SEO content: Your audience comes first
Content is king…
Bill Gates first said that almost 25 years ago. Ever since, marketers all over the world have been raving about the power of content. But with so much repetition over the years, the message has begun to lose its impact. And that’s a problem. Because many business owners now don’t realise the importance of content and the role that it plays in SEO. But that’s OK. We’re going to set the record straight and help you to adjust your thinking.
It all starts with approaching your website content in the right way.
Common Website Content Mistakes
First thing’s first. You should never think of your website content as an exercise that’s purely concerned with SEO. As soon as you start focussing your energy on SEO techniques, you’ve already begun to hinder your chances for success. Here are some of the common mistakes that business owners make when creating website content.
Mistake #1: More Words, More Wins
Yes, the amount of content on your website certainly does matter. While it’s generally advised to have at least 600 words on a webpage in order to rank in Google, this doesn’t automatically mean that 6,000 words on every page is going to lead to improved results.
Sometimes, less is more. You should never become obsessed with flooding your site with as many words as possible just for the sake of having more content. Once you fall into the habit of cluttering your site with unnecessary words, the quality of your content will begin to deteriorate, leading to an increase in irrelevant information that has little to no value to your website visitors.
Mistake #2: You Can Outsmart Google
Simply put, no. You can’t. The Google algorithm is a wise and mysterious beast that no one will ever truly understand. If you play dirty or try to manipulate the system, it will eventually figure you out.
For instance, let’s say your business provides services across a range of suburbs. It’s likely that you will want your website to rank for location specific searches related to your offering. You can make this happen, but it won’t happen overnight.
It’s easy to get impatient and attempt to take a shortcut. One foolhardy tactic is to create pages with suburb specific content about the history of the area, the local amenities, population demographics and more. Sure, you’ll increase the keyword density on your site for those suburb terms, but you’ll also have a series of pages that have absolutely no relevance to your services. And Google will know. Google always knows.
Mistake #3: Keyword, Keywords, Keywords
Let’s clear this up once and for all. Content is not just about keywords. It is a platform that allows you to include keywords on your site.
By attempting to overdo anything in life, you will ultimately end up slowing down your overall progress. Think about it. If you’re looking to improve your fitness and you start out by trying to run 15km, all you’re going to do is exhaust yourself and spend the next few days recovering from muscle soreness.
The same principle applies when it comes to keyword usage. When you start overusing search terms in your content – also known as ‘keyword stuffing’ – you’re actually putting your website at a disadvantage. Once again, Google will see what you’re up to and it won’t like it. Not one bit.
Instead, you should be using keywords where it feels natural to include them in your content. Where it’s necessary to include them. You shouldn’t be thinking about all of the ways you can shoehorn keywords into your content and lose sight of the bigger picture.
So, What Is The Bigger Picture?
Instead of getting caught up in word counts, keywords, schemes and plots, you need to think about why your content exists in the first place.
It exists for your customers.
Every visitor on your website has the potential to become a customer, and your content is the key to making that happen. When writing content, you need to think about your audience and prioritise their needs. Consider:
- Why are they coming to your site?
- What do they need or want to know?
- What will be valuable or useful to them?
- What is going to resonate with them?
- What will convince them to take action on your website?
Your content needs to speak directly to your visitors. It needs to inspire, inform and influence them. It needs to be structured in a way that makes it easy for them to source information and find the answers they seek.
By shifting your focus to the user’s needs and expectations, your content will be far more likely to attract organic traffic, encourage engagement and drive conversions on your site.
But to be able to connect with your readers and generate results, you first need to develop a content strategy.
Why Your Business Needs a Content Strategy
There is little to be gained from publishing webpages and blogs at random. A machine-gun approach may have success here and there, but if you want to get the best possible results, you need to create content that is driven by purpose.
It’s all about identifying what your website visitors want versus what your business needs and finding a solution that caters to both. By devising a content strategy, you can establish the most effective ways to target your audience and build keyword relevancy at the same time.
How To Create a Strategy
Here are the four key steps that you will need to take in order to put together a content strategy. By going through this process, you will be able to identify what webpages need to be on your site and the blog topics you can publish to support your parent content.
- Keyword research.
It’s not just about what people are searching for, it’s also about how they are searching for your offering. For instance, do users tend to search via price, brand, product name or an FAQ? Use keyword insights to drive the structure of your content. Categorise your keywords into focus groups or silos.
- Target audience analysis.
Learn everything you can about the type of people you want to attract. Who are they? Where are they? What motivates them, what are they interested in, what’s important to them?
- Competitor Analysis.
Take a look at other businesses in your industry. Review their content and see what works and what doesn’t. Find ways to create unique content that differentiates your website from the competition.
- Brainstorm and research topics.
Distil everything you’ve learned and start to brainstorm potential blog content topics. Conduct further research to identify trends and hot subjects as well as evergreen concepts.
How To Create Content That Converts
Your website content needs to do more than show up in search results. Once people have clicked through and landed on your site, you’re going to want them to take action. It could be to read another piece of content, subscribe to your e-newsletter or even submit an enquiry.
So, how do you make those actions happen?
Well, let us give you an example. A few years ago, we published a blog on our site called ‘Top 10 Social Media Tips For Small Businesses’. Our blog provided useful, valuable information to a specific target market and it did not take long for it to gain traction.
We were generating strong organic traffic. Visitors were spending a decent amount of time on our website. But after reading the blog, most users were tending to leave our site. To combat this, we linked key text within the blog to allow readers to easily explore additional related content. When users clicked through to the second blog, we found they were far more likely to submit an enquiry.
Once you’ve gained the attention of your audience with an engaging piece of content, you can provide them with further supporting information and pave their way toward converting on your site. It’s all about creating a network of content that flows from one page to the other and gives people what they want.
Take Advantage Of Existing Content
If the idea of publishing multiple interconnected blogs seems like a significant undertaking, take comfort in the fact that you don’t have to consistently create new content or reinvent the wheel.
While our social media tips blog performed well over the first couple of years, it gradually began to lose steam. Why? Because technology changed, and the blog no longer contained the most up to date information. In short, it was failing to provide value to its audience. So, we had to find a way to make it relevant again.
Rather than producing new content all the time, see if you can refresh an old blog. Here’s what you can do – and what we did – to revive outdated content.
- Keep the same title and URL.
- Keep the same general structure. Some paragraphs can remain exactly the same.
- Remove outdated information and elaborate on new ideas.
- Change the publishing date to present day.
- Make a note at the start of the post that it has recently been updated.
Find The Right Balance
Great content finds a way to balance the needs of your audience against what you need it to do for your website. It considers SEO practices, but it doesn’t exist for the purpose of meeting SEO requirements. By putting the user first and thinking about technicalities second, you will be far more likely to generate successful results from your website and your content marketing strategy.
If you would like to know more or need some help on how to develop a content strategy for your business.
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