October 3, 2022 Content Chat Recap: How To Improve Your Content SEO in 2022 (And Beyond)

A Content Chat header image that says today's topic is what content marketers should know about NFTs (non-fungible tokens) with guest Brian Fanzo, who is @iSocialFanz on Twitter.

Creating content that reaches the most people possible—including your existing and potential new community members—requires you to focus on SEO from the earliest content planning stages. No, SEO will not guarantee that your content is successful, but SEO is a vital way to help your content rank high on a search results page and best reach humans that are searching for content like it.

Now comes the big question: how can you optimize content for SEO, especially given the seemingly ever-changing rules and best practices?

In this #ContentChat recap, Liam Carnahan, an SEO and content marketing specialist, and owner of Inkwell Content, and the community explain how to improve your content SEO, including for when you’re creating new posts or optimizing old content. Read the full recap below to learn:

  • What you need to know about Google’s Helpful Content Update
  • Commonly overlooked SEO elements that can drive significant results
  • Tools to help you address SEO needs and resources to learn more

You can access all of Liam’s SEO and content resources here.

Q1: How can content marketers know if their content can be improved for SEO? What signs or metrics should they look for?

Before publishing content, Liam recommends you use the below tools to give your content an SEO score. We share more tool recommendations in Q6, too.

A1a. It depends on whether the content is already published or not. If it’s not gone live yet, then you can use tools to give it an SEO score.

Here are a few that have good tools I’ve tested:@StoryChiefApp @semrush @Clearscope@surferseo

#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Download Liam’s free SEO checklist to help check your content SEO.

A1b. I also have a free SEO checklist on my website, which writers can have on hand when writing to make sure SEO is squeaky clean.

It’s on my resources page right here: https://t.co/Xv3aVYT5IN

#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

After your content is published, look for organic traffic, backlinks, and social shares and comments to gauge if your content has good SEO. Continue to assess how you can update your evergreen content to keep its value high.

A1c. Once a page has been published, there are a number of factors you can track in @googleanlytics, @googlesearchconsole, or your fave SEO tools.

Good signs:

🚦 Organic traffic rises
🔗 New backlinks
🗝️ New/improved keywords
📢 Social shares & comments

#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

This is a great point, because many content marketers think about SEO upfront before publishing content, but don’t circle back after seeing how the content has been received to see if there are opportunities for improvement.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

Definitely. Content has a tendency to decay after a while, so if you aren’t routinely monitoring and updating it, traffic will go 📉 #ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Whereas that juicy evergreen + maintained content will remain steady over the long run and may even see some search spikes over time as backlinks and social shares grow.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

Is your content driving its intended results? If not, you may have an SEO problem.

A1: In addition to pre-publication SEO checking via the tool of your choice, take a look at the post-publication metrics through your analytics tool. Is the content driving the intended conversion, or generating traffic that was looking for something else? #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

Look for these core SEO elements in all of your content.

A1: Do a content audit on every piece of content that you produce. As far as the metrics to look for:

Technical SEO basics (Making sure to use headings, alt tags, internal/external links, schema, etc)

GSC reports regarding indexing, keyword position#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) October 3, 2022

Nothing like a deep, page-by-page SEO audit to get your house in order. 💪 #contentchat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Q2: Now that it’s been a few weeks since it rolled out, what do we know about Google’s latest update, the Helpful Content Update?

What changes did Google’s Helpful Content Update bring? Luckily, most sites saw no change or a positive change—reinforcing that their teams were already creating high-quality, helpful, and unique content.

A2a. For the most part, the HCU hammered home what we already know: The best SEO content is high-quality, helpful, and unique.

These questions from @googledevs make it clear what they are looking for:#ContentChat pic.twitter.com/cUIL70i9kD

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

TL&DR: This is the Google update content marketers have been dreaming of—one that reinforces our focus on creating truly helpful content that helps make our unique community’s lives easier.#ContentChat https://t.co/2fIe0as4dt

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

A2b. Twitter user @Aleyda ran a poll asking if anyone had noticed changes from the update. The results:

63% – No change
16% – Haven’t checked (eek!)
12% – Yes, negative impact
9% – Yes, positive impacthttps://t.co/MA7eVBcS0U#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

The no-change group has got to be thrilled b/c it reinforces the value they have been creating through their content. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

Exactly. When it comes to a big Google update, usually no news is good news! #contentchat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Low-quality AI-generated copy will continue to perform poorly (what a surprise).

A2c. Lots of people anticipated the HCU would target low-quality AI-generated copy.

