Blogging isn’t enough. You need a strategic content marketing system to propel your business to the top of the search results.
Beyond core site pages (your main service pages, your “about us” page, your “contact us” page), additional content gives your site the opportunity to provide the answers online searchers seek, delivering informational expertise that attracts new leads and sales.
An SEO-focused content calendar should reflect what users are searching for. My content calendars start with keyword (search query) research to find the topics most likely to bring qualified traffic. Customer research and market research guide our approach so we can deliver the informational expertise the market needs.
Optimizing for SEO is the final step, building a strong internal linking approach, page titles crafted to garner high click-through, etc.
Authority Hubs: Taking Content Calendars Further
Content calendars are great for planning and scheduling blog articles and other assets. But I’ve developed an effective approach that takes content marketing to the next level.
“Authority Hubs” will position your business as the leader in your industry and rank your website on page one of Google for your key terms.
Each Authority Hub is an exhaustive guide about a given topic, a curated collection of content related that potential customers at every stage of the buying journey will love.
Authority Hubs link to deeper levels of content about related subjects. Think of it as a mini-website. The Authority Hub starts with an index with menu items based on long-tail target keywords. We build out an article about each item, and those articles attract long-tail queries (not a ton of volume, but decent intent).
All the articles feed back into the main Authority Hub page, building authority for THAT page on high-volume, super-competitive keywords.
The Content Strategy Workflow
Here are the steps to create Authority Hubs and content calendars.
- Market Research. I’ll analyze your top competitors and dig into every move they are making online to discover what marketing channels they employ, how they are driving traffic, and what ads they’re running.
- Keyword Research. Without keyword research, your blogging strategy is based on (at best) educated guesswork.
- Topic Discovery. I will identify the topics you need to OWN online.
- Create Content Briefs. I’ll create detailed content briefs to guide the writers (either my team, your internal writers, or a mix of both) will use to create articles that will grow your audience and propel your business website to the top of the search results. You can . These briefs typically include:
- Page URL: Yes, the URL path matters! I’ll make sure it’s structured correctly.
- Page Title: The first thing shown in search results. We have milliseconds to catch the searcher’s eye and compel him or her to click. I’ll make sure we get it right.
- Headline/H1: The on-page title of the article needs to reassure the searcher that they’ve found exactly what they are looking for. It should also contain the article’s target keyword
- Subheadings/H2: Each section of each article addresses a subordinating topic, and each of these sections has its own “subheading.” These sections break up the “wall of text,” making the article easy to read. The “H2” headers give us the opportunity to draw the reader deeper into our content while employing the LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords and phrases that are closely related to the article’s focus keyword.
- Word count: In some cases, 300 words is enough. Other times, it takes a massive 3,000-word resource to dominate search results. It depends on what the target keyword is, and I’ll conduct the research needed to know exactly how many words it takes.
- External links: We’ll build trust and authority by judiciously linking to expert sources online. The brief will often specify the “anchor text” (the words used in creating the link), an important—but often overlooked—element of on-page search engine optimization.
- Internal links: Each article in an Authority Hub is a spoke of expertise leading to the central “Hub” page, which is a comprehensive guide about a topic related to your business. I’ll build a network of internal links to guide users (and search engine crawlers) to the “right” pages.
- Article Assignments. Armed with the content briefs, all it takes is someone gifted in the art of compelling storytelling to assemble the perfect articles. If you have an in-house content creation team, great. If not, I can do this for you.
- Publishing and Optimizing Content. My team handles publishing to your CMS (WordPress or other). We’ll make sure the new content drives traffic to the Authority Hub page (and your contact info) and has appropriate images that are optimized for fast loading.
- Building Backlinks. We don’t use black-hat techniques such as paid links, PBNs, or other methods that misguided SEOs employ. These things used to work, but they don’t any more—in fact, they could incur a penalty from Google. Instead, I reach out to my network of publishers to get relevant links that drive real traffic from high-authority websites where your target audience is already engaged.