This is the second installment of our Unlocking SEO series, where I attempt to educate our readers on how to properly optimize a site for SEO. If you missed our first segment, How to Do Keyword Research, you can read it here. In order to keep this at a reasonable length, I’ve broken this post into two parts, the first of which deals with good content vs. bad content and how to create content focused on search intent. The second part, which will be posted next week, will discuss how to optimize content for keywords.
Content is king. It’s phrase all too familiar to search marketers, and for good reason. Good content should speak to users and search engines alike. Visitors are much less likely to remain on a site if they’re not provided informative content relative to their needs. They’re even less likely to convert into a paying customer without it.
Similarly, a site’s content should also be optimized with the search engines in mind. In our previous blog on how to do keyword research, we discussed how search engines index individual site pages into databases categorized by keyword, and how we use this knowledge to perform effective research. However, it’s not enough to simply optimize content for keywords. There are many other factors search engines look for when determining whether or not a site’s content provides value.
Good Content vs. Bad Content
One of the most important aspects of site content is uniqueness. Search engines try to avoid having multiple results that contain duplicative content, because it creates a negative experience for searchers. They want to ensure they’re providing the most relevant and useful results at all times.
There are a number of tools available that help determine whether your site content is duplicative. Personally, I’m a fan of Copyscape. It’s good practice to run your site through a program such as this. I like to aim for below 50% duplicated content, but there is no hard and fast rule for this. There are other factors that come into play as well.
Duplicate content refers not only to the words used and their order, but also the information the site provides. Let’s use a website that is trying to provide comparisons of the best guitars for beginners as an example. Their site content can have 100% unique content, e.g., not plagiarized at all, but if it compares the same guitar models, or similar opinions and recommendations as multiple other sites, it’s really not unique. It’s amazing what search engine algorithms can pick up on.
So to summarize, when creating site content it is important to ensure it is:
- Valuable to users
Creating Content for Search Intent
Search intent is another incredibly important factor when creating and optimizing content. Searchers use different language and keywords based on the type of information they’re looking for. It’s the search engine’s job to deliver the most relevant results, and it’s your job to ensure the content accurately reflects what you’re trying to accomplish. There are three main categories of search intent, which are outlined below.
This is when a user searches with the intent of finding a specific website or brand. It may be that they are already familiar with a business, but simply don’t know the exact URL. An example would be someone searching for the keyphrase, “Rod’s Guitar Shop”.
This is why it’s incredibly important to rank in the top position for your own brand name. It may seem like this would automatically be the case, but I’ve seen far too many instances of this exact problem. It’s also common practice for companies to purchase ads on their competitors’ brand name. If you don’t run paid ads for your business, it’s a good idea to at least do so for your brand name.
These types of searches are mainly non-transactional. In other words, the user is not looking to make a specific purchase, and is mainly researching. An example of this would be someone searching for the keyphrase, “best guitar for beginners”.
They are likely looking to make a purchase in the near future, but are trying to decide on the specific product. If your site is more transactional in nature, it would be wise to have an on-site blog where you can post this type of information. This is a great way to gain brand recognition so early in the purchasing funnel.
Despite the name, these searches don’t necessarily require a transaction to be made on a site. It could be they are looking for a type of local business, but aren’t familiar with all of the options. For example, someone may search for “guitar shop in Lafayette, LA” when they’re finally ready to make the purchase.
Ranking on the first page for all three types of search intent will lead to the greatest success. In next week’s blog, I’m going to talk about all those keywords you compiled, and how to use them to properly optimize content for search.
Rodney Hess, Social Media Strategist is the latest addition to BBR Creative’s Digital Department. Click here to see more of our online work or contact Rodney at 337-233-1515 to see what wonders he can do to promote online marketing for your business.