The panda is watching.
When it comes to a Google search – a whole lot of factors play a part in where you turn up.
But thanks to the 2011 Panda Updates these factors no longer include low-quality, ‘thin’ website content that is stuffed with keywords. If your website is seen as “high-quality” in Google’s eyes, these Panda updates will reward your website with increased SEO rankings, and more importantly – traffic boosts.
For example, the image below shows that sites like Ebay were slammed by the Panda update in 2014, which caused them to lose over half of their organic traffic almost overnight. This is due to the website being full of duplicated & thin content, ads, and links to other product pages within the website.
Image courtesy of SEMRush
What does this mean for your content marketing strategy?
Content marketing is becoming increasingly popular in the digital marketing space, and as we can see above, Google is rewarding websites that are offering high-quality content. This means that including what Google considers as “best practices” in your content marketing strategy, will ultimately help your website rank in search engines.
Where do you begin?
For this process to begin you will need a website. Thankfully, there are a number of website builders and web hosting sites that make this a relatively pain-free process. To get started, here is a list of the top five website builders and another of the top five web hosting companies. It is important to choose the best supplier for your website’s goals, since each service has its pros and cons.
Now let’s talk about optimizing your website and its content to Google’s standards.
Once you have decided on a web-hosting service, next is keywords. Keywords are the lifeblood of your website’s visibility, as they are what Google uses to understand exactly what your site is talking about.
With this in mind, it is of high importance to analyze your target audience and ensure your website is passing the correct signals to Google. There are a variety of factors that play into choosing the correct keywords to target.
- What does your website provide?
- Who does your website cater to?
- Local? Global? National?
These are all questions that need to be asked during the beginning keyword analysis stages. Once these questions are answered you can use tools to ensure they are the best keywords to target, based on the competitive nature of the keyword(s).
Tools for the Job
Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool – Below we see a screenshot of Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool.
Searched is the term “social media”. At first glance we can see the top ranking websites for this keyword are enormous, high-authority websites, like Wikipedia and The New York Times.
Trying to outrank these websites is essentially impossible. It would be a better idea to target more long-tail keywords such as, “how to design a social media campaign” which is much more attainable to rank in the top 10 for.
Google is constantly changing their algorithms to help better the search engine results, and user experience is something they care about. While designing your website you must ensure your website can be “crawled” by Google. This means you must structure your website in a way that Google and your customers can navigate your website’s content efficiently, and know exactly why they are looking at each specific page.
Another important component about usability and Google’s ranking factors is responsive design.
Responsive design is ultimately a website’s ability to be viewed on both PC and mobile devices. As PC sales have recently dropped by 9%, an awareness of the mobile world has grown exponentially.
Guess who’s watching? Google.
Since this mobile trend, Google has released an algorithm update, “Mobilegeddon”, which has caused websites that lack a responsive design to seemingly disappear from their rankings. Therefore, responsive design is clearly a must-have in today’s online world.
Tools for the Job
Browsershots – Browsershots allows web designers to see how their webpage will be viewed on any internet browser platform. This will allow you to analyze the responsive design of your website across all browsers and make tweaks where necessary.
Is the content on your website worthwhile in the eyes of Google?
As content marketing is becoming increasingly relevant, it is important for a website to regularly provide quality, informational content. The days of stuffing content with keywords and hoping to increase search engine rankings are over.
Google recognizes these tactics and is actively penalizing websites who do this – don’t do it no matter how tempting it is! Providing worthy information to your audience is a necessary tactic to maximize brand loyalty and is one of the many traffic driving assets of an optimized website.
Once you have created a piece of content for your community it is important to treat the release as a grand opening. However, the ultimate takeaway here is to provide great community engagement and get your content in front of the people who want to see it.
If you are providing high-quality information to your readers this will assist in building a trusted brand around your website, and Google will take notice of this behavior. If Google sees your website as a useful source, then it will want you to be the answer to the community’s questions in the search results.
A win for both SEO and your content marketing strategy.
Tools for the Job
HubSpot SEO – HubSpot SEO will allow you to design content with search engine optimization in mind. This tool will analyze your content, and suggest improvements based on Google’s ranking factors.
Wrapping it up
Overall, it is very important to keep up with Google’s updates and ensure your website is relevant to both your customers and Google. Doing this will help launch your content marketing efforts into the realm of success. Thank you for reading!
Let’s continue the conversation in the comments and/or on twitter: @Trvshlvrd_RR.
How do you incorporate SEO into your content marketing strategy?
Guest Author: Taylor Tomita is a creative writer and musician residing in Boise, Idaho. He loves all aspects of marketing and social media, and spends too much time researching these topics. In his free time you can find him creating music or exploring the town in search of good pizza. Follow him on twitter.