Hubspot has a blog post that ranks high for search phrases like “SEO plan”, written by Drew Fortin. Here is the post.
Apart from some good advice the post also contains bad advice regarding blogging and content planning.
Sadly, the same advice is being repeated from blog to blog. We’ve come across the advice so often that the current blog post is long overdue.
In essence, here is the bad advice that Hubspot article gives:
Scrape long-tail keywords and turn them into blog post titles. Blog for SEO traffic that way.
Basically Drew writes that you should scrape long-tail keywords for your niche (yes you should), and plan out your site and blog in accordance with those scraped keywords. While you really need to harvest keywords and understand the semantic core of your niche, this is not the end all be all. In fact, if you base your site only on keyword research, you are likely to make a mistake.
Here’s why building your site strictly around keyword research is not a good idea:
1. Keyword tools never give you 100% exact info
The search volume you see in keyword research tools differs from the actual numbers 10-60 times. We’ve seen it from customer to customer times and times again. A 150 US monthly searches keyword would get a site 2500 impressions once it got to Page 1 of Google results. The real number is usually higher than the one you see in your keyword tool.
2. Keyword tools never give you all suggestions
There are search phrases that you won’t see in any keyword research tool. Ironically, most of the time these are the search phrases that bring the most leads.
3. You are doing what everyone else does. And it’s not even guaranteed you’re all doing the right thing.
The data you get from keyword tools is the same data that dozens or hundreds of people all over the world are getting as well. Anyone researching the niche you are in, anyone building a similar site or writing a similar blog post – they all use the same data s you do.
Basically when you rely on keyword tools 100% you are limiting yourself to your competitors’ playground. And none of you are actually sure they’re doing the right thing, because see #1 and #2.
4. Content written for SEO sucks.
We’ve warned all our consulting clients to stay away from SEO content. First, content written to “cover a longtail phrase” is bleak and uninventive. Second, no matter how well you implement it, you are only catching up.
Good content targets your customers’ needs and concerns, not the search phrases they Google when looking for help.
…do this instead
So what do you do now – completely ignore keyword data? No.
Keyword search volume, CPC, difficulty, – they all give a ballpark idea of what you can expect in terms of traffic, competition and promotion.
Your blog content, on the other hand, should be focused on your customers. To
1. First thing you do is start blogging ASAP
Without a content plan or a list of longtail keywords – just blog your mind on the most important thing in your niche. Get the most important questions out of the way with your first posts. Make them general and broad. The analytical data these posts will harvest with time will give you a clear idea of how to narrow down your blog post topics properly.
Make sure you read this blog post to understand how to gather Google Search Console data for lucrative keyword opportunities.
2. Create a customer persona and blog for it
Put together a portrait of your average customer. Do it even if you have little info on your customers yet – or even if your product is not live yet. See how it’s done in our customer persona creation guide.
3. Get a content plan.
Yeah this is something we sell, so here’s the pitch.
A well-researched, balanced content plan will both turn your blog into a harvester of organic traffic and a lead generation machine.
When we work on content plans for our clients we sift through
- keyword data
- search trends
- well-performing content from the past
- industry trends
- competitors’ content
- …a lot more.
Sure, you can draft a content plan yourself – just keep in mind you have to evaluate and adjust it several times a year.
Blog for people, not for search engines.
Be aware of what the search engines like – but the final goal of your website is to convert your visitor into a lead.
Pingback: Content planning for websites and blogs. Types of content planning.