One of the biggest online marketing ‘buzz phrases’ over the last decade has been ‘SEO’, the abbreviation for search engine optimisation. Companies have been discovering what a valuable solution it is for increasing their online traffic, conversions, sales and gaining and retaining customers. Not everyone has done it right and not everyone has done it well but most companies running a website have in one form or another asked the question ‘how do I get more visitors to my website’?
SEO and Content?
SEO is an Internet marketing strategy that utilises the way that search engines work to increase search visibility, gain higher search results and gain targeted search traffic that converts. There are more than 200 factors that make up the Google algorithm which determines where a website ranks. However in 2014 it is now more important than ever that website content is of a high quality as this plays a key role in SEO performance. Google have recently released Google Panda 4.1 an update of an algorithm that specifically looks at website and page content to reduce ranking and indexing of thin and low quality content. Up to 5% of searches are expected to be affected.
Search engine crawlers scan websites on a regular basis to discover fresh content that is relevant and regularly updated. It pays dividends to make sure that your content targets the right visitors and keeps them captivated. Business owners want to keep visitors engaged making them more likely to visit at a later date. This becomes more difficult when not just going for one great piece of content but instead writing great new content on a regular basis. ‘Content is King’ has been a phrase bandied around for some time but is more prevalent than ever. High quality content surrounded by other related articles and posts is a sure fire way of keeping visitors attention and the search crawlers on your side.
History of Content Marketing
Make Your Content Stand Out
Offering and sharing useful information has actually been used by companies long before the birth of the Internet as a very smart and effective marketing tool. So in a digital age when we are faced with multiple ads and branding messages every day it is important that your website content helps you stand out from your competitors and adds value to your business offering.
Most websites have the standard site pages outlining your company, such as ‘About Us’ and ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ and ‘Services’. However it’s other features and multimedia that can help your website content stand out, for example blogs that include images, videos, quizzes, infographics and podcasts will make your website more interesting and allow you to present content that stands out and keeps the visitor longer.
It’s important to ensure that content is unique, credible and easy to absorb making it more likely to be shared and serve its purpose. Nobody wants to be sold to when they are trying to make a decision, they want to be spoken to as a person and get all the relevant information that they need, whilst being entertained and interested.
Blogs, Keywords and SEO
Blogs have been a key source of fresh content for some time. They continue to increase rapidly in popularity as they allow companies to have a ‘voice’ and highlight key individual’s knowledge. Blogs allow you to share ideas and updates and can be used to inject some humour and a bit more of a personal insight into what could otherwise be a fairly dry website. Setting blog posts up properly for SEO can be like having an extra landing page and an opportunity to add a range of new keywords into the content. These pages will stick around long after the post has been exposed and could end up being found in search results long after it is released.
Keywords are still an important factor in search engine optimisation as the likes of Google and Yahoo will detect these on your web pages. However pages splattered with keywords can appear spammy and will do your page more harm than good. Using keywords effectively is not really an art form but you do need to get the balance right to get the best results.
The frequency, order and even the font size of keywords play a part in SEO. A few years back keywords would have to be in the exact order and placed in set areas throughout the page. This has now changed and search engines have evolved and become more savvy at recognising spammy, unnaturally laid out content. Adding key phrases semantically is far more natural and allows the writer to use variations of a key phrase that also make more sense to a visitor. Google will understand when similar words and phrases are used in a range of paragraphs and are more likely to reward this than the same keyword being repeated over and over again.
Search engines will understand and grade the spelling and grammar on a site. Content that is more readable will often be more likely to reach a wider audience. Every page on a website will have an authority score and be given a Google page rank. Popular SEO tools from sites like moz.com and majesticseo.com will help you review trust and authority of your pages.
Prior to writing an article it’s important not just to know the goals and target audience but also consider the types of phrases you would like the content found for. This enables you to carry out your keyword research and also review other short and long tail keyword opportunities. Tools for keyword research include Google keyword planner, Wordstream and Ubersuggest.
Excellent website content is more than just writing an article and hoping for the best. Great content needs to be optimised and should have an SEO strategy behind it. Social Media sharing provides a great outlet to start the ball rolling and to attract visitors to the content. Quality content can not only drive traffic towards your website instead of your competitors but can help to transform one-off visitors to returning customers. So if you have not revised your marketing plan for a while then make sure your content is a primary element of this going forward.
Focus less on building links and more on creating engaging content