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Once Upon an SEO Campaign: How to Balance Storytelling with SEO Best Practice

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. 

Once upon a time, a girl with golden bouncing curls bounded up to her local library in search of the very best porridge recipe. Skipping over to the librarian’s desk, she asked boldly, “where can I find the food section, please?”.  

The librarian looked over her horn-rimmed glasses, and without a sense of moving at all, they were surrounded floor to ceiling by what was surely a world’s supply of porridge literature. Poems, posters, portfolios; the girl was in awe.  

First, she plucked out a poster at the far end of the shelf. The illustrations were fun and colourful, but there wasn’t much information at all. Next, she took to the ladders and reached for a manuscript at the very top of the shelf. It was so heavy that the effort of opening the cover was enough to lose her breath, never mind reading the approximate four thousand pages of tiny text.  

Finally, the librarian passed the girl a book titled: “Ten Ways with Porridge”. Simple, yet detailed, full of instructive photos, helpful tips and add-ons – it was just right.  

All the world’s a stage (and the world wide web a library) 

Let’s take a moment to wipe away the tears after that beautiful tale. A nice story, but what does this have to do with SEO?  
The internet is, in essence, a library of resources and Google its trusty librarian. When users type into the search bar, it is our job as digital marketeers to provide the most relevant and helpful information to prove to Google that we are deserving of those top spots in the search results. So, how can this be done? Well, my friends, that is where storytelling comes into play.  

Balancing SEO with storytelling  

To capture the hearts and minds of our audience before riding off into the sunset with them – or before converting them – we need to do a few things first. This involves engaging them, reassuring them and removing any doubts that your business is not the best fit for their needs.  
Such a recipe requires two ingredients: empathy and confident communication. A pair of quintessential human qualities, content creators are required to build the bridge between the business and the buyer. The buyer who is not sitting with you in the room, but behind a screen, probably on their commute, lunch break or in their 10 minutes of peace prior to sleep.  

At these times, they don’t need drivel or a wash of weak buzzwords. They need to be fed a story. However, as important as it is to tell the unique story that will resonate with your audience, it’s just as important to consider SEO while doing it.  

Keyword research 

Speak to anyone in SEO and they’ll tell you that keyword research is as fundamental to a successful campaign as oxygen is for life (or, in my case, tea is to a working day). Using tools such as…

  • SEMrush
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Search query data from Search Console
  • Competitor research
  • “Related searches” and “People also ask” in the search results
  • Knowledge of your industry
  • Knowledge of your audience

…we can assess how a site fares in the keywords and grouped keyword topics it covers. Of course, we are no longer in the times of stuffing keywords into a given page to warrant a page one ranking (thank goodness).  

Instead, there has been a huge move to content that provides expertise, proves authority and is, at heart, trustworthy. Which takes us nicely into… 

…The ABCs of EAT 

In the (probably not) blistering summer of 2018, Google rolled out an algorithm update, referred to as ‘Medic’. The aim of this algo update, which is as prominent now as it was when first released, was to provide users with plentiful, relevant material in an appropriately digestible format. Best practices include citing sources, using quotes from in-house experts, testimonials and providing detailed information.  

While this will help us rank in those high CTR positions and deliver organic traffic to a site, we’re then presented with the “what next?”. When we’re delivering the above to users, it must be done with an awareness of two things: 

  1. Competition 
  1. A user’s attention span 

How do we set ourselves aside from a field of competitors looking to do the same? How do we make ourselves deserving of people’s time when there is so little time to spare?  

Getting to know exactly who your competition is, and exactly who your audience is will help you create the content they want to read. And if you can do this, you’re one step closer to grabbing that user from the search results and pulling them into all that your business has to offer.  

Staying true to brand tone of voice 

To communicate effectively is to present a united front which can be done through a strong brand tone of voice. Add a spoonful of helpful resources, a sprinkling of entertainment and a generous dash of understanding and you’re on the way to a happily ever after with your audience.  

Remember, that brand tone of voice should be consistent, so as to feel familiar, safe and comfortable every time your audience engages with you. If you want to find out more about writing copy that’s designed to convert, take a read of our blog on the topic: How To Write Engaging Copy That Converts.  

It’s time to tell your story  

So, whether you’re wanting to sell your porridge secrets or organic baby clothes, provide insurance or represent a person in legal proceedings, sharing your expertise is only one part of the battle. To win the war, you must make your audience trust in you, your brand and your story.  

With a team of savvy wordsmiths and copywriters as well as SEO veterans in our ranks, we’re on hand to help you tell your story while considering what Google wants to see in the process. Well versed at helping brands improve their organic rankings through engaging content and SEO best practices, we can support you in getting to where you want to be on the world wide web. Get in touch for a chat or to find out more about the way we work.