As account team members, we often find ourselves writing long-form content for our clients, such...
As account team members, we often find ourselves writing long-form content for our clients, such as LinkedIn articles, blog posts or bylines that have anywhere from 500 to 1,000+ words. Marketers specialize in getting a good piece of content in front of potential consumers who will read, share and interact with it—with the ultimate goal of influencing consumers at the point of purchase.
But in the absence of a budget for paid promotion, how do we ensure that helpful, educational contentgets in front of the right audiences and drives business outcomes for our clients?
Keeping in mind the power of search engine optimization (SEO), account executives take key steps when developing content for our clients so the result is informative, helpful and, most importantly, will be found and read by consumers.
Want to know how it’s done? Here are six steps for optimizing content:
1. Choose keywords by hitting up the Google search bar.
Stumped on which keywords to use to optimize your post? Take it to Google. Put yourself into the mindset of a consumer by organically searching for things related to your content and see what Google Autocomplete turns up. Chances are, if a string of keywords autocompletes with several search results, consumers are searching for that exact information at that given time – and it could be a micro-moment for your content to capitalize on.
2. Each blog post or page should have a unique URL containing relevant keywords and have its own webpage:
Account executives may not be able to physically create the URL for a client’s piece of owned content because some content management systems don’t allow a third-party user to customize a URL. At a minimum, we suggest a URL to our clients so they can enact this best practice!
3. Create previews on the home page of the blog, or at the top of the post itself, of what people will read when they click or scroll through to a blog post.
Being “above the fold” is just as important online as it is in print publications. Place an enticing, brief description of what consumers are about to read near the top of your content to compel them to continue reading. In today’s eight-second attention span, “scrolling” world, consumers need to know right away if the article they clicked on is going to give them the information they seek.
4. Incorporate the long-tail keywords (phrases of 3 words or more) you want to optimize for throughout the post, but write with consumers top-of-mind.
A general rule of thumb: assuming that the keyword you want to optimize for is in your title, try aiming for a 2 to 5 percent keyword density. Don’t overuse keywords, also known as keyword stuffing.
For example, this post would optimize for the long-tail keyword of “account executive guide to optimizing content.” While you wouldn’t put this phrase over and over within this post, try to have it naturally occur a few times where applicable to help a search engine better understand what this content is about.
While it’s good to be aware yourself, content management systems like WordPress generally scan for how many occurrences of chosen keywords there are throughout a post to help you avoid this.
5. Posts and pages should have a title, description and header, and content should utilize pictures (with captions!), bullets and numbers.
Both consumers and search engines love when pages are easy to read. Going back to the idea that consumers want to be able to quickly scan and find the information they’re looking for, a big part of optimizing content is formatting it in a compelling way by using titles and different section headers, pictures and bullets.
Don’t forget captions when working at your desk optimizing content
One note about pictures: while search engines are not yet savvy enough to index what is in an image, you can still get an image “read” by search engines by adding a caption or naming them with appropriate titles so that it’s obvious what the picture is about (i.e., “AEOptimizingContent.jpg”).
6. End with a call to action and link to related applicable content.
One of the most powerful ways you can utilize links is by including a call to action at the end of your content that encourages consumers to read more about a topic or links them to another area on your site, further strengthening your SEO. That’s the beauty of writing for the web: you can cite your sources directly within the text.
Whether or not we have a digital specialist on our teams, account executives must ensure that the right content gets in front of the right eyeballs at the right time. Through content optimization, we make it easier for search engines to find information on a website, and for consumers to quickly scan and get what they’re looking for.
SEO requires us to be nimble as content creators, but when you’re at the top of Google results, it’s all worth it.