Out-of-date SEO copywriting techniques, like stuffing pages with keywords, just won’t cut it with Google anymore. So, how can you achieve search engine optimisation without using what used to be called SEO?
In April this year, Google released an update – called ‘Penguin’ – aimed at bringing an end to so-called ‘black hat’ SEO techniques. These commonplace tricks were as old as the (e)book: cramming in as many keywords as possible into each page, cultivating chains of artificial links (link-farming), or duplicating the same content in different areas of a site.
Nowadays, you’re more likely to be banished to the SEO wilderness – aka, ranked more than 10 pages down by Google – for trying any of these dark arts.
Instead, Google wants informative, usable content that readers are actually searching for. Old-fashioned publishing on a digital platform – that’s the new SEO. But, it doesn’t need to be too time-consuming or expensive for a small business to achieve.
If you want to reach people through the web, then you need to create high-quality content that matches what your customers are searching for. Here are 5 quick, easy ways to start coming up with that killer, new SEO content…
1. Analyse your search traffic
The phrases people search for to land on your site are a useful benchmark of what your customers are interested in. See if you can spot patterns or trends among your customers’ keywords.
Once you’ve got a list of the most relevant, searched-for phrases, you can begin to map your website’s content to what your customers really want.
Try building one page around each key phrase. This makes it easier for users to identify that you’re offering what they want – and Google will reward the lower bounce rates and higher click-through rates that come with it.
2. Re-work and re-use existing pages
A canoeing website wrote a page called the ‘Beginner’s guide to kayaking’. Suddenly, their search traffic boomed, as did the number of emails and calls they got from people enquiring after beginner’s lessons.
After a while, the company’s owner realised they could split this single page into lots of separate, granular articles. Each time the page was split, they added in a little more detail – and before long they had a comprehensive suite of high-quality guides, pushing them even further up the rankings. Re-using existing content like this is a great way to start a content marketing strategy
3. Ask your sales people what your customers want
In any business it’s rare to find someone who has a better grip on what customers are asking for on the ground than the sales team.
See what area of your website people are finding difficult to use, and ask what content you can create to help the sales team do their job – whether it’s anticipating common questions or setting out products in a clear, usable way.
4. Use what you’ve already got
That printed brochure you had made that’s lying around the office? The industry-analysis PowerPoint presentation you created for a meeting?
Most small companies are sitting on high-quality content that’s just waiting to be re-worked into an article or a blog. Ask around within your staff for infographics, reviews – whatever’s relevant – and whip it into web-friendly shape.
5. Build your ranking – and your content – through social media
Thanks to Penguin, Google now takes into account how many times your content has been ‘liked’, retweeted or ‘+1’d when it comes to search rankings. So, applying the same quality control to your social media outlets as you do to your website can pay big dividends.
See what’s getting lots of attention in your sector – the latest industry buzzword perhaps, or a new product or innovation? Harness popular hashtags and topics, and build relevant website content around them to increase both your direct traffic and rankings at the same time.