If you’re keen to create good content or put a strategy in place that works for you and your business then you’re in the right place.
Dan Shure and I talk about EAT (expertise, authority, trust,) from the August algorithm update, basics of understanding the intent of readers for creating content and even touch on what to do with legacy content. Don’t miss our chat about how content may develop for the voice market at the end of the episode.
About Dan Shure:
- 10 years in SEO industry
- Needed websites for himself and dad’s sites and needed to grow a business
- He gave piano lessons but got excited about SEO
- Now in a 2 people consultancy (him & wife) at Evolving SEO
- Experts on the Wire podcast, interviewing search marketing experts
- Twitter: @dan_shure
Where to start for SEO Content Creation
3 mins. First thing is to figure out is the keyword landscape. Don’t do a site audit, technical changes or link building without knowing the keywords. Not the goal but it’s still where things begin. Know what you’re trying to be visible for and put things out in order. Put these words into buckets, like informational keywords, transactional keywords (what is the business trying to sell like products or services.)
A lot of businesses struggle that are non-product selling. When a business sells a localisation to help develop services in that geographical location. The mistake they make is that being visible for just the localisation but it’s not a service intent search, it’s an information intent search. Add a modifier therefore, such as ‘company’ or ‘provider’. Additional keyword help add to the topic and indicate the intent.
6:50 mins. Example: web marketing is an information intent but you’ll need to add ‘consultant’ or ‘agency’ to help cater to the intent. Use what Google looks like (SERPs) to understand what that intent is. Companies often mis-match the type of content to the intent (more about this later!)
8:25 mins. John Mueller tweets that keywords don’t need to be in the URLs.
Google has said this many time but it’s taken out of context. If you don’t have the keyword it won’t harm you from ranking but it’s good UX and helps customer understand the page. It entices you to click (increasing CTR) and the anchor text and backlinks both seen as a positive. Google is simply saying don’t obsess over it.
11:50 mins. The next steps after determining the keyword research is aligning those to the page type. Dan works with multiple spreadsheets, separating transactional with inspirational keywords. Then he categorises those by what page they should go into. You can run filters and know how many or what types of pages you need.
Where is the line between how many to create? Not enough pages or too thin content on the pages means you have to balance what you create. Start small at first, says Dan, and add pages after that. Always better to start conservative.
13:40 mins. A mistake often seen is service pages aligned to industry lingo that customers are not searching. Too industry-centric without speaking the language of the customer. So, you need a page that targets what services you provide. The information side is where you have most of the strategy and think about what is the content type such as infographics, videos etc.
Take note of what resources you offer and what your competitors are doing. Take those and align those two to articles, videos, content type and then plot these into a calendar plan.
Advanced SEO Content Strategy
15 mins. Search Google and see what’s ranking. Get a feel of what is the type of pages that will help you be successful. Dan says clients often don’t understand how long or short a content piece needs to be but it should be as long as you need to go in depth and cover the topic appropriately. Images, structure can all be determined by searching the SERPs.
16:30 mins. There is good inspirational content performance at Amara but it’s natural that there is less conversion via inspirational pages such as these. We’re currently working on understanding the types of content and what is bringing customers to the shop, brand awareness and what part of the journey that the customer or reader is in to help them along.
18:30 mins. Dan says that post August 2018 algorithm update there is a need to apply a different strategy for performance. Usually you can look at domain authority gap, relevancy, quality of the content but that alone isn’t as effective any more.
Example: outdoor activities for kindergarten. Google showed results for ‘kids’ instead when Dan searched for this. It’s a huge deal because we’d usually see relevance as number 1, matching the keyword but the fact that Google now ranks kids suggests that the results are switched. Maybe Google figured out that kids satisfies this result rather than kindergarten so it’s a relevance adjustment and needs to be taken into account when creating content. Dan now looks at the in-title search to have 500 or less results on Google, to find a gap rather than it being thousands prior to the August update. Key takeaway: understand the intent of that search and how the results are presenting it.
