If you’re serious about your SEO, you’ve probably set (implicit) goals on what you want to achieve. Perhaps you want to rank in the top ten search results for a specific keyword. Maybe you want your organic traffic to rise with a certain number. But what do you do if you are unable to meet your goals? Simply reset your goals? Or do you adapt and improve your SEO strategy? And how should you do that? In this post, I’ll talk you through some best practices in content SEO strategy that’ll help you achieve your SEO goals.
Why set SEO goals at all?
First, let’s look at why it’s important to set SEO goals. Because it is. If you set SEO goals, chances are much higher that your content SEO strategy will be successful. Because specifying your goals will give you the motivation to actually meet those goals. They give focus to your strategy. Additionally, you’ll be able to measure the success of your SEO strategy if you set specific goals.
You could set goals for ranking top 10, top 5, or even the number 1 position in the search engines for specific terms. You can also set goals for the amount of traffic you want to attract from the search engines. Just don’t forget to make your goals specific and give them deadlines! You’ll become extra focused and determined to achieve your SEO goals.
Not meeting your goals isn’t that bad…
It can be disappointing if you’re unable to meet your content SEO goals. Especially if you put a lot of effort into your content SEO strategy. No worries, though. The next step is to analyze what went wrong. If you analyze and evaluate properly, you’ll uncover valuable information. This information will help you set realistic new goals and improve your SEO strategy on all fronts.
Are all technical SEO aspects taken care of?
It’s best practice to regularly check that your technical SEO is in order. Luckily, Yoast SEO takes care of these things for you. Still, you won’t be the first to accidentally have a noindex/nofollow tag in the wrong place. If you’re blocking – perhaps even without knowing it! – crawlers from your site, you’ll never rank high in Google.
Read more: 8 technical SEO pointers for beginners »
3 best practices for content SEO
1. Evaluate your keyword research
A common mistake in content SEO is to aim for keywords that are simply too competitive to rank for. It’s understandable that you want to rank for terms that generate the most traffic. Competition on those terms is killing, though. We can’t all rank for the same terms. If you’re unable to meet your goals for certain keywords or keyphrases, you might be aiming too high.
Instead, consider ranking for long tail keywords. Why is this best practice for content SEO? Because the longer and more specific your keywords are, the less competitive they’ll be. You can actually generate a lot of traffic with long tail keywords. And, after a while, you’ll be able to rank for more head terms as well, as your authority in your domain will increase.
It’s good to note, however, that ranking for competitive search terms is always a long-term SEO strategy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals to enter the top 5 in Google on a competitive term. Just give yourself some time to achieve those goals. In the meantime, set your content SEO goals on entering the top 5 in Google with more long tail and less competitive keywords. You’ll be able to celebrate successes while working towards your ultimate ranking goal.
Keep reading: Keyword research: the ultimate guide »
2. Evaluate your content
Another reason you’re not ranking (yet) could be that your site lacks awesome and SEO-friendly content. A successful SEO strategy requires lots of great quality content. A few thin-content sales pages will not get you in Google’s top 10. That’s why one of the best practices for a good content SEO strategy is to incorporate several awesome, informative cornerstone content pages. If you write informative, unique and well-optimized articles and blog posts, your ranking will most definitely improve.
So, what is quality content? The first step is to write multiple lengthy articles or blog posts that are optimized for the right search terms. Don’t forget to factor in accessibility! You want everyone to be able to read your content. Even on social media. And finally, you should always update your old content. Keep it relevant and informational for your visitors. Writing SEO friendly content might sound like a lot of work, but it’ll pay off in the long run.
Read on: How to measure the success of your content SEO strategy »
3. Update your site structure
A third reason why you’re not ranking well or attracting as much traffic as you’d like could be because of your site’s structure. If your website is about ballet shoes, you’ve probably written many related articles about ballet shoes. That’s great, but you need to tell Google which of these articles is the most important. Otherwise, you’ll end up competing with your own content in the search results. Which in turn could result in lower rankings for all of your articles.
It’s best practice to improve your site structure by choosing a cornerstone approach. Determine which article is most important for each main topic you’re writing about. Link from all other blog posts on that topic to your most important one. Our Yoast SEO plugin has several features to help you improve your site’s structure. Using these will do wonders for your content SEO!
Whether you reach your goals or not isn’t the main issue; you just need to set them. They will give focus to your SEO strategy. Even if you don’t manage to reach those goals, they’re a good starting point and a valuable source of information. Find out why you didn’t meet your goals. Then, improve your content SEO strategy.
Keep on reading: The ultimate guide to site structure »
Marieke van de Rakt
Marieke is the head of strategy at Yoast and founder of Yoast SEO academy. She loves coming up with new ideas and products to make SEO attainable for everyone, and ensure a healthy growth for Yoast!