Ahava Leibtag is our fourth expert on the Content Strategy Advent Calendar. Ahava shares her thoughts and advice for making sure we don’t neglect SEO when it comes to planning and producing content.
Here we are again at the end of 2017. What a year it was. I am here to talk about wrapping SEO into your content strategy.
I have this sort of feeling that sometimes content strategists are a little snobby about SEO and I totally understand why that is. But our content isn’t really useful or valuable until people can find it. And so it’s really important for us I think, as content strategists, to really embrace the best practices of SEO and to make sure that we are wrapping SEO into our content strategy, throughout the entire time, that we’re thinking about the lifecycle, not only of different parts of our content and projects, but also in terms of how we’re planning for our content, how we’re thinking and calling different products and services within our organisation.
“Our content isn’t really useful or valuable until people can find it. And so it’s really important for us I think, as content strategists, to really embrace the best practices of SEO.”
So the first thing that I want to say is that we should always be doing research, always be doing keyword research, always looking at analytics. It shouldn’t be something you go back to once a month, it should be something you’re in touch with on a daily basis, figuring out how people are finding your content. What’s bringing them inside the site? What’s pulling them out of that search funnel? And what terms you might be missing that you should be using that could really help you beef up your content and your content strategy.
The second thing is a trick that I learnt from Steph Hay who was the lead content strategist at Capitol One. She now has a different title there, I forget what it is. But she talks about language boards and she says that when you interview stakeholders you should get a list of all the terms that they think customers use and the terms that they use. And then you should look at your SEO, analytics and keywords and do that research, and find out where those match points are and go back to the stakeholders and say before we write about this topic, here’s what we found in our searching about what people use, what vocabulary people are using around these terms, what would you like us to use?
“When you interview stakeholders you should get a list of all the terms that they think customers use and the terms that they use. And then you should look at your SEO, analytics and keywords and do that research, and find out where those match points are.”
That can be a really effective way to agree before you write content, on getting the SEO baked in so that you don’t start writing based on your keyword research, go back to the subject matter experts who need to approve your content and have them say, well this isn’t what we call it.
And then the third thing is is that so much of SEO is really about site speed, technology, site loading, images have to be sized appropriately. So really get to know your techies, work with them, make sure that they understand all of the different parts of SEO. And that can be a really critical part in terms of making sure that your content is findable and that it is successful and that it does help not only your users accomplish their tasks, but also the business in accomplishing its goals.
Hope you have a fabulous holiday season and a wonderful end of 2017 and a fabulous 2018. Hopefully we’ll see you next year.
Ahava is passionate about content and prides herself on tackling the toughest content projects—from healthcare to higher education to hip-hop (seriously). She has more than 15 years of experience in writing, messaging, and marketing, and is a well-recognized content expert. Her first book, The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web was published by Morgan Kaufmann in November 2013.
Ahava is the president and owner of Aha Media Group, LLC, a content strategy and content marketing consultancy founded in October 2005. Prior to beginning Aha Media, she was a communications strategist for a government agency. Ahava has also worked for two major advertising agencies and a commercial production company, and she served as the metro beat reporter for The Jerusalem Post.
Ahava received her M.A. from Georgetown University and her B.A. from Stern College. She lives in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region.