How to Create Content That Ranks

Following the latest Google update, businesses have been told to create quality content and this is how to do it…

Quality content is now one of the most important ranking factors for Google as it continues to develop and fine-tune its algorithms to ensure it delivers users with the best possible results from their search queries.

Last month, Google’s Dan Sullivan Tweeted about its March 2019 Core Update and suggested businesses focus on publishing the best content they can as that is what its algorithms seek to reward above most other factors.

For many businesses, this will mean completely rethinking their content and SEO strategies in order to create and publish not just content, but content that engages, educates and entertains users while providing significant value.

Practices of old – creating content purely to rank, stuffing content with as many keywords as possible, etc – simply won’t work. Businesses that are serious about ranking must first get serious about providing their target audience with the quality content they are seeking.

To do this, businesses are going to have to undertake content audits and develop content strategies. Without these in place, content will lack purpose and direction, and efforts – and budgets – will ultimately be wasted.

Below, we explain how to use an audit and strategy to create and publish content that provides genuine value to users while also ranking highly on Google.

How to create a content marketing strategy that works:

 Before creating a content strategy, it is important to undertake a content audit to gain a clear picture of your current content efforts (if any) and what you wish to achieve from your content marketing and SEO activity.

The audit will allow you to identify:

  • Your target audience and who you are writing for
  • The information they are seeking and how they like to receive it
  • Where they are currently finding this information, if at all
  • The social media channels they prefer to use

This information is absolutely vital when it comes to creating a content strategy. Without it, you simply won’t be able to create content that delivers the insight and information your target audience is seeking in order to make a buying decision.

Remember, when it comes to ranking Google is now rewarding content that best answers the user’s search query, not content that has been written around popular ranking terms and that is stuffed full of key words.

Once you have completed your content audit and built a clear profile of your target audience, you can create your content strategy. We recommend breaking this down into three-month plans in order to allow time for your content marketing to work and to gather data.

Your strategy should include the content you will create (produce short headlines/briefs for each piece) as well as the form it will take (written, audio, video) and when it will be published. Also consider how many times per month you will publish content.

In terms of the content created, remember the following:

  • It must offer value to the end user
  • Make sure your content is fun and engaging
  • Create content across different mediums
  • Have fun and don’t be afraid of failure
  • Have realistic expectations

Share your content far and wide:

To ensure your content reaches the widest possible audience, share it across the social media channels on which your target audience is most active – you will have identified this in your content audit.

You should also consider boosting posts to drive even more engagement – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn all allow you to launch highly targeted campaigns.

Remember, Google uses social noise (sharing posts and interactions on social media) as one of its ranking factors. If your content is liked and shared, it acts as a signal to Google that it has plenty of value.

Monitor the performance of your content:

 In order to ensure you continue to create and publish quality content, it is important to monitor and analyse how your content performs. Tools such as Google Analytics are great for this, providing insight into who is engaging, when and from where.

This data can then be used to tweak your content plan based on the content that is performing well. It can also help to understand how users are moving around your website and the content that is really driving results (sign-ups, conversions, etc).

Content marketing and SEO is a marathon not a sprint:

It goes without saying that content marketing and SEO is very much a long game.

It requires dedication and patience for your efforts to kick in and deliver the results you are seeking. But it really does work, as we discussed in last week’s blog post – Does Content Marketing Actually Work?

It may seem counter intuitive, but the best way to improve rankings is to not try to improve rankings. Instead, you should focus on creating and publishing the content your target audience is seeking and ensuring it is of the highest possible quality.

By doing this, you will be proving the user experience that Google now rewards over content that has been created solely to rank or that has been plugged full of keywords and phrases. The game has changed, and those that create content honestly and from the heart will win.

If you would like to chat to a member of the Ghostfoundry team about creating quality content or anything else, drop us a line here.

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