If you read anything about SEO and how to improve your businesses’ website ranking on Google, you’re sure to find a lot of information on the importance of providing quality content.
But, what is quality content? And, how does it help SEO?
To answer that question we have to take a look at what Google is doing and what their ultimate goals are for search. Search is evolving and it will be a big factor in determining what quality content is for your local business website and blog.
High Quality Content and SEO
First of all, let’s be clear. Google is changing the way it views search. They have been focusing more and more on quality content as a clear ranking factor. If you look at Google’s Quality Guidelines, you’ll see that they clearly spell out what they are looking for. These are their exact words:
- Make pages primarily for users, not search engines.
- Don’t deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
These points clearly take aim at SEO techniques, which could be viewed by some as a bag of tricks to ensure your pages get ranked higher. They are also clear that they are looking for content that is unique, valuable or engaging. If you find your unique selling features, differentiate yourself and provide value to your visitors you are sure to get noticed by Google (and potential customers as well).
Is Google Changing The Game?
Google is definitely blazing a new path. We’ve come a long way from stuffing keywords on every page in the hopes that your website will get noticed by the search engines. Now, Google is looking to see if your content is valuable to your visitors, is engaging, and useful. That’s a game changer.
Just writing content around a keyword is not going to be good enough. We will need to write unique content that engages visitors. How are people engaging with your content? Google is looking at that. Are your blog posts being shared on social media? Are people commenting on your posts? Google is factoring that in.
Their ultimate goal is to get people answers to the questions they are asking, creating a nearly seamless connection between them and the knowledge they seek.
Why All The Hoopla Over Quality Content?
So, why is Google moving in this direction? Remember, search is their business (and some ads but mostly search) and search results are their product.
Google is in the business of answering questions and providing information. They want to do it as intuitively as possible and integrate it with how people are using technology.
Keywords used to work. But, now they seem to be getting in the way. Keywords alone don’t reliably tell Google what the page is actually about. And, people don’t always use the right keywords when asking a question or searching for a solution to a problem.
Google continues to refine and update their algorithms to be able to intuitively understand what people are asking based on the context of previous searches, their location and probably other criteria as well.
The Evolution of Search
The way we search is changing as technology changes. Just look at Alexa for example. One day we won’t be typing any queries into a search bar. Instead, we will be talking to our devices to get answers. In fact, I use the Siri feature on my iPhone all the time to do a Google search. Google is preparing for that day.
What This Means For Local Businesses
Google and the other search engines are not trying to make this more difficult for small business website owners. Again, search is their product and as their product improves, change happens by default.
They want to be able to return search engine results that are useful and that don’t frustrate the end user. They want to be able to understand the searcher’s intentions and provide the best and quickest answer possible.
They don’t want to frustrate the end user or waste their time by returning search results that aren’t relevant. Keyword-rich websites that don’t offer a lot of value or engagement does not help Google meet their goals. Therefore, they will continue to refine their algorithms to eliminate that kind of result.
So, what does this mean for you? Focus on providing quality content that engages your visitor and provides value. Plain and simple. Don’t worry about keywords or what you think the search engines are looking for. Focus on your customers.
So, What is Quality Content?
Quality content is basically anything that Google feels is worth sharing.
It’s the information that people are sharing on social media. Maybe they find it funny, entertaining or relevant to something that is happening in their life at the moment
It’s the stuff people are talking about at work, around the water cooler, or in the break room.
It’s content that provides answers to their real problems.
That’s quality content. If you can create that, you’ve found the secret sauce.
The Challenge To Creating Quality Content
Well, this is the challenge for sure. Here are some things to consider as you create your quality content for your website or blog.
1. Quality is Subjective
You’ll know it when you hit it but how do you hit it? Is it funny or sad? Is it irreverent? It could be any of those. Or, none of the above. The challenge here is to figure out what this is and how it fits in with your brand.
2. It Implies Trust
Google shares stuff that they see other people sharing. They do this because they see this as a vote of confidence by others that your content is high quality. You should focus on building trust with your content as well. How can you get people to engage with your blog, for example.
3. Balance Quality Content with Profit Goals
You ultimately want your content to sell your products or services. But, oftentimes highly promotional content will turn off your readers. You need to find that balance between profit-building content to please the bottom line and content that is readable, useful and engaging for your readers.
4. Visible ROI May Take a While
Becoming knows as the “go-to” resource in your industry or local area takes time. It won’t happen overnight. You have to build and earn that trust. Building quality content regularly will pay off for you in the long run but you may have to spend some time and money to make that happen.
5. Quality Content is Risky
Quality content is usually unique or different. That means it may be edgy or controversial. Sometimes you need to ruffle feathers or make waves in order to stand out. Don’t copy this from another brand but try to figure out how to create something that will work for you.
How To Create Quality Content Consistently
1. Get to know your readers.
Your content must be customer-centric. Your blog posts, articles, and any other content you are creating are not promotional brochures. They are a vehicle for attracting and connecting with your customers or potential customers.
Your first goal is to understand who your readers are. What problems are they trying to solve? What questions are they asking? Where do they live? How old are they? Where do they hang out? What are they sharing on social media? Find out as much as you can about them.
Remember that quality content is content that answers your readers questions. So, make sure you answer all their questions.
2. Talk in their language.
This is extremely important as Google moves away from keywords and tries to be more intuitive in how they answer questions. You need to understand how your readers and potential customers are talking about your product or service. What words are they using? You can go to online forums or social media to see how they are talking.
By understanding the words your customers are using you will automatically be optimizing your content. As they search for those particular words or terms you will show up in search results.
3. Keep the focus on customers, not selling.
I think we touched on this earlier but it bears repeating. Your content should be focused on building relationships and trust with your reader. The sale happens after you build that trust and credibility.
4. Create content for every stage of the sales funnel.
What questions are your customers asking at every stage of the sales process? Focus on answering those questions. But, don’t stop there. Continue to provide content that is useful to them or encourages them to take some action.
5. Create content on a regular basis.
You build trust through consistency. Set a schedule where you publish content on a regular basis. As your content grows, you will show up on more search results. Not only will you be building trust with the search engines, but you will have more content that will rank.
6. Go the extra mile
In order for your content to be high quality it needs to be different from any other content out there. Do it differently than how your competitors are doing it. Get outside of your comfort zone and deliver it!
You Got This!
Search is a new game now. Your ammunition is “quality content”. Are you up for it?
What is your plan for creating quality content? How will you be different? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your successes.