When you have to deal with a recipe card full of keywords, outlining properly is your best friend. Otherwise, you find yourself struggling to input keywords naturally or you never organically come to use certain ones that are important. Once the keyword research is done, your next step is to write an outline that helps you define the content. If you’ve done your research right, you should provide answers that nail the reader’s intent while refraining from being too robotic with templates. 

Keywords tend to be the foundation and focal point of many SEO campaigns since the keywords reflect what readers are searching for. At the same time, your ultimate goal is to write the best answer to a question. Remember how people search can include grammatical and spelling errors. While the Google algorithms are better at deciphering a reader’s intention, there are still some instances where someone means to search for one thing but has a widely popular misconception about a term or context. 

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Review the Keywords

Take a look at the keywords from the research you have done. Ideally, you don’t have one or two keywords to bank all hopes of ranking on; a recipe of keywords considers the reader’s intent when searching, competitor analysis of keyword usages, and associated words and phrases used in the pillar or general subject matter. 

Keep in mind that the more words you can rank for, the better performing your website and specific URL will be. Of course, every blog piece should have a specific primary and secondary keyword to focus the content in a pillar, sub-pillar or cluster. With that said, recipe cards are a great way to outline content that includes a variety of keywords in an organic and natural way. 

Review the recipe card and look for overarching themes that would create flow in the content. Start to place these keywords in as headers to sections of content. It’s not just good SEO to have a keyword in headers, it makes it much more natural to use the keyword again in a section devoted to that word. 

For example, assume you have the following keywords in your recipe card: dinner recipes, grocery, coupons, vegetables, and steak. (Okay, so we are talking about recipe cards so I’m giving a recipe example, but don’t assume every recipe card is about food.) With those keywords, you could realistically expand content into a whole section. These are the keywords you are looking for in a recipe card that allows you to provide better information. 

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The outline for the article, “Dinner Recipes on a Budget,” might have the following subsection headers:

  • Weekly Shopping on a Budget
  • Vegetables for the Week
  • Steak Five Ways to Save
  • Grocery Store Sales Adverts
  • Coupon Cutting

As you can see, we used the keywords to create more interesting and pertinent subsections of content. This will then make writing the entire article easier since we know where the article is going and what sections we will write about. 

Note: if you have a keyword you aren’t familiar with or don’t understand how it pertains to the topic, google it and see what comes up. For example, in the same dinner recipe card, we might see “allergies” as a keyword. At first glance, it might not fit, but if you then make a section about cooking in a kitchen to prevent allergies from flaring up, you would have a new unique section that meets a keyword need. 

Style Guides for Major Sections

Style guides talk about formatting, certain grammar rules, and the content’s voice. Its goal is to unify the writing so it all remains consistent. Style guides are about branding and not content. This means they do little to help with SEO except to serve as reminders of including keywords in headers and making sure you get certain types of information into the article: the who, what, where, when, and why of it all. 

Here is why style guides are good: they help unify multiple writers into one cohesive voice for a brand. They keep things like comma use consistent as well as the type of writing that prevails in articles such as the use of active voice. Even writing for your own site, a style guide serves as a reminder of what to include in what types of articles and how to format certain things for consistency.

Breaking Style Guides and Templates

Templates help to prevent writer’s block or keep a writer from forgetting to include certain aspects of a topic. When you see the template headers, it can serve as a prompt to look at the history of a topic or what exceptions are common regarding the subject matter. For example, doing reviews about toothbrushes might not seem very complex. A template might remind a writer to look at bristle stiffness, durability, and dentist recommendations. 

Each of these sections prompts a writer’s research as well as his thought process of getting words on the page. But don’t think the template will solve all writing requirements, especially when it comes to reader satisfaction or Google SEO rewards. 

In the example about recipes, you’ll see that we didn’t use a template to create our outline. A lot of online content follows a very similar content template, especially when it’s content on the same website. People feel that cohesiveness creates brand recognition and sets standards of excellence or quality control. The problem is templates don’t allow the natural progression of the topic to happen. 

Don’t be afraid to break the style guide or template mold. If your recipe cards lead you into a natural progression of ideas, creating a flow within the article, that is the most natural thing you can do. Because it isn’t as robotic as an ABC Template, Google will see that along with the keywords as more authentic content. If the information is correct, breaking templates will benefit SEO.

Experts Writing Without Templates

If you are truly an expert on a subject, the content often doesn’t need a template. The reason is you are able to outline critical components of the topic right off the bat. You don’t need prompts to remind you. For experts, outlining a topic is often the best bet. This makes sure you will accomplish the intention of best answering a question. From there, you can look at the keywords and adjust the headers or the content to fit the phrasing that Google searchers are looking for. 

For example, if you write a blog about making a floral arrangement, you might have a header called “Elements of Design,” which is fundamental to your craft. However, if the hypothetical keyword was “design elements,” you might later go back and flip the words. While Google will still give some credit to “elements of design,” you stand a better chance of success to match the terms exactly. 

Experts in their field have the luxury of knowing the key terms and phrases in the field. However, remember that technical correctness isn’t always Google searcher correctness. It’s always best to double-check the keywords against what your expert outline and writing come up with. There may be times you correct the reader very gently by phrasing something in a way such as, “Elements of Design, sometimes referred to as design elements….” That allows you to remain technically true to your field while acknowledging that the public may not see it that way.  

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Write to Satisfy The Topic Need

It’s possible to write a book on just about any topic but a book isn’t needed for every Google search. More and more content creators are making content longer and longer, trying to show Google expert authority based on word count. However, the right answer to someone’s search query isn’t always the longest. Thing about answer boxes: short concise explanations fit into 55 words or less in most cases. 

Learn to differentiate when content needs to be longer and when you can write a shorter piece that does the job perfectly. Some would say that ultimate guides tend to be the longest and we agree. At the same time, an ultimate guide doesn’t always need to be 10,000 words to get the job done, especially when it is part of a pillar or cluster. When it is, Google sees the correlation to other sub-topics and rewards you. This is why internal linking is so important. Take the time to understand you pillar and how each article relates to another. 

The bottom line is this: write to fulfill what the reader needs to know. Don’t write to fulfill a content style guide, a template, or a word count. If you are answering the search intent properly, you can get away with breaking some of the “blog rules.” Just make sure your content is quality content and readers will stay on the page because it is engaging. 

If you need help with your content creation moving forward in 2020, contact us. Digital Footprint Media has several solutions to help DIY business owners with content development or our parent company, Sensible Copy and Consulting can take your whole campaign from strategy to implementation for you. 

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