22:40 mins. The August core algorithm update 2018, otherwise known as the medic update, wasn’t Google specifically going after medical websites. However, medical websites have a lot of factors that correlated to low quality factors that Google was focusing on. One of those things is posting about a lot of different topics. They’re jumping all over the place rather than focusing on a niche so Dan suggests to his clients to focus their topics to rank better. Showing a volume of content to show that you’re an authority in a particular topic by creating clusters sees good performance. That’s what makes a good strategy in this new algorithm state.
26:30 mins. Experts writing the content can also suggest your content is trustworthy. A category page that makes a hub for the cluster of pages about a topic is positive too because it means no dead ends for the reader or customer so that they have next steps and other pieces of content to read. That’s where the structure comes in so in Dan’s opinion having an expert isn’t enough. It’s important to not have orphan pages too so a hub or category and hierarchy is absolutely crucial, not only for readers but crawlers too.
29:50 mins. Healthyhearing.com Dan planned this out by taking the seed topic and go to Google to type in the keywords and look for long tail keywords. The key to be visible for a generic topic is by creating the information architecture and content around the niche information. 1 pillar page and everything else links into that.
36 mins. Intent types:
- Informational searches
- ‘What’ topics
- ‘Why’ intent
- ‘How to’ intent (web marketing tips or examples.)
- Hybrid intent is vague and that’s when you’re not sure what user wants. For example, marketing automation. The results are all over the place and requires to mix in all of the above to satisfy all possible intents. It works well if it’s not a high-volume search topic.
Dan says that the biggest mistake is where there’s a misalignment between the intent and the content structure, for example where the answer isn’t at the very top of the page but frustrates the user by making them scroll. Top Tip: Satisfy the intent at the top.
Blog posts vs hub sections: the latter works well when the topic requires 10-12 pages on it. To find out if that’s the case, do a Google search to see how many returns you will get for that term. If there are a lot of search results then it offers a clue for whether you need a hub or a blog post. Also, is it a topic that’s static and doesn’t change much, ie not much news because then it might be better as a hub. How often do you update your content too? Blog posts don’t necessarily require updating.
Legacy Content Strategy
Ryan Jones tweets out to encourage content creators to add dates onto their content and articles, especially if people don’t update it…
43mins. Don’t only add the publish date but also the last update date if relevant. It will be useful for readers and you will show how established a piece of content is and how relevant. Plan to update your content every 3-6 months and it doesn’t have to be rewritten completely but fix broken links, update images and data points. This should be part of the strategy as it’s not just about writing new content but also about updating the information you’ve previously given.
Dan had clients with legacy old content. It ranked really well for content for years but it started to slowly drop off.
Top Tip: Take the original page and noindex it on another page. Then, at the top of the freshly written content state that you’ve rewritten it (and when) but link to the old post in case they want to visit the archived version. Dan says he always keeps the old pieces of content there, offering that option to the user.
No duplication issue and a great way to update content that really needs a complete uplift. It helps Google connect the dots and show the relationship between those to continue the ranking signals. Dan’s client’s rankings shot back up after doing this.
Dan simply walked through the steps of what the user would want. What if it’s updated, what would the user want to see? The old content, hence you offer this to them.
48:45mins. Dan thinks you should be aware of the new age of Google post the medic update/August core update. Dan is analysing sites and what has dropped. Rather than looking at who lost, what sites are winning? Dan shares websites that have well structured content and information that is ranking well.
How is content going to develop for voice market?
51 mins. Firstly, structured data is important for featured snippets and featured snippets are important for voice queries as the technology use the ‘position 0’ to offer information to users. There’s schema for voice called Speakable which is audio schema markup.
Dan says that a year ago he created a video where he created audio files for Drift.com and he believes that most people will expect an audio version of any piece of content in the future. People like content in all formats so consider creating audio of popular content.
Google is launching a voice driven news. People can consume on audio device like Google home or trigger that content to read it out so good for accessibility. Dan’s examples: MobileMoxie.
How: Invest in a decent microphone, audio software and Soundcloud for free and upload your versions of you reading the content then add a simple embed with call to action ‘want to listen to this post?’ into the articles.
ADA compliance requires you to create audible content for people with site impairment. Dan thinks this importance will just grow in the future.
- Natural Language Understanding & BERT with Dawn Anderson
- Video content with Aleyda Solis
- SEO in 2020 with Ric Rodriguez
Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes.