Content Remediation: How to Boost Your Ranking By Refreshing Old Content

So, you’ve done the heavy lifting making your case for content, doing your competitor and keyword research, identifying your best opportunities, creating a content strategy, etching in goals, and putting pen to paper.

But now that your content creation engine is chugging along like a sleek machine, you know there’s got to be other activities you can be doing to sneak up in the SERPs and capture more organic traffic. Enter: remediation!

Remediation is only a viable option if you already have a relatively deep well of content to work with (think at least 20 blogs published more than a few months ago). If you’re just starting out, no problem! Bookmark this page and revisit it next quarter or next year.

What is content remediation?

Content remediation is the systematic and strategic process of updating your growth content in order to give your readers new and up-to-date information and, debatably more importantly, send out the signal to search engines that there’s exciting fresh content that deserves a ranking boost.

As part of your bigger-picture content strategy, it can help fortify target keyword pillars and build greater authority in strategic areas.

Why remediate blog content?

I know what you’re thinking, your content is already great. And that’s probably true! But beyond adding some fresh information to make sure your post is as up to date and timely as possible, there are a lot of other reasons to implement a remediation strategy including but not limited to…

  1. You lost rankings because your competitors updated their content and you want to compete with them.
  2. You average time on page is low and you want to add new creative to the content to get readers staying on the page longer.
  3. The publish date is old and may discourage readers so you want to update the content and show the updated date to visitors. 
  4. Your bounce rate is higher than average and it’s because you don’t have enough internal links linking to your pillar pages. 
  5. You’re ranking on page 2 and you think with some minor improvements you’ll be able to rank on page 1.

The biggest takeaway: when we tell Google content is new, we’ll likely see a spike in traffic, making the relatively tiny amount of work required well worth it.

How to remediate content

First of all, it’s best to have a strategy in place before you start remediating old blog posts. If you have hundreds or thousands of blog posts, you’ll certainly need a plan for tackling all of these in bite-sized chunks over time. 

Process

Let’s begin with process and strategy. Before you begin creating content you typically start by building a content strategy, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do when we focus on remediation.

Similar to a content calendar, it’s useful to build out a content remediation process for each piece of content going forward. This is typically done on 30, 60, or 90-day basis, depending on how time-sensitive or evergreen your content is.

Once you’ve got the overall strategy nailed down, you’ll want to develop a strategy for each individual piece of content, which I’ll discuss now.

Improve

When setting out to improve an old post with good structure, it’s good to start with improvements in keyword targeting and general writing and grammar. You want to make sure that your blog post has a clear focus, targets a specific topic and keyword, and is doing so in proper English (or whatever language your blog may be in).

Once the content itself is in good shape, make sure to add any technical improvements that the piece may need, such as relevant internal links, alt text, or schema markup.

Then it’s time to make sure it’s pretty. Instead of big blocks of text, look for ways to make it chunkable and easier to read. This could be adding line breaks, paragraphs or creating bulleted or numbered lists. Visual improvements impact user experience and can keep people on the page longer, improving overall SEO. 

Expand and update

Another way to get more value out of your content is to repurpose or update the information contained to make old content fresh again. Data says that this is well worth the effort, with business bloggers who update older posts being 74% more likely to report strong results.

A few ways to expand or update a post are to explore a different take on the initial thesis, add newer data, or integrate more recent developments or changed opinions. Look to correct any data that is more than a year old with the most current information.  

Increasing word count has also shown to be beneficial, as longer blog posts typically perform better. This goes the same for adding images and other rich media such as infographics, videos, and charts and graphs.

Many of the blogs we recommend for remediation are under 750 words. We want to add more content as long as that content is good quality, answers FAQs, and provides the audience with useful information.

Update and add keywords

While remediating content, we also want to update the target keywords and add as many semantically related keywords as possible without crossing over the keyword stuffing line. The best way to add keywords is to include them within a sentence where it sounds natural. 

For example, in the sentences below, the keyword is in bold. Note how the first option sounds more natural, while the second one forces the keyword to create a jarring experience for the reader and the search engines.  

Do this: 

As a business owner, time is money. Save both by outsourcing bookkeeping services which allows you to focus on your company and not just your books.

Not this: 

Business outsourcing bookkeeping services tend to save time and money.

Add Images

Sometimes adding images to long-form content can completely rejuvenate the content by increasing the average time that readers spend on the page and in turn increasing its organic rankings. 

We recommend adding at least 3 images for every 1,000 words of content if possible. This can be done using a free stock image website such as Unsplash if you don’t have an extensive image library.

Content Remediation is The Low-Hanging Fruit of SEO Strategy

One of the things we find ourselves explaining most often: a great content strategy is one of the best long-term investments you can make when it comes to growth strategy. While, true, it’s a time consuming and can be more costly strategy to fire up and maintain, once you have a solid well of content, strategies like remediation can have you reaping riches for years to come.

Excited but not quite sure where to start? Let’s chat!

man looking at magnifier

How to Do a Keyword Gap Analysis

man looking at magnifier

There are no ties in SEO.

In order for one company to be number one, there also have to be losers. How can you make sure you’re on the right side of this equation? It’s all about strategy.

If you’ve identified your competition, you may be wondering:

  • What’s the next step?
  • Why are my competitors continually outranking me?

It’s likely time for you to do a keyword gap analysis.

What is a keyword gap analysis?

A keyword gap analysis is a method for choosing the best keywords for your organic SEO strategy. In a keyword gap analysis, you’ll compare yourself to your competitors to determine where they are outperforming you, and how you can catch up. Your keyword “gaps” are areas in which you have a realistic ability to overtake your competitors and outrank them. In short, it’s a way to reveal keyword opportunities you’re missing out on. 

A keyword gap analysis is an essential part of an SEO competitive analysis. You’ll identify keywords that your competitors rank for, but you don’t. You’ll also identify keywords that you have a low ranking for, for example positions 5 to 15. From there, you can create a strategy to “boost” low rankings and steal keywords from your competitors.

Why is keyword gap analysis important?

The ultimate goal of any holistic SEO content strategy is to drive traffic to your site. But you don’t want just any traffic. You want high-value, high-intent website visitors whose problems you can solve. That’s just what you get when you use a keyword gap analysis to reveal areas of opportunity where you either don’t have content or where you can improve existing content. 

Keyword gap analysis is vital to creating quality content that will capture the right audience at the right time. At Tuff, we use PPC and organic search together, building a strategy in which they complement each other, help drive growth on more competitive keywords, improve rankings and traffic, and increase share of voice. That translates into more traffic – and more revenue.

How to do a keyword gap analysis

You don’t need to be an SEO master to do a keyword gap analysis, but having a professional on your side is always helpful when it comes to interpreting results and creating a list of keywords. Here’s how we do it at Tuff.

