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SEO in Action: Optimizing White Papers

Posted on 11.19.2012

As search engines increase what informational assets to crawl, index and rank, so must search engine optimization professionals develop that content.

One of the most popular forms of content traditionally among B2B brands of course is the whitepaper and if you know what’s good for your bottom line website traffic numbers, you’ll not just be creating these assets already but optimizing them too. If not, let’s put SEO in action with these tips to optimize white papers, PDF-based reports and of course ebooks.

Research Audience Personas & Keywords: Starting with keyword research is certainly one way to ensure you’re white papers eventually get discovered, but consider reverse engineering the process and start with the ideal audience in mind instead. Who are your prospective readers (e.g. prospects or clients), what will they find of value (based on data from a variety of feedback channels), and what terms will they use in their queries to find it? Ultimately, all this information will be useful when producing the content as well as when it is distributed.

Develop & Optimize: When the research is complete, it’s time to get started developing and optimizing. Fortunately, white papers are much like websites in that they share many of the same optimization opportunities – from the file name and document titles to the text itself. SEOs also have the opportunity to embed keyword-based anchor text on links and optimize images with alt tags. Another opportunity to squeeze in a few more keywords into a document is within the headers and footers – each should have a link back to relevant content on a website.

Distribution: Before actually distributing, it’s important to have not just the content, but the meta content, the information that is used to market the product, service, or in this case whitepaper. Search engine optimization professionals need clear, concise, keyword-rich executive summaries and they need landing pages. The keyword research and audience personas again prove useful in this phase. Once these creative assets are in place, it’s time to start distributing. Social media posts, media pitches, email newsletters, press releases, infographics and more are opportunities to amplify awareness so hopefully you’ve make good decisions when it comes to research and development.


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