Modern SEO relies on effective content. Content and SEO has always been hand in hand, however, not many people realise how content fits in the overall SEO strategy. The phrase “Content is king” has been repeated a million times online, and there is a reason for that. ‘Content’ is not just a subset of SEO – as some like to think – but the foundation on which you build everything else. Google has stated that it will always favour content that is valuable to readers over content that is clearly written just for the sake of ranking it on Google. They have emphasised this over and over, plus they’ve implemented many changes to their algorithm that supports this statement.
SEO Content Strategy: How To Skyrocket Your Traffic in 2018
Some people that are doing SEO live in the fear of the next update in Google’s algorithm because the SEO tactics they use and the content they write tries to exploit the requirements of the algorithm rather than being of real service to readers and visitors. Since creating high-quality content is not so easy this exploitative behaviour can be very tempting to get high rankings in search results. Luckily, Google is on the lookout for poor practices and is constantly adjusting their algorithm to take these into account. Poor SEO tactics can get heavily penalised when the algorithm is changed. This makes poor-practice SEO MUCH costlier in the long run.
If you put in the time to create quality content it might initially require a bit more time and effort, but you’ll get rewarded by Google and you won’t have to worry about getting penalised in the future. Google will see that you have proper content rather than (for example) a keyword spammed article that it will punish. You will still need to continue to implement SEO best practices into the future, but this is much easier to maintain if your content is of good quality.
What Is Exactly High-Quality Content?
The first thing that you should know is what constitutes quality content. Here is Google’s outline of what they look for in content:
An important thing to take away from this list is that you should plan your content according to your website. The content should cater to the types of visitors and audience you’re attempting to appeal to. You should always write on their genuine interests. Don’t make the mistake of just trying to create content you think might rank you higher in search results. Create art.
Every industry or product has something that’s unique about it. Even if the competition in your industry is steep, it is very likely that your business has been successful because you have offered something that sets you apart from others. It might be an emphasis on professionalism, superb customer service or cost-savings. Try to really narrow down the appeal of your service or product because it will ensure that your content resonates with your audience. Ironically, the more tightly focused your content is, the more people can relate to it.
Why Your Small Business Needs Content
Small businesses are competing with a lot of distracting influences. For example, internet users are installing ad-blockers in order to avoid ads on websites. They are being more choosey about what they want to see in their newsfeeds on social media, and they are using DVRs to skip through commercials.
In order to make sure your business isn’t ignored, it is very important to evaluate what kind of content you are posting online. Seek to replace sales pitch and hype with things that are more valuable to people.
People don’t like to be sold to, so an alternative is to market and post content in a way that potential customers can see your business as a valued information provider.
This is called content marketing. Even if this is a new term to you, you probably already have the prerequisites needed to start taking advantage of it. Content marketing is used by small businesses up to global corporations. The advantage of it to a small business is they usually have a more manageable markets. Small business likely doesn’t need to cover a huge range of markets. Customer loyalty and satisfaction are key components, but in order to attract customers and persuade them on the benefits that a service or product provides, their attention and interest must first be piqued. Especially in the first few years, small businesses often lack the large resources required to run complex campaigns, so this can be the perfect time to use content marketing as an effective alternative.
Good Content Wins Over The Customers
In general, people are more inclined to trust small businesses. Marketing is not all about really expensive and aggressive advertising campaigns, but also about giving your customers what they actually want. With all the possibilities that the internet can offer, it is not difficult to provide exactly that. People use the internet to get information, increase their knowledge, and find answers to their questions. Increasingly, people are more and more likely do some form of online research before making a purchase. To take advantage of this, your content should be written in a way that it offers real value to potential customers. You should write your content so customers associate your product or service with positive emotions. Any small business should try to develop a reputation as an expert that gives useful and information contributions that prove they care about their customers.
Good Content Helps SEO
Knowing how to exactly optimise content for SEO is very important. Google routinely updates its ranking algorithm and these updates can give the end result of giving users results that are closer to what they need. In other words, removing ‘junk content’. You have to stay on your toes when it comes to SEO, but there are some basic principles that you should always follow. One of the challenges that people face is writing content that appeals to people, and yet is also optimised for search engines.
SEO content isn’t complicated if you understand that people come first (instead of focusing mainly on how to serve search engines). If you want to write highly effective content, you must focus on accomplishing two goals. The first goal is to appeal to the customers and second is to solve a particular problem (or deliver value in any shape of form).
