The quality of your content is more important than ever. Google is continuously improving the way its search engine works to bring the most relevant results to users. Content must be well written, include appropriate keywords, and clearly relate to the topics that people are searching for. That’s why creating content that speaks directly to your customers is the foundation of a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
What makes content relevant – both from an SEO perspective and to your targeted customers? Think about how you access the web. When you fire up Google and enter a term, you’re searching for specific information. You signal what you’re looking for through the words entered in the search. The search engine then returns the websites most likely to have the information you need. For example, if a customer needs a bankruptcy lawyer in Utah, they’re likely to search for “bankruptcy attorney Salt Lake City.” Businesses can build on this process to help attract traffic and customers:
Know your standard industry terms – but go beyond them: What terms are most commonly associated with your industry? Developing a list of potential search terms is an SEO best practice. If you’re a bankruptcy lawyer, you’re going to include terms like “debt”, “bankruptcy”, “attorney”, and “lawyer”.
Use a product such as Google’s Adwords Keyword tool to suggest other related terms. Related terms and keyword qualifiers are important for like “debt reduction” and “bankruptcy laws” are also important to make you stand out in searches that use those terms. The Keyword Tool mines all of the search data on Google’s servers to recommend other words people might use to find your site. For example, foreclosure is a term that’s frequently used by people looking for bankruptcy representation. Once you have your keywords, include them in the content that you write for your website, in your site’s metadata, and in your content titles.
Choose topics that speak directly to your audience: It’s important to choose topics and a style that speak directly to your customers and potential customers. A common problem content creators face is that they write content that’s interesting to their industry peers – but not to the majority of the people who buy their products and services.
Consider the following case: You’re a landscaper and you write an article about why a certain type of nozzle is great for spraying pesticides. Who is likely to be searching for detailed landscaping equipment specs? Other people in your industry, A.K.A. your competitors. Potential customers are more likely to be reading up on issues like how to hire a great landscaper, strategies for keeping their lawn green during a drought, or how to decide what type of trees to plant. Make sure you choose topics that will interest your customers. A good litmus test for this is to ask yourself – is this closer to something I would read in an industry journal or a question I’d commonly hear from a customer?
Create content that is useful and solves a real problem: Don’t just create content based on keywords to attract search engine traffic. Optimized content is important, but it’s even more important that your content creates solid value for your readers. Offer content that solves a problem, provides a new perspective on an important issue, or recommends actionable next steps.
Make sure that you include a call to action wherever possible, and demonstrate a link between your product or service and the solution that your readers are looking for. This can be done subtly, and within the context of offering information that’s valuable even if they don’t buy from you. A clear call to action at the end of an article, such as “Call us for more information” or “Click here to read more about X” can prompt ready buyers to take action.
Talk to your customers and mine data to uncover content opportunities: As business owners and marketers, it’s easy to assume we know what our customers want. But when’s the last time that you asked them directly? A short survey to your email list or a call to a few key clients can reveal big issues you weren’t even aware of.
Look closely at your website analytics package to see what keywords are bringing people to your site. This information, along with data on what search terms are trending, can help you develop content that’s immediately relevant to the people you’re trying to reach. Services like Google Trends can give you insights into what search terms are really hot right now and which are of cyclical importance (e.g. tax related terms in April of each year).
Creating great content is the basis of a smart SEO strategy. Investing the time to understand the keywords your customers use and what topics are most important to them will help your content strategy yield a strong return. You’ll convert more of your site visitors into customers, and keep them coming back for more great information. Partner with an experienced SEO provider to improve your online presence and start attracting new customers today.