Pick your tools

You’re going to need at least one SEO tool in order to perform a keyword gap analysis. The options here are similar to the tools you can use for on-page SEO analysis. We use Semrush, which does have a free version available with a limited amount of queries allowed. (That’s another benefit of hiring an agency – we have the tools and the expertise to use them!)

keyword gap analysis using SEMRush

Get your keyword list

Open up your tool and enter your website domain. Then enter your main competitors and click “Compare.” The tool will show you a list of keywords that your competitors rank for, as well as where you appear in the SERPs for those same words. You can sort by organic, paid, or PLA, and Semrush will also show you keyword volume, difficulty, competitive density, and CPC among other metrics. For in-depth analysis, download the file as a CSV report so you can sort and search more easily.

Interpret your results

Now you need to determine where you can get the most value from your keywords. Your keyword tool will do some of the work for you. Semrush, for example, has a section showing “Top Opportunities” for keywords that your site is missing as well as weak keywords—where you have a ranking but it is lower than all of your competitors’ rankings. To discover opportunities yourself, look for keywords that are:

  • Highly relevant to your business and your website
  • Regularly searched for by your target audience
  • Not overly competitive, but still high-value
  • Easily filled using existing content or easy to create new content for

We export each keyword gap analysis into a spreadsheet to better sort, analyze, and filter the data. It looks something like this with four core tabs: Shared, Missing, Weak, and Strong.

keyword gap analysis spreadsheet

Try a page-level analysis

You already know a few different areas where you and a competitor have similar articles. You want to determine what they’re doing right and replicate it. Doing a keyword gap analysis at the page level instead of the domain level is helpful here. You can enter the exact URL of your competitor and compare it to your own page to see what you may be missing. Then add those keywords to your page – or create an entirely new page – and start stealing competitors’ traffic.

Put it into action

How do you know whether to refresh an existing page or create a new one? What types of content will most effectively attract customers from your competitors? This is where SEO becomes not on a science, but an art. To determine your plan of action, analyze the top content that is already ranking for that keyword and look for things like:

  • Content type (video, blog, gallery, etc.)
  • Content length and organization
  • Headers and keywords used

Do you have content that already fulfills these criteria? You can update it to use the new keywords. If you don’t, you’ll want to create something new. 

Organic growth is crucial to the overall growth of your business, but it isn’t always straightforward. Tuff can help you with every step of the process, from performing a keyword gap analysis and determining the best course of action to creating content that outranks the competition. Contact us today to get started.

A person reviewing data on google search console

How Long Before you See Results from an SEO Content Strategy?

A person reviewing data on google search console

Your website is up and running. You’ve added some basic keywords to your landing pages and posted some thoughtful, organized blog articles. Maybe you even updated your HTML and other technical SEO factors. And yet…nothing. You’re left wondering, “How long does SEO take to start working?” 

The answer is: It’s complicated. There are numerous factors that affect your SEO results, and content while essential is only one of them. 

Organic SEO is a long-term play with a lot of moving pieces. But once the foundation is laid, you’ll be set up for success long into the future.

How long does an SEO content strategy take to show results?

A holistic SEO content strategy will typically take 4 to 6 months to start showing results. The amount of time depends on many different factors, including the current status of your website, your competition, and the resources you have to put into SEO. The quality of your content is also a big factor.

Remember: SEO results are cumulative. While you’ll start to see results in 4 to 6 months, after a year your results will compound even more. A solid, ongoing SEO strategy is the gift that keeps on giving. Have you noticed that certain types of searches always seem to return the same websites, over and over? Once you become a trusted, knowledgeable source in the “eyes” of the search engines, they’ll start amplifying your content automatically.

Why does organic SEO take so long?

There are dozens of ranking factors and signals that determine the overall organic health of your website and therefore your SEO results. Let’s go over the major ranking factors you need to know about.

Two coworkers brainstorming content strategy on a white board

Keyword competition

Do you have a unique product, or are there a lot of competitors in your space? The more competition you face, the longer it will take you to rank for those keywords. Selling neon-colored unicycles? Not a lot of competition. Selling kids’ bicycles? Probably really competitive. 

Domain age

You can’t get around this fact: If you have a new website that is not as established as your SEO competitors, it will be tougher to rank. New websites automatically have a lower domain authority because the search engines aren’t yet familiar with your content. They also have fewer backlinks pointing to them one of the signals search engines use to determine the ranking of your site.

On-page factors

On-page SEO includes anything your website visitors see: landing pages, product pages, blogs and so on. This is the most visible part of SEO and likely what you’ve been working on. But it goes beyond cranking out content and hoping for the best. You need to think about quality, duplicate content, hyperlinking, images and more. An on-page SEO analysis is a good place to start.

Technical factors

Technical SEO is the backend of your website. Don’t ignore these factors they’re an important piece of the SEO puzzle. In fact, page speed optimization is the top tactic marketers use to improve search performance. You should also make sure the search engines can easily crawl your website, understand your site architecture, read your hreflang, and canonicalize your URLs. Sounds like a lot of big words, right? That’s what we’re here for.

Off-page factors

Off-page SEO is often the last factor you think about, but they can make the difference between making page one or being bumped to page two. Your domain authority, bounce rate, geographic location, and target market all affect your off-page SEO. The best ways to improve this category is to work on your backlink strategy, improve your social media presence and create off-page content like guest blogs to increase your authority. 

Ever-changing algorithms 

Search engines are fickle beasts. Changes in the Google algorithm (that is, the way that Google ranks pages) send SEO specialists everywhere scrambling to update their technical and on-page SEO. Penguin, Panda, EMD (Exact Match Domain), Page Layout Algorithm … the algorithms never stop. Luckily, Tuff is here to help you keep up.

Is an SEO content strategy worth the wait?

In short yes! There’s a reason that 61% of inbound marketers say that growing SEO/organic presence is their top priority. In second place at 55% is blog content creation, a closely related topic. High-value organic traffic can result in better leads and faster acquisition times, and ultimately helps drive revenue. 

While PPC can give you instant results, you have to keep the money pumping. Organic SEO results are sticky: if done right, a good content strategy will keep delivering long after the 4 to 6 months have passed. In fact, we’re living proof. Tuff increased our own organic traffic by 630% over 12 months, which drove a 60% increase in monthly revenue. 

The key is that you have to take the time and effort to ensure that your content is fresh, good quality, and a valuable resource for your customers. A growth marketing agency like Tuff can help get your organic SEO on the right track, while also serving other channels and helping you to create a holistic strategy for growth.

A "Google" sign on top of a building in front of a blue sky

A Two-Step Guide to Identifying Your Competitors

A "Google" sign on top of a building in front of a blue sky

So you’ve determined that a growth-focused content strategy has definitively moved up your priority list. We wholeheartedly approve. A holistic SEO content strategy really pulls its weight in the acquisition department. It’s a great compliment to a paid strategy, and although it doesn’t drive immediate wins like a Facebook or Google Ads campaign can, the power it has to be an integral pillar of real, sustainable growth makes it an important strategy for almost any company serious about growing over time.

