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How We Create The Perfect SEO Brief That Aligns Teams

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How We Create The Perfect SEO Brief That Aligns Teams

Does aligning SEO goals with multiple teams and departments feel like herding cats?

To add fuel to the ever-extending timeline, you may have uninformed stakeholders who also need to provide their input.

Marketing, SEO, and content teams share many of the same goals, but how aligned are you in creating timely and consistently effective content?

It’s time to try the perfect SEO brief.

On June 22, I moderated a webinar with Ajay Rama, CEO of Alps.ai. He demonstrated how to create a well-coordinated brief that seamlessly connects your teams, elevates your content program, and outperforms your competitors.

Here is a summary of the webinar.

To access the entire presentation, complete the form.

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Challenges With Producing High-Performing Content

As you scale, these creating content can become more challenging.

Many companies have difficulty staying on track, resulting in deteriorating content quality.

  • Quality of content is highly subjective and hard to scale, as it depends on the content writer’s capability, which varies from person to person.
  • Research on the topic takes too much time, and the research quality is inconsistent.
  • Multiple stakeholders make aligning and executing a vision a challenge.

What’s needed then?

A content brief is a solution to addressing scaling challenges.

[Create the perfect content brief] Instantly access the webinar →

In reality, very few companies use content briefs.

Even when they use it, it isn’t comprehensive, high-level enough, or doesn’t provide the benefits an organization needs.

What An Effective Content Brief Covers & The Execution Steps

A well-structured brief can elevate your overall content performance.

Three steps address each aspect of the core pillars that make a solid piece of content.

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[Discover the 3 core pillars of content creation] Instantly access the webinar →

Step 1: Research User Needs

Research the keyword landscape for your topic before you start writing. You’ll need to understand what queries people are typing into search engines.

Once you know this, you can finalize keywords with which you should optimize your content.

First, create a list of keywords for which you would like this page ranked.

  • Primary keywords.
  • Supporting keywords.

[See examples of each] Instantly access the webinar →

Step 2: Perform Competitive Research

The next step is creating quality content.

Competitive research can help you build quality content. You can achieve this by knowing:

  • What competitors are covering.
    • Titles and headers.
    • Popular questions.
    • Subtopics.
  • How competitors are optimizing their content.
    • Words and phrases.
    • Elements that are optimized.

Aim for at least seven pages of comprehensive research.

Step 3: Optimize Your SEO Outline

Know the elements of how you plan to communicate your content to the search engines.

This can be achieved through:

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  • Keyword targeting.
  • Addressing user queries.
  • Identifying and targeting the SERP packs.

[Dive deeper into each step] Instantly access the webinar →

Here’s what your content brief should look like.

iQuanti, June 2022

Structured research will allow your team to focus on creative aspects of content creation without wasting time on operational details.

[Slides] How We Create The Perfect SEO Brief That Aligns Teams & Beats Competition

Here’s the presentation:

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

Small Business Marketing: How To Safely Try New Strategies

When it comes to your small business, how do you feel about taking risks? Learn how you can play it safe while taking risks by measuring the results of trying new marketing strategies.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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SEO

Link relevancy trumps volume for SEO

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Data speaks Link relevancy trumps volume for SEO

30-second summary:

  • Earned media coverage is more valuable than ever for your website
  • Digital PR is just as important as technical SEO
  • A large volume of links is the goal, what’s stopping someone from picking the most newsworthy idea, even if it has nothing to do with your client?

In 2022, it’s impossible to deny the benefit that digital PR as a tactic has on an organic growth strategy. Earned media coverage is more valuable than ever for your website. You could be doing everything right for SEO, but if you’re not building links, you’re still missing out on the increased search visibility, organic traffic, and brand awareness that backlinks bring to your business.

Last year, Google’s John Mueller finally weighed in on digital PR as a tactic and confirmed what we’ve all known for a while now: that it’s just as important — if not more — as technical SEO.

As digital PR is still a relatively “young industry” that’s only just sprouted up in the past 10 years, many PR pros have relied on “viral” campaigns to boost the backlink portfolio of their clients. These viral campaigns are often celebrated but are often created with little regard to how relevant, or “on-brand” those ideas really are.

After all, if a large volume of links is the goal, what’s stopping someone from picking the most newsworthy idea, even if it has nothing to do with your client?

In 2022, link volume is no longer the goal (or shouldn’t be)

While many PR pros’ were evaluating their success around this one key metric (link volume) others in the industry have suspected for a while now that the relevance of linking coverage is a key factor Google looks at when assigning “value” to links.

Once again, John Mueller has settled the debate about link volume vs link relevance,  coming out in 2021 and saying that ‘the total number of links’ doesn’t matter at all.

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This clarity has helped refocus the digital PR industry and forced PR pros to re-evaluate what metrics and KPIs we need to be focusing on to drive true organic growth.

It’s no longer enough to be ‘popular’ you also need to be relevant. Not just in terms of the publications you are targeting, but the keywords you want to rank for,  audience interest, and most importantly, brand alignment to the story you are pitching in.

Google is continuously looking to become more intelligent through its use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. It wants to understand web content as a human, and therefore through its use of natural language understanding, it is likely to not just be looking at the anchor text of links in third-party articles, but it is also wanting to understand the wider context of the article that a brand is placed in.

How to ensure your link-building activity is relevant to your brand

The first steps to coming up with relevant content ideas for your digital PR campaign are to:

  1.  understand your client, and
  2.  understand your client’s audience and their needs.

Every good idea will flow from these two pillars.

If Google’s main objective is to show the best content to users through search, then your job is to create content that either supports your client’s product or service or supports their customers.

It is more important than ever to not only create relevant and on-brand content in the written form but also ensure that any supporting assets created (video, images, audio) are also relevant to the target keywords and services or products that the brand sells.

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In addition, it’s important to create content that engages people, to drive further buzz and positive sentiment around the brand, all of which contribute to greater brand awareness and affinity among your potential customers.

How to measure the relevancy of your backlink profile

We now have the technology available to us to be able to understand and assign quantifiable metrics to the relevance of linking coverage (or indeed the relevance of any text-based content) – which allows us to be much more data-driven and targeted when developing digital PR, link creation activity and competitor and marketplace analysis.

For example, natural language understanding tools like Salient, measure the relevancy of both off-page and on-page content. Tools like this help to understand how a search engine is viewing a brand’s content, it not only enables us to identify the gaps in our client’s backlink profile.

At Journey Further, we use this proprietary tool to measure the relevancy of both off-page and on-page content for our clients.

Measuring the relevancy of your backlink profile

We can use this tool to understand how a search engine is viewing a brand’s content, it not only enables us to identify the gaps in our client’s backlink profile but also aids us in optimizing its content on-site. The outcome of which – is a much more focused, effective, and measurable digital PR activity that is better aligned to SEO objectives and that delivers better ROI for clients.

Looking ahead to 2023

Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, it’s likely that Google will only continue to develop better technology to understand web content.

All digital PR campaigns should reflect this, and where possible, be multi-faceted, not just relying on a single press release to get cut through. We need to be thinking as marketers, not just SEO practitioners, and ensure we are driving as much ROI as possible. Taking a brand plus performance approach to SEO and digital PR will therefore be key.


Beth Nunnington is the VP of Digital PR and Content Marketing at Journey Further, leading Digital PR strategy for the world’s leading brands. Her work has been featured in The Drum, PR Moment, and Prolific North. Find Beth on Twitter @BethNunnington.

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