Over the past couple years, algorithm updates from Google have effectively leveled the playing field for website owners. In years past, search results could easily be manipulated and websites that didn’t add any real value were able to rocket to the top of SERPs. Now it is content that Google and other search engines are focusing on. The release of Google Plus, the authorship program, and algorithm updates that penalize behaviors once used to rank well; are all signals that webmasters should be paying close attention to their content.
Make Quality Content
In forums and blog posts and pretty much anywhere you look on the web for advice about SEO, all you hear is “make quality content”. What in the heck does that really mean? Is it writing free from errors? Is it paragraphs and paragraphs of strategically placed keywords and their variants? These characteristics fall under the umbrella of “quality content” yet they are not at its core. In my mind, this phrase refers to information of the highest caliber. Content needs to be well researched, accurate, interesting, informative and valuable. It needs to help people and stand on its own. A key perform people are linking to and sharing your content because it embodies all of the characteristics I just mentioned. When you set out to write something for your website, don’t think “will search engines like this?” Sure, keep in mind that you have to structure your content in a certain way in order for it to be easily crawled and relevant however worry more about what you readers will think of it. Write for them and not for the search giants of the world.
Grow Your Network
Writing does not come easily and even with practice it can be difficult to write compelling pieces. Business savvy individuals typically surround themselves with people who are strong in the areas that they themselves are weak. The same is true for marketing online and if you are not that great at producing content, network and connect with people who are. Invite professionals in your niche to post on your website or blog. Ask them for information or interviews. This is golden primary research that you can use to make yourself an authority in your niche. Long story short, if you are not a good writer, find someone who is. If you are not knowledgeable in the content areas you are promoting, reach out to people who are.
Supplement with Video
Quality writing is a core element of any good content strategy but people go online to do other things. Video should also be a key part of your strategy. Coupled with text content, video can help bolster an argument, provide visual examples, or draw people further into a topic area that may be a little bland. If you have an important message to get across, sometimes video is more effective than just writing a blog post. SEOMoz’s whiteboard Fridays are a perfect example of this. Having a transcript of your video should also be a goal as people don’t always want to watch videos and this is a great opportunity to optimize a page for search.
Share Your Content
This strategy is pretty common now but it is still effective for driving traffic to a website. Once you have your content posted, share it across as many networks as you can. Share links on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Quora, Pinterest, or any place else that you or your target market are active. If you have people posting to your blog for you, encourage them to share the posts on their own personal networks. Make it easy for readers to share by embedding sharing plugins right into posts or pages. The idea here is to cast a wide net and get your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
In 2013, webmasters should place more emphasis on producing well researched and well written content. Creating backlinks, being active on social media, and onsite optimization are all still important yet Google is focusing more on the quality of content that websites are putting forth.