Here at GSG, we hire a lot of writers. They come from an amazing variety of backgrounds, from journalism to teacher to book editing. They usually come to us with excellent writing skills, but they have to completely learn the crazy world of writing for digital marketing, and the unique industry of pools and spas. One of the most pronounced ways writing for digital marketing is different from journalism or English class is that we use SEO techniques. Let’s begin by digging deeper into SEO.
SEO literally means “Search Engine Optimization”. It refers to a whole discipline of skills including technical, visual, written content, and more. Fortunately, we have some super-fantastic tech folks here to handle the geeky aspects of SEO. All I have to do is help our writers understand how to write so that search engines both can and will find our content, and more importantly, pull it up in searches when people look for the topic. For example, it’s my job to make sure people find our clients’ websites when they search for, “How do I drain and fill my hot tub?” or “When is the best time to renovate my pool?”
A decade ago, SEO writing was the literal bottom of the funky barrel in terms of writing quality. At that time, search engine algorithms were in their infancy. If you crammed the keyword in the article enough times, the search engines returned it in results, and while the website owners were ecstatic that they got all the traffic, users were continually frustrated because when they searched for, “hot springs in my area,” they got lots of keyword-stuffed articles about “HotSpring® hot tubs” instead. That didn’t help HotSpring dealers sell hot tubs, and it didn’t help internet users find beautiful natural hot springs in their areas. Which is sad, because they’re really great to visit.
Today’s search engines, as you’ve likely surmised, are light years ahead of those of old. You can find local natural hot springs in your area AND find a reputable local dealer of HotSpring hot tubs. Park rangers, sightseers, spa dealers, and spa shoppers everywhere rejoice!
Wait … not so fast. You still have to understand modern SEO in order to develop content that drives the traffic you want, not the traffic you don’t, and actually leads to improved sales. That’s where quality SEO content comes in. Here’s (some of) what you need to know to do it right.
Carefully Choose Your Targeted Keywords
You’d think that the keywords you need to use are pretty straightforward. They’re not. You’ll have to study your market closely to determine what people in your area are actually searching for. Also, while it’s unrealistic that Paul’s Pools in Saint Paul, Minnesota ranks well for a generic and heavily-used keyword like “inground pool” it’s very realistic to target “pools in Saint Paul” or “fiberglass pools in St Paul”. Use keywords that have the highest chance of ranking well locally and that people are actually using to search for your products.
Work the keyword in quickly
In order for a keyword to be effective, search engines must identify the keyword early in the content. Otherwise, it gets ranked as a side issue instead of the main focal point of the user’s search. For example, if you read three paragraphs here before you see anything about SEO content, you (and the search engines) will assume it’s not the focus point of the piece. Ideally, work your primary keyword in the first sentence. Most definitely get it in there within the first paragraph.
Use the exact keyword at least once
Run the metrics to see what the people in your area tend to search for. For example, in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, people tend to search “pools” rather than “pool”. We also look for “pools near me,” “pools in Birmingham,” and our little pet abbreviation, “pools in Bham”. Use the exact keyword or keyphrase (this article uses those terms interchangeably) at least once. If the article is 500 words or more (which it probably should be), use it 2-3 times in its exact form.
Use multiple forms of the keyphrase
In addition to the exact keyword, you need to demonstrate that the content is about the elements of the keyword. Using Paul’s Pools in Saint Paul, that means that you also need to write elsewhere in the article about both pools and Saint Paul:
Saint Paul’s swimming season typically lasts from April through October …
Pool dealers here offer both fiberglass and concrete pools …
Using parts and pieces of the keyphrase, particularly the location name, lends credibility that your content is about what the keyword indicates.
Also, in a few places, switch your keyphrase around. Write “St Paul pool dealer” in one place and “pool dealer in Minnesota” in another.
Write More, Write More Often
Search engines like Google look for a couple of other things, too. They look for lengthier content, which indicates a deep discussion of the topic, and for fresh content. The online universe hates things that are outdated. And users love lots of free information. Five hundred words is good, one thousand words is better, and 2,000+ word articles usually outrank shorter content by a significant margin.
In conclusion, it’s important to remember that today’s algorithms are incredibly smart. They are designed to find and retrieve information that is valuable and relevant to the user. If a human user likes and wants your content, the algorithms will deliver it. Usually. So never write like you’re writing for search algorithms. Provide timely, useful, relevant information to users, and the rest of SEO takes care of itself. And remember, great SEO content takes time. Going from very little traffic to lots of traffic takes months. To dig yourself out of a hole after getting blackballed or tanked by search engines can take a year or more, and that likely requires the help of a great webmaster, not just a team of writers. GSG has both!
For all of your pool and spa marketing needs, The Get Smart Group handles everything from building websites to Google search ads to social media marketing and more. Did you know … We have an entire team of content writers who specialize in the pool and spa industry and are pros at digging deeper into SEO for you? You don’t have to explain to us how American Whirlpool isn’t a Jacuzzi or how gunite is different from shotcrete. Get your free consultation scheduled now!