Content is King? How to Optimize Your Site’s Content for Major Organic Reach
26 March 2018
TL;DR: To get the best organic reach for your business, optimize content on your site for people first, search engines second.
Content is King, when used appropriately and harnessed to the best of its ability, that is. Businesses have been capitalizing on content for years to create brand awareness, connect with target audiences, build trust, generate leads, drive sales, and establish authority in their unique industry. If your business hasn’t made content marketing a priority, 2018 is the perfect time to do so, ensuring that your brand remains visible, relevant, and fruitful.
First, let’s discuss what exactly content is.
What is Content?
We know, the term ‘content’ is broad, and unfortunately, defining such a thing in neat, simple bullet point is next to impossible. One person’s ideal definition of digital content can and most likely will vary from mine, and yours, and the person next to you. However, at its core, most everyone’s vision of content is clear: useful, relevant information that tells a story. Content is informative, functional, tactical storytelling that aligns your product, business or idea with the right people in the right way. It isn’t as one-dimensional as a simple block of text: it can be leveraged in almost any format with one key goal: to inform, entertain, enlighten or teach your target audience. High-quality content provides great value, context, and digestible takeaways that spur some form of action, engagement, or behavior. Sounds simple, right? Well, wrong.
Why is Content Crucial?
Using content to build your brand’s reputation, increase your audience, and drive results isn’t a new idea however, in 2018 it has grown increasingly challenging to capitalize on such efforts. Gone are the days of overtly optimized, keyword heavy content, or hitting publish just for the sake of having ‘more out there’. Focus has shifted, now more so than ever, to creating relatable, enjoyable content for consumers, not search engines, drawing them in and encouraging them to take action. With Google’s constantly evolving algorithms, businesses may find themselves struggling to define what exactly beneficial, high-quality content is, let alone produce it. Google’s push for quality content can be further explored, here.
Unfortunately, creating gold standard content is easier said than done. More often than not, content found online isn’t incredibly high quality, helpful, engaging, or even useful to its readers. Low-quality content can hurt, big time, making your site, services, products and business next to impossible for your consumers to find.
If you’re wondering how to harness the power of content – in its many formats – to boost your site’s organic reach, we’ve got you covered. There are plenty of ways for you to ensure your content is working for you – not against you.
- Optimize content for your buyer personas, not for search engines. By producing high-quality, informative, educational and entertaining content that truly resonates with your ideal buyers, you will organically improve your SEO, and avoid publishing keyword-riddled content that can negatively impact you.
- Use internal links when you can, as a great way to guide visitors to more relevant content while keeping them on your site. This will help boost your search rankings and help establish your brand as a credible, thought leader in the industry.
- Focus on creating the best content you possibly can. We know, that sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Avoid creating content for the sake of ‘creating content’ and instead, focusing on ensuring each piece you hit ‘publish’ on is a piece you’re proud of. Great quality content ranks better which ultimately drives more organic traffic.
- Use long-tail key phrases where possible as opposed to competing over broad key phrases. Think of the phrase your ideal customer may be typing into a search engine. Be specific, narrowing down to location or even customer base when you can. For example, if your business is a bakery specializing in customized cakes, don’t go after customizable cakes but instead, consider: Customizable cakes in San Diego, CA or even, Customizable special occasion cakes in San Diego, CA. Choosing key phrases you’re more likely to rank for is the name of the game, not to mention it will attract a stream of specifically targeted, organic traffic.
- Avoid content cop-outs such as cheap links, paying for inbound links, using exact-match anchor text, or publishing low-quality content. These are simply shortcuts that in the long run, will negatively impact your business (and make you a target for a Google penalty)
- Ensure your content is optimized for mobile, as 61% of users are unlikely to return to a website if they had trouble accessing it via mobile, according to Google. This means that in order to best rank organically, its important to properly format your website for mobile.
Now that we’ve gone over some key call outs for creating quality content and some best practices that will keep search engines happy and organic traffic on the rise, let’s discuss some of the content formats that can aid in your efforts.
Whether you’re currently blogging for your business or it’s been on your to-do list for longer than you’d care to admit, you may be wondering if all of the time spent in creating such content is worth it. Short answer: yes!
At its core, blogging is a form of adding high-quality content to your site. Blogging on a consistent basis, when done well, is a fairly easy way to ensure you are driving traffic to your site, attracting more prospective customers and ultimately enhancing your inbound marketing efforts. From lead generation to brand awareness, SEO to consumer relationships, most every aspect of marketing benefits from blogging. Better yet, according to Hubspot, businesses using blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those who don’t. Here are some of the other key benefits of blogging for your business:
- Boost SEO
- Drive traffic to your site
- Help convert traffic into leads
- Gain visibility as a thought leader
- Develop stronger customer relationships
- Establish authority and trust
- Humanize your brand
- Social sharing
Boost SEO: Simply put, well thought out blogs can increase your SEO and in turn, increase traffic to your site. The more (high quality) content you add to your site, the greater your organic search visibility (and chances of beating out your competitors in the search engine results page). With each blog post you publish, you provide your consumers with quality information and search engines with new content to index. The more pages you have on your site, the better your chances of being found in search engines.
