Dear Google: Why SEO should never be the purpose of your content
Sonja Jones explains that high-quality content wins out every time.
One mistake that we see crop up over and over again is content that has been written for Google instead of a human audience. Google’s sophisticated algorithm is constantly being refined, but good quality, relevant content will always fair better than keyword-stuffed clunky copy that is simply trying to achieve a rank.
Let’s break it down. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and the purpose of SEO is to help users find the most relevant content for their search. The purpose of content is to answer the user’s question or problem. Optimisation simply means ensuring that anyone who is interested in the topic or theme of your content knows you have something of value to say. SEO is about your content but not the reason for your content.
What do you want to be famous for?
Your content strategy should start and end with your target audience. Who are they? What are they talking about? What kind of lifestyle do they live? What triggers their purchase of your product or service? What are they worried about? How does your product or service solve their problems?
By understanding your potential customers’ needs and behaviours you can create content that naturally attracts their attention, authentically answers their questions and helpfully provides a solution through information about a product or service. Google will reward your relevancy, authenticity and quality with higher rankings.
So, before you think about Google, think about your audience. Pretend for a moment that Google doesn’t exist at all; what does your business want to be famous for and who is interested in that topic?
What is optimisation?
SEO can feel daunting, especially with technical issues like load speeds, image formats, URLs, security settings and untidy code. This kind of housekeeping is essential and can remove obstacles to moving up the search engine rankings but avoid any technical tricks that may purport to improve rankings because they are unlikely to get better results than good content.
Beyond this technical housekeeping, the structure of your site should be optimised for the best user experience. But from a content perspective, optimisation should focus on relevancy, authenticity and quality.
Be relevant for engagement
Is your content relevant and connected to what your business does? If there is a person, institution, or organisation who is likely to be a better authority on the topic consider how you can present the content that makes it relevant to your business.
For example, a walking holiday company publishes a self-guided walking route on its blog. Unfortunately, its USP is actually guided walks and its target audience want to enjoy the scenery without looking at a map or description of a walk. So, who’s engaging with the self-guided walk blog post? One thing is for certain – it’s unlikely to be their customers. To avoid wasted budget and time talking to the wrong person you need to carefully target your content for your specific audience.
Be authentic to build trust
Building authenticity for search is about being part of a larger conversation on a particular topic and using those connections to illustrate your contribution. This is why content and public relations should be best friends. Backlinks are an important way to bolster reputation, social mentions never hurt, and influencers can be very effective.
Backlinks are simply a link back to your content from another person’s website or social pages. Generally speaking, the more you have the better, but ideally, they come from quality sources i.e. they are also relevant, authentic and of good quality.
What do we mean by quality?
EAT: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This is what the Google algorithm is determining as it crawls content across the web. Yes, there are ways to optimise the way Google crawls your site, but your rankings are ultimately determined by the quality of your content.
Work with skilled and talented people to commission original content because whether it is a piece of writing, filmmaking or photography your content should be clear, professional and stand up to scrutiny in its field.
Quality content needs to be unique, valuable and engaging to your target audience. All Google is doing is pointing people to the best content it can find.
If you would like to know more about how Bladonmore can help you with high quality content then please contact us.