Editorial teams within publishing companies are often under-resourced, fast-paced environments. Content needs to be produced yesterday, magazines won’t proof themselves, and multiple deadlines are always just around the corner. It’s an exciting way to work, but it can mean that sometimes corners are cut – including SEO.
Don’t pretend you haven’t drafted a website post in a rush: bashing the keyboard frantically, and slapping it online without a second thought. We’ve all done it. Usually in a busy period nearing a magazine deadline.
This is particularly true for small publishers that are yet to make the move to a digital-first structured editorial team, or who may not have marketing personnel to optimise web content, or for niche magazines who feel that they’re reaching the majority of their audience via their e-news subscriber base.
But the thing is, if you aren’t thinking about SEO, your brand isn’t reaching its full potential. Google is smart, but it doesn’t have eyes. It uses cues to determine if content is relevant to a search. In fact, it is a fairly complex beast that uses many different cues. We aren’t going to go over them all in this article.
Here, we’re going to look at a few quick and easy SEO basics to help boost your search engine ranking based on the cues Google looks for within article text.
These keyword tips are quick enough to use for your daily uploaded website content, and can also form the basis of your SEO strategy for longer-form evergreen content adapted and uploaded from magazine editions.
How to add basic keywords to your online content
For experienced editorial team members, this is a sinch. It just requires a little bit of extra time and brainpower.
To appear in Google searches, your online article needs to include key phrases – or variations of key phrases – relevant to the article topic. Choose keywords and phrases based on what your target audience would search for to find the information within your article.
For example, if your article is about a new type of tap washer, keyword phrases could include: ‘how to fix a dripping tap’, ‘leaking taps’, ‘drip-proof tap washers’, ‘DIY leaking tap’, ‘dripping tap’, ‘tap hardware’.
These should be used as often as possible, without affecting the readability of the article. This is really important: once your audience has landed on your article, you want them to stay there, so be careful not to compromise engagement for keywords ‘crow-barred’ into your article. It’s called ‘keyword stuffing’, and no one likes it – not even Google.
Google says “Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context”.
Think about how you can use keywords within article elements other than the bulk text, for example:
- Meta-title tags
- Meta-description tags
- Image captions
- Alt-text for images.
Useful free keyword tools
There are a number of free and paid keyword tools that can help determine the best keywords to use. These tools provide keyword suggestions and information on the amount of competition you’ll face in ranking for that keyword or phrase.
You can go down a rabbit hole of keyword research and analysis. A bit of analysis will surely provide you better results, but here we’re focusing on beginning the process and integrating it into the everyday workflow of your editorial team.
We’ll take a look at keyword analysis in more depth in a future article, but the basics are: aim for relevant keywords in your niche with high search volume and low competition. If you are interested in more information on this now, this article on Holy Grail SEO keywords is great.
Still not convinced? Think: audience with purchase intent
When you’re running flat-chat, it’s hard to be eager to include more work into your day. But thinking about how to optimise your online content is worth it.
If you’ve got the ability to capture an audience actively searching for a solution to their problem or more information about it, you’ve captured an engaged audience with purchase intent.
Your end of the bargain is to make sure that the content that you provide them is relevant and valuable. So: write for your audience first, think about the problem your article helps them solve, and then look at how you can optimise with keywords.
It’s a win-win-win situation. It’s good for you (because you increase traffic to your website), it’s good for your readers (because you are helping to solve their problems by being useful and easy to find), and it’s good for your advertisers (because you’ve attracted an active, engaged audience looking to purchase their product or a related product).
Magazine brand-specific SEO
There’s a lot of information about SEO available. So much that it can feel a bit overwhelming. We’d like to break it down into easy, actionable chunks for busy publishing teams.
Interesting in a series of articles specifically simplying SEO for niche magazine publishers? Let me know in the comments below, including your current top SEO challenge.