An estimated 81 percent of customers and 94 percent of B2B buyers report that they perform research online before making a purchase. The ranking of your content and the visibility you receive on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) directly impacts how many of your potential customers hear about you before they make a buying decision. Understanding how to improve the SEO ranking of a website remains critical to finding online customers and convincing them to explore your organization. Here are a few content marketing and SEO strategies you can use to begin to build your site’s success.
Getting started with keywords
Keywords will be the cornerstone of SEO and improving your rankings. Keywords help Google and the other search engines understand what you write about and how those topics align with the queries that people type into the search engines. It is important to note that Google does not match queries to content by simply looking at the letters in both the question and your website. Instead, the algorithm seeks to understand the topic and depth of your content by looking at patterns in word usage and semantically-related keywords. This means that the old SEO techniques of trying to improve rankings by stuffing keywords and keyword phrases into your content as often as possible are obsolete and do not help your content. These techniques actually often end up hurting your content because Google will see the overuse of the keyword as indicating low-quality content and thus a poor user experience.
Instead, look at keyword research more as topic research. When you perform this research, you want to see which topics are the most interesting to your target audience and the level of competition on the SERP. You then want to make your topic clear to both the user and Google by including the keyword in the H tags, URL, title, and a few times naturally throughout the content. As you write, however, you want to focus on developing high-quality material around your keyword. This will allow you to incorporate semantically-related keywords to demonstrate depth and value.
Building the content visually
When Google and other major search engines rank content, they not only look at how it aligns with the query, they also want to see how visitors interact with that web page and the domain as a whole. Sites that demonstrate stronger engagement with readers will rank higher than pages where users tend to click off quickly. This should impact your page’s visual design.
Consumers today have particularly short attention spans, estimated at only 8 seconds. This means that when someone lands on your page, you need to grab their interest immediately and demonstrate to them that you have the answers to their question. In content marketing, you want to do this a few ways.
To begin, you should include relevant, engaging images. Images of real people at your organization or that you otherwise took yourself are best and tend to hold user’s interest the longest, but you can use stock images when needed. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, so using pictures to communicate the purpose and value of your content can be very helpful in engaging the reader. Some people may also find your content through a safe image search, which provides you with even more opportunities to draw in readers.
Visually, you also need to consider how you construct your text. Readers today like to skim the words in front of them to see how relevant the material is to their needs and the sections of the text that are the most helpful. Using relevant headlines in H2 will help draw the eye to particular portions of your content. You should also incorporate shorter paragraphs, bullets, and lists where applicable.
Bringing it together: Using SEO and content marketing to boost Google rankings
- Use keyword research to identify important topics that people search for
- Use the keywords identified naturally throughout content, focusing on the quality of the content
- Use images to boost engagement for readers
- Structure content to make it easier to scan
The higher your content ranks on Google, the more readers you will entice to your website and the more leads you will be able to secure. If you have questions about using content marketing and SEO, reach out to Ballantine. For over 50 years, we have helped brands successfully market their organizations and find success.