Social Sharing: Blogging helps your brand get discovered via social media – with each post you create comes another opportunity for social sharing across platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest, exposing your expertise and offerings to potential customers. Blogs are also a wonderful addition to your brand’s social media presence, keeping your social networks relevant, informative, and up-to-date.
Convert Traffic into Leads: With all of the traffic your blog drives to your site, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads with clear, lead generating calls to action. How? By offering any content asset that your audience would be willing to exchange their information for within your blog posts. Think free white papers, free webinars, free ebooks, or even free trials that may provide solutions or information your audience desires. Visitors coming to your site will see a clear call-to-action with a free offer or irresistible deal, and in turn, you’ll receive their information should they choose to take you up on the deal.
By publishing content that relates to the specific needs and challenges of your audience within your blog, you and your business will stand out as a reliable information source.
On Page Product Descriptions
A properly executed product page isn’t just the end result of your marketing strategies – in fact, it is a crucial component of the buyer’s journey that if not executed properly, can cause your company to miss out on countless consumers. Can a potential customer come to your page, with questions and concerns, and find their answer quickly? Does your copy entice them to click buy, try, or learn more today? Are your services or product’s unique benefits clear? If not, it’s time to take the following steps to ensure the content on your product page engages, persuades, entices and sells. Let’s break down best practices when creating your product description page:
- Imagine Your Ideal Buyer: what sort of language would they lean towards? Would they respond well to humor or maybe certain keywords? What would their questions be, and how could you best answer them? When it comes to writing successful production descriptions, starting with first imaging who you are writing for is key. Consider how you would address this perspective client if he or she was directly in front of you, considering your product or services face-to-face. With that in mind, you can create content (and on-page product descriptions) that resonate with the right audience.
- Make it Digestible: we know that when you’re talking about something you are incredibly passionate about, it’s easy to ramble. Resist. Your descriptions should be easily digestible tidbits, giving visitors a clear and concise idea of exactly what value they can take away. Your goal is to convey what the product or service is, briefly explain it’s potential benefit to your consumer, and why they should choose your specific product. Consider including key benefits, distinguishing characteristics, and the answers to any immediate questions people may have.
- Optimize for Search: Using keywords specific to your location, service, and ideal audience will not only help your product page rank for relevant searches but ensure your potential clientele find you – and your services – easily. Be careful not to over do it – avoid internal links using keyword-rich anchors, including multiple H1s on any given page
- Add an Inviting Meta Description: The snippet of up to 320 characters summarizing a page’s content is a crucial aspect of on-page SEO, so let’s not forget about it! Most product pages contain a ton of general information, so to ensure Google doesn’t use unrelated text in a meta description, you will want to add your own. Ideally, all meta descriptions are unique. Consider keeping it under 160 characters and including relevant keywords.
When optimizing your product page to increase organic reach and visibility, strike the right balance between satisfying customers and search engines with clear buyer personas, product descriptions, page structure and meta description.
Newsletters are defined as professional publications that are regularly distributed to a specific set of audiences or subscribers that when used to the best of its ability goes far beyond industry updates. For your consumers, your newsletter is useful, insightful updates and information that they ideally want to digest, delivered right to their inbox. For your business, newsletters are a powerful marketing tool – ensuring your services or product stays top of mind. The benefits of a well-written newsletter don’t end there:
- Strengthen relationships with existing customers
- Increase the reach and visibility of your content while growing your mailing list
- Showcase your brand’s personality and culture
- Establish your company as a trusted source of knowledge
- Drive sales
Now that you know the why, let’s talk about the how. To create a quality newsletter, you must first consider your businesses’ goals, and how you plan to match them to your reader’s needs. Ask yourself the following:
- What results am I trying to achieve with this newsletter?
- Who ideally is reading this newsletter and how might it help them?
- What questions or problems does this newsletter solve or answer?
- How does this newsletter fit within my marketing efforts?
- Am I showcasing my brand’s personality?
Once you’ve gathered the answers to those callouts, you are ready to begin curating content for your newsletter. When it comes to crafting quality content for your newsletter, consider these best practices.
- Let Your Personality Shine: Newsletters offer a wonderful opportunity to humanize your brand. Don’t be afraid to spotlight your team, pepper in humor that resonates with your audience, or take a more personable tone.
- Offer Value: Newsletters can be a great way to gleam information quickly without leaving their inbox. Before you click send, read through the content provided and ensure that it was actionable with a clear call to action, relevant, and well-formatted. Don’t be afraid to showcase your company’s industry experience and expertise, just remember to keep it concise.
