Optimizing Content Topics for User Journeys Not Just Keywords

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June 5, 2024

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Optimizing Content Topics for User Journeys Not Just Keywords

Confessions of a Former Content Addict

I’ll admit it – I used to be a content addict. Back in the day, I thought that if I could just churn out enough blog posts, ebooks, and whitepapers, I’d be an SEO superstar. “The more content, the better!” was my mantra.

Boy, was I wrong.

As Tyler Einberger so aptly put it, “The web is bloated with 💩 content.” And he’s absolutely right. We’ve reached a point where there’s so much generic, cookie-cutter content out there that it’s become increasingly difficult for brands to cut through the noise and connect with their target audience.

Chasing the Almighty Keyword

For too long, the SEO industry has been obsessed with “keyword research” and “building topical authority.” We’ve become so fixated on finding the right keywords to target that we’ve lost sight of what really matters: our users.

As the team at Product-Led SEO points out, “We focus too much on ‘keyword research’ and ‘building’ generic topical authority.” And they’re spot on. By solely focusing on keywords, we’re missing the mark on user intent and failing to create content that truly resonates with our audience.

The Rise of User-Centric Content

It’s time to shift our mindset. Instead of chasing keywords, we need to start focusing on the user journey. What are our customers and prospects thinking, feeling, and doing at each stage of the buying process? What kind of content do they need to move them closer to a conversion?

As the team at SEO Clarity puts it, “We miss the mark on user intent.” And that’s a problem. If we’re not creating content that aligns with our audience’s needs and pain points, we’re never going to see the kind of engagement, conversions, and revenue that we’re after.

Optimizing for the User, Not Just the Search Engines

But really, shouldn’t our content be aligned across all channels and truly resonate with our brand and audience? As Google’s SEO Starter Guide suggests, “SEO should complement the brand… and vice versa.”

In other words, we need to start thinking about content optimization from a holistic, user-centric perspective. It’s not just about ranking for the right keywords – it’s about creating content that speaks to our audience’s needs, pain points, and buying journey.

Putting the User First

So, what does this look like in practice? Here are a few key strategies:

  1. Develop Personas: Deeply understand your target audience by creating detailed buyer personas. What are their goals, challenges, and pain points? How do they prefer to consume content?

  2. Map the User Journey: Identify the different stages of your customer’s buying journey, and create content that addresses their needs at each step. From awareness to consideration to decision, make sure you’ve got them covered.

  3. Focus on Relevance, Not Volume: Instead of churning out endless amounts of content, focus on creating high-quality, hyper-relevant pieces that truly resonate with your audience. Quality over quantity is the name of the game.

  4. Optimize for Engagement, Not Just Rankings: Sure, we all want to rank on the first page of Google. But if that content isn’t engaging and converting your audience, what’s the point? Shift your focus to metrics like time on page, bounce rate, and lead generation.

  5. Integrate Across Channels: Ensure that your content strategy is integrated across all of your marketing channels – from your website to your social media to your email campaigns. This will create a cohesive, user-centric experience for your audience.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, our job as marketers and SEOs is to serve our audience, not just the search engines. By shifting our focus to the user journey and creating content that truly resonates, we can cut through the clutter, build meaningful connections, and drive real business results.

So, let’s ditch the content addiction and the keyword obsession. Instead, let’s embrace a more user-centric approach to content optimization. After all, MCR SEO is all about helping brands like yours do just that.

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