In part one of this series on developing a digital marketing program, we talked about optimizing your website. This time, in part two, we're going to hone content creation to help increase search engine rankings.
SEO can be a tricky minefield to navigate, but the best way to increase your chances at earning those ever-coveted high rankings for your target keywords is to have quality content. Ten or even five years ago, any article about website content would have included all kinds of sneaky tricks to get around Google's ranking algorithms. At this point though, those algorithms are so advanced that there is no more "tricking the system," which is actually a good thing because it ensures that the highest-ranked sites really do deserve to be there. Old techniques like keyword stuffing not only don't help, they'll actually get you penalized into oblivion.
So the best way to increase your rankings now involves focusing on your keywords in a different way, namely by making sure that your content is as accurate and relevant as it possibly can be for those keywords. Here are a few important factors:
- Be sure you're targeting the right keywords in the first place. Just because you have some ideas about who your audience is doesn't mean they'll be interested in what you have to say. Keyword research is essential to make sure that there are people out there looking for the information you want to share, or if there aren't, to modify your ideas to reach a more viable audience.
- Explain things simply and clearly. This is especially true if you're tackling more complicated topics - break ideas down into manageable chunks, and make your points as easy to understand as possible.
- Keep your content current and accurate. Search engines don't like stagnant content that never gets updated. If you have out-of-date information on your site, refreshing it on a regular basis can really help boost your rankings.
- Do something unique, or at least unusual. Finding unexplored niches is a great way to differentiate yourself from sites that have similar content to yours. What do you know about your area of expertise that hasn't been covered on other sites? What questions have others failed to answer? Filling in gaps that other sites have left is a great way to show search engines that you are making a valuable contribution.
- Make your site easy to read. It can be really difficult to keep a visitor's attention these days. If your content is just a wall of impenetrable text, it's going to seem too much like hard work, and most visitors will give up before they even get started. Break your content up visually, using formatting and images to make it easier and more entertaining to read.
Creating content that will rank highly is not particularly difficult if you are an expert in your field, but it does require you to put in the time and effort to make sure that the quality is there. Next time, in part three of this series, we'll learn about nurturing leads through email campaigns.