Since the beginning of time content has always been at the heart of SEO. Without quality content, brands won’t be found in the search results and without higher search engine rankings they miss the opportunity of having active, often very motivated consumers find the products and services — if a tree falls in the woods and nobody was there to blog abut it, did it really happen? But often the question arises as to how to approach content and, more importantly, who should you focus on when creating content to help increase your visibility in the search results. Google? The customers? You?
Content’s Constant Evolution
The SEO approach to content creation has changed drastically over the years. Back in the early days of SEO many people would just research the keywords and look to create content stuffed with that specific keyword(s) to make sure it appeared on the page enough times to help drive higher search engine rankings. Of course, this method left the content very thin in nature as it usually neglected the reader who would find very little value on the page.
Search Engine Challenges
Today search engines, and more specifically Google, have gotten a lot smarter with how they present content and why. Google is a business and they rely on having the most relevant and robust search results for users in order to be a valuable resource. With the sheer amount of content being added online every day, it’s become a challenge for Google to find the best website pages to display for the millions of search queries being used every day.
What complicates this process even further is that you and I, as search engine users, have also grown more sophisticated and demand that much more from search. The way we access the search engine from a larger number of sources including desktop computers, tablets, mobile — not to mention using text or voice search as input methods — has changed the way Google has to interpret these keywords. Of course, whether we are at home or in some strange land on the other side of the world, we as users still demand the same results; they need to be tailored to our specific needs otherwise we get frustrated.
Who Should Your Content Focus On?
From a search perspective, to be successful in the SERPs today you need to create a content-focused SEO strategy that builds a reputation of authority and trust. The goal is to build an audience that finds value in your content, one that is willing to engage and share your content through social media and third party blogs. You need to connect with real people with real information.
By focusing your content on real, compelling information, Google will see that more and more people are reading your site, linking to your content, sharing it and talking about your brand on the web. This user engagement creates trust signals and tells Google that a specific page is relevant and important, which prompts them to rank the content further up the search results.
The Heart of Authentic Content Starts With You
When it comes to content creation, I have always been a believer that YOU need to be at the heart of your content. I understand that everyone says you need to focus on your audience, however, you can’t talk about what you don’t know. Your business is what you live and breathe every day which allows you to have the insightful information about your business which can help position you as an industry ‘expert.’ This is what people want. Honest and authentic information that gives them a trusted place to visit any time they need information around what you have to offer. Does your content currently do this?
SEO continues to involve and, with it, so do the metrics Google uses around people’s interaction with your website and more specifically the content. So what are some simple ways to find what your customers want and, more importantly, position yourself as an authority within your industry?
Simple Content Creation Ideas
- Know your industry: Take inventory of who you are, what you are passionate about, where your industry is heading and what other trade magazines or top websites are talking about. What is your point of view? Do you agree or disagree with what others are saying? Do you have a unique point of view, a differentiator? If you’re not reading up on your industry, you might be falling behind. Make sure you know what is going and share your thoughts through content.
- Listen to your customers: This is a great way to get to the heart of your audience. What types of questions are people asking you? What are common complaints in the industry? How does your business make their life easier? Start taking notes to create an inventory of these items as it can be a lot easier to answer these questions rather than trying to create a topic of out thin air!
- Listen to the data: I know, I know that reading traffic reports can be confusing, however, it’s a great way to understand what people are looking at on your website. Whether you are selling products or a service, I like to compare your website to a store. Wouldn’t you like to know what potential customers are looking at while in ‘your store’ or more specifically your website? What blog posts get the most views? What are the top pages that people are entering on your site? What makes these pages more engaging versus other pages that get very little traffic on them? Analytics can get very complicated, however, if you change your thinking and start to look at the data differently you can start to understand how your customers are interacting with your business online and what content on your site is driving leads or sales. If you’re not sure how to do this then find someone who can. Your website is your 24/7 virtual salesperson so it is important to understand whether you are giving them the right information.
Capturing The Heart of Your Customer
By capturing the heart of your customer, you start to build a relationship which allows you to position yourself as an authority. When you build authority you start to build trust with your target audience, whose interaction impacts how Google views the effectiveness of your content.
When your content is effective and engaging you are rewarded with higher search engine rankings which puts you in a position of trust and allows you to be found when people are searching for what you have to offer. Simple right?!