Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) go hand in hand like chocolate and peanut butter. And I often get questions from clients and potential clients about how SEO fits into their overall content strategy.

This used to throw me for a bit of a loop — because I am NOT an SEO expert. So I hired Meg Casebolt of Love at First Search to join our team, and she’s taught me a TON about how content marketing and SEO can make beautiful music — and results — together.

Here are some of the most common questions I get about content and SEO and some brief primer answers.

How do I “do SEO” for my blog posts?

This is such a broad question — but generally speaking, the way we “do SEO” for a blog post is first to do some keyword research to know which keywords we want to target.

For this, we bring in Meg Casebolt of Love at First Search. She does our SEO keyword research for our clients and can give us a list of keywords to target.

Once we have the keywords, we can create blog posts that focus on using those keywords — and we optimize the text we write by using those keywords in the title, in subheadings and bullets, and in the main body text.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We write for humans first and Google second, but there are ways to do both!

Of course, there’s WAY MORE to SEO than this, but this is the bare basics of what we do to optimize content.

How can I use SEO with my podcast or videos?

So this is a fast-changing topic! As of this writing, Google has announced that they have started “crawling” audio and video content for SEO — but here’s the rub: They’re using similar technology to AI generated transcriptions or captions, and we all know how inaccurate those can be!

In addition, unless you’re scripting out your podcast or video word-for-word ahead of time it’s nearly impossible to “optimize” what you’re saying for a particular keyword or phrase.

If you publish a transcript of your podcast or video on your website, that can help, but again, it’s not optimized for any keywords. If you do show notes, they’re generally not long or in-depth enough for Google to consider them “authority” content for a particular keyword.

So what we recommend is actually turning your transcript into a full blog post or article that is optimized for SEO. From our perspective, that means taking the thoughts and ideas conveyed in a transcript and doing a heavy edit or rewrite so that it reads cleanly and clearly as an article, and making sure the words and phrases we’re using include those keywords so Google knows what it’s all about.

I have a ton of old content that’s not SEO optimized. What should I do with it?

This is a scenario we hear with clients a lot: They’ve been in business for a while and have years of blog content on their site, but they have no idea what’s actually sending traffic and what’s not — or how to improve what they’re getting.

Generally we start with an SEO report from Meg that determines a couple of important things:

  • What content is already ranking well — and for what keywords? I’ve personally had a blog post rank for random song lyrics I included in my post… but that obviously wasn’t the kind of traffic I was looking for.
  • What content is ranking, but not on the first page? That’s usually low hanging fruit that we can easily take advantage of with some strategic updates.
  • What keywords do we want to rank for? A health coach is probably never going to rank for the term “weight loss” but they might have a shot at something like “diet coach for post-menopausal women.”

Once we have that information from Meg’s report, we can prioritize: do we want to update old content first (that low-hanging fruit) or do we want to focus on new content optimized for the keywords we want to rank for? (Or some combination.)

Either way, we build that into your content marketing plan and editorial calendar moving forward.

Do I need SEO for my content?

This is actually a very common question I hear, and the answer is: it depends!

Usually I respond first by asking a question back: Where do you get most of your clients, and are you happy with that?

If they say that their business is mostly referral based, or if they’re a very high-end service that doesn’t need a ton of clients to be fully booked out, they might not really need to worry about SEO that much.

If their business model requires lots of fresh leads all the time (for courses, membership sites, physical products, etc.) and/or they get most of their business through advertising, then SEO is probably a great strategy to add into the mix — the more organic traffic we can generate, the more free leads!

What if I like to have fun with my titles and copy? Will that mess with my SEO?

Short answer: yes.

As smart as Google’s search engines are, they aren’t very clever, so if your goal is to be found for a particular keyword or phrase, you have to give Google very clear signals.

That doesn’t mean your titles have to be boring — but it does mean that you need to use the keywords you want to show up for in that coveted title space.

For example, we have a client right now who has a brilliant framework listing out 12 lies that contribute to a problem she coaches on. She wrote out a blog post about each of the 12 lies, and named the posts accordingly — things like “Lie #2: I must tell everyone about my problem.”

While that title makes complete sense when you read the accompanying article, it doesn’t actually tell Google what it’s about. If, instead, she named the post, “How to Stop Oversharing,” Google would understand much more clearly what it was about.

How do I know which keywords to use?

SEO keyword research is a very complex subject — and one I’m not going to delve into here today!

My best answer is to pay an expert (like Meg) to either do the research for you, or to teach you how to do the simplest form.

Because good keyword research can be a game-changer for your content marketing. It can show you what your people are actually searching for, what questions they’re asking, exactly what phrases they’re typing into Google to try to solve the problem that you solve.

The insights can be transformative! People at different stages of their customer journey might be googling different phrases than what you assume, and if you create content to address them at that stage, you can win customers for life.

I’m overwhelmed by SEO. Do I have to do it myself?

NO! you do not have to learn or implement SEO by yourself. That’s what we’re here for — and that’s why Meg created SEOctober:

SEOctober is a month-long SEO challenge to help participants produce Google-friendly content.