SEO + Content Development, Simplified. The 3 Types of Articles We Write.

I’ll start by saying content development and search engine optimization will not save your business if you have a shitty product or service. But they do have a small place in our grand marketing adventure.

Since 2007, we have written over 500 articles for our blog. We wrote to share, and we wrote to satisfy ourselves creatively. The traffic to that blog grew, and although it was nothing worth bragging about, it still gets clicks and traffic. Now we’re putting some focus into producing content for LessAccounting, because that’s how our company makes money. Pushing traffic to LessAccounting’s blog through content development and making sales are the obvious goals.

Let’s start off with the “duh” points.

Here are some reasons we do content development:

  • To become a trusted source of advice to potential customers.
  • We know our customers, we used to be consultants, too. Writing content for ourselves isn’t that hard. Ask me to write an article about the mating habits of zebras and I’m screwed.
  • We like teaching and sharing information. Sharing our experiences is creatively satisfying to us.
  • We want more traffic, and more signups. Yes, go ahead and sign up for LessAccounting right now.

We create three types of articles.

Article Type #1 – Purely SEO articles

I’ll stumble upon a keyword inspired from a conversation with a customer, a tweet from a friend or something I read on Facebook or Quora. These type of articles I’ll do heavy keywords research (more on that later). These articles do not satisfy me creatively. I have to force myself to write articles that I’m not inspired to write.

Example: I saw a photographer friend asking about contracts on Facebook. I know a bit about contracts from our experience building apps for clients. So I spent a few hours thinking how I could quickly write an article. Instead of telling photographers how to write a contract, I thought I’d list some different contract possibilities for photographers. Here’s the article targeting “Free Photography Contracts.”

Article Type #2 – Inspired Content Shaped to Target a Keyword Phrase

This is content that I am inspired to write. The topics are things we want to share about our experiences. I’m always looking through my daily work, thinking of ways to share it. I’m consciously aware of finding things to write and share.

Once we’ve taken inspiration and turned it into an article in rough draft form, I’ll do keyword research on it. The content is mostly there, but can still be shaped a little depending on what we want to target. I’m going to release a full article on our keyword research process and how we work with our editor.

Example: We wanted to write an article about “How We Hire a Developer,” but without keyword research, we might have titled the article “Here’s How We Hire Programmers” or “Our Hiring Test for Programmers.” Instead, we found that “hire a developer” was the optimal phrase to target. Did this keyword research ruin/taint/compromise the content? I don’t think it did.

Most articles we produce fall into this category. It’s content I’m really proud of, that we tweaked slightly so people using search engines can find it more easily.

Article Type #3 – Content We Want to Write

These articles are also inspired content that we enjoy writing. Steve or I will write something and show the other. I’ll do some keyword research, which might not yield any “solid” finds. We’ll still publish the article but we know there won’t be a search engine long-tail effect.

Example: Steve wrote the “Entrepreneurs Take Care of Yourself” article on a whim, and it’s great content. The keyword research yielded few targets. I could have tried to change the content to “healthy entrepreneurs” or something, but all my keywording ideas would have compromised the article’s integrity.

The Main Take Away

If you’re writing/blogging, do 15 minutes of keyword research before hitting ‘Publish.’ You’ll find some low-hanging fruit that can yield traffic to your website. Most articles just need a title tweak to help target a keyword; it’s really simple and doesn’t quite feel like we’re totally selling out. Note from the future: Google is giving us less and less data on keywords, this is evil Google.

Side Note

Just so you know, I’m not doing any keyword research on this article. It’s a “type #2” article. Plus there are so many SEO conslutants and content development whores trying to rank for phrases like “content development,” that there’s no point in even trying all that hard.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Look for more articles on keyword research, how to work with an editor, and how I go from idea to rough draft.

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