Is that happening? Well…

This case study from @Kevin_Indig shows how Google scraped some low-quality Tom Hanks content from search results. https://t.co/36SlHqQY4S#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Q3: What are common reasons that a site may be deindexed by Google or other search engines?

Google Search Console or SEO tools can help you understand why your site has been deindexed by Google. Typically, a site is deindexed if it has duplicate copy or bad code that is hiding pages.

A3. There are lots of factors, and the best place to find out the root cause is Google Search Console or tools like @semrush or @ahrefs.

Common causes:

😷 Bad code on your site is hiding pages
👯‍♀️ Duplicate copy gets deindexed
😈 You broke one of Google’s rules#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Be sure to not break Google’s rules for site. Often, duplicate content is an issue, as well as low-quality copy and questionable backlinks.

For the non-SEOs in the house, what are some of the most common rules that people break, often without knowing?#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

Duplicate content is a big one – you can’t have the same copy on multiple pages on your site or plagiarize other sites.

Low-quality copy (and lots of it) can also result in deindexing.

Lots of dodgy backlinks, or any “blackhat SEO” behavior is also dangerous.⚠️#contentchat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Duplicate content—including plagiarizing—has become such a big issue. But if you prioritize speed + inexpensiveness in your content creation, it’s not uncommon to see both of those issues arise.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

A3: #1 Duplicate content. If your site is a copy of a popular site, good luck getting indexed in the first place.

#2 Traffic quality. If your site is attracting all sorts of bad actors, namely bots and spammers with a high bounce rate, prepare to be deindexed.#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) October 3, 2022

💯💯

These are the issues I see most often – like 9/10. #contentchat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Q4: At a high level, what should content marketers know about optimizing their content for SERPs?

There are a lot of factors that affect where your content will appear on a search engine results page. At a high level, choose a primary keyword and use it in your header, first paragraph, page title, and URL. Sprinkle your secondary keywords throughout the content, including in subheaders.

A4a. If we’re talking high level, here’s what I’d make sure you have:

🗝️A focus keyword that has strong intent/low comp./high volume
👆 This is in your h1, first para, page title & URL
🔏 You’re using related keywords evenly & naturally, in subheaders #ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

A4: How customers engage with your content via social media, PPC, and other acquisition channels. What hashtags/keywords drove these engagements?

This is how content marketers should optimize content in the SERPs to find buyers organically, IMO.#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) October 3, 2022

This is really important too. It’s a good idea to use Google Search Console to discover what exact words and phrases brought people to your most important landing pages/blogs. #contentchat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Include images, videos, graphics, etc. to diversify your content, and include descriptive alt tags on all visuals. Be sure to use clear and accessible language to benefit your SEO.

A4b. You use accessible & clear language, and make your content easy to navigate by using subheaders, imagery, videos, graphics, etc. to break up & deepen/diversify your content. #ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Ensure that all content has a unique page title, human-focused meta descriptions (why should someone read this content?), and backlinks to relevant content.

A4c. You have unique page titles, compelling metadescriptions, and logical/organized URLs for every page.

All images & videos have descriptive alt tags.

You include backlinks to relevant content, using those pages’ focus keywords as anchor text. ⚓🔗#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Research the top-ranking content for your primary keyword and content topic. Assess how you can include similar elements but also differentiate your content and provide more value to readers.

A4d. Be sure to use your SEO tools to find out what SERP features top-ranking content has.

Does Google feature definitions?
Related questions?
Image carousels?
Videos?

If you want to rank, you’ll need these things too. #ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Yes!!

So important to understand what competing sites have in addition to words on the page that make their page come out on top. As we enter 2023 planning conversations, this is the knowledge that can translate into budget requests for design support, for example.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

Yes! Even offering to include imagery or put together a quick graphic on Canva for your client not only gives you upsell opps, but it can make a BIG impact on the success of your strategy. And that means longer, happier client relationships. 🥰😍 #contentchat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Q5: What are the most commonly overlooked SEO elements that can drive significant results for content marketing teams?

First and foremost, invest in talented writers and editors.

A5a. The most common one I’ve seen is failure to invest in talented writers/editors.

It’s a huge waste of money and time to hire someone who can’t hit your tone or doesn’t know SEO well.

Pay more, and pay once, for a good writer. #ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Biased by writing being a big part of my work life every day, but 100% agree with this. You get back what you invest in good writing.#ContentChat https://t.co/e1cuFi2dAg

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

Also, don’t forget about content promotion. Continue to promote your content across channels, and find ways to repurpose that content to extend its value.

