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How to choose content and keywords

SEO Series

In this section of the Mantis Digital ‘Writing for SEO’ series we share insights on SEO keyword research and choosing the best content to improve your rankings.

How to choose content for SEO

Understanding your target audience is key to creating content that satisfies their search queries.

First, define exactly who would engage with your product or service; define their ages groups, demographics, locations and the language they would respond to. Then, brainstorm why they would be typing a search query related to your industry in the first place.

They could be looking for:

  • An immediate purchase
  • A long-term purchase
  • Inspiration
  • Clarification on a difficult subject
  • Advice
  • A service or product to solve a particular problem
  • A service for a particular task

Help or advice related to a product/service they are already engaged with

Often, it’s a combination of several of the above. Ideally, you would have content on your website that covers all stages of their customer journey so you are visible on search to the full range of your audience.

Finding the right keywords for SEO

Once you have a rough idea of what your audience might be looking for, you can get started on in-depth keyword research. The most frequent and important keywords from your brainstorms and the words you would use to describe what your company does can be your initial ‘seed’ keywords.

Start simple – type your seed keywords into Google and see what queries get suggested to you in the dropdown box. This is a good indication of searches commonly performed in relation to each keyword. Note these suggestions down as keyword phrases to use in your copy if they are relevant to your brand. If nothing relevant to your brand is coming up, you probably need to reconsider your seed keywords. 

There are many online tools for helping you further refine which search terms will work best for your brand. These tools provide location ranking words, alternative keywords and longtail prepositions and questions related to your seed terms – they will likely give you plenty more ideas for content too. You can research these terms by search volume to understand the competitiveness and ranking difficulty of different keywords related to your industry and identify keywords with medium or low competition levels that your brand could take advantage of with the right copy.

Google Keyword Planner is a free and basic research tool option, as is Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest. For a more detailed competitor analysis, consider tools with small fees such as Keyword Tool Pro and cognitiveSEO.

Create a bank of topics with value for your defined audience

Next, brainstorm queries related to your brand and industry that you think your audience would search for on Google, using the keywords from your research. 

Consider:

  • What problems and questions are your audience looking to answer? 
  • What information do they need to see on your page to hit ‘purchase’, ‘contact’ or ‘learn more’?

You can continue adding to your brainstorm using insights from your audience. You could chat with your current customers, look through past emails and support requests and any relevant online forums. Note the points of interest and problems of your audience. Pay attention to the language and terminology these customers are using, and consider how much your audience is likely to already know about your offering; if you sell cutlery for example, you will not have to create content explaining how cutlery works, but if you provide an entirely new product or service concept, you have the opportunity to provide plenty more in-depth information.

When choosing content, consider the form you will present it in. While every company needs to include copy on the landing pages of their website, you can also cater more deeply to specific pain points, information gaps or interest queries with:

  • FAQs sections
  • Blog posts
  • How-to guides
  • Industry news
  • Location-specific content (if relevant)
  • Opinion articles
  • Client case studies
  • In-depth product or service showcases
  • Inspiration/mood boards (if in a relevant industry)

For long-term SEO benefits, choose content on ‘evergreen’ topics that people will be searching for years to come – like we are doing with this SEO blog series ;)

Improve SEO by researching the content of your competitors

You need to be creating higher quality, better optimised and more engaging content than your competitors to rank ahead of them.

Look up your competitors and note what they are writing about. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What content have they created that you could do better or differently?
  • What gaps in industry knowledge have they missed that you could include?

Search the topics you have come up with so far and note how your competitors are ranking for those. Your rankings in comparison will, in time, be a useful indicator of whether your SEO strategy is working.

Where to from here?

Now that you have your content ideas and keywords, you need to write website copy that uses them effectively. Check out our next post about writing quality prose for Search Engine Optimization!