Is Your SEO Content Failing? Here’s What to Do.
Does your company have challenges around content creation (especially creating optimized SEO content?).
You’re not alone.
I hear the complaints all the time…
“We create a lot of content every month, but it’s not very good. Our writing has quality issues, and we’re not sure what to do.”
“Our writers refuse to optimize their content because they think ‘SEO writing’ is bad. How can we fix this from a process perspective?”
“We’ve focused our writing efforts around social channels in the past. How can we gain more Google traffic and increase our site visits?”
“We’re creating content, but it’s not driving qualified traffic. What are we doing wrong?”
Many companies — especially B2B companies — struggle with SEO content creation. Although the individual situations are always different, there tend to be some fairly common fixes.
Here are some things to consider if your in-house content creation is falling flat, and you’re not sure what to do:
Is the writing quality poor?
The fix: Examine your content creation process, price structure, and support
I frequently hear this complaint from agencies, publishers, and companies with a large outsourced writing team. In many cases, the reason boils down to sheer volume — the writers are overwhelmed, writing too fast, and focusing on getting the content out the door.
Consider soliciting feedback from your writers and ask about the workload. Are your writers frequently working overtime to complete daily writing tasks? Are they concerned about their writing quality (good writers hate kicking out bad writing.) A solution could be as simple as hiring additional writers (or finding freelancers) to fill in the content gaps.
If you rely 100% on freelance writers, and you’re having quality issues, your pay rate may be to blame. Paying a writer $50 for a 2,000-word blog post incentivizes her to work fast, not smart. After all, she’ll need to write a lot of $50 blog posts just to make her mortgage. Paying higher rates for a more professional writer may save you money in the long run, especially if your editor is spending a lot of time revising your writers’ work.
Do your writers hate SEO content creation?
The fix: Train your writers (and your editorial staff, too).
SEO writing gets a bad rap.
Many writers, especially established writers with a print background, feel SEO writing is spammy. Unfortunately, this misconception is often fueled by in-house style guides that focus on keyphrase densities, ungrammatical keyphrases and focusing on Google instead of the reader.
In fact, an editor from a big-brand client once complained how SEO was killing their writing style. Their content didn’t flow — instead, it was choppy and pushed the SEO envelope way too far.
In cases like this, a team-wide training (that yes, includes the SEO department) is a smart move. The writers can learn that SEO content generation and strategy is based on smart, authoritative writing. Plus, the editorial and SEO department can learn how to balance optimization needs with creating quality — and readable — content.
We write exclusively for social. Where’s our Google traffic?
The fix: Time to optimize your content.
For many companies, creating social-only content can be a short-sighted strategy.
Certainly, social channels can drive a lot of traffic. However, your target reader is also searching Google for information that satisfies their micro-moments. According to CEB, 57% of the B2B buyers’ journey happens before the prospect contacts the company. If your company doesn’t have a strong Google presence, you’re losing leads — and money.
The key is to change your content creation strategy to include some optimization efforts. This may mean optimizing older content assets, as well as developing a new SEO content strategy.
(Do the powers-that-be insist you can ditch keywords and write topical-based content, instead? Check out this Whiteboard Friday video with Rank Fishkin.)
Your content isn’t driving traffic.
The fix: It depends — and you may want to look outside your company for the answers.
There could be a few reasons this is happening.
Perhaps it’s because your content is too company-focused, and it’s not serving your readers’ needs.
Or, it could be you need to optimize your content for Google and use some of your SEO writing skills.
Or, your content isn’t answering your readers’ micro-moments.
It’s easy to get stuck in a content creation rut, and miss important opportunities. You don’t realize your content doesn’t click with your target reader anymore. You’re not optimizing your posts as well as you should. Influencers don’t even notice your copy.
There are so many content marketing blind spots, you can’t “see” your content anymore.
In this case, it pays to work with a content marketing strategist who can help pinpoint your issues, highlight your opportunities and get your content creation back on track. Yes, it will cost money and time — but the outside perspective will be well worth it.
I’d love to hear your SEO content creation horror stories (and success stories, too!) Post your comments below!
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‘your pay rate may be to blame’… if they could figure it out! More money, more time, higher quality. Great article.
EXACTLY, Nicola! Now, if more companies would realize that fact… :)
Thanks for your note!
I have found that most brands look to traditional roles to complete content writing without training in the new world. A little education followed by success goes a long way to clearing up those frustrations. I like the way you have formatted this post. It takes some of the anxiety away from creating quality content.
Wow Loved this post. Will follow Every Tip mentioned here. Infact Already following many guides from here to shape up my skills. These ideas will sort out my problems and will help to create attractive content. Thanks @heather.
Content on its own actually doesn’t drive traffic. There are amazing writers and businesses out there who have no traffic to their blogs because they don’t have a strong understand of relevance and proper optimization. Having great content definitely increases dwell time and engagement on a website, which are high relevance and authority factors to Google.
Those that don’t think SEO writing has to be good risk having their work seen by searches. You always need to treat your work like it will be seen by a wide audience…
Hi Heather, this is a really useful article for everybody in the content creation business.
Even though it’s been big business for a while now, writers often still seem to lack confidence when it comes to creating SEO-focused content. They either pack the content absolutely full of the key words and phrases, or else they’re so worried about Google docking them for keyword-stuffing that the content isn’t focused enough.
It’s simply a question of education. Content can be extremely SEO-friendly, without reading like a ‘Beginner’s Guide to Keyword Stuffing’. There’s a happy middle ground, and articles like this will hopefully help with a culture shift towards this!