Content is king for a reason.
It’s important to understand the modern consumer’s relationship with businesses (big and small) isn’t particularly positive.
More often than not, you represent a faceless corporation, asking for money in exchange for a product that consumers aren’t even sure they want.
Not a great place to be, as far as relationships go.
Fortunately for us, high-quality content can help change that relationship.
When it’s done properly, it can help bridge the gap between business and consumer, and turn interest into meaningful engagement.
And if that engagement ends up turning into a conversion, even better.
But content can only do its job if people are actually reading it. And if your site has poor SEO, then you can be sure there aren’t many people reading your content.
It’s just the way that Google works. Luckily, the more you understand about Google and its relationship with content, the easier it’ll be to create SEO friendly content that actually converts.
That’s why today, we’re going to dive into the way that Google sees your site, and how you can take advantage of that, boost your content’s signal and drive more traffic to your content.
Seeing Yourself The Way Google Sees You
If you’re serious about building SEO friendly content that drives conversions, you’ll need to develop a strong understanding of how search engines interact with your website.
Let’s get one thing straight: if Google doesn’t know who you are, no one does.
The success of your SEO content marketing campaign is going to rely almost entirely on how easy it is for Google to find you.
Which is why it’s so critical that you understand how the Google search engine functions.
One of the most valuable pieces of advice we can give you is to recognize the reality of Google’s priority list.
Or to put bluntly, accept that Google doesn’t really care about helping businesses.
Google’s search engine is in service to its users, first and foremost. There is no scenario where you ‘get lucky’ and end up on the first page without deserving it.
Google’s algorithm is on the hunt for the most high-value, relevant results it can find, because the happier their users are, the more likely they are to keep using the search engine.
Makes sense, right?
But as a business owner, you need to understand a few things about the algorithm these search engines use.
Right off the bat, it’s pretty limited.
That’s right, despite all the talk you hear about the complexity of the algorithm and the dozens of contributing factors that will determine your rank, the algorithm itself actually functions in a pretty simple way, when it comes to SEO.
Why? Because search engines have limitations when they’re trying to interpret content. In fact, the way Google sees your website isn’t the way we see it.
If you’re curious about how Google sees your site, you should take a look at Google’s text cache of your site. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
Pretty different, right?
And the way your website is structured matters quite a bit, which is why you need to focus on a few different aspects, starting with indexable content.
If you’re looking to land higher on SERPs, your flagship content should be in HTML text format.
Frustratingly, flash files and other non-text content can often end up devalued or ignored by search engine algorithms.
To be fair, the crawler technology is getting better and it’s becoming more likely that your images and videos will help your content rank higher.
But for now, you need to ensure that your content is easily visible to search engines. And the simplest way to make sure that happens? Put them in the HTML text on your page.
If you’re looking to go a step beyond, you’ll want to provide alt text for images. Or in other words, you’ll want to assign images in jpg, png, or gif format ‘alt attributes’ in HTML.
Why? Because that way you can give your visual content a text description that makes it easier for search engines to identify it.
The moral of the story is that you need HTML text to clearly convey to Google what your site is all about.
If you can’t see it in Google’s text cache, that means Google can’t see you.
But there are other tactics you can use to boost your site’s signal, like focusing on crawlable link structures.
If you’re not familiar with the term, don’t worry. Here’s all you really need to know.
Search engines need to see content to list pages in their massive keyword-based indexes, right?
Well, they also need to see links in order to find that content in the first place. That’s where crawlable link structures come in.
By letting those crawlers browse the pathways of a website, you make it that much easier for the crawlers to find all the relevant pages on your site.
So many businesses make the mistake of structuring the navigation of their site in a way that search engines just can’t access, ruining their chances of being listed in the search engines’ indexes in the process.
There are plenty of mistakes that people make here, the most common being:
- Links leading to pages blocked by robot.txt
- Links on pages with hundreds of links
- Submission-required forms
Each of these can make it near impossible for Google to actually find your page.
As if that wasn’t enough, having an online business means that you’re going to need a website that appeals to mobile users just as much as it does to desktop users.
Gone are the days when you could just build a single version of a website.
With e-commerce mobile traffic rising on a daily basis, your ability to create engaging user experiences for mobile users can quite literally make or break your SEO content marketing campaign.
But don’t take our word for it, ask Google themselves.
A few years ago, Google shook the digital marketing ecosystem by stating that mobile-friendly would essentially become a requirement if you wanted your page to rank highly.
Google planned to change the ranking system yet again, making mobile-friendly sites rank higher than their sites that weren’t mobile-friendly.
And it didn’t end there. Earlier this year, Google made another announcement about their SERPs.
Desktop indexing, or the rank that your desktop site had on Google, would be taking a backseat to mobile.
That’s right, mobile-first indexing was now the way of the future. In other words, your ranking on mobile was essentially your ranking on Google, no matter where consumers searched.
