Bloggers and small business owners often complain that they find it challenging to gain traction with SEO and online visibility – particularly with Google search results. And in many cases, it doesn’t even seem to matter how much content they put out there. Whether it’s a couple of posts a month or several hundred per year, they have a tendency to drown in oblivion.
While there could be any number of explanations as to why a website fails to move up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) or generate visibility for specific search terms, it often comes down to an issue of quality.
Business owners and marketers have been told for so many years that they need to produce a bunch of content if they want to have any sort of digital presence.
There are well-known marketing “gurus” who have spent years encouraging people to publish anywhere from three to five blog posts per week. And while there’s nothing technically wrong with this approach – more content certainly gives you more linkable assets – it’s not helpful without any context regarding quality.
A large quantity of content is useless if it’s low in quality. And that’s exactly the problem we see in our industry over and over again. Moreover, the majority of businesses don’t necessarily need massive “power pages” if they are simply targeting SEO in a local market.
Brands have been instructed to follow consistent publishing guidelines, but they haven’t been told how to create content, structure it properly, promote it, etc. So they end up with thin, low-grade assets that do nothing but water down the brand and create more noise.
Further compounding the problem is the fact that most of these brands don’t know they’re creating thin content. They assume that, because they’re doing what they’re told, the results will follow. And when weeks, months, and even years pass without much bump in SEO rankings or organic website traffic, they become frustrated and give up on content altogether.
In this article, we’re going to show you a proven process for generating results.
We can’t guarantee a page one ranking or a traffic increase of 250 percent. But we can promise that if you follow this method, it’ll create a strong foundation for improved SEO health and greater organic reach. It’s a strategy that hundreds of successful brands have used. And the reason you don’t hear about it very much, is that it’s not something they go around sharing with others.
But today, we’re going to pull back the curtain and give you a little reveal into the SEO power page strategy that finally gives you control over your results. We think you’re going to like it so much that you might pivot your entire marketing strategy moving forward.
You ready to dive in? Let’s go…
Table of Contents
Thin Content vs. Quality Content
In order to understand this process, you have to first know the difference between thin content and quality content.
Thin content, which is the bulk of what you’ll find on the web, is basically 10 percent meat and 90 percent filler. The content has a good headline, a hooky intro paragraph, and some clever subheadings. But then when you get into the actual copy, it’s nothing more than platitudes and recycled industry jargon.
On the surface, thin content looks sexy. The problem is that when human readers and search bots dig into the real content on the page, there’s nothing sticky or valuable. Human readers hit the back button, bounce rates skyrocket, and the average time on page works out to just a few seconds per post. Not only do the search bots notice these data points, but they have a hard time finding anything they like. Thin posts lack important keywords and signals that tell them how to rank the page. So they give up, too.
Quality content, on the other hand, is all meat and no filler. A content asset that falls underneath this heading is typically several thousand words in length, has an organized structure and flow, contains very specific and related long-tail keywords, and most importantly, it adds value to the reader. And when a piece of quality content adds value, the search engines notice. On top of that, it attracts backlinks, comments, and social shares – all of which further enhance the prominence of the piece.
The SEO Power Page Process
Now that we have a comprehensive understanding of the difference between thin content and quality content, let’s dig our heels in and explain how the SEO power page process works.
An SEO power page is basically a foundational piece of content for your website. You can think of it as one of the cornerstones that holds up your entire content strategy. You aren’t going to have many SEO power pages – and for now the focus is on creating just one – but they’re going to blow people away with the amount of concrete value they add.
(We’ll discuss more on how to create a power page in a section below. But for now, just know that it’s a high-value page that’s filled with relevant keywords and speaks directly to the target audience.)
The SEO power page process works like this:
- Create an SEO power page and optimize it to ensure it’s SEO-friendly, user-friendly, and easy on the eyes. It’s something you should be extremely proud of and quick to use in your portfolio, pitch, etc.
- Generate backlinks to the SEO power page. This is obviously easier said than done, but if you have a great piece of content, it makes your work a lot less burdensome. (Don’t worry, we’ll discuss link building below.)
- Develop other onsite content and begin splicing internal links into the SEO power page (when and where it’s relevant).
- Repeat the process several times per year, continually reinvesting in the power pages you’ve already developed.
The basic premise of this strategy is pretty simple. You’re focusing your SEO efforts on one single, high-value page. Then once you generate some r-e-s-p-e-c-t, you tap that authority via internal linking and spread some of the goodwill around.
Tell us that doesn’t make more sense (and seem more practical) than most SEO strategies you hear! We’re not telling you to write 300 blog posts per year. We’re asking you to focus on a single page and then build out from there as the proof of concept emerges.