Before you jump in both feet, though, it’s important to lay the groundwork. And a super important part of that is identifying the right competitors.

Here at Tuff when we’re creating a content strategy for one of our clients, we’ll think of competitors in two different ways. 

  1. An organization that directly competes with you; your customer or clients might consistently pitch you against them. 
  2. The competitor that ranks high on the search terms we’d like to rank for. 

Step One: Define Your Market Competitors

A market competitor is an organization that directly competes with you in your market or industry; your customer or clients might consistently pitch you against them.

If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you should be familiar with your market competitors. You likely performed competitive research about your market and industry before you even started your business and incorporated it into your business plan. 

Why is it so essential to research your market competitors? There are tons of reasons, including:

  • Differentiating yourself from the competition
  • Replicating their strengths
  • Leveraging their weaknesses to your advantage
  • Honing in the market your product or service
  • Staying ahead of trends in your industry

It’s also important for us at Tuff to know. It’s a foundational part of our onboarding process and helps guide our strategic recommendations. We’ll lean on you to bring us juicy information here – so if you haven’t identified these organizations yet, here’s how to get started.

Interview customers and clients

Competitive research can seem overwhelming – where do you even start? Reaching out to your clients and customers is a great first step. Interview both new and long-time customers to determine not only what brought them to your company, but what keeps them coming back

Phone calls and email are reliable ways to gather this type of information. You can also incorporate social media by asking your followers to fill out a survey. Both qualitative (descriptive) and quantitative (numerical) information will be useful to inform your business and marketing strategies

Talk to your sales and customer service teams 

You need more than external data to create a well-rounded competitive analysis. Don’t ignore your internal teams – they have a wealth of information about your competitors that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. You especially need to talk to your sales and customer service teams. 

Your sales team will have great insights from pitches and discovery calls, where they’re sure to hear a lot about what’s great and not-so-great about your competitors. And your customer service team has probably gotten an earful about what your competitors do better than you. Make sure you create an environment of trust and confidentiality so they feel comfortable being honest.

Find the right tools

There’s never a shortage of tools in the marketing industry, and that’s true of competitive research, too. Which one (or more) is right for you?

  • Klue: Research and track your competitors through a combination of news tracking and internal data, then track them so you know when they change their website, update their products or get new customer reviews. 
  • Crayon: Capture data from hundreds of millions of sources and use AI to filter it down into key insights. Identify and follow market trends to stay ahead of the competition. 
  • FirstRain: Get high-quality and relevant information that’s categorized, prioritized and ready to be put into action. Stay up-to-date on current information like management changes, M&A and industry trends.
  • Kompyte: Differentiate your product or service with information about your competition’s features, pricing and messaging, learn what works for them and discover how it all fits into a high-level view of your market.

A screenshot from Klue, a market research company, showcasing how their software works

Enlist help from the pros 

Don’t have the time to perform competitive research yourself? We’re not afraid to tell you that this isn’t necessarily our expertise. But there are companies out there that focus specifically on digging into this type of information – and hiring one can be a smart move for enterprise-level businesses.

If you have the resources to spend, getting help from the pros can actually be more efficient than doing it yourself. Just make sure the company you choose is fluent in your industry and check their references.

Step Two: Hone in On Your SEO Competitors

An SEO competitor is an organization that ranks highly on the search terms we’d like to rank for. 

Your SEO competitors are the businesses you’ll be directly competing with in order to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). While SEO competitors sometimes overlap with market competitors this list will likely shorter than the first. It could also be composed of businesses that aren’t direct competitors, for example one that is within your industry but has a different product or service than you. 

Once you identify your competitors, you can create a plan of attack to understand what content is generating their strong results, and how you can do better. 

This all starts with focused competitive research. And the benefits of doing so go far beyond the satisfaction of unseating your competitor from the number one spot.

What are the benefits of SEO competitive research? There are tons of reasons, including:

  • Increasing organic website traffic
  • Driving high-quality traffic to your site
  • Improving conversions by providing value to potential customers
  • Earning more revenue and grow your business

This is Tuff’s wheelhouse; our bread and butter. We’ll perform and leverage SEO competitive research to create content strategies that outrank your competitors and win on critical keywords. Here’s how we identify your SEO competitors. 

Identify your keywords 

Your SEO competitors are only your competitors because they have keywords you want. To identify competitors through keywords, you must know what keywords you want! What are the keywords that your best customer is most likely to use to find your service? What are related keywords and longtail keywords?

Now narrow down your list using the following criteria:

  • Relevance. Will this keyword bring you the type of traffic you want? Is it highly relevant to your business goals?
  • Business strength. Is your business strong in this area or topic? Will a search engine believe that you’re an expert?
  • Current rankings. Are you currently ranking on page two or three for a keyword? That will make it easier for you to reach page one. 
  • Volume. Monthly volume isn’t the end-all, be-all (in fact, sometimes you may want to choose lower volume keywords). But it does give you an idea of what people are searching for. 

A graphic showcasing what keyword research looks like in Semrush.

Find your competitors

Now you can identify your competitors for your chosen keywords. You can choose the free way: manually searching Google by typing in each keyword and taking note of the businesses that show up on page one – but that can be time-consuming. It’s much more efficient to use a tool like Semrush to see who is ranking for each keyword.

The best way is to have someone do it for you. Tuff will conduct a full on-page SEO analysis, including choosing the keywords that are right for you, identifying your competitors and building you a strategy that can beat them!

Think you’re ready to fire up your content engine with Tuff? Let’s talk!

How To Do an on-Page SEO Analysis

a man sitting at a clean white desk researching on-page seo

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content is king.” Bill Gates said it in a 1996 essay, and it’s been true ever since. So it’s likely that you’ve got content. Lots of content! But is anyone seeing it? Is it helping to drive growth for your business?

An effective growth marketing strategy means more than throwing together a blog where you write about topics that you’re familiar with or that you find interesting. To create content that truly connects with your audience – and that drives conversions – you need to think about on-page SEO analysis.

What is on-page SEO?

SEO is commonly split up into three types: on-page, technical, and off-page. On-page SEO is anything that your visitors see when they come to your website: product pages, location pages, resources, blog articles, and so on. Technical SEO is what happens behind the scenes of your website: HTML markup, site architecture, site speed, and so on. Off-page SEO includes things like link building, guest blogs, and social media

Here we’ll only be talking about on-page SEO: your website’s content. Thorough and knowledgeable on-page content is an essential piece of the SEO puzzle because it signals to search engines that your content answers searchers’ questions – a key to ranking highly. 

Ranking factors for on-page content include:

  • Keyword optimization
  • Content quality, length, and organization
  • Internal and external hyperlinking
  • Meta information (URL, title tag, and meta description)
  • Images and image alt text

These are all the elements you’ll need to analyze and optimize in order to improve your position in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Seem like a lot? There are tools that can help. 