A5b. Many companies also don’t have a robust content promotion strategy.

It’s not enough to just tweet a link to your blog and move on.

Every content piece should be chopped up & reorganized so it can be promoted across multiple platforms, multiple times. #ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Repurposing content is hugely underrated, it is important to develop a piece of content and make it go longer! Curate and repurpose should be part of marketing strategy #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande 🇮🇳🇬🇧 (@shruti12d) October 3, 2022

Include links within your content to other helpful content and resources. Ideally, your value-rich content will earn backlinks from other sites.

A5c. Linking is also a component of SEO that goes overlooked.

The #LinkWhisper WordPress plugin can find internal linking opportunities. https://t.co/K9TxwUmCJb

Good promo can help you earn backlinks, but serious SEO strategies require more than that.#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

I include internal linking to/from each new piece of content in my blog post planning templates to make sure this isn’t overlooked.#ContentChat https://t.co/8Q7FFk0H3R

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

Q6: What are your favorite SEO tools for content marketing, and what do you use them for?

Liam and the community share plenty of SEO tools and browser extensions to help you address SEO across your content creation stages. Did we miss your favorite SEO tool? Let us know in the comments or tweet us using #ContentChat.

A6a. Some of my faves:

SEO META in ONE CLICK is an awesome Google Chrome extension that allows you to see page titles, meta descriptions, H1s, URLs, & more in… one click obviously. https://t.co/b1GFtSzr8M#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

A6b. For SEO performance analysis, keyword analysis, and topic ideation, you really can’t beat the big players:@semrush @ahrefs #ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

A6c. I have to give a shoutout to my client @StoryChiefApp and their amazing software for content collaboration & planning.

Write & collaborate in one space
Get real-time SEO feedback
Auto-promote content on social
Host your own blog if you like

It’s amazing.#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

A6d. The Web Vitals Chrome plugin also lets you check the Core Web Vitals of any page in one click. This is great info for improving SEO performance. https://t.co/nLrVKBz7AF#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

A6: My most-used #SEO tools for content marketing are @semrush for pre and post-publication grading my work, @sparktoro to understand the sites/sources my audience values, and @buzzsumo to see what’s been recently created on my topic. #ContentChat https://t.co/3wN9r46Dar

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

A6: We like @clearscope for writing optimized content. Their GDoc plug-in is so easy and convenient. #contentchat

— Monica Norton (@monicalnorton) October 3, 2022

A1: WordPress plug-ins are convenient. I installed the @aioseopack into my B2B’s client website. The dashboard tells you what you need to improve and there are sections for inputting the metatags. #ContentChat

— Melissa Chiou (@melissaC_says) October 3, 2022

Q7: What should we do today to prepare for the phasing out of Google Analytics UA next year and the switch to G4 analytics?

There are many free trainings to learn about Google Analytics 4, as well as paid ones. Liam shares a few resources below to get you started.

A7a. The best thing to do is take some free training now so you’re ready when it rolls out!

Google has its own training on its YouTube channel. https://t.co/Tye8qdSUk4#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

A7b. Here’s another free training on YouTube: https://t.co/y94jZBRi5K

And here’s a good $30 from Moz via LinkedIn: https://t.co/SohSYKc4lJ#ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

A7c. Once you have a good grasp on it, practice, practice, practice! Turn on GA4 for your own website or a client who doesn’t mind you experimenting and try to find all the metrics you normally access. #ContentChat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Liam finds G4 a bit more “clunky” than UA, but you’ll get the hang of it with some practice.

Are there any metric views you’d really loved in UA that you are missing in your G4 instances? Or are you finding everything you need, just with a different look/verbiage?#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) October 3, 2022

Overall I find it a bit more clunky to get the information I need, but once I sat down with it and dedicated some time, I learned the pathways I needed most. I’ll miss GA as it is now for sure… #contentchat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

Q8: Are there best practices for choosing colors or fonts for your website content?

Focus on readability. Everything should be clear and large enough to read, and pay attention to contrast and spacing.

A8: What are the best practices for choosing colors, fonts for your website content? I’m speaking on what you’ve found best for improving core vitals. Thanks in advance 🙏#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) October 3, 2022

The most important factor is readability.

Font needs to be clear and large enough that it’s easy to read.

No light colors on light backgrounds, or dark colors on dark backgrounds.

Use margins and spacing to make content scannable and consumable. #contentchat

— Liam Carnahan | SEO & Content Strategist (He/Him) (@liamcarnahan) October 3, 2022

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