Integrating Storytelling Into Your SEO Content

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A lot of the time, when it comes to SEO content, many people in business know the end result that they want, but aren’t exactly sure how to get there. When it comes to written content, like blogs or pillar posts, this is one of the areas where that issue is the most apparent. For example, it’s a proven fact that creating content that is engaging as well as optimized is key for optimal Google rankings, mainly through developing qualified backlinks.

However, in a lot of ways, the content pool is starting to fill up. 90% of businesses report having some sort of plan to put out continued digital content for their audience. If you’re in a crowded niche, coming up with the same basic listicles as the heart of your content plan won’t be enough to compete. This makes getting a lot of backlinks even more important, which means you not only need to write longer content, but implement proper storytelling. The problem is that storytelling comes off as an esoteric term when you are looking for concrete results. Here are some concrete ways good storytelling supports your content, and how to start implementing it.

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Storytelling To Build Trust

Chances are that you’ve probably heard about the idea of “viral storytelling” and how it’s managed to catch attention quickly. While you can never bet on catching lightning in a bottle, what you can do is understand the basics on how content gets there. Even if your content just reaches your current audience, effective storytelling matters.

How does this play out in SEO terms? Remember that SEO and digital marketing in general aren’t completely different than the same marketing techniques that were around when radio was king. Ultimately, people still respond to basic emotions like:

  • Fear
  • Amusement
  • Sadness
  • Intrigue

What you need to do with your content is find stories to tell that evoke these emotions appropriately. For example, a company that is selling security alarms may want to share a story from the headlines regarding crime. Even if the reader isn’t frightened into buying an alarm right away, they get a concrete example of a way the product could benefit them.

Another way that storytelling can help your company’s content is by establishing trust. For example, most people are going to, by default, think that any business’s goal is to try and make money. There’s a truth to this, but many business owners have other motivations for getting into the field they do, servicing the customer base they do, even operating in the locations that they do. Storytelling in even the most rudimentary SEO content can elevate it that much more. By giving readers a chance to see what drives you as a business, this allows your content to communicate your brand values in a way that a simple “About Us” page can’t.

Storytelling can also help make your content more authoritative. Think about it. Why do people look up to other people who have been around in a business for a long time? It’s due to their experience, and nothing communicates your experience like an effective story. By using stories to teach, your content will instantly become more actionable and shareable.

As a final note, though, when it comes to storytelling, just like telling a story in real life, you need to read the room. In some cases, certain stories, no matter how pertinent they may be to your content, aren’t a good match for your audience. By the same token, some audiences respond better to storytelling than others. If you do a lot of B2B business, for example, story may take a back seat to the bare facts.

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Storytelling To Draw Keywords From

One nice side-effect of effective storytelling in your content is that it automatically is going to make your content more unique. Other blogs/website may be covering the same topics you are, but they aren’t going to also be sharing the same stories you are, especially if you’re drawing from personal/business experience. Up until this point, we’ve been mainly talking about how storytelling makes your content better. This does help your SEO by proxy, but it may not necessarily be the type of SEO help you were looking for. Here’s something a little closer to that.

An effective keyword strategy requires a combination of short-tail and long-tail phrases, and when it comes to unique long-tail phrases to use, your story may actually give you ideas for something to draw from. Let’s refer back to that security alarm example from before. This would match perfectly with something like “why I need security alarms” as a longer keyword. If you’re focusing on local SEO, you could even use the name of your town and tell a story about a recent incident that happened there.

To cap off the conversation, when it comes to effective storytelling in content, don’t forget to back it up with solid facts. Using well-sourced data and figures is key to adding context to the story you tell, and also adds some linking opportunities to boost your SEO.

The thing about storytelling is that it adds another tier of difficulty to a skill a lot of professionals have trouble with—writing. Translating your expertise into layman-friendly text is difficult enough without having to add a story, but in many cases, that’s what it takes to reach the peak of success. This is why it’s important to have outside help at the ready, not just to improve your writing, but SEO professionals to make sure that your core goal isn’t lost in all this added work.

About the Author

Paul Teitelman - SEO Consultant

Paul is a well-respected Canadian SEO consultant and link-building expert with over 15 years of experience helping hundreds of companies rank for competitive keywords on Google. He is a Toronto-based SEO consultant who is passionate about search engine optimization and link building. Over the years, he has made a reputation for himself as a leader in the industry by consistently delivering phenomenal results to his growing client base.