A Step-By-Step Look at Creating Your Own SEO Power Page
We just gave you a 30,000-foot view of the SEO power page process. But if you really want to kill it with this approach, you must zoom in on the granular details and gain a step-by-step knowledge of how the process works in action.
Feel free to make small adaptations to fit your own branding, strategy, resources, and schedule, but the following tips will help you generate that initial push.
1. Identify Your Focus
The first step of the process is to identify your focus. There are two parts to this (and the second part builds upon the first).
- Begin by identifying your target reader. This should also be your target customer (though it may be a subgroup of a larger demographic.) The more specific you get, the better your end results will be. Don’t just say you’re targeting millennials. Refine your target by saying you want to reach men between the ages of 25-35 who are interested in sports, own a house, have a college degree, and make more than $100,000 per year. As you get specific, you’ll find it easier to address the next part of identifying your focus.
- Secondly, choose a topic or subject matter that resonates with your target reader. While this topic should overlap with your brand’s focus and feed specific products and services, it doesn’t have to be an exact match. It’s more important that it engages the target reader. For example, your business might sell weekly planners for professionals. But rather than writing a massive, quality blog piece on planners, your topic could be about organization, goal-setting, or visionary leadership. Then as part of this content, you’ll specifically address how you use weekly planners to accomplish certain outcomes.
One of the biggest mistakes we see in this process is haste. People want to get on with creating the content, which causes them to forgo the necessary groundwork to plan out a successful power page. Take your time and do it right the first time!
2. Do Keyword Research
Once you know who your target reader is and the type of content you’ll be developing, you can dig into the nitty-gritty of SEO keyword research.
Today’s keyword research is different than it was 10 or 12 years ago. You’re no longer trying to stuff as many popular keywords as possible. Instead, you’re looking for long-tail, semantic keywords that can be naturally injected into your copy for on page SEO.
How do you find these? By using the right tools.
We’re not going to recommend any specific tools in this article – simply because there are a lot of good options and everyone has their own unique preferences and needs. However, you’ll want to find one that not only shows you search volume, but also has some sort of ranking factor that tells you how competitive it is to rank for the keyword.
For example, let’s use our weekly planner illustration from above. When you use one of these keyword research tools, you may get results like this:
- KW: Weekly Planner Search Volume: 115,000 Keyword Density: 44
- KW: Weekly hourly planner Search Volume: 4,000 Keyword Density: 57
- KW: Weekly wall planner Search Volume: 1,500 Keyword Density: 26
- KW: Weekly desk planner Search Volume: 1,200 Keyword Density: 27
- KW: Horizontal weekly planner Search Volume: 440 Keyword Density: 24
Most people never look beyond the search volume. They see “weekly planner” has 115,000 monthly searches, so they target that keyword. The only problem is that the keyword density (and every tool has their own term for this) is a 44. (The higher this number is, the more difficult it is to rank for.) And if you look at who is ranking on page one of Google for this term, you’ll see names like Amazon, Staples, Target, and Good Housekeeping. No offense…it’s going to take years for you to beat these guys out (if at all).
The better approach is to find keywords that still get some monthly searches, but have a lower keyword density. Then you combine them into one SEO power page to enjoy a cumulative effect.
Using this example, you could focus on “weekly wall planner,” “weekly desk planner,” and “horizontal weekly planner.” They all have keyword density that’s low enough to give you a chance of ranking. And while they don’t have nearly the search volume, it adds up. Combine 1,500, 1,200, and 440 searches and you have a total of more than 3,100 searches per month. If you can find a way to rank for these terms, that’s enough search volume to move the needle on your business.
3. Do Competitive Content Research
The next step is to do a little intel work to find out what content already exists around the topic or subject matter that you’re going to write about. This will tell you what’s out there and give you a clear idea of what needs to be done in order to outperform.
The easiest way to do this is by analyzing competitors via searching for your keywords in Google and studying all of the results on page one. Make notes on what you like, what you don’t, and any content gaps that exist.
After getting a clear picture of the content that’s out there right now, you can shift your focus to “one-upping” them. In other words, you’re going to develop a piece that blows their content out of the water and gives Google/bloggers no choice but to link to your content.
4. Develop a Killer Piece of Content
The research and planning is done. To be quite honest, your heavy lifting is over. Now it’s just a matter of execution.
To develop a killer piece of content, focus on these ingredients:
- Natural keywords. We’ve already walked you through the importance of doing in-depth keyword research. But in order to put them to good use, you have to introduce your keywords naturally. In other words, they should be written like you would say them in an everyday conversation. Don’t be super focused on getting an exact match. Google is smart enough to detect intent and will reward you for natural integration of the search phrase.
