For the past several years, many businesses have been hyper-focused on the strategy of using keywords for SEO to improve their rank on the search engines. While we still think “key” words are an important component of search, for more than 15 years, we’ve been doing SEO a slightly different way at LaunchDM.
About Long form editorial for SEO
Writing long form editorial content around a niche topic that is directly related to your unique business and industry isn’t new, it just hasn’t been done that much. The reason this strategy works well is because the real value to the audience is when an editorial is filled with transparent, quality content. It’s not that much different from what modern media refers to as a “blog” but what is different is that the article is much longer and more detailed than what the traditional blog would be. Whereas most blog articles trend toward being more entertaining than educational, we use long form content for both our blogs as well as our SEO strategy; it is designed to educate and inspire the intended audience more than just entertain the audience. The content is often times very granular and specific to it’s intended industry. When we write this type of content for clients, we do an inordinate amount of auditing and research into the industry for which we are writing. We research relevant metrics, interview people, gather concrete data to reference as though the piece is a scholarly academic article, and then we write press quality copy that could rival that of a journalist. By doing it in this way, we ensure that high quality information is produced that is both relevant and timely for the intended audience. Many people underestimate the importance of a professional copywriter, yet in the creative world, it’s important to understand how the pieces of the digital puzzle fit together….in other words, we create more than just art. We create experiences that connect people to a goal…experiences that move the audience to take action, whatever that action may be.
So how exactly does a creative agency tackle something so programmatically scientific?
During the research phase of any web design or digital marketing project, we implement a tactic that we refer to as a Keyword Analysis Report. Our professional team of software engineers (some of whom hold Phd’s in mathematics for example) developed a computerized algorithm that mimics how the modern day search engines (such as Google) function. Our algorithm obviously doesn’t know the search engine’s algorithm, but it understands the mechanism by which people search for information as well as how to display the results of that search based on the unique industry that any given client is in (this is a combination of math and science…a far cry from what ordinary people consider “creative” in terms of visceral right brain vs left brain thinking).
Further to the first Keyword Analysis (which is typically a “discovery” meeting) is the deliverable of the Keyword Findings Report; our team of experts uses the information produced in this report to strategize…in other words, we recommend content topics based on both our industry expertise as well as the results of the report. Then, our team of copywriters get to work. They know how to write copy that is both educational and informative, entertaining and directive, inspiring and compelling. Writing online copy is a very unique art, and it’s not something that just anybody is good at. Think back to grade school when you were required to write a persuasive essay…writing it was certainly different from presenting it in front of a group of people. Many people who are good speakers (or good salesmen or women) may not be the best writers, and vice versa. Writing for the web is a very niche skill and thus, an important component of any good SEO strategy.
Here’s a diagram of some prominent dates in the recent history of Google’s algorithm changes which affect the Search Engine Results being delivered when you search:
This next part of understanding how to improve your SEO ranking requires some context. Back in 2013, Google’s Hummingbird update was the first time that the algorithm started parsing out phrases rather than solely keywords. Many SEO professionals consider it the official “switch” to a focus on a topic rather than a word. What followed in the RankBrain update (2015) was a change to the algorithm which was designed to learn how to understand the context of a search query and not just the word that people were searching for. RankBrain pulls in multiple phrases associated with the search phrase to determine the most relevant results.
How does a computer algorithm parse a search query and why does it matter?
Consider this example: if someone in the city of Philadelphia is using a desktop computer at their office to search for “pizza restaurants” the results of their search query may differ from a passenger sitting in traffic on the Ben Franklin Bridge searching the same topic “pizza restaurants” on their mobile phone. The expectation is that the search engine (or Siri’s voice activated search) understands the context around the phrase. So when someone types or says “pizza restaurants” the search extracts other information such as geographic location and even the location of their office building within the context of the search to determine something as granular as whether they intend to search for “pizza restaurants near me geographically on Broad Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets” versus an entirely different keyword or phrase such as “best pizza restaurants in Philadelphia and surrounding areas”.
What does all this actually mean in terms of SEO and writing long form editorial for the web?
At the very core, high quality SEO follows the same deliberate architecture as our 15-years running methodology of writing good quality content because the content is focused on a particular niche topic and contains properly identified long tail keyword phrases that are directly relevant to the topic at hand. Instead of standing on the street corner shouting “here is my pizza restaurant, buy my pizza” we market your brand by creating content that is helpful to your audience, and provides relevant information or helps them solve their problem by delivering the right results, to the right person, at the right time. If your pizza restaurant is the best in town because there are reviews indicating you serve large delicious slices and have gluten-free crust available along with your hours, phone number, and 5-star rating is right there (relevance) at the right time (when someone is searching for pizza restaurants) then your shop is being helpful and solving a problem for the person searching. If the information isn’t readily available when they’re searching, you’re going to lose out. It’s as simple as that. The business not coming up in the search results loses.
Think of SEO content like a comprehensive guide to specific information, that links only to the most relevant supporting data and trusted information available, including of course, further information on the same website. This deliberate way of organizing a site UX around pillars of information that is readily available for search engines and uniquely relevant to modern digital marketing has forced the industry to transparency. The result?
It’s been a phenomenal success for our clients, because we’ve been doing it right ever since the beginning of modern digital.
Voice recognition and the changing way people search has been the driving force behind updates to the search engine algorithms. In the past, people weren’t as internet savvy as they are now, they simply typed mere words or fragments into the search box. Even the search engines own technology wasn’t advanced enough to recognize the connections across search queries. Now that these algorithms understand the context behind how people search (also based on location as well as behavioral psychology) the science behind the algorithm allows a computer to tie a phrase back to other past searches and deliver a web page (or list of pages) that are most likely to deliver the precise answer to what that search is intended to be about.
To illustrate that this methodology actually works, in 2016, Hubspot’s Anum Hussain and Cambria Davies launched a series of experiments to test the theory. The extensive findings in their experiment concluded that more high quality, internal links in conjunction with meta descriptions and tags that are transparent make it easier for the search engines to “crawl” topics.
Interested in learning more about LaunchDM’s Keyword Analysis Report and how it can help improve your SEO as a long term digital marketing strategy? Click here for a free consultation!