One of the key factors of a successful website is featuring plenty of great content on your site that is comprehensive and informative. In this post, we’re going to discuss how you create a content strategy that works, and why it matters.
The level of aggressive your content strategy needs to be—meaning how much content you should publish and how often you need to update it—will depend entirely on the keyword terms you are targeting.
I’m going to illustrate this by using two examples from the same industry that require very different strategies for success.
If you are trying to rank for the term “weightlifting plan,” say for a downloadable PDF or personalized coaching, you’re facing heavy competition. My Google search pulls up 25,400,000 results. Take a look at some of the top results:
Note that these are the organic results, not paid placement (typically shown at the top of search requests and marked as Ads), which means Google’s algorithm has determined that these links are the most valuable the Internet has to offer in response to your search input. These results are all informative articles with extremely detailed content. The article from Nerd Fitness is over 5000 words long. It beat out better-known brand names such as Mens Journal because of the quality of its content. Google is pulling results that are helpful, well-researched, and comprehensive.
If you want to be competitive in this keyword, you’ll need to provide something unique that the other guides aren’t covering. Your information will need to be better and more comprehensive, providing additional info or updates. Google discerns the quality of your link both by evaluating the content itself and by counting how many times other websites have linked to it. These “backlinks” are votes of approval and you earn those links by creating authoritative content that other people like, use, and reference.
Let’s look at another keyword in the weightlifting space that is less competitive. If you want your website to rank for a local business such as “Salt Lake City weightlifting gym,” you won’t need as aggressive an approach to your content. A quick test of this term pulls up 377,000 results, with top results featuring review pages followed by websites of area gyms. To win a top spot in organic search engine rankings for a local business site, focus on proper SEO formatting using the right keywords, solid and informative content, good reviews, and listing with Google My Business.
For local businesses, content can still play an important role in a competitive market. For example, the top business result for the search “New York City weightlifting gym” is a website that offers a blog and downloadable PDFs. Lots of info and content are one of the factors that make this local business website a top result in a field of 22,900,000 search results!
As you formulate a content strategy for your website, guide your plan with these questions.
- What does your business make you an expert in?
- How can you add value to your industry?
- What information can you provide that isn’t already out there?
- What voice can you add to the conversation?
Website Pages vs. Blog Posts
I recently spoke with an architect who wanted his website to follow the current design preference of his industry: Clean, simple, elegant, and modern. For him, a website with lengthy, information-dense pages would go be counterproductive because it wouldn’t follow the aesthetic that was important for him as a designer marketing himself to clients with a preference for expensive, cutting-edge home design.
While the typical wisdom for websites insists on lengthy, search engine optimized pages, in some cases a clean design is even more important than following every step of a traditional SEO plan. For a plumber, the look of his site isn’t important: He needs to show up on page one of Google for as many local clients as possible. Many high-end luxury home builders make less than 10 sales per year, but those sales are expensive and valuable. For these business owners, quality needs to be balanced with quantity when it comes to website viewers. Not only do they need to get found in Google, but they need to convert picky clients. A beautiful design, quality content, carefully written marketing language, and gorgeous photography goes a long way toward that goal.
For this architect, we came up with a plan that balanced his design and marketing needs: We decided to keep all of his website pages (i.e. Home, About, Contact) clear and simple while still properly formatted for SEO purposes with optimized headers and subheaders, with the addition of a content-heavy blog that would serve as an information-dense, helpful resource, building value for search engines without taking away from the simple design aesthetic of his website. While this may not be the ideal SEO play, for his needs it was the right balance.
Content Is Still King!
Even with a robust paid marketing plan in place, a content strategy should still be an essential component of your marketing plan. Here’s why:
Paid isn’t everything. Of all web searches in the United States, only 2.8% result in clicks on paid ads. (Source) Most people rely on organic results! Web users are savvy enough to avoid a paid ad and click on a result that Google pulled due to intrinsic ranking factors such as quality content and link referrals, rather than a paid ad.
Good content provides a rich opportunity. Organic search results (SEO) have 20x the traffic opportunity of paid ads. This is true for people searching on their desktops as well as on mobile devices. (Source)
Quality content builds in value. SEO, when done properly, is an online marketing practice that increases in value and results over time. Creating great content that other websites link to and climbs in rankings for keywords? That’s just going to drive more and more traffic to your website, unlike PPC, which requires a steady cash diet to function.