Content is the research search began in the first place.
Learning about how to get customers to visit newly created websites is where my search engine optimization education began. In that journey from before there was a Google to today, many things have changed. What has stayed the same is the opportunity to grow business by connecting customers to content by being the best answer and inspiring those customers to take action.
The best SEO practitioners stay on top of what’s current, always experimenting and evaluating what works for topics in a particular industry for the websites and content they’re in charge of attracting customers to. At the same time, the best SEO advice isn’t worth much if it doesn’t get implemented. That’s why many marketers with long term SEO experience emphasize the fundamentals.
If content can be found in search, it can be optimized for better performance.
With over 200 million search results for the phrase “search engine optimization” on Google, there is no shortage of advice for marketers, copywriters, designers, web developers, programmers and creatives. SEO is definitely a team sport. In the spirit of simplicity with the goal of easy implementation, here are 6 timeless tips for content marketers to improve their search visibility:
Avoid overuse of pronouns like “it”, “they” and “them” in favor of more descriptive keyword phrases where Google is looking for them: in page titles, file names, text links between pages, image alt text and in body copy.
Facts tell, stories sell: Figure out why customers buy and create keyword optimized content that tells stories about how and why your products solve customer problems. Problem solution formatted content naturally invites the kind of information structure that can satisfy customer intent when they are looking for solutions. Google is dedicated to creating a great search user experience so anything content marketers can do to deliver topically specific information that satisfies what people are looking for is likely to be rewarded with better placement in search results.
Links are like electricity: “Light up” your website content to be so useful and engaging that it is worth linking to by others who compile and share resources. To make it easier for others to know about your link worthy content, promote it by sharing with industry influencers (better yet, invite them to help you create it), on social networks, through blogging, byline articles in industry publications, through guest posts on industry and association websites and by being digitally active in the industry you are working in.
Be the best answer: Create and promote comprehensive and remarkable information resources on topics of interest to prospects and relevant to your business. Strive to “be the best answer” for what customers are looking for by creating content that is in-depth, engaging, and inspires deeper clickthroughs into your site. Develop content based on topic clusters and aim to answer any questions buyers might have about those topics, keeping in mind to use an index page and to cross link between pages.
Close the gap with an SEO audit: Have your website audited by a SEO professional (yes, we do audits) to ensure keyword targeting in content, technical friendliness of your website to being crawled, and the health of links between pages as well as inbound links from other topically relevant websites. The audit will uncover gaps and provide prioritized opportunities where you can focus your efforts to improve search visibility and the marketing performance of your content.
Always be optimizing: Optimization of content including text on web pages, videos, audio, images or a combination for better search visibility is a continuous process. Search Engine Optimization is not a project or a single event. SEO is an ongoing effort to create and promote keyword optimized content that can be the best answer for what customers are looking for. It is also the process of monitoring performance through analytics and making refinements at regular intervals.
There are numerous long lists of SEO best practices that you can and should follow. There are also some fundamentals that can be made part of the content marketing operation and process which are very doable for most organizations. Leaving search engine visibility to chance isn’t something most companies can afford to gamble with as competition for customers continues to increase in digital channels. Search Engines are a trusted resource for customers at all stages of the buying journey and represent an opportunity for brands to be useful at the very moment buyers need help the most.