SEO (search engine optimization) is a highly effective way for companies to generate online leads and sales revenue. With Google processing billions of searches every day, the user base is simply too big to ignore.
Going back 7-10 or so years ago, content was somewhat important in an SEO campaign, but nowhere near as important as it has become today. Here’s why.
- In the early days of SEO, content merely had to include the target keyword phrases in certain places and with certain frequency to impress the Google crawlers that combed websites trying to match content with search queries. Today, Google’s crawlers (Googlebots) have become much better at detecting the quality of content, not just the handling of particular keywords.
- Because of abuse and overuse, many of the SEO techniques used earlier no longer work. For example, SEOs stuffed keywords into meta keyword tags so aggressively, Google eventually decided to ignore them. As more and more of these techniques have fallen by the wayside, creating content has become foundational to building up a website’s rankings and for acquiring inbound links crucial to SEO performance.
In short, Google’s algorithm — its complex formula for ranking web pages — rewards high-quality content.
The Importance of Conversions
Aside from these technical, algorithmic issues, there is a much, much bigger reason why companies running SEO campaigns should concentrate on producing quality content: conversions.
Believe it or not, companies lose sight of the fact they are investing in getting people to click on their website from organic search results to sell them something. Believe it or not, companies frequently become fixated on organic traffic data, ranking position and other metrics that, while interesting, do not necessarily correlate to more sales leads or online revenue.
Getting 100,000 people to visit your website thanks to SEO is great if those visitors inquire or buy. This is where quality content comes in; without it, search engine traffic will leave your website without inquiring and without buying. In fact, if the website content is bad enough, visitors will not only leave, but tell their friends, business colleagues and social media followers to stay away as well.
Bottom line: Technically precise SEO content without qualitative value puts SEO campaigns in neutral or reverse.
What Is Quality Content?
Valuable content, as sales prospects and Google see it, amounts to the same thing — content that is relevant, useful, accurate, easy to understand and engaging. If you are searching for “how to change the oil in your car”, you want to see links to pages that talk about just that, in language you can understand, from a source you can trust. That’s what you want, so that is what Googlebots are “trained” to find.
In addition, as you can see from the “Optimise your content” section of a Google Webmasters support page, quality also means …
- No grammatical errors
- Well-organized, broken-down explanations
- Absence of or limited duplicate content
How to Enhance Content Quality in SEO Campaigns
SEO content is usually created by SEO agencies, with varying degrees of direction from and collaboration with the client. SEO agencies typically understand the technical side of optimized content inside and out, but may not understand how to produce quality content as it pertains to the client’s business.
Organisations such as Flock, that help companies understand how to create and produce quality content, provide tremendous value: When the SEO client understands what quality is, it can guide the SEO agency to create content that not only gets high ranking, but also gets visitors to inquire or buy once they read it.
Speaking as an SEO copywriter, I am thrilled whenever clients supply me with creative insight and guidance. What are the customers looking for? Why do they buy? Why do they not buy? What talking points establish credibility and trust? What is it exactly that we want prospects to do after they read the content?
The better the guidance, the more effective the SEO content becomes, and the more revenue the SEO campaign will produce.
Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North.