Content is a business’ best friend – that’s what we’re told and to some extent this is true. However, publishing copious amounts of content is not a sure-fire way of improving your search engine rank. This misconception is one that many business owners and marketeers have, resulting in missed targets and the belief that content doesn’t work for them.
Let’s set the record straight – content does work, but making it work takes a lot of skill and effort. Here are some tips on how to take your content to the next level.
Get a strategy
Before you start writing any content you need to have a clear idea of who you’re writing for. Depending on your business this audience may well be different for each piece of content you produce. The more specific you can be in who your audience is the more successful your content is likely to be. Now you know who your audience is you need to start creating content topics that will address their specific information requirements. Conduct some basic research to find out what questions your target audience have and what their needs are and then tailor your topics accordingly.
Don’t just create content
You’ve identified what your audience wants to know so now you need to create content that compels them to do something positive – that ‘something’ could be to purchase, to continue to other pages of your site and investigate your offering further, to react to your content, to share your content each of these is a metric that can be measured and used to determine your content’s success. The more your audience interacts with your site once they’re there, the higher regard the search engines will have for it.
In order for that positive action to take place your content needs to be relevant to your audience and engaging.
Optimise for success
Without properly optimising your content you may as well not bother producing content at all. SEO and content go together like gin and tonic – don’t judge, it’s been a long day. The problem is many people writing content aren’t copywriters and either don’t think about optimising their content for search engines, or try and cram in so many keywords that it loses its meaning and purpose. Both of these approaches will have a negative effect. Keywords should be considered before writing commences and remain front of mind so they can be inserted strategically and coherently.
Also, it’s all too easy to regurgitate old content to save time, but in order to really make your content favourable with the search engines you should be looking at creating original content. Repurposing content should be saved for new channels.
The next two pointers are where the magic can really happen. A bit more time and dedication is needed but focusing on internal and external link building can take you from the realms of ‘nice results’ to ‘fantastic results’…
Internal link building
By using internal linking within your website, you can strengthen it in the eyes of the search engines. So, every time you create content and publish it on your website, link it to and from other relevant areas of the site. Put some real thought into your links and make them as user friendly as possibly, avoiding the common ‘homepage’ and ‘contact us’ links. Maybe it’s a link to another article that addresses a related topic, maybe it’s a link to a product mentioned in the copy; the key is to link to lesser viewed content deep in your site. You want to keep visitors engaged with your site for as long as possible, visiting as many unique pages as possible and internal linking can help you achieve this.
External link building
Your content will show higher up the SEO rankings if it is linked to from high quality external websites. Therefore, it is highly advantageous if you can spend time distributing your content for other sites to pick up on. Collate a list of contacts such as journalists and highly-regarded bloggers in the aim they will cover your news or product launches and link back to your site. Distribute your content via social media sites and people will pick up on it too. But, link building is only as good as your content. If your content sucks then no one will link to it.