On-page SEO analysis tools

On-page SEO analysis is much more than sitting around guessing what Google wants. Done right, it will show you the gaps in your on-page strategy so you can optimize your content – and help drive organic traffic and revenue. But you’ll need the right tools. Here are three of our favorites. 

Google Analytics

You’d probably expect that Google has some of the best data on the web, and you’d be right. Get real-time reporting on visitors, traffic sources, conversion rate, and more across devices so you can analyze what’s working and what isn’t. You can also use Google Search Console to drill down into organic search traffic to see what keywords your pages are ranking for.

a chart from google analytics showing site traffic

Semrush

Semrush is an excellent SEO tool for building a keyword strategy. Use Keyword Overview to get a quick summary of metrics, dive deeper with Keyword Magic to build your list, and use the Keyword Difficulty metric to find low-competition keywords that will give you an edge. You can also use it to perform competitive analysis and do topic research. 

metrics from semrush showcasing keyword overview

Yoast

Yoast is an SEO analysis plug-in for WordPress, making it a convenient option for the many businesses whose websites or blogs are built on that platform. Yoast will rate your pages’ SEO optimization and the Page Analysis feature will give specific feedback on where you can improve. It indicates areas for improvement with red dots – once optimized the dots turn green. Yoast’s user-friendliness makes it incredibly popular.

Remember that you don’t just need the tools, but also the expertise to use them. You’ll want to know what your competitors are doing so you can differentiate yourself – or go after them directly. These are all areas that an expert agency like Tuff can help.

How to do an on-page SEO analysis

You’ve got the tools and you’re ready to perform your on-page analysis! Here’s how we do it at Tuff.

Perform keyword research

On-page content that will crush it in the SERPs always starts with finding the right keywords. Use your SEO tool of choice to perform keyword research around the topic you want to write about. Ask yourself:

  • Are the keywords relevant to your topic? 
  • Are these terms regularly searched by your target audience?
  • Can you realistically rank for these keywords?

Decide on your primary keyword

Keyword research will likely give you a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of keywords. Your SEO tool may prioritize them for you, but it will still be up to you to choose your primary keyword. So which keyword will be able to rule them all? Your primary keyword should:

  • Be highly relevant and laser-focused on your topic
  • Have low competition or relate to an area where your business is very strong
  • Not already be used as a keyword in another piece of content (this is called cannibalization, and it confuses the search engines)

Choose related keywords

To create a piece of content that will catch the attention of the search engines, you need to round out your primary keyword with related keywords and topics. Related keywords will help you capture more search intent and can be used to target your PPC campaigns, too. Choose three to five related keywords that are:

  • Based on your target keyword and semantically related searches
  • Related to the intent of your searchers and their stage in the buyer journey
  • Long-tail (three or more words) or other variations on standard keywords

Look for audience questions

The ultimate goal of content marketing is always to answer the questions that your audience is asking. Audience questions, or PAAs (for “people also ask”), help you do that. PAAs are related questions that appear on Google SERPs. Being featured in the answer box is a big deal in SEO, but using these questions can also help you:

  • Rank for the question or long-tail keyword
  • Create FAQ sections within your content
  • Guide your content to ensure it’s useful to your audience

Create a content plan

Now that you have your primary keyword, related keywords, and FAQs or PAAs, you’re ready to create a content plan that will help you conquer the SERPs and drive conversions. But the content you’ll create depends on several factors:

  • What stage of the buyer journey is your searcher in when they search for that keyword?
  • Will they be looking for an informational blog, a conversion-focused landing page, a branded product page, or something else?
  • Can you use it to create content that fills in gaps in your content strategy?
  • Can you create content around this keyword that outranks your competitors?

Best practices for on-page content

You’re almost there. But before you hit “publish,” make sure your content follows best practices. (Yes, Google will know if it does!)

  • Always create high-quality, original content to avoid plagiarism and duplicate content penalties.
  • Structure your content in a way that is informative but easy to read (bulleted list, no large blocks of text). Put the most useful information front and center, then expand upon it.
  • Use your primary keyword in the title, title tag, meta description, at least one of the subheadings, first and last paragraph, and about two to three times per 500 words – but not more. “Keyword stuffing” will be penalized.
  • Use related keywords at least one within the copy and be sure they sound natural.
  • Answer audience questions either directly with an FAQ section or H2, or naturally within your content.
  • Use at least one image and ensure it is SEO optimized with an image alt tag, title, and file name that uses the primary keyword. 
  • Include your primary keyword in the URL structure. 
  • Track your keyword performance and re-analyze and optimize as needed.

 

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to on-page SEO analysis. At Tuff, we have the tools and expertise you need to create and execute a holistic content strategy that drives traffic and grows your business. 

What Does a Holistic SEO Content Strategy Look Like?

ceramic letters spelling out SEO

SEO is a fast-paced world. It seems like every day there’s an update, a new best practice or a new tool to learn. As soon as you get down the basics of technical SEO, you learn there’s a whole different side to it: content strategy. 

A holistic SEO strategy that includes technical SEO as well as on-page growth content is essential to increasing organic traffic – and helping to improve lead generation, acquisition, and revenue. It’s also highly personalized to your business and involves a lot of moving pieces. Here’s how to ensure your SEO content strategy is effective and efficient.

What is growth content?

Growth content includes landing pages, blogs, product pages, and so on that are designed to rank in Google. When you appear at the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages), people who are searching for the particular topics you are targeting will discover your brand, click through to your website, and – if your growth content strategy does its job – stay there and make a purchase.

So how do you make a successful growth content strategy? At Tuff, we use site traffic analysis, competitive review, and keyword gap analysis to create a strategy for building content that’s always helpful, engaging, informative, and that gives you a timeline and projections that put the future in focus. 

Do I need a growth content strategy?

Got your eye on long-term growth? Chances are you need a content strategy. True, paid ads drive quick wins, but real staying power and long-term revenue growth comes from a content strategy designed to drive (and keep!) stronger, more engaged traffic over time. 

Some content strategies work more quickly than others – for example, refreshing existing content and filling gaps in your buyer funnel are both “low-hanging fruit.” But overall, a holistic SEO content strategy isn’t meant to be a quick fix. It’s a series of actions and content pieces that build up your credibility over time until you’re outranking your competition and bringing more customers to your site.

Step 1: Do your research

Before you dive in, take a step back and do your research. A truly holistic strategy includes elements of content analysis, audience research, and SEO analysis. 

