Given the changes in SEO over the past several years, we asked our SEO experts what it takes to rank well today and what steps you can take. One thing is abundantly clear:
Creating reader-centric content is what marketers need to focus on in their organic inbound strategy.
Create quality content that your audience wants.
Winning over the search engine’s algorithm is not about maxing keyword optimization as much as it is about answering readers’ questions. Marketers should focus on the quality of their content and the value they provide to the reader, instead of optimizing just to check the boxes for the search engines.
The two most important concepts to understand for ranking well in 2022 and beyond are mapping keyword and topic targets to user intent and mapping content to your target customer’s buying decision-making journey.
7-Step SEO Content Action Plan to Increase Organic Inbound Traffic
We list seven steps, each with some key actions, that you can apply to your own marketing strategy and grow your inbound traffic starting today.
1. Conduct Keyword Research
- Analyze ranking performance on each page to determine which ones are driving organic traffic.
- Look for pages that had a recent drop in traffic or SERP rankings and find out why.
- Identify issues that are affecting rankings and traffic.
- Focus on relevancy, website age, backlinks, keyword phrases, and mapping to search intent.
- Find new keyword and content opportunities to build upon.
Decent content that’s relevant, website age, and backlinks. It still helps to have keyword phrases. Yes, you’ll rank for phrases you’re not baking into the content in a deliberate manner. But it makes a difference when you actually use phrases.
2. Analyze Your Competitors
- Do a keyword gap analysis by identifying the main keyword rankings of top competitors who have high organic search visibility and performance.
- Find keywords of opportunity that competitors are not using, so that you can incorporate these to improve ranking performance.
- Analyze content marketing strategies used by top 10 main competitors.
- Identify content that performs the best. Incorporate into your own content strategy.
Demonstrating topical authority through a great content strategy based on very detailed keyword research, paired with a lot of high authority links from relevant sites, with high traffic.
3. Address Any Technical Site Issues
- Set up Google Search Console and ensure the best practice configurations are in place.
- Set up Google Analytics 4 if you have not already done so (must be done by July 1, 2023).
- Investigate SEO-related elements on your site including, but not limited to, the following:
Meta title and description
Duplicate content that increases keyword cannibalization risk
Internal linking, including URL redirects and broken links
Canonical tags and structured data
Sitemap configuration and robots.txt file
- Check your site for mobile responsive design, mobile traffic and device usage, and apply best practices for mobile search optimization.
- Analyze your website’s page load speed on both desktop and mobile and create a list of action items for you to improve your Core Web Vitals.
SEO is no longer about blatantly targeting keywords on a web page or writing thousands of words that don’t bring any value. It is about the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness) of content being shared with your target audiences. Recent page experience update (Core Web Vitals) also forces webmasters to focus on overall user experience and ease of usability of the websites. A clever SEO strategy should also be created for the end users, not just for search engines.
4. On-Page Content Analysis
- Audit your existing content, including blog posts, top-level pages, meta titles, and descriptions.
- Do an evergreen content analysis to identify the traffic trends on each page.
- Investigate which pages have performed well in the past but recently lost traffic.
- Use your competitive gap analysis to list content optimization opportunities for your company.
- Audit your website structure and internal linking. Apply best site navigation practices for an optimal user experience.
- Audit the current meta titles and meta descriptions on all pages. Shorten those that are too long and ensure they include the correct keywords for the page’s topic and search intent.
Google is getting much better at recognizing quality and matching the right search results with the right search intent of keywords. Simultaneously, the focus has been shifting much more to website speed and user experience. The key to ranking well is to have unique content that answers your target audience’s questions combined with a killer website experience.
5. Create and Distribute the Content Your Audience Wants
- Using your keyword research and gap analysis, identify the main topics and niche areas related to your offering.
- Use long tail and question-based keywords to create content ideas and blog post topics.
- Create an editorial calendar with these topics to keep content production on track.
- Check which content formats Google favors for a topic, and then create something even better.
The method we stick to is data-driven SEO. Look at what Google is rewarding within the topic and intent you want to rank, then reverse engineering it and making it 10% better than the #1 spot.”
- Create useful content with searcher’s intent in mind and answer the searcher’s questions as completely as possible:
Answer all questions your customers usually ask
Builds trust with readers
Portrays you as an authority in your market
Increases brand awareness
Converts potential buyers into loyal customers
- Add visuals and experiment with different formats to increase engagement.
- Focus on producing more articles that rank on lower volume keywords or fewer articles with long-tail keywords.
Format your content (subheads, bullet lists, short paragraphs) and add lots of visuals (charts, graphs, faces). These are the big factors in “dwell time” and getting visitors to stick around. If visitors from search like the page, Google will like the page.
6. Leverage Existing Traffic By Upgrading Outdated Content
- Select the pages with the best opportunities to move up in rankings for a keyword group.
- Updating the content on each page and optimize the following:
Primary and secondary keywords
Ensure that search intent is met
Update meta titles and descriptions
Remove outdated information
Add new relevant content
Improve structure and formatting
Replace links with up-to-date sources
Replace old images and screenshots
- Track each updated page based on new publish date, crawl date, and performance over the next 30 to 90 days.
- For pages that are not updated, decide whether to remove them and apply 301 redirects to newer and more relevant content.
- To reduce keyword cannibalization risk, merge pages targeting similar keywords and topics into one long-form page. Redirect merged content to that page.
- Repurpose your content into different formats to distribute on social media.
SEO today is strategic and creative. And there are a million different ways to rank: From landing pages to resource centers, smartly repurposed video content, sales enablement, glossaries, product features – lots of options to meet search intent.
7. Execute Your Link Building Campaign
- Audit your backlink profile.
- Disavow any bad or spammy backlinks that provide negative value to your website.
- Plan your link outreach campaign through segmentation of potential targets.
- Execute your outreach campaign to get links.
If you have a strong team of link builders under your belt, you can work with much less content, and compete for fewer, higher volume terms to move the needle.
Get Started Today With a Comprehensive SEO Audit
Let us help jump-start your action plan with a full SEO audit by:
👉 Pointing you to the right keywords to target.
👉 Showing you the exact types of content to create or update.
👉 Revealing which competitors are ranking and how to beat them at their own game.