It seems like today everyone is focusing on SEO. This is great because SEO is important for getting more eyes on your content. However, failure to build a balance of content and SEO can cause some serious problems down the line.
Balancing SEO with content is fundamental to the success of any website, regardless if your goal is to build traffic, rank for a specific keyword, or rank for multiple keywords.
This article will examine some tips and strategies on how to balance out SEO with content.
Why do you need to balance your SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of using keywords, keyword phrases, and other marketing tactics to improve your rankings on search engines. The higher you rank on search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, the better chance you have of being found by people searching for the products or services you offer.
But there is a fine line between adequate use of these keywords and overuse — which can actually harm your rankings in search results. So how do you know when you’ve reached that fine line?
First of all, your content won’t be relevant to what people are searching for. Secondly, your content won’t look authentic and will come off too “salesy.” Finally, your content won’t help users with their goals. If people click through to your site and don’t find anything useful there, they will leave right away — and this will be reflected in your bounce rate (and subsequently, your rankings).
9 tips to balance SEO and content
Here are nine tips to help you walk the line between content and SEO.
1. Use specialized SEO software
If you’re at all familiar with SEO, you probably know that you can use keywords to help your content rank higher in search engine results. However, it’s not just about using a few keywords; it’s about using the right number of keywords at the right places within your content.
If you use too many keywords, Google will penalize your content and push it down in the rankings. Likewise, if you don’t use enough keywords, your content won’t have the necessary terms to get picked up by search engines. So how do you balance this?
The answer is simple: use specialized software that can help ensure your content is optimized for SEO. This software will analyze your content and tell you whether or not there are enough keywords in it (as well as what those words should be). The software will also check for duplicate content that could negatively impact search engine rankings.
Services like Yoast, Raven Tools, MarketMust, SurferSEO, Clearscope, Frase, and Moz can help you quickly evaluate your post’s performance in terms of keyword density, readability, meta information, etc.
On the other hand, tools like RankTracker will help you track search engine rankings. It has great features, including popular search engine monitoring, local rank tracking, daily rank tracking, and data comparison, among others.
You can also measure your marketing success from tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and HubSpot Marketing. To analyze this data, try using Databox dashboards so you can spot changes in real-time.
By automating the technical side of things, you can spend more time on the creative side — prioritizing content and SEO.
2. Limit your keywords to highly-vetted ones
When it comes to keywords, quality is more important than quantity. Pick and research for keywords that are highly relevant to your target audience and will likely drive the most traffic, rather than just trying to cram as many in as possible.
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about how many people are searching for a given keyword, but don’t forget about the other end of the equation: does that keyword convert?
If you’re getting a lot of traffic from people who aren’t interested in your product or service or don’t have the buying power to make a purchase, you’re not going to see much business.
Also, check the monthly search volume for selected keywords and consider SERP features while choosing keywords. When it comes to keyword use, most SEO experts say that an ideal keyword density is 1-2%.
3. Use technical SEO to make an article rank without readers noticing
Sometimes it seems like SEO and writing for readers are mutually exclusive. Search engines want to see keywords, links, and strategic formatting. Readers want the complete opposite: natural content that doesn’t make them think about keywords.
But with a little creativity and understanding of how search engines work, it’s possible to use technical SEO to make an article rank without readers noticing.
After you’ve included keywords, the next step is to include internal links in your article. These are links that point back to other articles on your site. Internal links help search engines understand what the article is about and, thus, they boost its rank.
At the same time, make sure that you’ve filled out your meta tags properly (this is what search engines look at before they examine your actual site).
There are other content SEO strategies you can employ without putting too much pressure on yourself to make each page informative and entertaining.
Here are some ways to use technical SEO with content:
- Use the ALT tag to help search engines determine what your images are trying to convey.
- Organize your content so that it flows naturally from one topic to another.
- Consider using tools to speed up your site and secure it to improve SERP ranking (a safe website is a reliable one).
- Give your article structure with H1, H2, and H3 headers that are logical and easy to read.
4. Only promote internal links that bring readers value
When building internal links, it’s important to only include those that bring value to your readers.
If you include a link to something relevant and helpful, your readers will be more likely to click through and read the linked content because they know it’s going to provide them with more useful information.