  • Who are my competitors? You can’t outrank your competitors without identifying them first. We think of competitors in two different ways. One type of competitor is an organization that directly competes with you; agents or sellers might consistently pitch you against them. The other is the competitor that ranks high on the search terms we’d like to rank for. 
  • What are my competitors doing? In addition to performing an SEO competitive analysis, we also take a deep dive into our competitors’ existing content. What does their content look like? How regularly are they publishing? You’ll want to stand out just enough in terms of tone of voice and imagery, while also following established best practices.
  • Who is my target audience? Defining your target audience helps you choose your content topics and build a strategy that answers their questions. That’s why we work so hard to define and understand a target audience for your growth content strategy.
  • What tools do I use? There are many SEO tools out there. We use SEMRush to perform a keyword gap analysis to glean important takeaways.

screen cap of visibility and keyword ranking in semrush

Step 2: Define your strategy

All that research you did in step 1 will reveal the content strategy that will benefit you the most – but you must know where to look. Research will reveal different gaps and goals for everyone, so there’s no real blueprint here. This is where it’s super helpful to have the guidance of an expert that can spot opportunities and overlay a strategy designed to be efficient, effective, and keep goals in sight. 

We have tons of examples of growth marketing strategies we can share with you. Here’s one we compiled for a client with a relatively new business and a site that didn’t have much content:

  • Create content to capture searches that are at the top of the funnel. This means focusing on long-term keywords to grab impressions and clicks at the beginning of the customer journey.
  • Ensure all pieces of content are rich with keywords and, more importantly, that those keywords are followed by useful information for SMEs.
  • Target high-traffic keywords and create content that will capture traffic. We want to go after industry-specific terms that the customers you want are searching for.
  • Ensure your landing pages are working for you. We’ll test your landing pages to ensure they’re answering audience questions and helping to initiate action.
  • Creating guides, how-tos, and informational content for your blog. This will help us construct pillars that we can back link to creating a content web.

Step 3: Determine your focus keywords

No SEO strategy is complete without keywords. As part of on-page SEO, they’re vital to ensuring that whatever is produced is targeted and strategic. Google is clear on how to get your content to rank: Answer your audience’s questions in a concise, authoritative way. But what should your keywords be?

After you perform a keyword gap analysis among your competitors look for opportunities in the 10,000+ keywords where the competition is lower (<75) – lower competition means you’ll have a better chance to rank. Then whittle those down to a more manageable number.

Next hone in on projections. If you start with a pillar piece, you can estimate that if you get on page 1 you can get a piece of the total keyword traffic volume. Do this by taking the total volume of keywords for that piece of content and estimating around 15% of that total.

Sound complicated? It’s just another day on the job for our SEO experts.  

Step 4: Set traffic targets

Growth marketing always comes back to one thing: your goals. And when it comes to SEO content strategy, one of the most important growth marketing metrics is traffic: 60% of marketers say that inbound – which includes SEO and blog content – is their highest quality source of leads. When your traffic goes up, your leads and revenue should follow.

In most cases, you’ll want to see key indicators of growth such as higher search rankings and new traffic within 60–90 days of publishing. Then, within four to five months you’ll want to see significant traction toward your client acquisition goals

Based on your existing organic growth and your growth content plan, benchmark what your organic traffic is like now and set a goal for how much you want it to increase. Then, take the CVR of your current organic traffic and use it to make a projection about how many new customers/clients your new strategy will drive. 

a graph showing different kinds of site traffic in semrush

Step 5: Execute and report

It’s go time. Content is most effective when it’s published consistently over time, so put together your content calendar and get writing. If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content, enlist help. You can find freelance writers on Upwork, LinkedIn, Fiverr, and more. 

Provide them with an outline of the topic and keywords, plus guidelines on your brand identity and style. Even though this is performance content designed to generate traffic, it will also serve as an introduction to your brand for many people, so make sure your tone of voice is consistent and on point. 

Creating and managing a holistic SEO content strategy is pretty involved. Use a project management software to stay organized (we use Trello). You’ll also want to keep a simple spreadsheet that showcases performance and helps you understand what’s generating the most traction over time. SEO content strategy is an ongoing process that is always being updated, refined, and improved to get the best results. 

Typing on google search.

Branded and Non-Branded Organic Traffic: What Is It and Why It’s Important to Track It

Typing on google search.

When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization), it’s important to be able to track branded and non-branded organic traffic. So what is branded and non-branded organic traffic, why are they important, and how do you measure them? Let’s get into it. 

Simply put, branded organic traffic is any organic traffic that comes from a keyword phrase that contains a branded term. 

For example, QuietKat is a well-known eBike company so they receive a lot of branded searches, but not everyone spells their brand name correctly – or spells out the full name. Some examples of the branded searches that they receive are: 

  • quietkat bike
  • quiet cat bike
  • qk electric bike

Why is tracking branded and non-branded traffic Important?

It’s important to accurately track branded and non-branded organic traffic because it gives you a sense of how well your content and technical SEO is performing and what outside factors are having an effect on it. 

After all, the goal of technical seo and seo content is to help see higher search rankings and new traffic – not just to gain traction with people already looking for your brand. 

There are a lot of factors that lead to an increase or decrease in organic traffic and by tracking branded and non-branded keyword movements you’ll be better able to accurately pinpoint what the cause is. Let’s look at a few scenarios:

  1. You just hired a PR agency a few months ago and are seeing a 30% increase in organic traffic MoM (month over month). Is this increase due to the PR agency’s efforts, your SEO content strategy, or both?  
  2. Your brand reputation took a hit on social media. Organic traffic is steady but conversion rate is dropping. Could it be that non-branded organic traffic is still performing well but branded organic CVR (conversion rate) is decreasing?
  3. Your industry as a whole is growing exponentially and your company is reaping the benefits of this as organic traffic is up 60% MoM. Did your keyword rankings improve or did they stay the same but the monthly volume for those keywords has increased? 

These are just a few reasons why it’s important to track everything you can about your organic traffic and keyword rankings. 

How to track branded and non-branded organic traffic

So now you know why tracking organic keyword movement is important, but how do you track your keywords? There are a few different ways to do so. Let’s discuss the options. 

SEMrush

Report data from SEMRush.

SEMrush is probably the easiest way to track branded and non-branded organic traffic, along with other keyword movements. SEMrush is built for SEO keyword research so it’s no surprise that it’s the number one option. 

With SEMrush, there is no math involved because not only do they calculate branded and non-branded traffic for you, they even plot it on a timeline so that you can see the historic performance as well. 

There are a few caveats with SEMrush’s calculations and you should not completely take this at face value. I suggest taking a look at the keyword rankings and doing some quick math in your head to see if the percentage of organic traffic matches with these calculations. Sometimes SEMrush doesn’t count certain words that are misspelled or contain a space in the brand name, etc.,

Keyword report from SEMRush.

By looking at the keyword rankings, you can filter the keywords by branded and non-branded keywords and focus on the Traffic % column.

Google Analytics & Google Search Console

The second way to track branded and non-branded organic traffic and sales is to use Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 

One advantage of using GA & GSC is that you can view organic sales data as well as other on-page metrics that GA tracks. Another advantage of using GA is that people are generally much more familiar with GA than SEMrush and have more experience working with the data.