A lot of people think that SEO is a way to create good content that helps your website to be indexed and ranked highly in Google. While this is true, there is much more to it than that. In the past, you didn’t need to get sophisticated and technical with the content you post because SEO did not really exist. The result of this was the internet became full of ‘thin’ content that didn’t require you to invest effort or finances. Now, the situation has changed and SEO has become a critical aspect of online marketing. Thin content no longer works and it will lead to a smaller number of visitors and poor conversions. Below we can see a survey of small businesses content marketing usage:
There’s a huge abundance of websites, and the efforts of each to be ranked highly on Google have resulted in the need to create high-quality content that will help the website to stand out among the competition. If you focus on proper content and content marketing, then you will attract your target audience and convert visitors into customers.
One of the things that connect content and SEO is keyword research. You might be posting quality content, but what can quality achieve if visitors can’t find it? Your content should be able to be found in a search. To achieve this, keywords that people are using in Google must match the content to answer their request properly. The content and SEO here work collaboratively, so the keyword research is very important.
Another instance where content assists the objectives of SEO is internal linking. Internal linking helps Google crawl your website more effectively and ultimately rank it higher (or lower) for specific search terms. Not only that, internal linking can help the visitors to navigate to the content relevant to what they are reading. Internal linking is very easy to implement and basically, every small business can use this tactic to improve the effectiveness of their SEO and content.
Headlines are another obvious aspect where content and SEO work together. Headlines are very important because they are basically persuading users to click on your page in search engine results page.
What’s The Ideal Content Length?
In the past, 250 words were considered too much content in some cases. But things have drastically changed. Today, 250-word posts would be considered thin content and Google is actively trying to punish websites with such content. Because of this, you can see many companies creating 3,000+ word articles in order to try to snag a high position in Google. Word count research from 2017 has shown that the sweet spot might actually be somewhere around 2,500 words:
Recently, a study was done by BuzzSumo and OkDork and it showed that copy over 3,000 words always receives more social shares:
As you see, longer content might have a better chance of higher rankings and also get more social shares on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. The issue is that writing longer content is not as simple as writing short content. It can require real research and an understanding of what is likely to be interesting. Any school student can write to fulfill a word count, but to consistently create interesting content that is captivating to readers is an exacting professional field. Without wanting this article to morph into a ‘how to write’ situation, remember to focus on your visitors. Will they find this interesting? Does the writing have integrity? Is it self serving or narcissistic? All this and much much more needs to be considered when creating quality content. It is not a case that if you simply have more words on the page than your competitor that you’ll rank higher. If it was like that, then it would be easy to fool Google and get higher rankings.
If your content is going to have a chance at showing up in the search results for a specific keyword, then you must (lightly) sprinkle those keywords throughout your article. In relation to that, having a longer piece of content means more ranking (keyword) opportunities. A general recommendation is to have at least 500 words on each page that you are going to try to rank in Google. This has the added benefit of keeping your stories focused and more investigative. It also gives you a decent foundation where you can implement 5 or more keywords while keeping the content sounding natural and not stuffed with keywords. ‘Long tail‘ keywords tend to make the majority of traffic on the internet so you should take advantage of this.
If you write longer content you also have more opportunities of using variations of your keywords. If your article only has a paragraph or two, then you are severely limiting yourself. The point is, people will search in different ways by using similar keywords, so by having your content optimised for a range of keywords it gives you a lot more opportunity to grab that traffic. You should see what is the optimal word count that will give you the most natural reading keyword variation. Keeping in mind the 500-word recommendation above, it is always better to write more words than less. More content gives you an opportunity to target more keywords and your article is still going to sound natural instead of just being stuffed with keywords.
Quality content is what the web is all about. It is simple: if you provide value to your visitors and customers, then you’ll probably do well in Google’s search results. Content is one of the cheapest and effective ways you can use to drive traffic and get customers for your business. Building the right content can take some time, but you shouldn’t give up. Content creation has become extremely useful for boosting SEO, establishing trust with your customers, and generating leads.
Even though the content itself and SEO have differences, there are plenty of ways to make them work collaboratively. The success of each will depend on the other. The quality of search engine optimisation and content can also be compromised by each other, so this requires extra attention in making them work together properly. Your content is going to be successful only if you implement proper SEO. We encourage every business owner to focus on content because it can be an asset that grows with your business over the longer term. Proper content in combination with SEO can help you grow!