Spring Into A New Content Strategy

Content is KingIt’s officially Spring! The time when we all start thinking about websites. No, I’m lying, you’re probably thinking about getting outside instead of reading this article.

But, on the subject of website redesign, we’re leading several of our clients through this right now. As they’re all at various stages and have various requirements for the finished project, I thought it might be beneficial to write up a content strategy process you can use when you do redesign your website.

Hire The Right People

You need:

  1. A Website Developer: one who is open to a variety of platforms and can discuss the pros and cons of each one with you.
  2. A Designer: one who can make your vision a reality. Make sure you hire someone who can use search-engine-friendly methods (i.e., no Flash, etc.).
  3. A Technical SEO: one to make sure you don’t lose any of your existing rankings or traffic with the relaunch, and that SEO principles are “baked in.”

Determine Your Content Strategy

You need to conceive and implement a great content strategy. The best way to design a site is around the content your users truly need and want, but that’s not always feasible. If you have a lot of good content already, it may be better to look at the assets you already have and try to fill in the blanks.

Start From Zero

Keyword research should be your first step. Refer back to this article for some more information on that. Categorize your keywords into intent-based categories and think about the content you’d need to write to fulfill the needs of each topic.

For example, for a weight-loss program, there are likely to be a lot of searches around how the program works. This includes keywords like [how does x work], but it also includes keywords like [do I have to exercise on x]?

Now that you have your keywords, it’s time to check… ranking. Yes, I said it. Check to see how you are ranking on Google for your keyword categories. What pages are ranking? Has Google already identified pages on your site that are most relevant to a given topic? If so, you probably want to go ahead and assign the ranking keywords to those pages.

Map The Keywords

Look at what you have left. Are there content pages that need to be created? Is there existing content that would be a good match for the topic, maybe with a few slight changes in tone or focus? Map a single topic and keyword list to each page. No page should have more than 3-5 keywords, and they should all be tightly themed.

For example: [weight loss], [weight loss program], [losing weight], and [weight loss for women] could all be on one page, but you wouldn’t want [weight loss for women], [losing weight with exercise], [eating healthy], and [vitamin supplements] all on one page.

Similarly, all the keywords you choose for a page should be focused on the same stage of the buying cycle. The keywords above were all centered around information gathering. You wouldn’t want to suddenly throw a keyword like [buy food for weight loss] into the mix. It’s the wrong focus for an informational page.

Architect The Site

This is the point at which you involve the developer and the designer. Now that you know what the focus of the pages is going to be, you can begin to break them apart into sections and subsections.

Many developers won’t take on a project until you can tell them how many pages you’ll need, anyway (and this is the wrong way to price projects like this, in my opinion). The more insight you have into what your finished architecture needs to be, the more helpful the designer and developer can be.

Write The Content & The Tags

Now, you have tightly focused keywords around well-themed copy. While the designer is creating the user experience, and the developer is coding the pages, write the copy.

Use the keywords in the heading and the content without overdoing it, and then write tags that reflect the page, as well. Remember, although a description tag has no direct impact on ranking, it can certainly increase click-through rate if it’s written well.

Check Back With The Technical SEO

Before you even think about launching, be sure to check back in again with the technical SEO to make sure your site adheres to all the required best practices, that you have a redirect table properly set up, etc. Allow them to QA and do all the geeky things we do.

So now, you have a simplified approach to developing content for a new site. As you’ve probably already guessed, you can use this strategy for any content you’re developing. Just remember to focus on the keywords, and you’ll be golden.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | How To: SEO | Keywords & Content


About The Author: is the President of an online marketing consulting company offering SEO, PPC, and Web Design services. She's been in search since 2000 and focuses on long term strategies, intuitive user experience and successful customer acquisition. She occasionally offers her personal insights on her blog, JLH Marketing.

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  • http://www.canadaseozone.com/ morestar

    Nice article Jenny, I’d almost say perfect!

  • http://twitter.com/jennyhalasz Jenny Halasz

    Thanks, appreciate it!

  • Eric Koby

    Great article, Jenny (and thanks to Thomas Morffew for the link). It’s amazing how most people would be inclined to invert this process – content first, keywords last. This is a novel (and accurate) approach to content marketing.

  • http://twitter.com/jennyhalasz Jenny Halasz

    Thanks, Eric!

  • icanewfriend

    Great article. You touched on something that many miss – there are distinct differences between web developers and designers; they are not one and the same, especially when it comes down to the softer skills like SEO. Yes, if there is the need for development work, you need BOTH.

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    Jenny, I really like that you present step one as creating an intent based keyword strategy and theming those keywords into groups that directly correlate to points in the buying cycle. That exercise will not only ensure your content has a clear direction and goal, but it also streamlines the process for:

    Defining your sales goal funnels
    Creating your sales goal funnel tracking in analytics
    Creating a PPC campaign structure based on your core themes.
    Identifying if you need custom PPC landing pages, or will some of the content pages suffice?
    Testing Google’s Dynamic ad campaign creation features
    Aligning SEO, Social and PPC campaign themes to support each other.
    Honestly, it can impact virtually everything you do!

    One area I would like to see more emphasis on when you speak of key members of the team is an overall Internet Marketing Strategist. S/he is a rare breed that has in-depth experience with Design, Dev, SEO, PPC, Social and Analytics combined with a knack for creative business development. This person needs to be in place to ensure synergy and unity among the various disciplines.

  • http://twitter.com/jennyhalasz Jenny Halasz

    Amen to that!

  • http://twitter.com/jennyhalasz Jenny Halasz

    You make an excellent point! In reality, there should be several stakeholders in play, especially someone strategic. I missed a chance to emphasize what we do at here at archology – which is offer the design, development, SEO, PPC, and strategy under one roof. :)


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