Here’s an example of internal linking in an article:
However, suppose you’re linking to something that has no relation to what you’re writing about. In that case, you may fool Google into thinking that the page is relevant for that search term, but it’s really only going to frustrate your readers when they click on the link and find nothing of interest on the linked page.
You should also pay attention to anchor text (the text people click on) and ensure it’s relevant and not repetitive. For example, if you have multiple articles about fall home maintenance, don’t use the phrase “fall home maintenance” as anchor text for each one. Avoid phrases like “click here” or “read more” and use some keywords instead (within reason, of course).
5. Accept guest posts
One of the most effective ways to balance SEO and content on a blog is to accept guest posts. Guest contributors provide fresh ideas and different voices, which can make your blog more attractive.
In addition, they share your content with their audiences, leading to more traffic for you. You might even get links to your site, which will help you get better rankings.
But how do you go about getting good quality guest posts? Here are some tips.
- Decide what type of content you need and your guidelines before reaching out to writers.
- Search for writers who produce content related to yours.
- Look for writers who have been quoted by industry experts or large publications like Forbes or The Wall Street Journal.
- Reach out with an idea for a post or ask if they’d like to pitch an idea (don’t just ask if they’re interested in writing for you!).
6. Create posts to capitalize on current trends
Seasonal marketing campaigns are an ideal way to capitalize on current trends and can help boost your SEO.
For example, in December, you could create a post about Christmas gift guides for your top products. In August, you could create a blog post about back-to-school shopping tips or advice for teachers.
You can also use the latest social media trends to your advantage to boost SEO. For example, if you have a successful YouTube channel and have noticed people are using the new live-streaming app Periscope to talk about your videos, then you could write a blog post comparing the two platforms.
You can also perform a quick Google search to discern what’s trending in your industry.
A study of 2.5 million search queries also found that Google’s “People also ask” feature currently shows up for 48.6% of searches.
Google’s “people also ask” feature lets you see what other people have asked about a certain topic and read answers based on those questions. To use this feature, simply type in a question into Google.
If there are other questions related to your query, they will appear below the top results. You can then use these questions to help guide your content creation.
You can also use a keyword research tool to find long-tail question keywords among your audience and offer comprehensive answers.
7. Don’t be too particular with SEO rules
When it comes to SEO and content, it’s understandable that you might want to play by all the rules. However, sometimes the best way to have great SEO is to not be too particular with the rules.
If your website is suffering due to low rankings, try out the following tips and see if they help:
- Make sure you’re writing content for your audience
- Focus on just a few keywords. Don’t overuse them
- Focus more on omnichannel marketing
- Don’t worry too much about keyword density and focus on the reader’s experience
- Use headings and subheadings (H1 and H2 tags) in your content
- Consider using images, but make sure they’re relevant to your article
You can also consider using a chatbot tool to enhance your site’s user experience. A better site experience and lower bounce rate will lift rankings despite your content.
8. Space out SEO content, branded content, and “for fun” content
It’s important to remember that the best content marketers aren’t just churning out quality material — they’re also working on the art of good balance.
One of the major ways to balance your content is by having different types of posts. For example, you might have one piece of content that’s about your product and its use cases.
You might have another piece that’s completely off-topic and just for fun, like “6 ads we loved in 2021.”
And then maybe a third, branded piece like a blog post on your brand’s website or a video on YouTube. You could do an unboxing video, for example.
Having these different kinds of content together will help keep things fresh, engage your audience, and give them more reasons to read, check back for more updates, or subscribe.
9. Accept that some posts won’t rank (and that’s okay!)
One of the biggest misconceptions about SEO is that every single post has to rank for a specific keyword. But the truth is, not every piece of content you create will end up ranking high in search results. And that’s okay.
There are a few reasons why some posts won’t rank:
- It takes time for Google to recognize your content and crawl it.
- Some keywords have too much competition for you to place well on them.
- Your content may have been outranked by a piece that better meets searcher intent.
- Your domain isn’t as strong as your competitors yet.
Instead of spending hours trying to get a single post to rank, accept that there are some topics that your site won’t be able to rank on and focus your energy on content that has higher potential.
Cross the bridge between SEO and Content!
The recipe for creating a fantastic content marketing strategy is simple. The first ingredient is called SEO, the second ingredient is called content, and you need to know how to dole out the right amount of both. The key to achieving success lies in finding that delicate balance between the two ingredients.