- Optimize for mobile: Consider that 55% of emails are opened on a mobile device, with trends continuing to lean towards heavy mobile use. Gearing your newsletter to the mobile demographic and ensuring your layout is ideal for smartphone scrolling is key.
A company newsletter is an awesome opportunity to connect with your audience, develop further trust, share quality highlights, best practices, employee spotlights, industry insights, tips, and tricks. Be sure you aren’t missing the mark with your mobile crowd!
Testimonials and Reviews
Customer testimonials and reviews are powerful trust-building tools, lending a strong sense of credibility to your business that can significantly contribute to purchase decisions. Testimonials are collected directly by businesses, while reviews are gathered on third-party platforms such as Yelp or Google Reviews. While the debate over which is best for your business in 2018 remains at large, let’s break down what makes both beneficial.
Testimonials: These solicited endorsements of a product or service by a previous customer can be one of the most valuable assets your website can contain, and are often proudly displayed as such. A great, persuasive, engaging testimonial offers personalization, storytelling, and specific praise. While text-only testimonials offer value, testimonials with headshots, candid photos, or even video are ideal. When requesting a customer testimonial, consider asking for a headshot or image – personalizing the success story. Ideally, your website would include a few video testimonials – either professionally produced or even customer recorded. Asking your customers to record a video testimonial may sound daunting, but consider that you’re simply asking if they’d be willing to go on camera and share their experience with your product or service.
Testimonials offer your brand a chance to tell a gripping, compelling story of success and transformation using your services or product, which in turn can increase your site’s conversions, build trust, and provide further authority. Additionally, because testimonials are sought out and selected by you, for your business, you can have full control over which testimonials are used, and how they’re used whereas with reviews done by third-party sites, you have far less control. If you’re looking for some awesome explains of testimonials done right, check these out.
Reviews: These third-party customer reports can uniquely benefit your business in that, consumers often perceive reviews as being fair and objective, so positive reviews carry great weight. Your business could display such reviews on product pages to showcase how awesome a certain item or service is, encouraging people to buy. Consider that your most popular product or service may earn the most reviews, which in turn, definitely catches consumer’s eyes. Often viewed as the most authentic, there is no hiding with reviews, so your customer knows they’re looking at the real deal. According to Bright Local’s Consumer Review Survey 2017, positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more and 84% of shoppers said they trusted online business reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. Those statistics are hard to argue with, and with review websites aiming to provide users with most accurate, updated information such customer feedback can greatly benefit your business.
Potential clients love testimonials and reviews. So do search engines. Consider creating processes for your team to gather and display this feedback on your site!
A case study essentially offers your business the chance to showcase a client before, during and after you provided services for them. Case studies can help you earn a potential customer’s trust by showing them what it would look like, essentially, to have your services or product at their disposal. Before you consider creating a case study for your business, let’s discuss the benefits.
- Targeting Your Ideal Audience: Considering that your case study will consist of a common problem or concern your target demographic has struggled with, you will be able to leverage this content to appeal to the ideal audience. Most likely, the individuals who take the time to read your case study will be the same people clicking: Learn More or Try Today
- Keyword Targeting: Drafting your case study presents the perfect opportunity to create content using language and keywords that your audience will be searching for and engaging with.
- Go Long: Unlike other forms of content, case studies are often detail-rich and information heavy, taking readers across several pages. While the research and details within your case studies should be concise and crucial to your clientele, this is a great way to promote yourself in longer form.
When drafting your case study, consider the following components:
- Title: When it comes to naming your case study, a best practice includes stating the client’s achievements right off the bat. Tell your readers how your product or services increased sales, efficiency, etc
- Summary: Here is where you can briefly, concisely explain how your business provided the solution to your client’s problem.
- Problem: This is your opportunity to expand on the issue your client was facing.
- Service or Solution: This section is where you can really wow readers with an explanation of how you and your team addressed the client’s problem with your unique services. Focus on what differentiates your product from the competitors.
- Results & Takeaways: Ensure this section is rich in concrete evidence – get specific – showing how your product or service helped the client. Answering questions like: how is my client better off now, having received my solutions?
- Call to Action: You should always include a solid CTA in the form of a few sentences following the case study, linking back to your product or service. This will encourage readers to to learn more, now that they’ve envisioned how you may potentially help them.
Case studies provide potential customers a unique in-depth learning opportunity that allows them to consider what it would be like to work with you, or receive your services. Consider what challenges your target audience is facing and let your case studies prove your businesses’ potential value.
Your content and thought leadership adds incredible value to your industry, your services and solutions answer questions and concerns of your audience. Now you have the tips and tools you need to ensure your business has great visibility, through optimizing your content in its various forms.
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