By Julia McCoy published October 16, 2018

How to Make Your Content Powerful in Eyes of Searchers (and Google)

The value of building SEO content is second to none.

However, I’m not merely talking about properly optimized content that has the right meta information, links, keywords, and technical SEO.

Instead, I’m talking about honing powerful content that speaks to readers irresistibly. It’s optimized, sure, but it’s also constructed to be the ultimate read. This kind of content is the equivalent of a best-selling novel – people invest in it and gobble it up.

Powerful #SEO content is the equivalent of a best-selling novel that people gobble up, says @JuliaEMcCoy. Click To Tweet

What happens when you build SEO content with these kinds of superpowers?

This insight comes from my company’s experience in ranking for 16,200 words on Google. The site averages 27,600 in monthly organic traffic, which would cost nearly $96,000 to replicate by paying for those same keywords on Google AdSense.

Here’s the kicker. The content is not only keyword optimized. It provides a lot of value to the readers. Packing your content full of that kind of value, along with SEO techniques, is what brings in real organic results.

1. Create utterly original, standout, creative content

Original content is a must. Most of the 4 million blog posts published each day get lost in the noise. To rise above it, you can’t stop short at original – your content needs to be standout and creative to boot.

How do you give your content extra oomph?

  • Write for your niche audience persona – Each business has (or should have) a unique value proposition to offer a unique set of customers. To create content that stands out, speak to your niche. Specifically, that’s the audience persona you created when you put together your content marketing strategy.
  • Find your style – Your business has a unique value proposition (your content differentiation factor), so your voice and style of communication need to match. Alex Honeysett for The Muse has some great questions to help you find your voice, including:
    • How do you want your customers to feel when interacting with your content?
    • What images do you want to evoke for them?
    • What is your voice/personality (or your client’s distinct style), and how can you use that as inspiration, too, to make your content your own?

Image source

  • Find and write about niche topics – To find them, think about your content differentiation factor and your audience persona(s). Brainstorm topic ideas that appeal to both and write them down. Then, research each idea shell to make sure it’s interesting and relevant for your audience:

Example: In the loose-leaf tea industry, you do a content analysis on BuzzSumo to find which brainstormed topics would be most popular with your audience. In BuzzSumo, click on Content Analyzer (under the Content Research tab), then Analysis. Add your topic to the search bar and hit “enter.”

A results page shows for the topic “loose leaf tea.” Find the gray box, “Add comparison,” next to the topic name. Enter your other topic ideas (how to brew tea, tea brewers, how to make tea, best types of tea) separated by commas.

Hit “enter” when finished.

The next results page has great information to help you choose a popular niche topic. For example, it shows total engagement for each topic over the length of time you specify.

A graph illustrates how the engagement for each topic shakes out over time.

As you can see, “how to brew tea” could be a great topic for your original spin – there is less competition for that topic, but engagements are high.

Don’t forget to click points on the graph to see the most engaged articles during that period. You’ll find great inspiration.

2. Find the most profitable keywords for your brand

Next up in your quest for superpowered SEO content – find amazing, profitable keywords.

As you know, keywords are the foundation of organic search. If you target the right ones, you won’t necessarily get a ton of traffic. Instead, you’ll get the right traffic, or what I call the keyword sweet spot:

Find keyword sweet spot, where it’s relevant to business & it’s long-tail, low competition. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

If you keep a couple attributes top of mind during your keyword research, you’ll find better keywords for your circumstances, customers, and products/services. These attributes are:

  • Relevancy
  • Long-tail, low competition

Relevancy means your keywords are always on-topic, on-brand, and on-industry.

Long-tail keywords are more specific than broad or seed keywords, but they’re often easier to win in rankings because not everyone is trying to target them.

Instead of blanketing your content to a mass of people who may or may not be interested in your brand, long-tail, low-competition keywords let you target who will be interested. Even better, if you target keywords with the right buyer intent, you can attract organic traffic in the form of ready-to-buy consumers.

Plus, if your keywords are low competition, you’ll have a better chance of ranking more quickly.

To find these magical keywords, I often recommend a tool called KWFinder by Mangools. With this tool, it’s easy to analyze results and you’ll get accurate data. Its focus is the same as yours. As it says on its home page, “find long tail keywords with low SEO difficulty.”