Which brings us to an important question: how do you optimize your site for mobile?
There are plenty of tactics you could use here, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s take a look at the mobile SEO content marketing checklist to ensure your site gets noticed by Google.
If you haven’t already, make sure that your site is actually mobile-friendly. Google’s free tool is particularly useful here, so feel free to rely on its analysis.
But when we say ‘mobile-friendly’, here’s what we mean:
- Snappy load times and responsive design
- High-Quality UX
- Mobile search optimization (compressed images, tighter meta descriptions, etc.)
But that’s just the basics of your site. If you’re looking to optimize your content for mobile devices, there’s one crucial step you should take.
Start implementing AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to ensure your pages load as quickly as possible.
Now, there are a few downsides to AMP. Most notably that your capacity for creative design is severely limited, even by mobile standards.
But if you’re looking to have the fastest load times around, there’s no getting around the fact that AMP will put you at the front of the pack.
All of this leads us to the core focus of SEO: as a vehicle to signal boost your content.
How SEO Should Signal Boost Your Content
If we’re talking about ways that SEO friendly content can elevate the status of your content, long-tail keywords are going to be your bread and butter.
Long-tail keywords (4 words or more) have a lower search volume than the more common keywords in your industry, but still hold massive potential for ranking highly on SERPs.
There are plenty of keyword research tools you can use, but our recommendation? Take some time to scope out the competition.
If you want to know what’s working and what’s not, take a look at their catalogs. Which pieces of content are performing the best on social?
Remember that you’re not competing in a vacuum here. If you want to dominate the digital marketing ecosystem, you’ll need to become an online authority.
And there’s a good chance that one of those competitors is standing in your way.
But luckily, with the right keyword research and a focus on long-tail keywords, it’s only a matter of time before your content starts to rank higher.
As you keep developing a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to SEO, you’ll want to take some time to reevaluate your buyer personas.
Clearly defining the consumer’s pain points is going to make both content creation and keyword application that much easier.
SEO Friendly Engaging Content Explained
Since we’re on the topic of SEO friendly content creation, let’s talk about what it means to create content that actually converts.
There are plenty of different SEO content marketing approaches out there. But whether you’re creating long-form content or short-form content, one rule always applies: it needs to be valuable.
Just to be clear, when we say ‘valuable’, we mean objectively valuable. Creating a fluff piece that’s more self-promotion than anything else isn’t going to help you build online authority or help you inspire brand loyalty in your consumers.
You’re implementing an SEO friendly strategy to get people to your content. But if you want to seal the deal and consistently drive conversions, the content itself has to be top-notch.
So, how do you create engaging content? Well, you can either focus on entertainment or education.
Entertainment is definitely a valid strategy, and your potential for going viral is significantly higher if it’s any good.
But creating entertaining content is significantly harder, especially if you don’t have a background in storytelling.
Entertaining content needs to make consumers feel something. They can be amused or emotional, but at the end of the day, if they’re not feeling something, your content has failed.
That’s why we usually recommend that most business owners focus on crafting educational content.
It may not be as flashy, but it’s likely a much better fit for your particular skills.
Why? Because at this point, you’ve already done all the research you need. You have the industry experience, the competitive analysis, and the revamped buyer personas.
As for the creation of educational content, there are really only two approaches you’ll need.
The first relies on creating content that offers actionable, tangible solutions to your audience’s problems. Ideally, readers are walking away with solutions they can apply to their lives that day.
The second method involves thought leadership, where you educate your readers on the changing nature of the industry or you offer them insight into a common fundamental misunderstanding that consumers in your industry have.
In other words, solve their problems today or solve their problems tomorrow — just make sure you’re actually solving their problems.
Listen, no one said optimizing your site and content would be easy.
The truth about SEO is that it’s a constant battle. You’ll routinely be performing keyword research, competitive analysis, and trying to tweak your content to increase engagement.
But there are steps you can take to make that battle easier.
For starters, recognize that Google and its search algorithm don’t see your site the way you do. Google has a different set of priorities, and understanding that is going to be the key to optimizing your site.
Beyond that, you’ll need to start making mobile users a priority. As far as Google is concerned, mobile traffic is the way of the future, and ignoring that means getting left behind.
Understand how you can use SEO friendly content to get a signal boost, with the help of detailed keyword research, long-tail keywords, and buyer personas.
Most importantly, remember that your SEO can only lead readers to your content. The content itself has to be top-notch if you want to drive conversions consistently.
Whether you’re an SEO novice or you’ve been around for a while, armed with the right tools and knowledge, there’s no reason you can’t build content that actually converts.
If you’re looking to get started with your own SEO Strategy, we’ve compiled a complete SEO Strategy 101 Guide you can use to get started implementing these strategies on your own website!
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