Three Ways to Increase Website Visibility With Content
When most think about website visibility, they immediately think search engine optimization, or SEO: keywords, title tags and descriptions. It’s not the wrong thought, but the success they’re seeking boils down to so much more than that.
Website visibility, at its core, is about creating great content and a great experience for the end user. Over the past decade, SEO and content have become much more dependent on one another, which has only proven to be a really great thing for users.
Gone are the days of using “black hat” SEO tactics to get your website at the top of a search engine’s result page (SERP). While these tactics have always been unacceptable, there were certainly times when websites snuck under Google’s radar to ultimately manipulate the system. Of course, Google caught on, and essentially punished websites not abiding by their guidelines with the Google Panda Update back in 2011.
These days, it’s all about the user. While there are technical SEO strategies that you need to think about when creating a website, the more actionable and accessible updates that you, as a business owner or marketer, can address will help to create great content for the end user.
To help guide your content creation, here are three (fairly simple) ways you can use content to help increase your website’s visibility.
One: Produce content that is aimed at helping your audience.
Whether you have a content marketing strategy in place or not, the main goal of each piece of content should be to help your audience.
With so much content out there, it’s not enough to create a short post about your product or service that emphasizes why you’re great. You need to think about your audience, the questions they’re asking and the content that is going to help them solve a problem.
This is where SEO and content can truly marry. More than adding meta tags to the back-end of your website (including meta titles and meta descriptions), you need to do some preliminary research about what your audience is searching for.
So, where do you start?
First, start with your customers, and then your sales and marketing teams. What are some of the most frequently asked questions? What problem(s) are you solving for your customers? What are some things your customers are surprised to find out about your business? Answering these questions will help you get a better handle on what people are looking for and how your particular product or service helps them.
From here, you’ll want to conduct some keyword research to determine what people are really searching for. While there are many great keyword resources you can use, start with typing questions into Google and see what comes back. Take a look at the content that’s showing up on page one of the results, and then determine how you can create an even better piece of content. You can also reference the “searches related to…” that shows up at the bottom of the SERPs. This will give you an idea of alternate questions and keywords people are searching for related to the initial search.
In addition to creating better content than what’s already out there, creating unique content will also prove to be beneficial for website visibility. Create the content that no one else has before and you’re a shoo-in for the top spots in Google. This is also true for creating super granular and niche content; write about the topics that no one else is addressing, while still answering and providing solutions to the questions and problems your customers could face on a daily basis.
While there’s no secret recipe for showing up on the search engine results page, Google has said time and time again that ranking within Google’s results is all about creating great content for your users. This means knowing your audience enough to create the content and resources that help them solve a problem or make their life easier. If you do that, chances are Google will reward you.
When thinking about your SEO and content strategy, the end user should always be your first priority. No exceptions.
Two: Create clear paths for users with pillar content and topic clusters.
Unfortunately, creating one or two pieces of content probably won’t return stellar results within the search engines. While there are some cases where this might be true, generally speaking, you will need to create awesome content on a consistent basis to see an impact with your search visibility and rankings in Google.
How quickly your content starts to rank for your keywords also depends on several things: how broad of a keyword you want to rank for; how many other people and resources link to your content (backlinks); the conversion rate on said content, where applicable; how niche of an audience you’re targeting; and how your website stacks up against other websites targeting the same audience, keywords and phrases.
Because Google’s first priority is to provide users with a great experience, the better the overall experience you can initially provide, the better your website and content will rank.
In addition to creating content that will help your audience solve a problem or answer a question, you should start thinking about creating content in clusters. A technique that’s been talked about for quite some time now is creating pillar content and topic clusters to weave your content together that not only makes sense to the user, but also to help let the search engine bots know that your content is connected and how it’s connected.
Pillar content is when you create an article about a core topic related to your business that introduces the opportunity for more in-depth blog posts to be written and linked to. Where pillar content broadly introduces related topics, a topic cluster post dives deep into the topic and focuses on a specific keyword that is related to the topic. As you create topic-cluster content, you will want to link the pillar and cluster content together to signal the user that the content related, and here – through the use of hyperlinks – is where you can get more information about said topic.
For example, if you were creating content for an organic-based cosmetic company, you might create a pillar piece of content about the benefits of using this product. Within this piece of content, you would first provide an overview about the benefits, and from there, could create more in-depth pieces about the benefits. This means you can then link each topic cluster to the pillar post, and vice versa, as you publish new content.
Your topic cluster might look something like this:
Although this approach to creating content is a useful signal for the search engines and SEO, it’s important that throughout the process you are still focused on creating exceptional pieces for your users.
Three: Leverage social media for increased engagement, exposure and backlink opportunities.
So, how do you get people to consume, link to and share your exceptional content?
Social media, that’s how.
In fact, social media activity is one of the many factors that Google uses to rank websites and content. The more engagement users have with your brand and content on social media, the better you will look in the eyes of Google.
Since Google’s main focus is on brands creating great content for their users, more engagement on social often signals just that. High social engagement is a signal that your content resonates with your audience, and it will, ultimately, help you rank better within the search engines.
As you may have noticed, gone are the days where your followers will organically see your content as you share it on social. In fact, less than 2% of your Facebook audience will see your posts, unless you “pay to play.” By putting some money behind your social posts, you are able to target the right audience – beyond the people who already follow you. A paid social strategy will not only help get your content in front of more people, but will also give you the opportunity to grow your audience by bullseye-ing those who will benefit the most from your content.
When sharing on social, both organically and from a paid perspective, always think about the end user and their behaviors. Test posting content at different days and times, and on different social networks, will help determine which platforms, days and times result in the highest engagement and the best conversions. At this stage, you should also play around with different images and test out video performance, too.
One of the greatest things about social media is that your social strategy can and should evolve with your content strategy and how users engage with you on each network; it offers you the freedom to figure out what works, what doesn’t and how you can update as you go.
Another important aspect of social media sharing is that when you share your content with the right people on the right platform, you have an increased chance of getting others to link to your content on their website. This is referred to as a backlinking, and backlinks are an important ranking factor when it comes to website visibility. Essentially, the more quality websites link to your content, the higher you will rank within the SERPs.
Just as SEO and content are dependent on one another, the same relationship stands for social media and content. Just like that, you can see how content continues to be at the center of the world wide web.
If you’ve followed along, my final statement will come as no surprise, but because it’s so vitally important to understand, I’m going to say it again:
Website visibility is all about creating exceptional content for the end user.
So, happy content creating.