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How SEO Can Work With Content Strategy

Posted on Jul 19th, 2011
Written by Lee Odden
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    Content Marketing OptimizationRecently I spoke with Content Strategist, Margot Bloomstein, who was conducting research for an upcoming publication about Content Strategy intended for a variety of audiences. In particular, we discussed productive interactions and exchanges between Search Engine Optimization professionals and Content Strategists.

    Organizations advance their reach and engagement goals through content and Strategists work to audit, develop strategy, plan, create and maintain that content. Ahava Leibtag provides an excellent and practical approach at CMI in her post, “Creating Valuable Content” which outlines how content should be: Findable, Readable, Understandable, Actionable and Shareable.

    SEO and content strategy intersect in more ways than optimizing web pages with keywords. My take on Margot’s question, “How does SEO and content strategy interact?” starts with understanding customer segments, behaviors and preferences for information discovery, consumption and sharing. Knowing what customers care about and how those concerns and interests manifest as search keywords and social topics folds very well into the keyword research practiced by professional SEOs.

    Keyword Glossaries and Editorial Plans aid in planning relevant content that is inherently optimized for customers and target audiences.  Specific keyword optimization is appropriate as well, but the end content product becomes much easier to find, consume and share if there’s empathy with customer needs translated into topics and keywords from the start. Readers of this blog know that I’m a fan of optimizing for customers before search engines and that you can certainly do both.

    An Editorial Plan outlines content types, topics and the keywords they’re optimized for. It indicates where and if the content will be re-published and re-purposed. The plan also shares what channels of distribution will be used to promote the content and share it via the social web. There very well may be an augmentation of the search optimization effort for the social web that emphasizes popular and relevant social topics vs. search keywords.

    Planning, creating, optimizing, promoting and engaging with content on topics that customers and target audiences care about is where modern SEO has evolved: Content Marketing Optimization.  SEO expertise, which also includes knowledge of how search engines crawl and index websites, content management systems, the impact of how websites are coded and organized, provides a powerful ally to Content Strategists when goals and objectives are in alignment.

    I think the publication Margot is researching will provide valuable insight not only for SEO, but any other element involved with an organization’s content from web developers & designers to copywriters and marketing executives. In case Margot reads this post, what tips would you share on how your area of expertise best interacts with Content Strategy?

    Note: On August 18th, I’ll be giving a presentation on Content Marketing & SEO at the SES San Francisco conference which will be a deep dive into the topic with 90 minutes allocated. I hope to see you there.