Honing Your SEO Content Marketing Strategy
You’ve decided to incorporate content strategy into your larger marketing plan. Great decision – B2B content marketing is a very effective way to attract prospects and boost website traffic. But as you peruse the web for advice on how to write effective copy, we’re sure you’ve noticed some conflicting advice.
You may have read something like: “Make sure to write conversational, engaging content that speaks directly to your target audience.” But you’ve probably also read: “It’s important to craft SEO optimized content to improve your keyword rankings.”
So, which one is it? Should you be writing for humans or for search engine algorithms? Well, the simple answer is… yes. To both. The best content is optimized for your readers and the elusive ranking robots you keep hearing about. Read on to discover our best practices to help give your B2B content the best of both worlds.
Writing Engaging B2B Copy for the Reader
A mistake that many businesses make when they’re starting their B2B content marketing strategy is treating their blogs like research papers. Research papers are designed to sound highly professional with big words and long-winded sentences catered to experts on a given topic. But blogs serve an entirely different purpose because they’re for a different audience.
When writing a blog, you want to sound knowledgeable but approachable. Using jargon, five-dollar words, and lengthy paragraphs filled with dense information will only scare away your audience.
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when writing for your audience:
- Limit sentence length to 20 words or less
- Avoid jargon and acronyms (unless you’ve spelled them out first)
- Keep your vocabulary at a 6th-grade level (1-2 syllable words)
- Break copy up into short paragraphs (2-3 sentences each) to keep your content skimmable
- Use bullet points instead of listing items in a sentence with a bunch of commas
Remember as you’re writing that your audience might not be subject matter experts. Your job is to turn complex ideas into easily-digestible content.
Readability is also an important SEO factor. So, keeping it simple will give you brownie points for your site visitors and the search algorithm robots.
The Importance of Conversational Content
Another aspect of writing for your readers is making sure your B2B content is conversational. The goal here is to write content with words that your audience actually uses day-to-day. Basically, how you write should reflect how you normally speak.
Think about how you talk to friends or family. You ask questions, crack jokes, and make pop culture references. Do those things (within reason) as you write! Asking questions throughout the copy and relating concepts to popular movies, TV shows, etc. will only keep your readers interested.
Also, you can throw certain grammar rules to the wind. It’s okay to end your sentences with prepositions. You won’t be fielding angry messages from grammar enthusiasts – unless that’s your target audience.
Use contractions, too. Most people speak with contractions all the time, and your copy will feel clunky if you spell everything out.
Let’s compare two sentences:
- “I will not do anything that I do not have to do.”
- “I won’t do anything that I don’t have to.”
The second sentence seems way more natural, right? Notice how it uses contractions and ends with a preposition. This wouldn’t fly if you were writing a research paper. But when you’re writing to relate to and engage your audience, letting your content flow naturally makes a huge difference.
Worried your content is too stiff? Read it aloud before publishing it. If something sounds wonky, rework your sentence until it feels right.
SEO Copywriting Tips that Boost Rankings
Now, let’s get a little more technical. You could write the most engaging blog in the world, but nobody will read it if it doesn’t follow some SEO copywriting best practices.
First, you’ll need to do some keyword research. Which audience(s) are you targeting? What keywords does this audience typically use to find the services you offer? Which keywords are your competitors using? Knowing the answers to these questions will help build a jumping-off point for your new content.
You’ll want to target 2-3 keywords and variations per blog. Focusing on too many keywords on one page will limit your chances of ranking for any of them. But if you’re just targeting one keyword, you risk keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is the practice of using a target keyword as many times as possible to quickly get to page one of search results for that keyword. But, it makes your copy difficult to read and often results in a penalty from search engines.
When writing, make sure to share both internal and external links. This helps provide additional value to your readers, boosts credibility, and keeps people moving through your site.
Search engines see multiple page visits per session as a positive ranking factor. The more you can keep visitors clicking internal links, the better!
Building an SEO Optimized Content Structure
If you’re writing and feeling the flow, you might forget about proper page structure. But structuring your content correctly is absolutely critical. It not only helps search engines correctly identify the context of on-page information, but it also improves reading comprehension for users.
Let’s start with heading tags. Every blog needs one H1 (and ONLY one). Your H1 should be the first heading tag on the page.
Think of your blog like a book. If the H1 is the title of the book, your H2s are the chapters. H3 tags are used to subdivide your H2s even further. You can have multiples of any heading tag except for the H1.
Aside from heading tags, your blog needs multiple elements in the backend:
- Title tag (50-60 characters) – Title of your blog that shows up in search results and in your browser’s title bar. This HTML code plays an important role in organic rankings and should include your target keyword. Note that your Title Tag should not be the same as your H1.
- Meta description (130-155 characters) – Snippet of text that shows up in search results that briefly describes the content of the page. Try incorporating 1-2 target keywords in this snippet.
- Alt text – Also known as an alt tag, alt text is a phrase that describes exactly what’s in an image. It helps search engines and users with visual impairments understand the context of photos. It may be helpful to use your keywords or a variation of your keyword in the alt text as well.
With all of these aspects in place, search engines will have no problem understanding your page’s layout. Blogging can take a lot of time. That’s why you’ll want to be sure that your next piece of content is structured for success!
Empower Your Marketing with a B2B Content Marketing Agency
Are you feeling overwhelmed with managing all of these moving parts? Correctly optimizing your content for both search engines and readers can feel like solving a complex math problem.
Let us help you craft the perfect formula to rank well in search and engage your audience. Reach out to Creative MMS today to collaborate on an impactful SEO content strategy.