In order to track organic keywords in Google Analytics, you’ll need to make sure that Google Search Console is connected to Google Analytics. This takes just a minute and will be worth it in the long run. It’s important that you do this asap because Google only starts tracking data from the date when you connected to two platforms.

Search data from Google Analytics.

From here, we’re able to export this information to a spreadsheet and calculate the percentage of organic traffic from branded and non-branded keywords. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re an agency or a brand, it’s important to understand and measure the difference in traffic, sales, and CVR between branded and non-branded traffic. If you’re running PPC campaigns alongside your organic efforts then you probably know how important it is to track branded and non-branded keywords and the different ROAS you get from each campaign.

Branded vs non-branded organic traffic and sales reports can be a game-changer when reporting on your SEO performance. 

Are you tracking your branded and non-branded organic traffic? What are some trends you’ve noticed? Let us know!

How We Outranked Home Depot for the #1 Position

Early in 2020, Renogy approached Tuff to handle all of their SEO needs for their US and international websites. 

Tuff had previously been creating blog content for Renogy’s US website but was not managing technical SEO or anything else.

We analyzed all of their existing websites and put together a comprehensive SEO strategy to increase organic traffic and revenue. This is how we did it.

Technical SEO

When we first took over SEO implementation for all of Renogy’s international sites nobody had previously been maintaining their technical SEO. With that being said, it’s no surprise that there were quite a few errors that needed to be addressed.

This isn’t to say that the websites were in bad shape, they just weren’t SEO-optimized and there’s a big difference. So our first step was to make sure that all the international websites were SEO-optimized. This is how we did it…

International SEO (hreflang tags)

The first issue to tackle was the hreflang tags, and Renogy had about 16,000 of them. 

If you have multiple versions of a page for different languages or regions, hreflang tags are a way to tell Google about these variations. 

For instance, you may have a US and UK website and they’re both in English but one is in US English and one is in British English. Aside from having two different URLs – either uk.domain, domain.uk, or domain.com/uk – we need to specifically tell Google about the language differences.

The same goes for international versions with completely different languages such as German, French, or Chinese, etc.,

Some of the most common hreflang tag errors are:

  1. Not having any hreflang tags
  2. Having incorrect hreflang tags (Ex. having your French tags on your German site)
  3. Hreflang tags being incorrectly coded
  4. No self-referencing hreflang tags

The most common issue is not having any self-referencing hreflang tags, and that’s the issue that we were dealing with on Renogy’s websites. Fortunately, this can be solved programmatically so it’s not extremely time-consuming to fix all 16,000+ errors.

Meta Descriptions

Once the hreflang tags were fixed, one of the most common technical SEO errors across all websites has to do with meta descriptions. Whether it be missing or duplicate meta descriptions, this is something that commonly goes unnoticed.

Sometimes these fixes can be done programmatically by pulling the first sentence on the page and setting it as the meta description but for a variety of reasons, this wasn’t possible for Renogy. One of those reasons is that their website is hosted on Big Commerce and this makes it more difficult. Another reason is that the first sentence wasn’t ideal for a meta description.

So long story short, I began manually fixing and creating hundreds of meta descriptions so that there weren’t duplicate or missing meta descriptions across all of their international websites. 

Internal Linking & Broken Internal Links

Internal links are a very important part of technical SEO, whether it be improving the internal linking throughout the website or fixing the broken links. We did both, starting with the broken links. 

Having broken internal links on your website is another common SEO issue that can not only harm your organic performance but also your user experience and revenue. 

When fixing the broken links, my initial focus was on top-performing product pages to make sure we weren’t losing revenue due to users not being able to purchase the product. 

This is another manual fix so some of it was done in unison with the meta description fixes since I was already going through the pages manually.

No-indexing Pages

It’s important to remove low-quality pages from Google’s search engine. 

Most of us have a habit of wanting all pages to be indexed in Google and I understand it. But when we think about how Google ranks a website, it doesn’t make sense to have our blog tag archives, author archive pages, and other similar pages indexed in Google, for a few reasons. 

  1. When you search for something in Google, you are presented with its search engine results page (SERP) and for that reason, Google doesn’t like to direct traffic to another SERP, even if it’s your own website’s SERP. 
  2. This typically isn’t a good user experience. If someone is searching for 
  3. For these reasons, Google won’t rank these pages very well and if you have a lot of low-quality pages, it will eventually harm your whole website.

For these reasons, we no-indexed any low-quality archive pages that were on the Renogy website. 

Content Creation

Now that the technical SEO is all done, let’s talk about the SEO content strategy and content creation that we executed. 

We began by creating a few pillar pieces of content that we could build a cluster strategy around. We defined a few high-traffic keywords that were essential to the business and created high-quality content around those topics. These pieces of content live at the top of the Renogy blog. 

We then created 3 to 4 pieces of related content that we used to link to these hub pages as well as internally linked dozens of existing content.

Aside from the hub pages, we consistently produce one new blog post each week for each of Renogy’s website properties. 

The other main piece of content that we created was what we refer to as customer service content.

E-commerce Customer Service Content

E-commerce Customer Service Content is essentially FAQ data that is specific to the page that it is on. Not only is it helpful for SEO, but it’s also helpful for the user experience. 

You can find this content on all the major ecommerce websites. 

Ex. Amazon

Ex. Best Buy

Renogy was missing this content on their core category solar panel listing pages, including their solar panel kits listing page, and by adding it, it helped us increase organic rankings of these pages and in return, drive more sales.

We’ve seen the most significant organic improvements to the pages that we added this customer service content to.

Results

After all of these improvements and about 6 months’ time, we are ranking #1 in Google for ‘solar panel kits’ – outranking Amazon and Home Depot when we previously weren’t ranking in the top 100. We also rank #4 for ‘solar kit’ when we previously weren’t ranking in the top 100.

In addition to that, we increased our ranking for ‘solar panels for sale’ from position 12 to position 5.

We’ve also seen significant improvements in tons of other organic keywords that are essential to Renogy’s business and bottom line. 

As I write this, organic traffic is up over 32% from when we finished our implementations and organic revenue is steadily increasing and growing about 37% quarter over quarter.

 

tuff seo chsrt

How We Increased Our Organic Traffic by 630% in 12 months (And as a result, increased our monthly revenue by over 60%)

tuff seo chsrt

As a growth marketing agency, we work hard to balance quick wins with long-term strategy. Our process helps us identify which channels to test first based on our target audience and what combination of tactics will help us hit our goals. We’ve done this for over 35 different businesses in the last 3 years. 

Last year, though, we decided to get serious about our own growth strategy at Tuff. We help companies grow every day with a combination of different marketing tactics, what will happen if we test some of those out for our own growth? 

Up until this year, we had grown steadily through referrals – either from an existing client or from someone finding our Google Reviews and reaching out. Then, in November 2019, we did three things: 

  • Identified our USP (value props!)
  • Did a deep dive on our competitors
  • Fleshed out our ICP (target client!) 

