Google consistently changes its algorithm and the way it treats keywords. Marketers are always trying to get ahead of the curve and enhance their search rankings, but it’s not always a great strategy to hop on every SEO trend.
We see a lot of marketers base their entire strategy on keywords just because that’s what other people are doing. Keywords are not the be-all and end-all of SEO. Primarily concentrating on keywords might be how search engines operate, but it’s not how people actually think.
You Should Focus Your Blogging Strategy on People
Ultimately, you should concentrate your blog on your offering’s buyers and users, attempting to solve their challenges. The easiest way to do this is by considering your company’s buyer and user personas.
What are their biggest problems? What kind of solutions are they considering? How does your product offer them a solution? From there, you need to connect the dots, eventually positioning your product as a solution to their problem.
Of course, each persona will differ in what they need and the way you should present information to them. For instance, if a marketing manager (your buyer) were purchasing software for their team, they would care about how to prove the ROI of the tool.
Members of the manager’s team (users) might also care about the ROI of the tool, but they probably wouldn’t search for posts about, “How to Prove ROI.” Instead, they might be searching for, “Strategies to Increase ROI,” because that is what they are hoping to do.
By considering your buyer and user personas, you can develop a blogging strategy to cover the topics your audience cares about. You can also ensure you are spinning a topic, like ROI, to cover all the angles it needs to, satisfying your personas in a way you couldn’t by just concentrating on keywords.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t stop doing keyword research. It’s a great tool to identify what topics are trending in your industry and gain inspiration for future posts. Don’t just write a post because a term is trending though. Instead, think about how that term can be used to create content relevant to your goals.
Additionally, if you have a topic in mind that you want to write a blog about, consider the best way to craft the title. For instance, in the ROI example above, it would be worth determining whether, “How to Prove ROI,” or “How to Prove Return on Investment,” would perform better in search results. These subtle shifts of phrase can have large impacts on traffic, so you should be cognizant of them.
If you do have a tendency to focus too much on keywords in your blog, here are five tips to expand your strategy.
5 Tips to Expand Your Blogging Strategy from a Keyword Focus
People don’t think like search engines. If you’re trying to rank for posts around the topic “inbound marketing,” you should do more than attempting to position yourself for that term alone. Realistically, if someone is trying to find information to solve an inbound marketing related pain point, they probably aren’t googling “inbound marketing.” They’re looking for something more specific.
For instance, maybe a CMO is curious about inbound marketing strategies to help improve their team’s efforts. They might search, “What are the best inbound marketing strategies to generate more leads?”.
Of course in this case, there could be people who are new to the concept of inbound marketing that might be interested in applying it in their business. Since they don’t know much about the topic, they could just search broad terms like, “inbound marketing.” We shouldn’t ignore these individuals. Instead, we can target them through paid search where we bid on less specific terms.
When building your blogging strategy, keep this in mind: You need to make sure you’re structuring your strategy in a way that simulates how people search in real life.
Accounting for long-tail keywords, the specific phrases that people search for, instead of typing tidy terms, is vital for your blogging, and your SEO strategy for that matter, to be successful.
2. Be more specific
By being more specific and acting like a human, you can rank for much more content.
Using the inbound marketing example from earlier, it’s far more difficult to rank for a generic term with high search volume. The term “inbound marketing” currently has 9,900 monthly searches. Alternatively, if you’re trying to rank for “B2B inbound marketing tactics,” that’s more specific and only has 170 monthly searches.
While your gut may tell you more searches means more potential eyes on your material, that is not always the case. With so many searches being conducted, many companies are writing content about inbound marketing, and, if you aren’t specific enough in your topic selection, you can get lost in the mix.
By targeting broad terms, you might be missing opportunities. Finding your niche and being specific is easier and ultimately more helpful for your end users.
Of course, it’s important you maintain a balance and don’t overcompensate by targeting terms with extremely low search volume. You don’t want to become lost in the mix, but you also want to generate enough traffic to help people.
3. Consider related topics
By concentrating solely on keywords, you’re limiting your reach to people who are searching things related to your business, while excluding people conducting searches that could lead them to your business but aren’t directly associated.
For instance, if you were a vegan catering company, you would severely limit your potential reach if you only blogged about vegan food. It might be wise to write about, “How to Stand Out at Your Next B2B Conference,” or “Why You Should Provide Healthy Food at Your Next Event.” Though the titles don’t mention anything about vegan food, the topics can expand your reach to new audiences, attracting more visitors.
By only writing about what you sell, you’re missing out on an opportunity to find people who might not even know they need your product or service. You can broaden your audience by writing on a variety of topics.
4. Avoid solely concentrating on your product
Similar to how only focusing on keywords can limit your strategy, you don’t want to miss out by being too product-focused. When it comes to B2B solutions, offerings are normally quite complex, and consumers might not be sure exactly what to search for.
For instance, if you have a project management software, you shouldn’t only write blogs with names like, “Why You Need Our Software.” By blatantly focusing on your product, you’re missing out on all the different topics that accompany the challenge you solve.
In expanding your strategy to concentrate on the intangible benefits you offer, you can attract a much larger audience. For instance, you could write about, “How Project Management Can Make Your Life Less Stressful,” or “Tips for Dealing with Stress at Work.” Reducing stress is something that appeals to most people, so you could dramatically increase your traffic and demand.
While these titles are broad, you can still make them relevant to your topic, “project management tools,” even though the whole post isn’t based on your product. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t only write about your product but also discuss the solution you provide.
5. Be aspirational
Being aspirational in your content strategy is really important.
For instance, maybe your company offers a number of core product or service offerings now, but they aspire to expand into new, related offerings in the future. To prepare for such an extension, you could begin writing about the new topics before you roll them out in your business.
The key here is that they are actually related to what you do. It’s helpful to think of your potential customers and the problems they are facing. You don’t want to suddenly bring up a random topic and alienate your audience.
Through being aspirational with your content, you can start ranking for topics well in advance of any potential extensions in your offering, so if you do eventually roll them out you’ll be well-positioned. In this way, you can drum up demand for new offerings and gauge whether they are worth launching.
To find the greatest success with your blogging, your strategy should account for both people and keywords.
If there’s a relevant pain point you believe should be addressed on your blog but the search volume associated with it is extremely low, you can figure out how to incorporate that specific challenge into a topic that is a lot broader and gets more search volume.
For instance, if you want to talk about something really specific within the role of inbound marketing, you can use the “inbound marketing” keyword because of its popularity in the title and work more niche details into the content itself.
Overall, you have to maintain a certain level of empathy when you are thinking about how people interact with your blog. You are trying to offer them legitimate value. It isn’t about fooling them into clicking on your post just so you can generate traffic; it’s about helping them solve their problems. Optimizing your blog for keywords is how you get people to the site, but you have to provide value once they’re there.
Amanda is a former New Breeder.
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