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Search engine optimization has changed drastically over the past couple of years. Google has cracked down on websites that keyword stuff or use questionable practices to increase traffic. However, content marketing is still going strong. That’s because it adds value and Google rates value highly.
Keys to Successful Search Marketing ContentThere’s no denying that the Internet is packed with poor content. This is actually one of the reasons Google has made a point of changing things up so drastically. The idea behind all the recent changes is to provide searchers with higher quality results and cause low-quality content to disappear or at least move pretty far down in the search results. While this doesn’t always happen, you should assume that if you have badly written content, it won’t win you any points.To ensure that your content is effective, you may want to follow these guidelines:Create a great headline. The headline is what really grabs people. It is also shown in the search results and may be the only thing that a searcher sees when browsing the list. If your headline doesn’t grab your audience immediately and make them want to read, you will receive very little traffic. Keywords included in the content headlines will also help with ranking well.Know your target audience. What do your customers need? What problems do they face? Do your market research so you are aware of the type of content that will most appeal to your customers.For example, if your audience is homeschooling moms, they probably won’t be as interested in learning about bag lunches as parents with kids in public school. Likewise, business travelers will be more interested in how to increase their productivity in a hotel room than those who never travel.Tailor the content to the audience and you will see more views and more social media shares. People will also be more likely to link back to you, which will also increase your rankings in the search engines.Change things up from time to time. Don’t always produce the same kind of content. If you wrote a list article last time, try putting up a video or an informational article this time. Mix it up to keep your customers interested and coming back to see what is new.Include a call to action. What do you want people to do when they finish with the content? Common goals for business content include:
- Share the content
- Sign up for an email list
- Buy something
What Should You Post?Whether you have a blog or just want to add some articles to your website, the biggest question is what to write. You can probably come up with a few ideas to start with, but it can be tough to consistently think of great new content ideas.Fortunately, inspiration is all around you. Even if you are sticking to hyper-local keywords, there are plenty of opportunities to borrow ideas from others.
1. Address local newsKeep an eye on local news and update on it. You can add your own twist to the content to make it fit your niche in many cases, but even just writing about a current event will draw visitors to your page. Of course, it’s not a good idea to only post information that is completely unrelated to your business, but it is relatively simple to add a personal note to the article.If you run a bakery and there is a flood in the area that affects a number of residents, you could write about the news. While not related to baking, it would be simple enough to add a discount for affected families, offer to provide volunteers and rescue workers with free lunch or simply express your condolences on the tragedy. Nearly any kind of business can make use of the news at least once in a while.The idea behind using current events as inspiration is that people will be looking for more information. When they search for it, your website should come up, which can gain you customers. However, remember to keep things related. You can actually lose your ranking if you are writing about anything under the sun and not keeping the topic even marginally close to your business topic.
2. Check local forums for inspirationLocal forums can be a wealth of inspiration. Look for threads that relate to your business and keep an eye out for questions people are asking. If they are asking on a forum, they may also be searching for answers on the search engines.When you find a question that would make a great blog post or article, turn it into useful content for your site. Depending on the forum, you may even be able to link to the page you create, drawing more eyes to your site.
3. Create images with local impactGraphics and photos also count as content and can be very effective as marketing tools. With the right media content, you may even see people sharing your posts all over social media. Images are more likely to become viral than most written content, so it is certainly worth adding some multimedia to your website.Images should be:
- Clear and easily identifiable
- Labeled with alt text
- Given a caption or description to aid search engines
- Locally identifiable
- Named with an easily identifiable file name (ie. “Boston Harbor at Sunset” instead of “Pic13546”)
4. Make local videosAnother great way to get your content spread around the web is to create a video. Anyone can make a video these days and they are the type of content that is very likely to be shared on social media. Everyone loves a good video.That being said, you do want your media to be high quality. It should be carefully planned to have maximum impact and properly edited to maintain your quality reputation.Videos should be:
- Interesting, informative or funny
- Easy to share
- Short (long may work, but short goes viral faster)
- Great thumbnail for search result display
- Catchy, optimized title
- SEO description
- Locally identifiable