Last time you needed to find some information (whether it was the weather forecast, a review of new running shoes, or the capital of Botswana), where did you go to find that information? Did you drive over to the library? Call up your friend and ask? Probably not. If you're like most people, you turned to an Internet search engine and typed in some keywords. And when the results came up, you probably didn't scroll through 30 pages to find your answer.
A study performed by Optify found that the top three Google results in any given search capture 58-percent of the clicks. Out of those top three spots, the first Google-ranked search result received an average click-through rate of 36-percent. If you're trying to lure traffic to your client's site, there's no better way to do it than by ensuring that they show up first in search engine results.
So how can your clients develop a content strategy that will bump them up to the top of the page?
1. Remember that building a quality website is a marathon, not a sprint.
It takes time. You'll find many quick-fix tactics that can temporarily flood your website with traffic, but gimmicks don't make a genuine content strategy. As J.C. Penney knows well, so-called "black-hat" tricks may work for a while, but they inevitably backfire in the end. In order to sustain a fortuitous relationship with the search engines you've got to put in the work and consistently produce quality content.
It's important to regularly add new, keyword-rich content to offer the search engines a wealth of information to mine. Make your content strategy a priority for your business, even if you have to hire out some of the work or designate some of your own time to the project.
2. Set high standards for your content.
If your only criteria for your web content is that it meet specific keyword-density requirements, it might be time to set your sights a little higher. Great SEO consists of more than just keywords, although keywords are important. You can certainly lead people to your website with just the right words and phrases, but is your content engaging enough to keep them around?
Use analytic software to find out how long visitors stay on your site. Do they leave after reading a single page, or do they scroll through several pages before moving on? If you find that your visitors aren't converting into readers, evaluate your content standards. Your content should be fresh, original, meaningful, and highly readable.
3. Build links the hard way.
Today's search engines prefer organic links, not bought links. Building links takes time, but it's definitely worth it if you want to show up higher in the search engine rankings. To build links, produce quality content and then syndicate it. Remember that the Internet is a vast community containing a world of interesting conversations. Let your website be an integral part of the conversation by reaching out to relevant sites and becoming a good citizen. Comment on blogs, offer timely advice, and ask good questions.
Buying links is certainly easier than this method, but it won't give you as solid a standing in the rankings.
4. Use keywords in the right places.
Now we're getting to the nitty gritty. Just as you look for keywords when you scan a new article or email, search engines look for keywords as they sort through websites. Make it easy on them by putting your keywords where they're easiest to notice. Don't forget these spots:
- Post titles. If your website has a blog, use keywords in all of your blog post titles.
- Text links. Although graphics are very pleasing to the eye, search engines pay closer attention to text links, especially to those links that connect your web page with similarly keyword-focused pages.
- Tags. Use keywords in title tags, description tags, keywords tags, heading tags, and alt tags. Keep your keywords consistent across all of these different tags.
- Placement. Place your most important keywords within the first sentence of your content.
In addition to putting keywords in these important places, remember to bold your keywords every so often.
Developing a results-friendly content strategy takes time and attention, but the efforts will keep your client's business in the spotlight. Instead of trying to keep up with Google's latest algorithm, help them to produce a website full of content that readers will appreciate both now and in the future--when they'll still want to be number one.