You may well have heard the phrase “content is king” floating around for years now. For SEO this is still true, although Google is always becoming smarter and figuring out that content for the sake of content adds very little value. In fact, you might notice if you’re keeping track that Google is becoming more and more human-like with its level of sophistication for scanning and ranking websites.
Why? Quite simply, human experience is what Google wants to prioritise. The ranking algorithm is trying to understand what it’s like for a person searching for a term. What do they want to find? How will a brand successfully connect with its potential customers? Once you understand what your customers need, you can crack a common mystery facing many business owners and website creators – how exactly should we be using this famous content?
Well, starting by understanding customers will hopefully lead to a positive experience for them. Once we know what they want, we can work out how to offer it. You can be pretty confident that when a user thinks your website is great, they’re going to interact with it completely differently and Google’s going to pick up on this. The result: higher rankings, a wider audience, and a virtuous circle! It’s just a case of getting there.
What do we need to do?
Your potential customers are all ultimately going to follow the same basic journey, beginning with absolutely no knowledge of your brand and ending with a successful purchase (and hopefully a great relationship you can build on). There are four key stages here, and it’s helpful to think about them all when formulating your content:
1) Awareness – getting a basic understanding of a product or service
2) Interest – starting to compare and study the available options
3) Desire – getting ready to commit and make a decision
4) Action – finding the best place to make a final selection
Certain keywords will be more common at different stages of this funnel, so it’s important to think rationally about the page you want to add content to. Once you’ve established which stage you’re planning to intercept your customers at, you can get on with the process of writing and optimising your content.
How do you plan your content?
· Choose the right kind of keywords
Your search terms that you optimise your writing for may contain keywords like “buy”, “for sale”, “comparison” or “reviews” depending on the phase your customer is at with their journey, as explained above. These allow you to target specific types of visitors and give them the information they need to come to the right decision.
· Match your content to your focus
Once you’ve established your target search terms you’re able to check the focus of your writing corresponds to the market you’re chasing. It’s quite likely you might have a disproportionate amount of information that’s relevant to people at the beginning of the process, for example, but not enough persuasive, detailed content for those further along the chain. Once you’ve figured out what these gaps are you can work on filling them, so a visitor doesn’t need to leave your website to get from the beginning to the end of the process.
· Optimise your content
Once you’ve successfully managed your content to fit your customers’ needs and figured out your ideal keywords, it’s time to ensure you’ve actually included them all in the right places before launching. If you’re running a full SEO campaign this all needs to be as consistent as possible.
· Monitor your progress with key performance indicators
If you’ve established your objectives in terms of sales, sign-ups or another concrete figure early on in the process, this should be straightforward enough. Sometimes it can be more difficult to establish useful data to try and interpret when you’re judging the success of written content, but it’s important to somehow build this into your writing whenever possible, otherwise it becomes impossible to tell how well you’re doing.
The main point here is that content really needs to be engaging on a critical level. It’s no longer enough to pad out your website with unnecessary text as a way of telling Google you’ve got more to offer than an empty page. Ultimately you need to persuade your visitors that you’re worth investing in, whatever your business, so trying to fool Google or take shortcuts isn’t going to pay off, especially as algorithm updates become more and more sophisticated. If you decide to take control of your content writing and focus on high quality, relevant information, you can expect much better results in the long term.
For more information about our SEO packages that include advice and writing services to help you develop your website content, please take a look at our packages and services or get in touch with us here.