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Why should I describe a link building strategy before publishing the content? Contributor Andrew Dennis explains how intelligent research and planning increase ratings and link success.
Content and links are still pillars of search engine optimization (SEO).
In fact, Google has told us that in the past these components are two of the three main factors in Google’s search algorithm.
For now, we should all know this, but many people still make a critical mistake when it comes to content and links, and how they relate to each other in terms of search optimization.
Most webmasters brainstorm, design and execute content initiatives, then look for links. I feel that this may not be the best strategy. The creation of links should be a consideration before the content is published and should be used to guide the content strategy.
When the search opportunity dictates a content strategy instead of the other way around, the results can be tremendous. When you can check the content strategy before the linkage begins, the results can be positive:
As you can see, we succeeded in securing links and expanding keyword rankings, and because the content was specific and strategic, it only took a handful of links to see the growth.
Here is a breakdown of where those keywords fall within the top 100 search results:
Now you might be thinking: “Two keywords in the top 10, that’s not very impressive”, but these keyword classifications are high value terms that generate qualified traffic with great possibilities of conversion to a site.
Because we had influence on the content strategy from the beginning, we guided the client towards the tactical content that would support these results.
It should be noted that content marketing has multiple purposes; Not all publications should have links as a final goal. Many content marketing campaigns are brand oriented and have nothing to do with SEO and links.
However, if you are creating SEO content, there are three main objectives you should consider:
- General organic traffic.
- Golf course.
- Traffic directed to specific pages.
Let’s look at a simplified, three-step version of the content query process that you can use to find the ranking and link success.
1. Identify search opportunities
SEO content queries begin where all content campaigns should begin, with keyword research.
For this hypothetical example, I’ll be running a lightweight keyword research, but you’ll want to dig deeper with your own research as you develop your content strategy.
My goal is to identify basic keywords and topics in which improvement can be achieved. Once you find these basic terms, I’ll guide you by creating blog posts and pages centered on the long-tail keywords associated with that corresponding topic.
To explain this concept, I am going to use and analyze the x.ai website, a personal assistant with artificial intelligence, and go through it as if I were consulting with this company about SEO content.
I chose x.ai at random and because the company called their artificial intelligence program “Andrew”, which is a great name, do not you think?
I start my research analyzing how x.ai is currently performing. You can use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to search for relevant reference keywords.
By examining the data, I can extract a handful of key terms that will give me an idea of how x.ai is currently performing:
- [personal assistant] – Rank: 29; Volume: 22,200.
- [meeting planner] – Rank: 12; Volume: 6,600.
- [ai assistant] – Rank: 3; Volume: 2,400.
- [personal assistant application] – Range: 42; Volume: 1,600.
- [virtual personal assistant] – Rank: 51; Volume: 1,600
- [programming assistant] – Rank: 11; Volume: 1,300.
I quickly noticed that x.ai is classifying for the main term, “meeting scheduler”, so I want to investigate more.
Going deeper into this key phrase, it seems to me that there are a number of long-tail keywords related to which x.ai could also point:
Individually, these search volumes are not massive, but collectively they could make a significant difference for x.ai in terms of relevant traffic if they begin to rank for a handful of these terms.
But is there an opportunity for x.ai to qualify? To find out, I will have to analyze the pages of the competition in these respective pages of search engine results (SERP).
2. Analyze the pages of the competition
After finding potential opportunities, I need to understand what is driving success in those spaces, which involves examining the pages of the competition.
As I’m brainstorming on content ideas, I want to analyze the pages that are classified for my key terms, instead of analyzing entire sites or brands.
For example, an important term that I identified is related to the “meeting planner” and the business of x.ai is the term “meeting request email”.
This is what I see when I go to the search results:
I noticed immediately that there is a highlighted fragment, which means that if I optimize my content correctly and reach page 1, I can ignore the other results by securing the fragment.
This snippet is a short list of two points, but I would expect a real email template to be more useful for users here.
An approach that aims to secure a place in the snippet could be the best way to improve performance since the first three results here are authorized sites that could be difficult to remove from the top spots.
However, looking at the rest of the SERP reveals more information:
I see another interesting feature of SERP: images in the middle of the results. This further reinforces my belief that an image of an email template could be useful.
By clicking on some of the results, I quickly realized that I could create better content …
… if nothing else, at least from a purely aesthetic point of view:
Investigating the actual search results tells me what the search engines are looking for and what kind of content to create: informational content with useful examples and usable templates.
This information gives me the address for a new potential web page, but before consulting with my content team, I want to know if x.ai could be competitive on this search engine results page.
The best way to measure SERP competence is through links. To analyze links, I will use a back-link browser such as Majestic to analyze the results in terms of reference (link) domains.
As mentioned above (Images 5 and 6), SERPs are very heavy with authorized sites; however, I think I can compete with the lower position pages:
- letters.sampleinvitationletter.info/meeting-request-email Root: 1,133.
- sample-resignation-letters.com/writing-a-business-meeting-request-letter-with-sample.html Root: 518.
- newoldstamp.com/blog/examples-of-a-good-invitation-letter-for-an-important-business-meeting Root: 692.
The numbers reported for these three pages suggest that the link competition is really quite low for this SERP. Given x.ai’s own authority, it could have a real possibility of creating a page that is classified well.
In addition, the most authoritative pages, such as The Muse in Image 5, have a considerable amount of inbound links that point them out. This means that my page will have attached link prospects, since these reference domains may also be interested in linking my content.
3. Run content creation
Now, the goal is to build something that is better in its class and optimized for the intention of the search engine.
I would advise the x.ai content team to build a page that explains in depth how to write a meeting request email, with examples of downloadable emails and templates. Potential link partners could easily link these downloadable or insert them into your site.
It would also track the performance of this page in terms of links and keyword rankings to measure the impact of SEO in the coming months. Even with sufficient planning, factors such as changes in search behavior and changes in the market can arise and cause a pivot in the strategy, so be aware of trends.
It is also a good idea to be attentive to internal linking strategies as new pages are developed and the strategy changes. Some internal links may need to be added or deleted.
Now I have an idea of strategic content that would serve the user’s intention for a relevant term. This prepares my link campaign from the beginning, since I know that if I do my work and secure worthwhile links, this page should be classified and attract relevant traffic.
Repeat this process several times and you can begin to see how growth is achieved.
Scale the SEO content query
The hypothetical example I have provided discusses the creation of a single specific page. However, this example describes a scalable model that can be used again and again to create strategic pages.
To review, this process:
- Identified search opportunities by examining current site performance and finding opportunities where improvement can be achieved.
- I analyzed rival sites by researching goal search results and analyzing the classification content.
- He identified common themes and styles while looking for competitive links.
- Target search results investigated.
- Developed better content than the currently classified content.
- Review of content intention and “link” factors.
- Follow the performance of the content.
- Adjust the content when necessary.
This simple three-step process provides an easy-to-follow framework. As you implement this strategy to build new pages, keep in mind:
- This strategy works best with higher funnel content, but it can also be applied to some types of medium funnel content.
- Be aware of internal links. New pages should link to important product or category pages as a way to direct people and increase the equity of the link.
- Have clear goals in mind and set the right expectations regarding the SEO content. Each new page is a piece of a larger strategy.
By no means should SEOs dictate their entire content strategy. The content serves many purposes beyond SEO, such as branding, reputation management and messaging. But if you want to generate content that drives SEO results, you must include an SEO in your content strategy.