Director of Web & Interactive Content, Speaker, Host of 'Content Lab' Podcast
September 12th, 2018
Today’s conversation is a bit different. Instead of talking about storytelling tactics and how to become a better writer, we’re getting technical this week.
More specifically, I’ve invited Franco Valentino of Narrative SEO to join me on this episode to talk about how content creators should be blending the art of content creation with the science of technical SEO.
To be honest, this is a discussion I would have dreaded a year or two ago. The way a child might dread going to the dentist.
Back then, I was a prima donna content nerd who looked down upon SEO as this lesser discipline that didn’t help me. Instead, it stood in the way of me creating compelling stories and narratives.
Without spoiling too much of my chat with Franco, let’s just say my tune has changed. (And if you relate to groaning whenever someone brings up SEO, I hope yours will, too.)
As always, don’t forget to stick around after the interview for this week’s one thing and the weekly awesome — but without further ado, let’s dive right in…
Taking a step back and looking at my conversation with Franco from a high-level, the one thing you can start doing this week to make your content instantly better is to understand that integrating the science of SEO with the art of content creation, can’t be an afterthought -- where you’re only just optimizing your content after it’s already been created.
That’s certainly part of it, but the one thing you need to remember is that the marriage of content and SEO begins before you start building an outline or a strategy for whatever it is that you’re working on.
You need to bring data and keyword research into your process early on -- not at the last minute.
Not only is it going to help you validate or invalidate your assumptions, it’ll prevent you from creating what you think is amazing content that, ultimately, no one ever sees.
SEO is not the enemy of content. If you think that, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Trust me, I know from experience. I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way of ignoring search engine data, only to have content fail spectacularly until I circled back and finally did the keyword research work that I should have done in the first place.
After a lot of hand-wringing, I went back to the drawing board, did some more robust keyword research, and then, finally, reworked the piece and the topic cluster the way it should have been set up in the first place.
Lo and behold, within a week, the performance metrics had completely turned around, and now it’s one of our best success stories that got our pillar strategy moving.
Weekly Awesome: Answer the Public
I’m going to keep this week’s Weekly Awesome super simple -- you need to get to know Answer the Public, the free keyword research tool Franco mentioned during today’s interview:
Not only is it hilarious and fun to interact with, it’s a powerful data visualization tool that is intuitive and easy to use, when building out more aggressive and complex content strategies:
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