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Optimizing your website content has never been easier. SEO practices are constantly changing, which can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned marketers and content creators. Achieving online visibility through SEO rankings can feel like one of those dreams where no matter how hard you go, you won’t get anywhere.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is overdoing their content alignment strategy. If you are trying to rank on every relevant industry keyword, you may not be ranking for any of them. Instead, you should keep your focus on high priority goals that you can achieve through the use of content.
It’s like lighting a fire with a magnifying glass. When a lot of light shines through, the floor becomes warmer, but there is no fire. Only by focusing on a single point can you light a flame. This is exactly the mindset that you should bring into your content alignment strategy.
Use the golden circles
Author and thought leader Simon Sinek has shared valuable insights for companies struggling with strategy. He calls it the Golden Circles, a concept he first shared in a 2009 Ted Talk that became one of the most-watched videos in the series.
According to Sinek, there are three golden circles in the economy that encompass one another. The three rings are pretty simple: WHAT is represented as the outer ring, HOW as the middle ring, and WHY as the center of it all. The smaller circles indicate that, unlike the outermost ring, fewer companies have understood these concepts.
These circles can be applied to many business and leadership concepts, but let’s use them to examine your content targeting strategy. What you do is pretty simple. It’s the role your business plays in the marketplace, whether it’s food prep, home cleaning, or app development. How you do this involves your operating system, your thought process, and the little things you do to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Most organizations depend on the why. Whether it’s your brand image or your content strategy, it’s important to find out. Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing, then use that to generate content. Perhaps you’re preparing meals to ensure busy families get the delicious, nutritious food they need to thrive. This allows you to better align your content for long-term success.
Align your goals with metrics
Once you’ve found your why, it’s time to make it tangible. Without data metrics, your content goals are nothing more than a pipe dream. Metrics provide tangible evidence that your content targeting strategy is working or needs revision.
Perhaps the goal of your content strategy is to increase brand awareness among your target audience. How do you quantify something so abstract? You can look at impressions, page views, and brand mentions online to get a better idea of how your strategy is performing.
Try to focus on one content targeting goal at a time. If you try to spread yourself too thin, you will only make incremental changes and see very little real progress. If you focus your content on a single goal, you’ll get clearer effects in less time.
Profile your target group
In an ideal world, everyone would be screaming for your product or service. Realistically, your company will have the greatest success with a specific audience. This is easy to see for some organizations, such as a brand of diapers targeting young parents. Sometimes it is more complex to determine your target audience, but that doesn’t make them any less important.
Think about what kind of person you want to see with your content. For example, let’s say you run a SaaS company that offers world-class project management software. Your target audience can be managers, entrepreneurs and CEOs with an interest in time management, teamwork and productivity.
Once you’ve narrowed down your specific audience, curate content specifically for them. You don’t need content for every single demographic that your website might visit. With all of your content, focus on the audience who you believe will most want and need your company’s offerings.
Focus on topics instead of keywords
You can get a lot of gray hair if you are obsessed with keywords. True, ranking for relevant keywords is an important aspect of content marketing. However, you can get too attached to keywords and your content will suffer.
Focusing on topics is often a lot easier than trying to cram every possible keyword into your content strategy. Look for keyword clashes and pair them with search intent. The quality of your content will improve as you sharpen your focus, which leads to more organic growth.
Of course, you can’t just marginalize keyword ranking. Keywords are very important to Google, and you will need them to rank well. Just don’t get so lost in keyword research that you forget why you are developing content in the first place. (Note: it’s all about meeting the needs and getting your target audience’s attention.)
If SEO and content strategy were easy to do, everyone would excel at it. The truth is, it takes a lot of effort to develop a content alignment strategy that works for your brand. Start with customizations to increase your focus and let content lead your business to more profit, brand awareness and stability.