Making Content More Discoverable

“Discoverability”. Besides a term almost as annoying as “snackable”, discoverability is the quality of being easily found via search engines, social media, etc. And it’s a crucial factor driving digital content marketing success.

No matter how much the term sets your teeth on edge, improving search engine visibility is a key factor in driving engagement and other meaningful metrics that impact you and your company.

Why invest time writing terrific content if nobody can find it? Right. Why indeed.

I heard that heavy sigh. Relax. It’s not that hard. There’s one super-easy two-step tactic for making content more discoverable and improving search engine visibility.

And before you think that means handing control over to search engine marketers, forcing a bunch of clunky terms into your copy, and taking all the art and craft out of writing compelling content…take a breath.

What if I told you you can keep your SEO-loving boss (and those key word-seeking bots) happy without selling your soul and sacrificing your self-esteem as a writer? Well, you can.

Why Relevance is Crucial for Digital Content Marketing Visibility

Here’s what we know: People are searching more than ever on more platforms than ever. That means things like page rank and relevance and domain authority are no longer additional entries on your Buzzword Bingo card—they’re critical factors in driving discoverability.

For the purposes of this post, let’s focus on relevance. Miriam-Webster’s definition is great because it covers the term from both a human-centered and machine-based perspective:

Merriam-Webster definition of relevance

Of course, relevance has always been critical to engagement, but as Google and other search engines continue to evolve their algorithms, and as the onslaught of content makes the really good stuff more valuable, content that delivers the best information in the most effective way carries the day. 

One way people and algorithms judge relevance is the presence of the right key words and phrases (often combined and called “long-tail keywords” because they include more than just, duh, one term).

Identifying the most relevant terms is pretty easy. In fact, you use this technique all the time when you’re searching.

2 Steps to Identify Relevant Long-Tail Key Words

Google’s handy suggested phrases are super-useful clues to the terms yor readers use to find the information they need.

Step 1: Type in a few terms closely related to your topic and see what Google thinks is “semantically linked”.

(According to our pals at Wikipedia, “semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding the searcher's intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace, whether on the Web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results.)

Here’s what I got when I decided to search for “improving search results”. The genius bots at Google didn’t even require me to finish typing:

Improve visibility by using Google's "suggest" function

Now I’ve got a good list of key words and phrases I can include in my content.

Step 2: Select a phrase and scroll to the bottom of the page for more long-tail keywords from the related searches section.

I selected “improving search engine visibility” from the first list and got these related ideas:

An example of how Google's related searches can help you improve visibility with more long-tail keywords

Combining these two steps quickly unearths a slew of of natural-sounding key words and phrases with only a few keystrokes.

I like this so much better than the usual key word research I get that’s based on competition and delivers weird terms nobody would ever use in a search—which makes it awfully hard to write strong and compelling copy.

Swami Level 5 Tip: If you want to do more robust research to increase your search engine visibility, try one of the many key word tools out there. (The pros I know give the free high marks). What does a key word tool do? It takes the first few letters you type in and then acts like a supercharged Google suggest bot, automagically returning tons of long-tail key words you can use to write a great article that’s both relevant and—wait for it—highly discoverable!

How to Integrate Key Words without Ruining Your Writing

You’ve probably already noticed how much easier it is to weave these human-powered terms into your prose. Because these are more organic, they flow more naturally into sentences that sound normal.

But there are other ways to deploy long-tail keywords that get results:

  • Meta titles and meta descriptions
  • H1 Titles
  • Subheads
  • Image captions and descriptions

This approach to key word research and integration generates more and better options than traditional keyword methods. Folding several terms people actually search on into your content produces a more natural and authentic keyword density that boosts relevance without making us want to poke our eyes out because some writer used “best laptops for business” 15 times in a 500-word article.

Conveniently enough, it also keeps the search bots from dinging you for keyword stuffing and plain ol’ crappy content.

That’s right, alongside relevance, quality does count. And this approach to key word research produces results that improve quality rather than killing it--or you.

Why You Should Embrace Key Words & Phrases

A cute picture of embracing figurines to illustrate a section on why you should embrace long-tail keywords

image courtesy HaikuDeck

Why should you trust me on this? How do I know it’s “not hard”? Because I do it all the time.

Before I write anything—even when I have key word research from the SEO team—I take a few minutes, do a few searches and note the best long-tail keywords I get back. I even did it to create this post.

This simple act of doing my own searches keeps me focused on what real people are looking for, not team members obsessed with low-competition search terms or bots using some crazy algorithm. (Irony alert: Ultimately, this technique makes them both happy!)

The more we are in touch with what our audience needs and wants, the better we are at delivering it. And that has all kinds of value, like driving engagement and sharing, building trust and authority, and making you look like a rock star. Everybody wins!

Give it a try. Start making content more discoverable with a quick Google search or two before embarking on your next digital content marketing project.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Bonus Item: Uncover more ideas for engaging content! This technique is also a huge idea generator. The Content Marketing Institute reports that producing engaging content is the top challenge for B2C (56%) and B2B (60%) content marketers. All these long-tail keywords reveal great ideas for related content attacking a different angle on or aspect of the same topic for use in a series of posts or articles, an an e-book or slide deck, maybe even a webinar. That equals more content, more engagement and more results.

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