If you are a small business owner or work on marketing for a small business, you would have come across the term content marketing. The next thing that you may have heard would have been groans from everyone around you that it doesn’t work, that it takes up too much time and that you don’t really see any return on your investment.
Often, those 3 things can be true if the content that people are creating is NOT structured around 3 key items.
- What their ideal customers are actually looking for
- What they wish to be known for and conduct keyword research & SEO updates to make this happen.
- Their content has not developed with user experience in mind
Many clients over the years have come to me wanting to improve their search engine ranking - “ I want to be on page one” but often when pushed with this next question - for what search criteria, in what area - they are not so clear.
When thinking about creating content for your website ( be this blog content, your products & services page or your about page ) we need to be focussed on the 3 points above. Whilst we are telling our brand story, we need to do it in a way that is 100% focused on the outcomes we want to achieve, otherwise traffic will not come from organic ( ie FREE ) searches.
So let’s break down each of these 3 points.
What are your ideal customers looking for and how can you write content that focuses on them?
I have spoken in the past about understanding what our ideal customers are looking for and how to really break down those items (you can read more about that here) but it is really critical that we truly get what this means. We need to be creating content that people actually need and are interested in.
For example - let’s do a search inside Google for running shoes for people with flat feet.
What I actually searched for was what are the best running shoes for flat feet.
Google is going to throw up a bunch of searches that best match what I just typed in.
I might be drawn to a sports store page - but like most people, I would prefer to research the best option from people without a vested interested or at least an obvious vested interest in the product. I want to go to the page that is likely to help me make a buying decision.
The kind of phrase I typed in is what is known as a long tail keyword and these tend to be search engine and keyword gold.
Because they tend to convert the best. If I am a consumer looking for something specific, it is an indicator that I am ready to buy. I have conducted my initial research and now I am looking for specifics.
How do we search?
This is one of the key reasons why regular blogging is a great way for you to answer your ideal customers questions, you can focus on the specifics. It allows you to create a blog post with the title being in direct alignment with your ideal customer’s question. It also means that you should not be stuck for things to say or outline on your website. Remember in addition to answering your clients questions or solving problems, you are also educating them about your products and services.
When you think about how you might search for running shoes, would you just type in running shoes? Most likely no. If you were going to google to find some new ones, you would have a specific type in mind. Normally what happens is that if you type in a really broad search term, we are faced with such a huge number of options that we narrow our search down to find what we really want.
This is where conversions happen.
Back to our shoes. If I was a shoe store - I can see loads of potential blog posts like
- How to choose the best soccer boot for a narrow foot
- How to select the right kind of netball shoe when coming back from injury
- What is plantar fasciitis and how to choose a shoe that will support your recovery and prevent further injury
- The 5 best buys for growing feet for your sporty teenage son or daughter
I could go on and on - but I think you can see what I am doing here.
These blog posts can then be also then become email newsletters that you send to your customer base - but imagine the FREE traffic that you would generate simply by creating content that is focussed on what customers are typing into a search box or what you might be asked via email or face to face.
Often we neglect the gems that our existing customers give us when they ask questions via these mediums.
The second point revolved around what you want to be known for - does google see you as the expert that you see yourself as?
What are the keyword signals that you actually sending to Google? What is the thing that Google understands you do?
Often what we think we are sending out to the interwebs and what we actually are can be 2 entirely different things.
I found this out when I did a review of how google saw my site. My tool of choice is Raven Tools here, although I am familiar with and recommend SEMRUSH if this is within your price point (it is a bit expensive for a small business).
What Raven tools allowed me to do, was to investigate how Google sees my site and how it sees what is most relevant. It also reviewed a variety of SEO ranking flags as well.
When I first ran my site through Raven Tools, I discovered that some old content of mine - that was not really related to my business, was showing up in search results much better than my newer work! So whilst I did have all the standard SEO flags in place, some of my older content was coming up in more searches than my more recent material.
This was not actually what I wanted to see happen at all.
Part of the reason for this was my older blog posts. Over time content does start to make inroads into search results, particularly well written content. So whilst blogging does not have an immediate effect, it does have a long term positive effect on your search ranking. Hence what you write about really needs to be hitting the right audience and answering the right questions.
This audit let me see exactly where I could improve my content creation process that was better suited the primary focus of my business and is in alignment with what my customers are actually looking for and not just what I might like writing about.
Reviewing your site with Raven Tools also allows you to see where improvements can be made from SEO perspective to match what you want to be known for. Google reads your code - not your words, so are those SEO cues all in place?
Things like: -
- Missing any page descriptions?
- Page titles to the point and focussed on my clients?
- Are your heading styles correct?
- Missing image tags I can apply?
- Are any pages being blocked by Google?
There are lots of other simple things that you can do to improve how Google sees your site via Google Webmaster Tools. This is a completely FREE tool to help you understand how Google sees your site. If you are a business owner and you have not set this up - you are missing out on understanding how google sees your site!
Here’s a quick list of Webmasters tools benefits:
- You can tell Google what country you want to target users in
- Find out how many external webpages link to your website which is great for backlinking ( not sure what backlinking is? I will be explaining what that means in next week’s post)
- Find out how many internal links you have throughout your website ( very important to tell Google that your site is valuable for your visitors)
- You can tell Google if you are a local business and link up Google My Business to help with local searches.
- Learn about crawl errors (webpages that aren’t showing up)
- Find out how many impressions and click thru’s your website receives in searches
- Find out how often Google crawls your website and how many pages each time
- When linked with your Google Analytics account, you can find out how fast your website loads
- Where your webpages rank for certain search terms
- Learn about any HTML improvements your website needs
You can set this up yourself, by following the instructions here plus there are a whole host of extra resources inside the console itself that will benefit your business and how Google sees your business.
I am going to be chatting all things SEO (search engine optimisation) next week in my next instalment in this series, so if the above makes your eyes roll back into your head, don’t worry as I have some great DIY tips coming your way.
Finally have you structured your content to make it easy for your viewers to digest it and do something with it?
The most important thing to think about with your site content and web traffic is MOBILE FIRST.
What does your content look like on a mobile?
For your forms, your blog posts, your online store, everything needs to be mobile first. You should test everything through the prism of how does it work on a mobile.
This includes not just what it looks like, but how easy is it to do on a phone. This is Google’s default position and it will penalise your website if it's not optimised for mobile viewing. This means that right now if your site is not mobile friendly, your website will not even show up in mobile searches and Google is also about to penalise sites via desktop searches too.
The other area that Google pays attention to is internal linking (and backlinking). Good internal linking is all about guiding your viewer from one place to the next. This blog post is one such example, I advise people right at the start that this is part 3 in a 5 part series and they can read parts 1 and 2 by clicking the links. I also share a link to an older post on defining your ideal customer, to help those people who realise that they don’t know who their ideal customer even is yet.
You might link to other pages that fill in the gaps for your reader, provide more detailed information elsewhere, or simply lead them to the contact us page, the buy now page or the learn more page for whatever it is you are talking about.
Structuring posts and content purposefully in this way adds credibility to your site in Google’s eyes and it just makes sense in terms of providing the value that your viewers are looking for.
If we focus on them, sharing information that we would if a client was right in front of you asking questions, you really can’t go wrong.
Often it just takes that first step to get your started and change your focus.
Looking for help Keyword Research and SEO Analysis?
I realise that often search engine optimisation can be a real pain to get right, so if you would like me to review your site and provide SEO and Keyword advice plus an in depth review of how you can improve your search engine ranking and results, click here now.
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