By Amanda MacArthur • 12/18/2013
The keys to SEO campaign management can be mastered in 35 steps
Search is the most fundamental element of content marketing. If you thought social media was the silver bullet, you were wrong. It’s at least a bronze bullet, but social media is just one stepping stone towards search optimization. More likes and tweets equal better rank. Better rank means you’ll keep getting website traffic to articles without even promoting them.
One major asset to any Mequoda System is a freemium, or a free product download. By creating free products, you can create search-optimized rapid conversion landing pages (RCLPs) that build your email list. And when these pages succeed, and you’re getting thousands of people through free SEO every month, your email list will grow very quickly.
These are the 35 steps for creating, recycling and promoting an SEO campaign with a freemium.
SEO campaign management part #1:
There’s no SEO without keyword optimization. If you want people to find you, you must first find out what they’re looking for.
1. Research audience interest and keywords using the Google Keyword Planner.
2. Choose two keyword phrases from the GKP, make sure they’re the best ones you can find. Typically these phrases have high search and a comparably low number of competing pages.
SEO campaign management part #2:
Decide what content will be most useful
Google has come to appreciate quality content in order to scare spammy SEOs away. It’s more important than ever to optimize your best pages and create the content that has already proven itself.
3. Review the most frequently asked questions posted to your online forum.
4. Determine which of your paid products are the best sellers.
5. Examine your magazine cover stories to determine which have the best sell-through.
6. Determine which sessions at your live events are the most popular.
7. Review your direct mail results to determine which teaser lines create the most sales.
8. Review the subject lines of your most successful email marketing campaigns to determine which create the highest open rates.
SEO campaign management part #3:
Create your freemium
Your freemium needs not only to be written, but to be optimized for search too. After all, it’s the title and subhead that will be repeated throughout the copy on your landing page. Injecting keywords in your title makes it easy to optimize a page naturally.
9. Write a title that is eight to 12 words.
10. Use your primary keyword (the best phrase you could find) in the title.
11. Add the secondary keyword (the second-best phrase you could find) in the subtitle after a colon.
12. Feel free to repurpose content from your website. Some of the best freemiums are simply mash-ups of five epic blog articles.
13. Edit and make sure you didn’t make these mistakes.
14. Include a call to action at the back of the freemium, like an up-sell to a premium product.
15. Include a URL in the footer that links back to the site (or freemium archive).
16. Write the freemium in clear, non-technical language.
17. Design the freemium to be clean and uncluttered.
18. Lay out the freemium to be printed on 8.5 x 11 paper.
SEO campaign management part #4:
Write your RCLP
Your RCLP is what will be found in search engines, so make it count. By repeating the name of the freemium, which has been optimized, you will have a search-friendly page, but try injecting them naturally into copy, too.
19. Write around 1500-2500 words worth of interesting copy about the freemium so that Google reads it as a valuable, information-packed page.
20. Repurpose copy from the freemium into the RCLP. Use it to construct a list of take-aways from the freemium.
21. Use your keywords several times in the copy, but don’t stuff them in there. We usually aim for a keyword density of 1-3%.
22. Create an order form in editorial (OFIE) for the top of the page so that a reader can submit their email address immediately. Include the keyword-optimized title of the freemium in every OFIE.
23. Repeat the OFIE throughout the page so that every time you scroll, there is always one above the fold.
24. Design the cover of the freemium so that the title is large enough to be read in a small image/thumbnail on the page. Include the cover image in all the OFIEs on your page.
25. Allow comments on your RCLP and encourage people to use them to write testimonials.
26. Enable social sharing buttons to boost inbound links and social cred.
SEO campaign management part #5:
Link everything to your RCLP
Search engines appreciate pages with links, and when a page is linked to internally by many pages, it tells Google that you find this page to be very important. And what’s more important than conversion pages?
27. Create a press release and submit it to the best free press release sites, and paid ones if you want.
28. Add the OFIE to the top of your category page (using an ad server like OpenX).
29. Add the OFIE to the top of every article in that category (again, something like OpenX).
30. Add a text ad into every article in the related category. The copy promotes the freemium and links to the RCLP.
31. Send out an email to your own list promoting the new freemium.
32. Work out an arrangement with your partners for them to promote the freemium and RCLP to their lists.
33. Send out tweets and post to Facebook about the new freemium.
34. Get in touch with industry bloggers and send them the PDF of your freemium. Include a link to the RCLP and a short bulleted list of take-aways to make their job easier.
35. Keep track of everywhere you posted your press release, and all of the sites who wrote about your freemium. Create an ongoing press list from this so that you can focus your efforts more effectively the next time.
Building a Keyword Universe
Instead of researching new keywords every time you write a post or create a new freemium for your SEO campaign, you might want to consider creating a keyword universe. It will make steps 1, 2, 9, 10, 11 and 21 much less time consuming.
Your Keyword Universe is the total number of keyword phrases you are tracking for your website. It’s the total number of keyword phrases your potential audience is searching for that your content could potentially answer.
Your keyword universe consists of primary keyword phrases and secondary keyword phrases.
Your primary keyword phrases, or clusters, will generally be your most broad keyword phrases, usually your website topics or categories. Within your primary keyword phrases, or clusters, you will have hundreds to thousands of related secondary keyword phrases.
The secondary keyword phrases are usually 3-5 words long and may be very specific. You use these phrases in articles, free report titles and anywhere else you’re looking to build traffic. The more specific the term is, the more likely you are to be ranked.
You can build your Keyword Universe by using the free AdWords Keyword Planner and exporting the list of keywords you discover into a categorized spreadsheet. From there, you can use tools like Advanced Web Ranking to find out where you rank on the keywords, and track your progress month to month. You can manually check the competition on keywords also, so that when you choose a keyword, you’re picking a keyword fight you can win. When we produce these for our clients, it’s a 20- to 40-hour process in total.
Picking Out Desirable Keywords
Mary Van Doren is our lead copywriter and I love her insights on SEO. She’s a trained wordsmith, so if anyone can squash a keyword into a sentence and make it sound like they’re not even trying, it’s Mary. Here’s what she suggests:
- Seek out keywords with other desirable traits besides their keyword competitive index (KCI). It’s easy to nail the SEO without even trying, or at least without writing the often dull copy you wind up with when you have to manipulate your text awkwardly to include less targeted keywords.
- Look for nouns that score well in both singular and plural, since it’s always a challenge to use one or the other only. We just write naturally that way using both.
- Keep your eyes peeled for keyword phrases that consist of “how to” plus a verb. They rank well, and imagine how easy it is to write “how to” in a variety of sentences.
- You’re in luck if you can locate keyword phrases in which the last word of keyword phrase 1 is the same as the first word in keyword phrase 2. If “clinical laboratory” and “laboratory business” are both in your universe, you’ll get double the pleasure every time you write “clinical laboratory business.”
SEO campaign management is a bit of an artform, isn’t is? I’m not ashamed to admit that researching keyword can be considered an actual hobby of mine. First, you get to analyze the data in front of you, then you create a product that uses the data, then you see if your data and product produce the results you hypothesized. If they don’t, try try again; And if they do, try, try again! Long-time Mequoda operators have 30 or more RCLPs and freemiums in their arsenal; how many are in yours?
Posted in Audience Development Strategy