- In-depth. There’s no exact word count required for an SEO pillar page, but if you’re writing something that’s 750 words, you’re not doing yourself any good. Generally speaking, the more in-depth a piece is, the better it performs when you begin to scale. Quality is more important than length, but you honestly need both. Somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 words is recommended.
- Digestible. While the content should be in-depth, it also needs to be easy on the reader. Make your content digestible by using short paragraphs, subheadings, bold words, bullet points, numbered lists, etc. Plenty of white space around the next will help the copy breathe.
- Visual. Not many people have the attention span to read a 4,000-word blog post that’s strictly copy. (Even if you use subheadings and bullets.) Today’s best-performing content uses high quality visuals to stimulate readers and cultivate an engaging reading experience. Charts, graphs, images, memes, and videos are all useful tools.
- Useful. Speaking of useful, the content needs to add value to the reader. There’s nothing wrong with some theoretical copy and musings, but give them something actionable. This is why how-to content performs so well.
- Clean. Finally, if you’re going to take the time to develop a massive SEO power page, do yourself a favor and clean it up at the end. Scan it with your own eyes and ask someone on your team to do the same thing. It might even be worth hiring an inexpensive copyeditor on a site like Fiverr or Upwork to quickly clean up any grammar mistakes that could trip up readers and make you look bad.
People always complain that they don’t know how to develop content that gets noticed, but it’s really as simple as following this formula. Every piece will look different, but the underlying principles hold true. Nobody can guarantee a page one ranking, but if you follow these guidelines, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of getting visibility, clicks, and traffic.
5. Build Out a Natural Link Profile
Once your content is planned, produced, polished, and published, it’s time to give it the attention it deserves. This is where link building comes into play.
We have plenty of guides on how to build links on our website already, so we won’t go super in-depth right here. Just know that you have a number of options, including guest blogging, broken link building, and using outreach within your network to secure placement.
The goal should be to generate at least five to 10 high domain authority backlinks to jumpstart your efforts. Then you can also layer on some other backlinks that are easier to obtain, but might have lower domain authority. (Just make sure you aren’t pursuing any links that could look spammy.)
6. Develop Smaller Pieces of Related Content
The next step is to take your power page and to break it down into four or five different topics that you can produce standalone blog content on.
In other words, if you wrote a piece about fashion and there was a small 300-word section on how to choose the perfect shoes for a job interview, you could probably break that out into its own blog post and develop a 1,000-word post on dressing to impress in a job interview situation.
Once you have a few spinoff ideas, get to work creating these pieces. The same content creation principles discussed above apply to these pieces. They’re simply smaller and quicker to produce. Once written, schedule them to go out on a weekly basis over the next several weeks.
7. Include Internal Links in the Power Page
As your smaller pieces of spinoff content are published, grab the URL and internally to these pages from the SEO power page. As your power page gains prominence and SEO value, it’ll naturally pass some of this value along to your other pages. (Not to mention, it’ll drive referral traffic from readers who see the hyperlink and want to learn more.)
If you’re a visual person, you might want to picture your SEO power page as the center of a spider web. All of the spinoff pieces are located on the edges of the web. And the strings of the web connecting these parts are the backlinks. The power page feeds everything else.
8. Promote and Refine Your Power Page
Finally, once your content machine is humming, it’s your job to promote it. Yes, the link building aspect will work over time, but you can accelerate your results by sharing on social media, promoting on forums and message boards (when relevant), and sending links via email.
As you see more traffic, study the analytics, review the data, and read the comments. Based on these insights, refine your page so that you get maximum value and impact.
A Note on Patience
Patience is not a word that we like in our modern society. We’re used to a world of fast food, Netflix, and same-day delivery. Being asked to wait for results is becoming more painful by the year. And while the strategy that we just laid out for you is much more likely to generate results than a disorganized approach that relies on thin, low-value content, it still takes time.
Other websites aren’t going to see your page the moment you click “publish” and organically slip a backlink into one of their posts.
And unless you have a massive email list or captive social audience, you’re not going to generate thousands of visitors in the first 24 hours.
You have to be okay with that. And you can’t let this dissuade you from carrying out the rest of the strategy.
Patience isn’t just a virtue – it’s the key to winning with SEO. If you don’t have patience, you aren’t breaking through that door and getting the results you want. It’s as simple as that.
Need Help With Link Building? SEO.co Has Your Back
Perhaps you’re more confused now than you were when you started reading this article. Or maybe it all makes sense, but you simply don’t have the internal resources or time to execute on the SEO power page process.
Whatever the case may be, we can help.
At SEO.co, we’re the premier white hat link building company in the industry. From content creation to publisher outreach and everything in between, we can help you secure organic links that move the needle on your search rankings and traffic.
Want to learn more? We’d be happy to offer you a free website assessment.