With this research, we then put together a full growth marketing strategy for Tuff, with the primary focus on organic growth. While organic is tough, takes patience, consistency, and time, we knew it was the one channel that could bring us compounding growth if done right. 

For us, SEO has turned out to be a game-changer…

  • We rank for top keywords
  • Leads come knocking on our door 
  • Sales are steady and consistent (we don’t spend any money on lead gen) 

tuff seo chsrt

tuff keywords

In this post, we’ll take you through the exact steps we took to jumpstart our organic performance at Tuff. 

  1. Wrote down all the questions we get from prospects and clients 
  2. Mapped these questions to each stage of the user journey 
  3. Did an SEO audit on other growth marketing agencies to see where they “won” with SEO
  4. Identified the keywords we were already ranking for on Google 
  5. Listed the keywords we wanted to rank for on Google
  6. Made significant improvements to the content and internal linking on the Tuff website with landing pages 
  7. Developed an editorial calendar with content clusters for our target keyword list 
  8. Committed to consistently publishing 5-7 articles a month on the Tuff blog (internal team and freelancers) 

Let’s dive in! 

Wrote down all the questions we get from prospects and clients 

High-quality content is all about providing value to your customers and you can’t do that if you don’t know what your customers are looking for. 

The first step in building an SEO strategy for a B2B company is to understand who the target audience is and what they’re looking for. The best way to know what your customers want is to ask them, or to build a list of all the questions they ask you, which is what we did.

If you’re just getting started and don’t have a list of customer questions then the next best step is to build a buyer persona.

These were questions like: 

  • I’m trying to figure out if I should hire an agency or bring it in-house – what do you think?
  • How much money do we need to set aside for a testing budget? 
  • How do we decide what budget is enough? 
  • Do you offer a performance-based pricing structure? 
  • What should we expect from hiring an agency? 
  • Do you do any YouTube ads? 
  • How long does it take to see results? 

We paired the above list, and others, with more qualitative research as well. We read blogs, we chatted with other business owners, and we studied all our existing and previous clients. 

Mapped these questions to each stage of the user journey 

Once we had our list of questions, we began to conduct keyword research and map out the buyer journey. This is how we did it. 

We cross-referenced the list of questions with target keyword research to find the questions with the most value to our customers. We did this by focusing on a few different metrics, amongst others: 

  1. Search volume – how many professionals have this exact or similar question.  
  2. Keyword difficulty – do we have a chance of ranking for this keyword
  3. Keyword cannibalization – do we already have content around this keyword that we can improve

Once we finished cross-referencing our list of questions with our keyword research and narrowed it down to a dozen or so keywords, we had to figure out where these keywords fit in the buyer journey. 

tuff buyer journey

We wanted to make sure that we weren’t targeting a ton of top-of-funnel or bottom-of-funnel keywords. The goal is to use high-quality content to properly guide the customer through the sales funnel.

Did an SEO audit on other growth marketing agencies to see where they “won” with SEO 

After doing an initial technical SEO audit on our own website, we conducted competitive analysis on other growth marketing agencies to see where they “won” with SEO. What we found was rather interesting and helped us create additional pieces of content.

We found that some agencies were utilizing list posts to drive organic traffic to their website. We took this with a grain of salt as these articles definitely helped to drive organic traffic but were very top-of-funnel. Taking that into consideration, we included a few of these list posts into our SEO content strategy wherever we had additional content to follow it up with. 

I recorded a short video explaining this SEO competitive analysis more in-depth if you’re interested in watching it.

Identified the keywords we were already ranking for on Google 

On top of the initial keyword research that was done, we looked for “quick wins” where we were ranking on page 2 or 3 and thought we had a good chance to move up to page 1. We looked at the keyword volume, difficulty, and top-10 ranking pages to decide if we had a good chance of ranking for that keyword or not. In regards to the keyword difficulty, we typically try to focus on keywords that have a difficulty of less than 70% but this isn’t a hard rule.

We also take into consideration whether or not this is a valuable keyword for our business and if it’s going to drive not just organic traffic but sales leads.

For Q4 2020, these are a few of the keywords that we’ve identified and are strengthening:

tuff q4 keywords

We also took a look at what page we currently had ranking and how we could improve it and support it with additional content. 

Seeing what’s currently ranking in the top-10 and analyzing those pages is one of the best ways to figure out what Google is looking for. Some important things to look for are word count, the quality of the content, rich media, the authoritativeness of the brand, and how unique the content is compared to the other rankings. Then the ultimate question becomes, can we produce better content than what is currently ranking in the top-10?

In regards to the authoritativeness of the brand, if you’re unsure about the particular brand, you can check their domain authority in SEMrush, ahrefs, Moz, or several other tools. 

Listed the keywords we wanted to rank for on Google

After all of that research, we adjusted and narrowed our focus down to about 10 primary keywords that are vital to our business. We work on quarterly SEO sprints because SEO is not a quick solution and in order to rank on page 1 for 10 keywords we need to consistently produce high-quality comprehensive content, which takes a while. 

Comprehensive coverage is typically at least 4 pieces of content and includes a high-quality landing page and 3 corresponding blog posts that internally link to that landing page. This is often referred to as a cluster strategy or a pillar page with supporting content.

At the end of the quarter, we review all of our content efforts to see where we won and lost. We also review our keyword rankings in SEMrush and Google Search Console to determine which keywords we want to focus on for the next quarter. A few of the keywords will be chosen based on where we’re currently ranking and what probability we have of ranking on the first page.

Made significant improvements to the content and internal linking on the Tuff website with landing pages 

As mentioned earlier, whenever creating content we want to make sure that we have comprehensive coverage on that topic. We want to be seen as an authoritative voice in the industry and you can’t do that by creating just 1 or 2 pieces of content. 

One way to stand out from the competition and let customers know that this is one of your core services is to create a landing page or pillar page, which is exactly what we did.

We rolled out a 12-page landing page strategy that was backed by blog posts, case studies, and more. 

tuff footer

Some of these landing pages are focused on our core services while others are focused on our culture, the industries we serve, and the processes we follow when working with clients. All of these pages have not only helped with organic traffic but also with leading customers through the sales funnel. 

Developed an editorial calendar with content clusters for our target keyword list 

We wanted to tackle the website content first because we knew it would have the biggest impact on our organic growth. This isn’t always the case but our website, at the time, was pretty thin. The content was generic, duplicated in some areas, and in need of a revamp.

Once we got through the website content updates, we went back to our target keyword list, reviewed our target audience information one more time, and then built out an editorial calendar. Here were the details: 

  • Dates: April – September 
  • Target Number of Articles: 42
  • Actual Number of Articles Published: 25  

At first, we built this out in excel, using tabs to differentiate between content priorities. For us, we have the below categories: 

tuff content categories

Over time, we moved this over to Trello so we could. The idea was to get moving on articles (balance the quality and quantity conundrum) with an easy-to-use spreadsheet. Once we started getting traction, we upgraded to a project management tool to help us streamline the process and give the internal team more visibility on the content queue. 

