attention, use headers and subheaders so readers know what they’ll find.
Best practices when writing for SEO
Double the value of headers by including your SEO targeted keywords in the headers. This will help search engines know what your content is about so it can be cataloged. Then when a customer searches for a word or phrase, the engine will say, “Oh, I know a website that talks about that,” and show your brand in the search results. And voilá! Your messaging has gotten in front of a customer when they are looking for your solution by leveraging SEO.
Another strategy for integrating SEO with messaging takes a more straight-forward approach to answering customers’ questions. “How to” queries are popular for a wide range of topics. Aim to capture this traffic using the question as the SEO target keyword. For example, simply use “How to Run a Virtual Strategy Meeting” as the header, and then provide a solution. Also consider ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions in the same vein.
Don’t forget page titles, meta descriptions and other SEO opportunities. These are all occasions to capture the reader’s interest while aiding search engines in cataloging your content.
Get help creating a search strategy
The right tools can take your SEO strategy to the next level. A good strategy-minded partner will understand your brand’s desired messaging while incorporating best practices for SEO. Standing Partnership uses industry-leading keyword research tools to identify opportunities to outrank your competition. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about creating an SEO strategy for your website.