You’ve heard the phrase ‘content is king’ when it comes to on-page SEO activities. And yes, it is a cliche, but it’s true.
Google’s number one core value is ‘focus on the user, all else will follow’. That is why they place such onus on content. Because it is how you fulfil the need of your users.
If your content is rubbish and inadequate, yet Google recommends you despite that, not only will your users be disgruntled at your ineptitude, but they’ll be disappointed with Google because it gave them a duff steer.
Why content is king of SEO
Quite simply, the content you produce for your website is how the search engines will pick you up and present you as a solution to the user conducting a search request.
The content that you include on your site, on your social media platforms and on your blog is the very content that should answer the questions that your users are asking. And if you employ the right keywords and phrases in your content, you should be ranked highly in the top results (SERP – search engine results pages).
Essentially, the content you publish is what attracts visitors to your site.
Why is content so important
Google ranks pages using an algorithm that looks for, amongst many different factors, content that matches the searcher’s question.
The spiders Google sends out to crawl your website determine what you’re all about, and filter what they find back into an index in order to generate Google’s search results.
Where you sit in the SERP depends on what keywords the spiders index your site for. For example, if you only use a keyword once within the body of one of your pages, don’t expect to be ranked highly for it. Because as far as Google is concerned, what you’re offering, isn’t necessarily what the end user is looking for.
One of the other key factors that Google takes into consideration when determining where you sit in the SERP, is the links that connect to your page.
Because if you can produce content that is so awesome that OTHER websites want to reference it on their pages, then you must be an authority on the subject. Therefore your site gets ranked highly as it is likely to be able to give users something worth checking out (when searching for what it is you offer). And the more backlinks you have to your pages, the higher up the SERP you will be.
How to ensure your content is what your audience wants
So how do you ensure that your content is what your readers are after?
Easy – by tailoring your content to your audience’s needs, that’s how. Meet their expectations, needs and desires and you will (should) keep them coming back to you time and again.
- Know your customers. Only once you have a solid picture of who it is you’re targeting, can you then start to deliver for them. Find out:
- Who they are
- What they like
- What they need
- Where they hang out
- What type of content they prefer to consume
- What their pain points are
- Where they’re having problems.
- Know your competition. What better way of ensuring your content is what your audience is after than by researching the competition and seeing what content they are producing? Once you know what the competition is providing you can then either work on bettering what they have come up with, or create content in a new direction to give end users something totally bespoke. That’s not to say you should copy your competition, moreover, use them as a guide for where you should go. Look for the gaps in their content and fill them in. A great place to find out what your collective audience is after is by reading through the comments underneath the competition’s blog posts, as readers typically leave feedback asking for something in more detail or for them to clarify a point. What better opportunity to present users with what they’re actually looking for?
- Keyword research. If you want to be presented as a solution to your users’ problems, then you need to know what questions they’re asking and what they’re searching for. The only way to do that is by conducting keyword research and learn the language of your target audience. You don’t have to pay to find out what keywords you should be using, programmes such as these can give you answers for free:
- Look back. By which we mean, check out the content you’ve produced in the past that resonates with your target audience. Why reinvent the wheel if you’re already giving them what they’re after? Work on producing better content than this, or provide a sequel to it. Knowing what worked is good, but knowing what didn’t work is even better. Because it will save you time and money in the future trying to go after something that isn’t working.
- Ask your audience. Want to know what content your audience are looking for? Ask them. Organise a survey and simply ask them (this is where an email marketing campaign can come into its own).