Here’s what it looks like now: 

Committed to consistently publishing 5-7 articles a month on the Tuff blog (internal team and freelancers) 

We had the editorial calendar, the target keywords, and the due dates. But who the heck was going to write all the content? 

Our industry isn’t overly complex but we wanted to make sure the articles we published reflected real results, accurate analysis, and our experience working with almost every type of client on 20+ marketing channels. 

We decided to produce 70% of the content in-house and outsource 30%.

For the in-house articles, we leaned on the internal team to help support. Each team member was asked to write 1 to 2 articles a month, based on their area of expertise. These could include case studies, channel deep dives, campaign results, and strategy – but needed to map back to our editorial calendar and keyword list. 

For the out-source articles, we found a combination of freelancers who we could onboard to the Tuff voice. We identified 5-6 posts, wrote outlines, and gave to a freelancer to help us bulk up content efforts on a particular keyword. 

While we would like to (one day) write all the Tuff content in-house, this was a helpful split to offset the workload. The content was primarily written by the team, we had oversight on strategic direction for anything we outsourced and were able to push out high-value articles on a variety of topics. We couldn’t have done this without the internal team willing to contribute or freelancers to help fill gaps. 

Next Up 

For the next couple of months, our focus is still on feeding our content process with high-quality, diverse content for the Tuff blog.  Here’s what we have on the roadmap to keep improving our organic performance: 

  • Implement UX fixes on the blog to make it easier to navigate 
  • Add author pages to the blog so users can filter by each team member at Tuff 
  • Implement a remediation plan to make sure we remove any content that is outdated, irrelevant, and not bringing value 
  • Launch two new core playlists on the blog – SEO and LinkedIn Ads 

If you’re curious about what we did to get these results, have feedback on our process, or simply want to chat about organic performance, shoot us a note. We can chat in more detail about the content plan and SEO strategy we used that might work for your businesses in a similar way.

typing on the computer

How to Create a B2B SEO Strategy in 2020

typing on the computer

In this post you’ll learn:

  • What is B2B SEO?
  • How B2B SEO works
  • How SEO for B2B is different than B2C SEO
  • How to create content that turns into leads
  • B2B SEO Best Practices
  • And more…

What is B2B SEO?

B2B SEO is about driving professionals to your website via organic traffic. 

It doesn’t matter what professional industry you’re in. If you’re in a B2B business and have a website, you can and should take advantage of SEO. By effectively implementing these SEO best practices, B2B organizations can improve lead quality, build valuable relationships, and drive organic sales.

Some examples of B2B SEO search terms are:

“enterprise cybersecurity software”

“YouTube ads agency”

Assuming the person searching these keywords is a business professional, this is an example of B2B SEO. 

How B2B SEO works

SEO is SEO. Whether we’re talking about YouTube SEO, B2C SEO, or B2B, we typically follow the same best practices and break SEO down into three categories.

  1. Technical SEO is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Technical SEO ensures that your website is functioning properly and is SEO-optimized for your target audience. 
  2. Onpage SEO is typically what B2B companies will focus on most when it comes to SEO. This may include landing pages, white papers, blog posts, case studies, and more.
  3. Offpage SEO is tough no matter whether you’re a B2B or B2C company and involves getting other websites in your industry to link to you. 

How SEO for B2B is different than B2C

Where B2B SEO really differs is in the keyword and topic research. B2B companies typically have a narrower target audience than B2C companies and we want to make sure that we’re properly targeting that audience of professionals correctly. We do that by choosing the correct keywords and using content to lead the user through the buyer journey. 

Generally, B2B companies that focus on SEO face less competition than B2C companies. From my experience, most B2B companies focus their resources on paid advertising, causing paid advertising to be more competitive, CPCs to skyrocket, and organic search to be less competitive. 

One reason for this is because B2B companies put their most valuable content in white paper downloads, PDFs, and behind paywalls. This makes it difficult for this content to rank in SERP because it is not easily accessible to search engines.

This offers an advantage to most B2B companies, depending on what industry you’re in. The SaaS industry is super competitive and SEO is no exception, but I still find that most SaaS companies have a ton of room for improvement when it comes to SEO.

One SEO ‘hack’ that a lot of B2C companies don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of is optimizing your support and knowledge base content.

DigitalOcean is an example of a company that does this very well. They blend their tutorials, guides, and knowledgebase content very seamlessly and optimize it so that it is generating a ton of organic traffic.

SEO keyword research & how to create content that turns into leads

When conducting B2B SEO, we want to make sure that we have a clear sales funnel in place and that our keywords fit within that sales funnel. We also need a clear buyer persona to truly understand the target customer and to understand where they’re in the buying cycle. I won’t dive into how to create a buyer persona in this article but it’s certainly one of the first steps to consider when building a content strategy.

content funnel

What I mean by this is that we need to be aware of where in the funnel our keywords fit and that is going to dictate what type of content we create. For instance, is it a top of funnel keyword or is it a keyword with direct buyer intent?

After finding 5 or 10 target keywords that we want to rank for, we need to know where in the buyer journey these keywords belong. Is this keyword going to be for an introductory informational blog post or is it going to be on the landing page where we are collecting leads? The difference is super important. 

Whenever creating content that is top of the funnel, we want to have another piece of content that follows it up. That way we can lead the user through the buyer journey using content. For that reason, it’s important to understand the whole buyer journey before creating the first piece of content.

Unlike B2C SEO where you can target high-volume keywords that don’t necessarily have buyer intent, B2B content is a lot more strategical and focused on low-volume keywords with real benefits to the business. 

B2B buyers want personalized content so it’s important to think from the buyer’s perspective when building an SEO strategy.

B2B SEO Best Practices

Let’s take a look at some of the top B2B SEO best practices that all B2B companies should be aware of. Following these best practices will certainly improve your SEO strategy in 2020 and beyond.

  1. Publish content strategically that targets decision-makers.
  2. Target low-volume keywords that have buyer intent.
  3. Utilize CTAs within the content to convert that organic traffic to leads.
  4. Optimize technical SEO before focusing on content.
  5. SEO-optimize your support and knowledgebase content if you have it.
  6. Publish high-quality landing pages that target different decision-makers.
  7. Create a buyer persona.

Conclusion

For the most part, SEO is SEO and for that reason, the same SEO best practices that work for B2C companies will also work for B2B corporations. With that being said, there are a lot of differences between B2C and B2B SEO when it comes to content and SEO strategy. 

B2B SEO focuses more heavily on the target customer than B2C SEO does. It makes sense considering that a B2B customer typically pays a lot more than a B2C customer and the sales process is considerably longer.

When it comes to B2B, your target market isn’t typically a broad audience such as “newlyweds” or “college athletes” and for this reason, your content and SEO strategy needs to be significantly more targeted and thought out.