An effective content marketing strategy will see a website frequently updated with high quality content.
Whether in the form of blogs, infographics, videos, news articles or landing pages, to perform, your content has to show quality and be optimised for search.
The result – better performance in search rankings, more traffic to your website and more leads for your business.
Sounds relatively simple, but the process of search engine optimisation has been described as being like “juggling several lemons”. The idea being that to make it work, there is a lot going on and it’s taken a lot of practice and hard work to get there.
In practice, SEO is a skill that sits somewhere between science and art. It’s a data-driven pursuit to reverse-engineer and work to Google’s current algorithm. At the same time, it also demands creativity and some serious out-of-the-box thinking to gain edge.
When looking at your business’ approach SEO, here are some pointers to help ease the juggling act and keep those lemons up in the air.
Write for your audience
In days gone by, content creation was all about writing for Google. Focus on the keyword, and go for it! Even if it didn’t sound natural or intuitive to a reader, the aim was to use the keyword as many as times as possible on the page for Google to get the message that it must be ‘relevant’.
Things have moved on considerably in recent years. Successive Google updates have shifted the emphasis to Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EAT) when determining content relevance for search positioning. Google is also getting smarter and it’s using the data it’s amassed to help influence rankings.
These days, your site will simply get penalised for over-optimisation and drop down in rankings or be removed altogether. While it is important to use keywords in your content, they should be used in moderation, and organically.
Use your keywords as the starting point. Write with your reader in mind and make sure the content is correct and relevant to the search query you want to answer and the intent of the user.
Google wants to give the user the best results for the query and in many cases, as research has shown, longer and more in-depth content usually performs better. That’s not to say the longest content will always rank the highest, but ensuring you’re covering everything searchers want to know will be key.
Get the tech right
When ranking pages, Google not only looks at the webpage content; it also looks at how well the website performs technically and what this means for user experience, in deterring which pages will be ranked higher. Page speed, mobile-friendliness, page speed are all factors which, if optimised, will improve website search performance.
Be cautious with links
Backlinks remain a key ranking factor. No doubt that’s why it’s an area that’s seen a lot of bad practice to try and shortcut the system and create a false – or at least expedited – perception of authority in Google’s eyes.
If you want to build domain authority in a sustainable way, and in a way that’s likely to survive Google updates and changes in algorithm designed to penalise shortcutters, focus your efforts on achieving fewer, quality links.