If you want to find great travel accommodations or the top movies of 2019, who do you ask? If you wish to find the best phone you can buy at your budget, where do you start your search? If you’re like most consumers, finding the answers to these questions starts with Google.
The estimated 3.5 billion searches on Google a day attest that people look online for answers to their needs and problems. What comes out in the search results is what’s called content. And for marketers, content comes in many forms, including:
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- Social media
Companies and marketers “optimize” their content with the goal of pushing it up the rankings of search results. Optimization is crucial because it results in increased visibility, brand awareness, website traffic, social engagement, and sales.
Google ranks content based on two criteria: search engine optimization (SEO) and beneficial content. To rank well on Google, your content must meet both of these criteria.
What is SEO?
When it comes to ranking value, Google’s algorithm looks for certain technical requirements in a piece of content that indicate it’s interesting, helpful, or relevant to audiences. SEO is the process of fulfilling these technical requirements.
It starts with keyword targeting. Keywords are the words users enter into Google. Having keywords in the content shows Google that it’s the result users are looking for. However, they have to be chosen and inserted into content strategically, by considering factors such as buyer intent, search volume, and other technical details.
Other factors in increasing SEO value are links, readability, content length, visual appeal, and shareability. If your piece of content has links to helpful websites and other trustworthy or authoritative websites link back to it, it tells Google this piece of content matters because it’s connected to other high-ranking web pages.
Visual appeal or images in your content, on the other hand, tells Google that this is something that audiences will find engaging. Meanwhile, shareability or virality on social media tells Google that audiences are sharing this piece of content, so it must be trustworthy and deserves more attention.
What is beneficial content?
Hitting all SEO requirements isn't enough to make a piece of content valuable, though. For Google, content that meets SEO requirements will never rank high unless that content is beneficial. Google supports beneficial content because it’s what audiences truly find helpful.
According to Google’s SEO Starter Guide, these are the characteristics that set beneficial content apart from the rest of what’s out there on the internet:
Include information on your site that makes it easy for visitors to not only find your business and follow up with you, but also to learn more. Contact information is only a start. Provide free resources or educational content such as blogs and eBooks. If you’re a company that makes tents, be one that not only makes tents but is also a trusted resource on camping.
It’s not enough that you offer content on the best camping sites near the Great Lakes. Be different! Offer something more than the usual fare. For instance, add personal anecdotes and stunning professional photographs of the sites.
It’s all about trust. When your content is perceived as reliable or from a thought leader, it is seen as helpful. An article acquires expert weight with reviews, testimonials, links, and even original research and citations.
- High quality
Google advises fresh and unique content. It will keep visitors coming back and attract new ones. But this content should be, most of all, of high quality — the product of time, effort, expertise, and skill.
Use only text and you’re likely to render your content unremarkable. Bring your content to life with images of its subject matter, or add pictures about your business and your company. These visual elements will add personality and character. And don’t forget to engage visitors with tools that you have at your disposal, whether they’re chatbots, updates, widgets, and the like.
When these recommended elements are in place, marketers are maximizing the potential of SEO. So when working on the keywords, links, readability, length, visual appeal, and shareability of your content, you can’t neglect their being useful, valuable, credible, engaging, and of high quality.
At Midwest Data Center, we know what online presence and digital marketing, including SEO and content marketing, mean to our clients. We support them with IT security and network infrastructure expertise that serves as a strong base for all of these business expansion efforts. Talk to our experts at our Rock Port, Maryville, or St. Joseph offices today.