Search engine optimization can be important for driving traffic to static web pages. Learn how to create bulk SEO landing pages without cutting quality.
Early-stage startups know that, to succeed, it’s all about scale. Their game plan is all about growth: Grow the team (heavy on the software engineers), grow the customer base, and hey, maybe even take over another floor of your office building and load it up with standing desks, whiteboards, and eager new recruits (especially if that next round of funding comes through).
That rapid scale applies to the SEO side of the business, too: In order to compete with others in their space, startups need to go heavy on the content.
While a well-honed content marketing strategy is crucial for building trust and awareness, product marketing copy is no less essential for growing a business’ online visibility. Many companies have hundreds of product marketing pages built out to capture curious Googlers in their tracks, most boasting a thesaurus’ worth of keyword-optimized landing page titles. Such content is important, as getting just the right search term will help lure prospects to your site instead of someone else’s—but it’s also a pain to execute.
In years past, the solution was simple: Outsource the writing to a content farm that pumps out high volumes of articles. Writers for these types of agencies were often paid $1 an article (or less), and the substance wasn’t exactly Shakespeare: The content was often jammed awkwardly with keywords, grammatically incorrect, and factually inaccurate. Even so, when the search robots came calling, these content factories served up what the companies needed to get their prized SERPs.
The shift to quality as an SEO ranking factor changed everything.
But in 2011, Google introduced its “Panda” algorithm update, which penalized sites that provided low-quality or “thin” content. Suddenly, sites that relied on content farms for output saw their search rankings in freefall.
Google had finally realized that the sites with the most content around a certain keyword shouldn’t be the ones ranking on the front page—they should be the sites with the most valuable content.
While Google’s made many tweaks to its algorithm in the years since, this change remains the most fundamental content-related shift. It means that in order to be seen as relevant, a content page should:
What does this mean, fundamentally? In order to rank, stop writing for robots and start writing for humans.
So does that mean it’s not worth focusing on SEO anymore? Not at all—it just means you need to invest in such content, carefully and strategically.
Start out by:
But if you’re a small team, how can you possibly create an SEO product marketing strategy that competes on a national or international scale?
When you’re building out your SEO content plan and determining your content needs, don’t push it all on your already-overworked marketing manager.
Sure, she gets the brand voice, but this monumental project won’t go to the top of her priority list, and it’ll likely be months before she’s able to develop all of the content and get it to start ranking. That’s thousands of potential site visits you’re missing in the meantime.
Instead, give your marketing team the tools and budget to solicit outside support from a small agency that can help streamline and systemize the content process. You’ll likely need to budget anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 to build out all of your target pages, depending on the length and complexity of your subject matter, but the effort can return a quick ROI by driving well-targeted traffic to your site, which can convert into sales.
Building a workflow
When launching a high-volume SEO project, it’s important to have a strong process in place. Here are some guidelines to help it go smoothly:
When working on a high-volume SEO project, make sure your agency’s editorial team is built to scale—such projects can be executed quickly to a high standard when an agency has a strong team of specialized journalists at the ready, but can flounder if the agency is recruiting right as the project starts. Ensure that they’ve done similar projects, and are prepared to handle the workload.
As someone from the creative side of the table, my love for SEO wasn’t a natural fit—but I’ve grown into it, and I think you should too.
Developing SEO-optimized copy may feel like a bizarre reverse form of Mad Libs at times, but it’s also simply a way to be kind to your target audience.
If the data shows you that your ideal reader is going to be searching for a “marketing automation platform” rather than the “hypergrowth email solution” that your CEO’s trying to make a thing, then it’s probably a good idea to go with the more common, searchable terminology to actually get customers to your site.
Good SEO is simply about being aware of the questions your customers are asking, in their words—and being able to provide them with strong, detailed answers that demonstrate your authority on the subject. Paired with an SEO-aware (but not hyperfocused) content marketing strategy*, you’ll be able to build brand authority, trust, and that illustrious search traffic.
Make sure your SEO’s a cut above, and you’ll be hitting the SERPs in no time.
Once you’ve gotten your SEO in order, you’re ready to build a killer content marketing program. Learn how in our free ebook.
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