SEO (search engine optimization) has become a popular buzzword with companies looking to increase their ranking in online searches. But aggressive search engine optimization has had its day. For a time, it seemed easy enough to stick in some Google-friendly keywords and, hey presto, the website would shoot gratifyingly to the top of a search.
But Google became wise to this lazy marketing technique and realised that it wasn’t actually very consumer-friendly. I’m sure, like me, you’ve googled something and been frustrated to find that the site at the top of the search list wasn’t actually what you were looking for after all – it just happened to have a few similar words or one key phrase that matched your search. Do you order something from that website or subscribe to its feed? Almost certainly not – because it wasn’t what you were looking for.
So Google adapted its ranking criteria – not to make it more difficult for SEO marketers but to make it better for users. Its webmaster guidelines even state:
“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.”
Using keywords is no longer the silver bullet of web marketing. Great content is.
By great content, we mean items that people (that’s people with a capital P – not computers) are interested in reading – and are therefore likely to share on their social media platform of choice (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr etc). Content such as:
- A blog
- News update
- Research findings (and customer-friendly interpretation)
- Case studies
- Useful applications or tools
- A Q&A section
- Interviews with market leaders or suppliers
- Reader / customer feedback forum
Although this might seem a daunting list, Smashingmagazine.com reassures us that “the content you post does not have to be long, it just has to be link-worthy”.
And, I would add to that, regular. You want your customers and readers to not only like what you give them but to come back for more. To rely on you providing them with regularly interesting and helpful content. So pick one or all of the above features and think about how you can add them to your site.
If you’re not confident about writing news-worthy content yourself, you can outsource it but be sure that the copywriter understands your field and can deliver you relevant copy.
As Paul Boag explains, “If you create great content, people will link to it, and Google will improve your placement. It really is that simple”.
For more on this topic, read smashing magazine’s article