We always talk about creating the perfect user experience, yet when it comes to content marketing, people tend to put the search engine first. In the upcoming years, this approach won’t do any good.

To remain relevant in the search results, your content marketing strategy will need to accommodate the consumer/search-engine relationship.

What does this mean? Simply put, due to increased use of alternative searching methods – such as reverse image search or voice search – ranking algorithms underwent some serious changes. In turn, SEO tactics must undergo some serious changes too.

Now, Google aims to provide consumers with instant results and has also employed the use of natural language processing. Consequently, featured snippets now sit at the top of 30% of search results.  Meanwhile, the nature of keywords has evolved to reflect user behavior.

Given the circumstances, now is the time to optimize your content strategy to more closely match a searcher’s intentions. Here are three ways you can do that.

  1.   Restructure Your Content Plan

Yes, the time has come to visit and refine your content plan. Next year and beyond, the best way to dominate keywords is to fully address the entire topic. Thus, you become a valuable resource for users, which builds brand awareness, trust and loyalty.

Here’s how it works:

Topic Clustering – This type of content plan entails picking a main topic that many smaller topics can stem from. While the main topic is more general and gives only basic information, the subtopics are highly detailed. Doing this helps successfully guide the user journey to reach your content goals.

Interlinking – Through topic clustering, internal linking becomes much easier to do. SEO consultants suggest creating an Excel sheet (or something similar) to track content related to a specific topic. In this way you will also have a readily available list of content to link into your current article. More relevant interlinking means a better user experience.

Better Keywords – Keywords are becoming trickier every day. Certain ideas that we were told would be successful have now lost their edge. For example, the keyword search volume and CPC may not be such a valuable metric anymore. Instead, try focusing on keywords related to the specific topic (seed keyword).

This can be better explained in the next section, as keywords will naturally spearhead the rest of your content strategy.

  1.   Reevaluate Keyword Strategy

At this point in your career, you are probably aware of the benefits of creating consumer personas. One such benefit is the ability to get in the user’s head and produce exactly what they need. As such, keep these tips in mind when conducting your keyword research.

Natural language – This is more commonly used for searching now. People are using conversational tones through digital assistants and mobile phones. This means that better quality keywords will be context based, as you don’t have to do as much guesswork. Furthermore, longtail and question terms have increased in use in recent years.

Long Tail keywords–It is easier to understand the user intent, thanks to long tail keywords. Although this may reduce your audience overall, you can more precisely address user needs. In turn, Google will notice that the article is useful and boost your ranking. Therefore, search volume and CPC don’t matter as much as they used to during keyword research.

Choosing Key terms – Just because long tail keywords are more effective now, does not mean that the shorter keywords don’t still have merit. It’s all about where you apply them. The best method is to use the shorter keywords for the core topic and interlink it with long tail keywords leading to your subtopics.

This strategy provides a solution to the problem of keywords ranking based on context. You see, the supporting subtopics and long tail keywords are what provides context for the core topic. Thus, ranking for those keywords help you boost your ranking for the main keyword. You may even get featured in a snippet.

Optimize for Featured Snippets

Many people call the featured snippet “position zero”, as in the only organic ranking that surpasses the first result. Still, this doesn’t mean that ranking high up in the SERPS is ineffective.

On the contrary, website in positions 2 through 10 make up 70% of the featured snippets on Google. Hence, digital marketing groups need only focus on the best ways to optimize for this slot.

Position Zero – Some studies indicate that the rise of featured snippets has reduced traffic to the top 3 organic search results. This is happening for two reasons. First, featured snippets often answer the query without a need for the user to click. Second, featured snippets have a higher CTR due to the content visibility.

Given this, you only need to consider each section as a featured snippet when creating content and use the best practices.

Best Practices – For the most part, featured snippets come in one or a combination of 5 formats: paragraphs, tables, lists, videos and images. So, when creating one of these elements, imagine it is included in a snippet. What should it look like?

  • Check out what the current featured snippet is for your topic. Notice which type of content is chosen and follow suit.
  • Paragraphs should be average in length, consisting of about 55 words, give or take.
  • Enclose content in the proper tags. You can tag anything; titles, subheadings, lists, videos, images, tables – anything. This indicates to the search engine what format the content is in.
  • Make sure to use wording that explains the context and presents the content

Of course, if your content doesn’t get featured in position zero, this does not mean that it was unsuccessful. But how can you tell just how much success it does have?

  1.   Track Success

Naturally, you are wondering if the future of content marketing comes with better ways to measure success. Unfortunately, there is not much that has changed in this regard. Still, it’s worth mentioning some tell-tale signs of how well your content is doing. Consider these points:

  • What is your goal? You can’t measure success without first identifying which areas you hope to be successful in.
  • Are you creating backlinks naturally? If other websites are referring to your content, then this is a way to tell if it’s successful. For creating backlinks you can consult SEO experts Boston to help you build authority backlinks for better results.
  • Are your web pages organized into clusters, and if so, how well are you ranking for the core keyword?
  • Any likes, shares, or comments?
  • Did you see any fluctuations in traffic or sales?
  • How is your business stacking up against competitors?
  • What do your analytic tools tell you about your content pages?

It can’t hurt to use tools that help perform SEO services more smoothly. If you are an SEO guru yourself, then you may see great results from creating such a tool. Not only can you benefit from it, you can help others too.

Hopefully this article was helpful! What else do you think will help form winning content marketing strategies in the future?


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