How Your Social Content Strategy Can Support SEO
Social Content Strategy
There's a lot to be said for how a kick-ass content strategy can support your social media strategy. But if done right, it can also support your rankings. Not only does producing content on a regular basis mean updating your site (which search engines like), but good content naturally attracts back links and social signals (such as Tweets and Likes) that tell search engines that your content is popular with actual human beings. But how do you produce content that's popular with social media users and helps you rank for on targeted keywords related to your products and services? In other words, how do you produce content that doesn't just rank in and of itself but helps your product pages rank?
Well, when it comes to creating kick-ass content that's going to resonate with your target market, that's up to you -- you know your industry & clients better than I. But in this post, I'll explore how you can tweak that content so that it actually helps your product/services pages rank on targeted terms.
Categorize Your Content Strategy
The first step in devising a content strategy that can support SEO is to categorize your content properly. In a nutshell, you'll probably be using a blog to drive your content strategy -- whether it's through tutorial blog posts or simply publishing some awesome viral infographic. And all this content will fall into some kind of category on your blog. You might already have a blog and you might not. And if you already have one, you probably already have categories, and there are probably posts that fall into more than one category. This is fine. But how much do your categories reflect the product/service verticals you're competing in? Basically, for whatever categories you may or may not already have, you should categories on your blog that reflect your products/services. For example, if you're a digital agency, you might create categories for:
- Social Media
- Display Advertising
- and Web Design
These categories, in turn, would then be the home of the content that's driving your content strategy. After all, you should be producing content not only around what your customers are interested in, but also around what your company does.
Optimize Your Content Categories
Context is everything...
Once you have your categories planned out, it's time to optimize the category pages on your blog. In a nutshell, since these categories are going to be driving your content strategy, they'll be the most frequently updated, and chances are these category pages are going to (1) accrue PageRank, (2) rank on related terms, and (3) amass relevance and linkjuice that you can then redistribute elsewhere. For starters, each category page is going to contain tons of posts that are relevant to a certain set of keywords. But you can also optimize these pages further to maximize that relevance relevance. And you can do this by taking the keywords that you're targeting within your corollary product/service pages, and adapting them to your blog category. For example, a digital agency might be targeting "SEO company" and "SEO agency" with the page that outlines its SEO services. Well, for the SEO category on its blog, it should target "SEO tips" and "SEO blog". In other words, it should target the keywords that someone interested in the product/service might use to search for related content. So how do you target those keywords once you have them? Well, simple: by incorporating them into the Page Title, Meta Descriptions, and introductory blurb at the top of the category page. Basically, in addition to optimizing the meta info on the page, you'll also want to add an introductory blurb (at least 300 characters/twice the length of your meta description) to the top of the category page. This will (1) explain what the content is, (2) give this dynamic page some static content of its own that (3) reiterated the keywords you're targeting.
Interlink Your Category Pages
So now that you've optimized your category pages, you can interlink them with your product/service pages. This is important because these pages (as mentioned above) will be accruing PageRanks, relevance, and linkjuice as you continue to produce content in that category, and you can siphon some of that off onto your product/service pages. And you can do it in a very transparent, non-spammy way. Remember your intro blurb? Well this is the perfect place to do it. Simply craft a blurb something along these lines:
Welcome to the [target keyword #1] section of our blog. Here's where you'll find all kind of tips and tricks relating to [target keyword #2]. And if you're really passionate about [target keyword #1], then you might consider checking out our [targeted anchor text link] services page.
So, here, you've managed to (1) reinforce the page's relevance for two relevant and targeted keywords, and (2) insert a non-spammy targeted anchor text link back to your corollary product/service page -- and, as a result, siphoned some of the keyword relevant linkjuice of your category page over to the corollary product/service page.
Optimize Your Content for Keyword Density
Now, if you really want to get the most out of your content strategy, you'll also have to optimize the content itself for targeted keywords. This is important for two reasons. First, you'll want to demonstrate to search engines that your site continues to be updated with content that's not only popular, but keyword dense -- supporting the overall relevance of your domain. Secondly, you'll want to maximize the keyword relevance of the categories that a post falls into so that those category pages can pass as much juice as possible over to their corollary product/service page. So how do you optimize a post for a targeted keyword without making that post read like a piece of SEO copy? Well, there are a few ways. Start off creating your content for human beings. They are, after all, who you're trying to get to buy from you or do business with you. Then, once your post is done, choose the 1-2 product/service related keywords that you think are most relevant to your content. Once you've done that, there are a number of place you can plug them in:
- URLs -these can be easily optimized without disrupting the tone/voice of the content
- Header Tags - using H2s and H3s are a great way to break up your content and make it more usable/scanable; it just so happens that a keyword within a header tag carries a bit more weight than if it was in the normal text, so you can slide them in here without messing with the tone/voice of the content
- Bullet Lists -on their own, bullet lists look like fragmented content, but when they appear within an article surrounded by text, the keyword within the bullet lists can carry some extra weight
If your blog is powered by Wordpress, I'd suggest using the Wordpress SEO by Yoast plugin. It adds a module below your HTML editor that will walk you through optimizing that post for any keyword you tell it to.
Optimizing Posts with the Wordpress SEO Plugin by Yoast
Interlink Your Author Bios
Once your posts have been optimized, there's one more thing you can do to pass some extra juice from keyword-relevant pages to corollary product/service pages, and that's simply to interlink them. But it looks spammy and intrusive to slip targeted keyword anchor text links right into the post. You can, however, add an author bio to each post, and since a post is (presumably) written by a member of your team who's an expert in that vertical/category, it kind of makes sense to link their bio back to a relevant product/service page. For example, if you're a digital agency, your social media posts are probably being written by members of your social media team. So it makes perfect sense to state in their bio that they're a member of your "social media team" and link those words back to your social media service page. The result is that (1) you have a keyword optimized post that (2) links to a corollary product/service page in a way that (3) only boosts the credibility of the author. You can actually see an example of this in my bio below. Since I usually cover social media topics on this blog, it's no surprise that the part of the Acquisio software that interests me the is the Facebook ad module, so I've cited that as my favourite part of the software and linked it to Acquisio's Facebook ad tracking product page.
Getting Social with It
Thanks, Big Willie, but we said getting SOCIAL with it.
Of course, just because you create it, that doesn't mean that they (the users) will come. If your content isn't actually popular with users (e.g. gets Likes, Tweeted, and commented on), it's going have that much less linkjuice and authority you can siphon off to the rest of your site. So once you've devised your kick-ass content, you're actually going to have to go out there and promote, and that's going to take some community management skills, such as effectively seeding it through your Facebook page. After all, a content strategy is primarily a social one. This is why your content should be written primarily for users (and not search engines): so that it engages and becomes popular with them. It's just that if you're able to do that well, you can take the steps outlined above to leverage that engagement and popularity to support your SEO efforts.