Why Quality Content Should Be Your #1 SEO Priority

Quality content creates an irresistible urge and compels consideration.

According to an April 2014 survey by Ascend2, 57 percent of marketers cite quality content creation as the most effective SEO tactic. But at the same time, content creation was also ranked as the most difficult to execute. Google is arguably one of the biggest beasts of the Internet. It’s now recognized and used as a verb, oftentimes taking the place of “search.” In 2013, it dominated nearly 25 percent of all Internet traffic, according to research from Deepfield. In mid-September, Google’s Panda 4.1 update went live to cut down on low-quality web content, and soon after, some brands saw upwards of a 90 percent loss in their organic search footprint, according to research from BrightEdge. That’s why creating quality content is so critical. And it comes down to creating personalized, relevant content that meets the interests and needs of customers, wherever they are. Here are four tips to help small businesses master the creation of quality content and boost SEO rankings.

Don’t bury the lead; make important content visible.

It’s pretty common for a website’s homepage to generate high bounce rates when visitors can’t easily find content, information and calls-to-action. I can’t stress this enough - don’t bury the lead. That means taking the necessary steps in advance to optimize all of your site content so that it’s found and compels an action like booking an appointment. For example, don’t hide phone numbers or maps at the very bottom of the web page. Make the key business messages visible and accessible. If you expect customers to dig around to find them, they’ll walk (and click) away. Baker Miller image

Baker Miller, a local bakery in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood, prominently displays its address right under the logo on its homepage. Source: bakermillerchicago.com.

 

Hire experts to do what you cannot.

Not everyone can be an expert researcher or writer — and that’s okay. Businesses need people with a variety of skills to succeed, be it developing new products, overseeing the day-to-day operations, managing employees or creating great content. But this also means acknowledging when you don’t have all the answers and asking for help from someone who has the skills and expertise to deliver strong results. Think about the benefits you’ll see when you hire a content writer or producer. At the same time, it will shift the burden off the management team and allow them to focus on what matters most — mentoring employees, running the day-to-day operations and delivering great customer service.

Choose and edit keywords wisely.

If a pest control company is trying to rank for termite-related keywords attached to a geographically specific region, the words related to their termite services and the location of the business need to appear somewhere on the pages being optimized. Pest Killer image

People search for local businesses, so using your location as part of your keyword strategy will give you a higher ranking, such as these pest-control providers on Des Moines. Source: Google.

However, it’s equally important to maintain the quality and authenticity of the website’s content — remember keyword stuffing is not a good idea. Think about exactly who your target audience is and what they might be searching for instead of trying to put in every keyword imaginable. Quality is key.

Find the right balance between good storytelling and SEO.

It’s not a matter of choosing between good storytelling and SEO. When you combine both into your approach, you’ll see stronger results. My first piece of advice is to focus on the user experience. Then make sure every form of content you create and present to customers is informative, personalized and relevant to their needs and wants, solves their pain points and ultimately, compels an action. Does this content describe our products and services in a compelling way? Does this web page compel visitors to call or book an appointment? Does the “Contact Us” page make it foolproof to find and visit our business? These are all questions small business owners should ask themselves. Another piece of advice is to be intentional with every word. When writing headlines, make sure to include relevant keywords within the headline — not for the sake of it — but instead, to make a compelling promise to readers. Not only will you see your SEO ranking go up, as a result, you’ll likely see longer periods of engagement with content when the headlines spark an urge to learn more, read more and share more.

Tell us how you’re optimizing content for search engines in the comments below! You can also learn more about SEO in our archived webinar, The Race to the Top of Search Rankings: Getting Ahead With SEO.

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