Let’s cut to the chase – high-quality content is crucial to the success of your SEO strategy. If you fail to create engaging content, you risk spending a lot of time and money on a strategy that fails to deliver the rates of engagement and conversion you’re pushing for. Worse than that, you may even risk alienating your target audience.
It’s pretty crucial stuff, so we’ve decided to lift the lid on why high-quality content is so important, with some examples of who’s doing it right. Read on to discover how to align content with your SEO strategy, before gaining some top tips on how to create quality content that resonates with your target audience.
The SEO landscape, then and now
The SEO landscape has changed dramatically over the years. Practices that were deemed effective in the early 2000s are now avoided like the plague by SEO experts. Flashback to the early days in SEO and keyword stuffing took centre stage, with the focus on producing keyword-centric copy rather than high-quality, user friendly content.
Fast forward to 2018 and best practices have changed significantly, with an understanding of search intent now being crucial. Emphasis is no longer placed on incorporating as many keywords as possible in your content in order to attract searchers, but rather on writing high-quality content that echoes their interests, anticipates their needs and answers their queries.
Google Hummingbird – shifting focus from keyword quantity to content quality
Major shifts in the SEO landscape can be attributed to the development of search engine technology. The release of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm in 2013 was a significant turning point. The update was designed to help Google better understand semantic search and produce results that are directly relevant to the query’s context, rather than honing in on singular keywords.
The Hummingbird algorithm also focuses on interpreting longer, more conversational search terms, providing results that correspond to user intent. This is particularly relevant to modern day voice search. In a nutshell, this major development resulted in SEO strategies shifting firmly onto the production of content tailored to user intent, or high-quality content seeking to solve searchers’ queries in one easy hit.
5 steps for aligning good content with your SEO strategy
We know why good content is crucial to effective SEO, but how do we implement this in practice? We’ve put together 5 key steps to help you out:
#1: Keywords are still important
First things first, compile a list of keywords relevant to your brand.
#2: Think about user intent
What are your searchers actually trying to find? Let’s say you sell shoes. Searchers will want to know who they’re made by, what they’re made of, how much they cost, how comfortable they are, and so on. Answer The Public is a useful tool for finding search terms that shed new light on user intent relative to your brand.
#3: Mock up an image of your page
Formulating a page layout will give you a clearer idea of what the titles on your page (headings, subheadings, etc.) should address. Using technology such as heatmaps will also give you a better idea of where CTAs and callouts should be placed, providing a frame of reference when drafting your content.
#4: Curate your content
You’re now ready to start crafting your content. Don’t make it all about your brand – stay focused on the key message you want to convey to your audience and make it about them. Then you can complement your content with keywords, terms and phrases relevant to your brand offering.
#5: Draw in the cool kids with an irresistible hook
Think about your USP here – what does your brand do better than the competition? What specialist knowledge can you impart on your audience? This final step is about infusing your content with a fresh, unique edge that will encourage engagement. Plus the top Google ranking factor is quality, original content.
Top tips for making your content stand out from the crowd
You’re now equipped with the practical tools needed to ensure your SEO strategy is filled with good content. But the hard work doesn’t stop here. We’ve listed a couple of top tips to make sure your content goes the distance:
• Develop an original brand voice
A great way of helping your brand stand out from the crowd, developing a unique voice will help you connect with your audience on a deeper level and create a following.
Fashion retailer Missguided is a great example of this. Their laid-back, quirky and cool tone fits perfectly with their targeted demographic and is used consistently across their website, newsletters and social media accounts.
Note how the use of words such as ‘babe’ create the feeling that they’re talking to a best friend. This is isn’t incidental, but a clever style choice designed to build a close relationship with their audience:
• Position your CEO as an expert in their field
Highlighting the skills of your company’s CEO not only emphasises your brand’s knowledge and expertise, it also helps create a human edge to the company – a great way to help increase organic engagement.
Beauty brand Birchbox is a great example. The company’s founders, Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, are an active presence in the company’s marketing strategy, as shown in a video on their website celebrating two years in business. They also speak regularly to various media outlets on their skills and passion for their company. This coverage and intimate view into the company sets the brand apart from their rivals in the beauty sphere.
To sum up, if you incorporate high-quality, user-focused content in your SEO strategy you’re well on your way to outshining your competition. Combine this with a fresh, distinctive brand voice and out-of-the-box thinking, and you’ve got it in the bag.
Ad-Rank Media are experts in producing high-performing content and SEO strategies that deliver results. Get in touch with us today for more information on how we can help your brand excel.