A free search on the loose-leaf tea topic gives lots of valuable data:

Check out the “Keyword SEO Difficulty” and the monthly search volume data.

If you’re new to trying to rank for the keyword “loose leaf tea,” you can see that it’s possible, but the level of competition is tough, based on Google AdWords. It scores 100, the highest possible.

Luckily, KWFinder gives plenty of alternatives. A bunch of keywords look more doable for ranking, including “bulk tea” and “organic loose leaf tea”:

Tools like this are indispensable for finding the right keywords for your niche. However, remember no tool alone should be treated like the holy grail of keyword data. Cross-check your findings on another tool to make sure you hit that sweet spot. A few others I like include:

3. Focus on strategic keyword placement, not density

Where you place your keywords, including how you write the major pieces of content that contain those keywords, are huge pieces of powerful SEO content.

Here are the major points that count:

  • Write a multitalented, multitasking headline – Your headline has a lot of multitasking to do. It needs to attract readers and incite their curiosity effortlessly, naturally contain your focus keyword, and not overzealously promise, only to let down the searcher.
Your #SEO headline must multitask – attract readers, incite curiosity, focus on keyword, says @JuliaEMcCoy. Click To Tweet

TIP: To learn to incorporate all three aspects into your H1s, I highly recommend CoSchedule’s free Headline Analyzer. (It doesn’t just score your headline; it also tells you what you might be doing wrong – the stuff that robs your headline of its effectiveness.)

  • Make subheads matter – Your subheaders (e.g., H2) are only slightly less important than your headline. They:
    • Help the reader navigate your content
    • Give Google direct clues about the relevancy of your page
    • Make your text easier to read 

TIP: Give subheads nearly as much attention as your headline to make them useful and readable. Strategically add primary and secondary keywords to almost all of them.

Give subheads nearly as much attention as your headline to make them useful and readable, says @JuliaEMcCoy. Click To Tweet
  • Connect with related terms and synonyms – Google relies on semantic search to determine the relevancy of your content to user queries. Semantic search relies on related terms, synonyms, and the relationship between terms. Basically, Google has gone native – the search engine is closer than ever to understanding how human syntax works. You need to appeal to this tendency by – quite wonderfully – writing like a human.

TIP: To find related terms, type your focus keyword into the Google search bar and see the auto-suggestion keyword variations. Those are your related search terms.

4. Be thorough, comprehensive, and informative

The final step to add mega value to your content and thus mega SEO power?

Dig deep into your topic and channel your inner nerd. Take your readers’ hands and invite them to follow along:

  • Research, research, research – If you make a claim, back it with proof. If you provide a statistic, link the study. Add background to your content with relevant news stories, research, polls, and expert insights. Link to every source you cite.
  • Don’t skim your subject – If your readers want a general overview of any topic under the sun, they can consult Wikipedia. Instead of skimming the surface, go deeper. Think about facets of general topics you can explore, then go down the rabbit hole.
    Example: “Loose leaf tea” is as general as it gets. Follow this broad topic to a different branch of the topic, i.e., “loose leaf tea” ->> “how to choose the best loose leaf tea” ->> “how to choose the best loose leaf tea for recipes”
  • Provide high-authority citations, related links, and resources – Don’t use sources you randomly find. Link to sources with high domain authority – they’ll give your pages a boost by dint of association.
Don’t use sources you randomly find. Link to sources with high domain authority, says @JuliaEMcCoy. #SEO Click To Tweet

TIP: Use tools like the MozBar or SEOquake to quickly learn the domain authority of any page. If you use SEOquake, you’ll see the metric under DS (domain score).

Don’t use sources you randomly find. Link to sources with high domain authority, says @JuliaEMcCoy. #SEO Click To Tweet

Ready to conquer the SERPs?

Dominating the search engine results requires more than technically perfect SEO. It also demands value-packed, powerful content that delivers on what it promises.

Focus on writing with your unique angle for your unique audience, targeting profitable keywords, exploring the right niche topics, and deep-diving into your content topic research to take your readers on a ride.

The results from the effort may blow your mind.

Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used). 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby. Follow her on Twitter @JuliaEMcCoy.

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