Outlining Topics, SEO and Creating Better Content
In this article we'll break down our general process when it comes to creating great comprehensive topics for SEO purposes on the web.
Creating a Content Outline for SEO
Content is essentially what drives the online world today, It's been an important part of building success online and rings more true today than ever. What's different today from the past is that now, with the addition of a wide network of social platforms and various forms of media, today's marketers need to be agile enough to create SEO optimized content that now steps beyond the traditional realm of the business website.
Discovering a few tricks to better cover a topic
Writing, for me anyways, has always been a time-consuming and tedious way of creating content. Through the years though, I have learned a few tricks that can often get me through the inevitable road-blocks when it comes to writing content. I've learned that creating a content outline helps me to better understand a topic and allows marketers to better present their thoughts, ideas and ultimately solutions.
Now when marketers go to create content online often we like to start with an outline. Outlining your topics can help provide a more comprehensive finished piece and will also allow you to potentially discover factors and key points you may have otherwise not included.
When we outline topics for seo, we're looking to not only create content that is complete and easy to digest, we also need it to provide value for the reader. I'm a firm believer that we do not need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to ranking content online and by following a systematic approach to content allows us as online marketers to produce better content more often and more consistently.
Why write a content outline
If you do not have a writing background, it may be difficult to translate your thoughts and ideas. A well written outline helps us to create better content online by breaking topics down to their important core principles and ideas. creating content outlines allows us to better describe each topic but also connect sections and the document as a whole. It may seem clunky at first but after a few pages you'll notice it is an absolute advantage to include content outlines into your process.
Yes, SEO works better with a content outline
Simply put a well written content outline leads to better SEO content creation.
Without am outline, connecting ideas, concepts and overall messaging can become difficult. A content outline is an incredibly useful way to quickly organize a topic and prepare it for research.
A great outline provides a high level overview of the topic you want to cover. Creating an outline eliminates or at least greatly reduces the chance of missing key points within a topic.
That is the power of a detailed content outline and ultimately why you and your team should consider implementing content outlines into your processes..
In short, there are huge benefits to using a content outline.
When choosing key terms its important to understand what the objective of the content will ultimately be. When we get into strategically thinking for SEO content we'll want to first define what our new piece of content is set out to accomplish. Is it to educate? Make a Sale? Gain exposure? Create a lead? Or is our new content simply to entertain.
The reason intent is important is because when we know our objective it can help us better define the primary search terms we want to target and having an idea of what we want to accomplished will direct us in how we approach our content as well as determine our primary search terms.
Developing online growth related processes we as marketers will often lean towards the key terms with the most amount of traffic. It makes sense from a traffic standpoint but I learned a long time ago I would rather take the conversion of a piece of content than simply the high traffic. We're looking for specificity, and the more precise we can get the more effective our new piece of content can perform.
Content Outline: Defining your primary key terms will of course depend on the objective.
Beginning with high level key terms we want to build a library of potential search terms we may want to rank for. We'll use a variety of tools but much of the information you will need can be located in the SERP themselves, GSC and GA4.
Include Competitor Research in Order to Determine topics and items to include
Before we begin our content outline we're going to start with our high level topics and try to work our way into the longer key terms, once we have our terms we can begin our research and that starts right at the source the search engine result page (Serp). If using chrome you'll want to use incognito mode and perform a search for your intended topic.
Take note of any additional features that are being used in the SERP, this often includes snippets, answer boxes and/or people also ask question. Make note of these as we'll most likeley want to build this into our pages.
You will want to write down the top performing URLs and open each of them up. Take a look through them and write down notes on the topics discussed within these pages. Sometimes these topics can become your headers within your new content.
As you're skimming through your competitor analysis you will want to take note of any formatting features the pages have. Tables, bullet-point lists etc. also look at page length as this will provide you a general indicator of what you will need to compete in the space.
Writing the Content Outline
We'll start with the headers and position them so that the content can flow and is easy on the reader. Below each of the headers in a few words we'll want to identify what this block of text should highlight and include. The objective here is to provide a guide for yourself or your team to follow. The more information that can be shared, the more closer we can get to our ideal new seo optimized piece of content.
Once you feel the layout, topic sections and valuable key points, it is time to begin writing. Using your notes, key term ideas and guideline we can begin forming our content. Any additional insight or context can be helpful here, whether you will be writing the content yourself or handing it off to a copywriting team. With a little luck there will be minimal revisions and we can move one step closer to optimizing our content for SEO.
Optimizing the Outline for SEO
Now we have our newly formed piece of content and the bulk of the copy written we'll want to begin optimizing our headers and sections for our chosen key terms. Positioning of our key terms and a nice balance of keyword to content ratio.
Creating SEO optimized Images, Schema and Structured data
Depending on the topic a variety of addition information can be published with your content. This is the area in which most businesses can gain the most advantage. By publishing your content that includes validated schema and structured data we can now potentially take up more of the serp pages if our new piece of content begins to rank.
With the above steps completed you should now have a well written SEO-Optimized piece of content that can help your websites overall performance both organically and conversions. SEO has never and will never be a quick-win type game. It will take time for your new page to be crawled and indexed, once completed however if you targeted keywords correctly then you will begin to encouraging growth.
The better we can define our outline the better the end result can be.
It's unfortunate but not all great content will make it to the top of the Serp's. Sometimes there are outside factors that can be disappointing. If you feel you have a great piece of content that is not getting the traction it should, often re-evaluating the key term and diving back in the Serp's can allow you to re-optimized or include additional info that can provide a boost.
Re-Optimizing Your Content
It may take a second look back through the serps to discover some opportunities that may have been skipped over, or additional content to include in you pages. Continuing to evelove your content will keep you content "fresh" while continuing to add value for returning visitors.