Why Every Good Content Marketer Needs to Know SEO Basics

January 23, 2022
using technology to build scalable b2b marketing programs

Oftentimes, I’m brought in to drive traffic growth to blogs that have a high volume of content that was created, but receives very little consistent traffic due to a lack of SEO basics. These businesses usually invest in a content team that creates amazing content that receives page views during launch on social or via email, but then little traffic after.

So you might be asking yourself, how can I ensure I have the SEO basics, so my content gets viewed past the initial launch?The more your content is read/viewed, the more value you can attribute to your content program.

Here are a couple of examples that show content performance, pre and post SEO.

Examples of SEO Impact

Example 1

web traffic increase by implementing seo basics to blog
This company struggled with consistency in traffic and leads as a result. Within 90 days of optimizing their great content, we started to see more consistency and an increase by about 250% in traffic to their existing content.

Example 2

increase in web traffic from seo basics
This company went from around 5,000 visitors per week, to almost 20,000 visitors per week by implementing basic SEO principles into their blog content.

Example 3

this company went generated more B2B leads from SEO
This program went from a few visitors per week and zero leads as a result of blog SEO to a couple thousand per month to 70 leads per month and a demo request almost every day.

Example 4

doubling traffic through SEO

With this company, we implemented basic SEO throughout the blog that doubled traffic (from 10,000 visitors/day to over 20,000 visitors/day) and added another $250k in monthly revenue as a result!

All of these companies knew they were creating great content, but without consistent viewership to their content, it was fizzling out.

So now, we get to the good stuff.

If these examples of other B2B and B2C websites traffic growth from existing content, haven’t already convinced you to make sure your content team knows the SEO basics, these facts will. If you’re already convinced, you can skip down to the last section with the most important SEO basics your team should know before and while they create their content.

SEO Basics Key Facts

  • SEO is the gift that keeps giving.
  • SEO ensures that your content is consistently discovered.
  • High ranking content has an “Ecosystem” effect where it will help increase the rankings throughout your company’s entire website. The more high ranking content you have the greater effect your company will see as a whole.
  • Training your content marketing team in the SEO basics will help them understand how viewers and search engines read content.
  • Understanding the SEO basics trains your team to understand what your target audience is actually searching for, which creates less wasted time in terms of content created that your audience has no interest in.
  • Creating content that implements the basics of SEO makes it easier for SEO teams to optimize afterwards.

Are you convinced yet?

are you not entertained gif

The funny thing is SEO has received a bad rep over the years from over optimized content, and as a result several writers will actually refuse to write SEO content. Some writers hear SEO and think back to the keyword spamming days of the mid 2000’s.

That’s no longer the case as Google has made modifications to their search algorithms to detect better, more helpful, content. Overspamming of keywords can actually reduce your ranking positions.

So, without further ado, here are the SEO basics you’ve all been waiting for.

SEO Basics Your Content Team Needs to Know

SEO Research

Your content team is always tasked with coming up with great ideas. But they need to start taking an extra step and using a keyword research tool to verify their ideas will deliver in ongoing traffic. We love SEMRush, but feel free to use any tool you’d prefer.

Small Wins Matter in SEO

While conducting keyword research, one of the biggest mistakes we see is when content teams simply choose the keywords with the highest search volume. This is not the right approach to keyword selection. In fact, I often advise content teams to look for keywords with lower volume because they’ll be easier opportunities to take advantage of. Also, the keyword volume displayed tends to just be a rough estimate, and optimizing for a lower term may even yield in higher traffic volume than expected.

Understand Search Intent When Optimizing for SEO

Before writing an article, I always recommend googling the terms you plan to optimize for. See what the top posts are and the most commonly asked questions, and frequently searched for options. These should give you an idea of what people are actually searching. You can then use the most common questions and include them in your content in order to address a searchers actual queries.

SEO Basics for Writing

Optimize Your H Tags for SEO

One of the most basic SEO concepts and easiest way to optimize your content are to leverage your H Tags. These are the headings that are used throughout the blog. The H1 is the main article title, the H2s are your sub heads, and H3s are the sub-sub headings. Make sure to include your keywords in each of these and to try and get the keyword as close to the beginning of each as possible. Also, as a general rule, you want to include a minimum of 3 H2s, and 3 H3s. With your H3s you can use different variations of your keywords, or other terms that may help associate your article with complimentary terms. For example, re-read this article and see what was used for the main headings as well as the sub headings. Every H3 in this article is being used as a complimentary term for the central keyword of “SEO Basics.”

SEO Optimized Content Uses Internal and External Links

Internal and external links are just what they sound like. Internal links are links from your blog to other articles or pages on your website. External links go to outside resources. Always link to at least 1 internal resources and 2 external resources. Google loves pages that share link equity because its algorithm views pages that link as ones that providing more related content and through leadership.

SEO Keyword Density and Repetition

This is the controversial one. This is how many times you repeat the keyword in your article. I typically recommend using your main keyword once per paragraph, or as often as is natural without seeming spammy.

Use Different Variations of Your Keywords

For every keyword you choose, there are most likely different variations. For example, “SEO Basics” can also be written as “basics for SEO”, “basic SEO concepts”, etc. You’ll want to include several different variations of your keyword so that your article will also be optimized for those terms.

Use Bulleted Lists for Best SEO Rankings

Search engines love being able to easily understand your content, and so do readers. Using bulleted lists make your content easy to consume and it can be presented by search engines as rich snippets.

Example of a Rich Snippet

Example of rich snippet for SEO content

Optimize Your SEO Page Title and Meta Description

If using WordPress, your SEO page title can be edited once you install Yoast SEO. If you’re using a platform like Hubspot then you’ll be a bit more limited in your options. WordPress and Yoast are great for SEO because you can customize and edit your SEO title to align specifically with your keyword, and it will not impact your display heading or H1. However, Hubspot forces you to use your display heading or H1 as your SEO title. This means you cannot customize or have different versions for each without impacting the reader’s experience. (You can learn more about SEO ranking factors here)

Your meta description is another basic SEO concept that needs to be done right for best impact. Think of your meta description as an ad that is displayed in search engines. You get 155 characters to show that your article is relevant. We always recommend using the keyword twice in two short sentences to make sure that your meta description matches when users search for the targeted term. Remember the key with the meta description is showing relevancy.

Include a Call to Action in All Content

The end goal for all content is to drive visitors to perform an action. Whether it’s downloading a new asset, subscribing for a blog, requesting a demo, or reading another article. You want to include at minimum a single call-to-action at the end of every article for visitors to follow. For bonus points, include a couple of other CTA’s throughout the body of your content as native calls-to-action.

Final thoughts: SEO basics for content teams

Training your content writers in the basics of SEO is critical for today’s content teams. Using the above tips, your content team will be able to outperform 90% of competing content programs, and will empower them to build content that better resonates with your audience.

Ronny Cheng

By Ronny Cheng

Ronny Cheng is a digital marketing consultant helps businesses of all sizes build high-performing digital marketing strategies that drive revenue.

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