These days, content matters considerably more than SEO, at least, that’s the prevailing narrative. The truth is a bit more nuanced. As it turns out, there’s actually a very close link between search engine optimization and content marketing. Understanding that link is essential if you want to succeed online.
Content is king.
You’ve probably heard that statement so many times, it’s started to lose meaning. Good content, you’re told, is at the core of successful search engine marketing.
But what exactly is good content? How exactly can you write articles, white papers, and general website copy in such a way that it plays nice with search?
It goes without saying that natural language is important. Keyword stuffing is a tactic from a bygone age. It’s a spammy technique that will get your site penalized before it ranks. Beyond that, the best content shares a few things in common. They are:
Answering a Question, Serving a Need
When writing for the web, there’s one question you should ask yourself: what purpose does it serve? More specifically, how does it help site visitors? Everything you write online should provide value in some form or another to your audience.
As you write, consider the search terms and phrases someone might use to find this particular piece of content, such as using a tool like Ubersuggest. Structure your content as though you’re telling a story or explaining a concept to a friend or colleague. Don’t just create for the sake of creating – create with intent.
Easy to Read, Easy to Share
Stop me if this sounds familiar: You’re looking for a quick and easy meal to make for dinner — let’s say honey lemon chicken. You search the recipe on Google and click on one of the results.
Instead of the recipe, you’re treated to an essay in which a food blogger explains how honey lemon chicken helped them forge a better relationship with their father. They wax poetic about the importance of honey lemon chicken, being sure to type the phrase “honey lemon chicken” as often as possible.
The recipe itself ends up as an afterthought, an incidental thing tossed out at the end of an encyclopedia entry. I have no idea why this is so common on recipe sites.
With each piece of content you write, ask yourself why people are reading it in the first place. A bit of flavor and personality is fine, but not when it eclipses the actual purpose of the page. In other words, provide your audience with the recipe they came here for, without forcing them to sit through a bunch of unnecessary tripe.
The EAT Score
No, EAT doesn’t have anything to do with food. It’s a barometer Google uses to measure content. It stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, and basically serves as a barometer for content quality.
I could write an entire piece on the ins and outs of EAT, but I won’t. Instead, I’m going to focus on how you can improve the EAT score of your content. (If you want to learn more about how EAT works, you can check out Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines.)
Here’s how you can work to improve content quality, as measured by EAT.
- Build a persona. Include an author name and bio on all content published on your site (with the exception of general website copy).
- Create fleshed-out social media and business profiles. Make sure you’re active in communities and on sites where your audience congregates.
- Secure your website. HTTPS should be a given here, as should good password hygiene.
- Protect against spam. That goes double if your website relies heavily on user-generated content.
- Make something great. There’s no substitute for quality and passion. The bulk of your efforts should, as you might expect, focus on creating content that fits your audience like a glove, and they’ll do the rest.
Content is king. It might be bordering on a cliche at this point, but it still holds true. Even so, there’s some nuance to that statement.
Quality content goes hand-in-hand with search engine optimization. That’s not going to change. As Google continues to update its algorithms, what you write and how you write it will start to matter more and more. Meanwhile, technical SEO will slowly fade into obscurity.
This is a guest post by Daniel Page. He is the Director of Business Development for ASEOHosting, a leading provider in SEO hosting and multiple IP hosting.