We are all aware that SEO is a different industry than it was a decade ago, or even just a year or so ago. The Internet has become increasingly competitive—more and more businesses are competing for the same space, the same keywords, and the same customers in an effort to rise to the top of the search engine results. While many SEO fundamentals still remain important, we are seeing a shift taking place, and the approach to traditional SEO is changing rapidly.
A variety of tactics must still be part of your SEO program, like ensuring that your website is technically strong, obtaining high-quality, industry-specific backlinks, and having a strong social media presence. Lately, however, Google has made it very obvious that the content on your site can make or break your search engine rankings. In one of Google’s recent algorithm changes, (November, 2011 – the Freshness Update), we were told that newer and more relevant content would take precedence in the search results. Having fresh content on your site matters now more than ever before.
Do you have a plan in place to produce original, accessible, and shareable content on your site? If you don’t, you should. By implementing a solid content strategy, you can create meaningful, interactive experiences for your users, which will ultimately help you to Win on the Web. Google wants fresh, timely, and relevant content—so let’s give Google what it wants with these three tips:
1. Implement a strategy for fresh and consistent content. Assess your site’s (and perhaps more importantly, your user’s) content needs, create a production schedule, assign tasks within your company, and be diligent about creating valuable content that visitors want to read. Your strategy should make it effortless to create new content on a regular basis. Then, think of content strategy as an entire lifecycle, where you manage the content well after it is published. Weed out pages that are no longer relevant or that are receiving poor traffic, add new information to concepts that have changed, and stay on top of hot new topics.
Many websites have gotten by over the years with having a small amount of content or by having static information. Those days, however, appear to be over. If the content on your site hasn’t been updated or expanded upon for an extended period of time, you could start to see your search rankings drop.
Remember that content can come in all shapes and forms, and can include: news, events, website pages, blog posts, press releases, photos, videos, how-to documents, infographics and white papers. Feel free to think outside the box and get creative with your content.
2. Optimize for your users first, then the search engines. Gone are the days when SEO meant optimizing solely for the search engines. Today, content relevancy and site usability, the total user experience, is what produces positive organic search results. Do a little research and dig into your site’s performance and analytics to understand what drives visitors to your site. What are your clients and customers searching for and discussing on the web, and how are they reaching you? Produce optimized content that is based around those keywords and phrases that are driving traffic and conversions to your site. Then implement that optimized content in way that is compelling to your customers and users. This method can apply to any type of website out there, from the local ski shop, to a real estate agency, or a vacation rental specialist.
By publishing strong content on a consistent basis, you will be showing your visitors that you are an authority in your field. Write content that brings qualified visitors, and you will in turn be optimizing your site for the search engines.
3. Use content to feed your social media marketing campaign. Now that you have a content strategy in place, and you have published smart, optimized content that drives visitors, let’s take it one step further. Build your online presence and advance your reach on the web with that valuable content. Blog about new topics in your industry and leave comments on other people’s blog posts, share your new articles and web pages on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and create a discussion on your Google+ page about a new piece of content. Use your social networks to create links back to content on your site, and as a way of gaining new leads and customers. Promote your brand and engage with customers in as many ways as you see fit. And make it fun!
The bottom line is that SEO is evolving. Websites that publish relevant content, optimize for their users, and engage users with that content, will Win in the Web.