Vanessa Fox on Content Strategy and SEO
When we think about content strategy we should be thinking like a search engine by asking ourselves, “What does this searcher want and how can I meet this searcher’s need?”
Taking this approach will create a content strategy that will engage with audiences and rank better in search engines. Watch as Vanessa Fox breaks down the steps we follow at RKG from creating personas to keyword research and competitive analysis.
Vanessa Fox: When we think about SEO, what I really think about and what my team really thinks about, is search engines, build these algorithms all based on the idea of, I really want to understand the searcher; what that searcher wants, and how to meet that searcher’s need. Right? Really, all of the hundreds of signals changing all the time really boil down to that. So, what we can do is, we can do those three things ourselves. And that’s not only going to help the site rank better and search results, but it should help you better enage with your audience, build a better product, get more conversions. So, we take that and we build out a strategy where we break it down, step by step.
So, first we work with you to figure out what are your goals? What is it that you’re really trying to accomplish? What are the conversion events on your site that you care about? What value props are you really offering people? What differentiates what you have to offer from your competitors? What is it that you’re really providing? And we take a look at your audiences. We have this workshop that we do with you to really glean who your audiences are — who are the key audiences that are most likely to convert; who are the audiences that you care about for different reasons. Then we take a step back and look at the data from search, right? So, we do all of the keyword research that you would expect, and then we again, pull all of the keyword research into topic areas and into tasks. So, we’re not looking at individual key words and mapping them to pages. We’re saying, “Okay. We’ve got this audience. What are all the tasks that that person wants to accomplish?”
And so we group that, so we build these personas with you that are very similar to a persona that you might ordinarily get. And in fact if you have them, we love to use them. We take these personas and we extend them with the search, right? So we say, “Okay. Here’s a persona and here’s all the different types of searches that this person does.”
And we can take that and we can compare volumes, to see people search for this more often than this. We can do the competitive analysis to see okay, these types of searches, there’s really a big opportunity for someone to come in here. We take a look — we go back and look at your goals and say, “Okay. Well, this type of task has a high volume but there’s no interest for this person to convert, right? They’re interested in something different.” So, we take all of that, and then we come up with, “Here are the personas that are important. Here are all the different tasks. Here are the opportunities that you likely have.” Then we do a gap analysis and we take a look to see, what do you have on your site versus not?
Then we take all of that and put together an information architecture of ideally, this is the taxonomy of the site to best match what users are looking for. Here are all the types of pages that you should have. We look at your existing pages and your existing information architecture. It’s okay, this is how you might adjust it. And then, for each type of page, we might end up with three or four different types of pages. We take a look at that page. We say, “All right. Every single page of your site is the home page from a search perspective.” Right? Someone does a search they might land on any page. So, does that page reflect your site well? Does it clearly answer the searcher’s question? Are they going to land on the page and stay versus bounce back to the search results? Does it easily let them navigate out to the rest of the site? So, up, down and to the side. And is there a clear call to action that is motivating for that task. Right?
So, since we’ve done the personas and the task analysis, we know that the same things don’t motivate each person. So, we can make sure that the type of problem this page solves has that corresponding motivating call to action. We can put that all together into an overall strategy, that’s like here’s sort of how the site might end up. Here are the adjustments you might make. Here is the new types of things you might want to include. And obviously you would look at that based on the resources that you have available. It’s not always an article, right? It may be that you have a bunch of data that you can turn into different types of visualizations, or wizards, or tools. There are all kinds of things.
And so we take all that, and at the end, really end up with a strategy that should help you better engage with audiences, and better rank in search results. I find that it’s really, really valuable to go through this exercise and really have a good strategy that you can then execute on.