Google has made it very clear to us SEOs that content is king. This has been their stance for many years, however, there are still businesses out there struggling to implement a content strategy that is valuable to a user.
It is clear that outside of the SEO industry itself, many people struggle to understand that “SEO content” is not an activity that is valid in this era of the Google algorithm. Content directly created to target specific keywords is, in essence, dead.
What is very much alive in building a content strategy that centers around user needs, and targeting users at different stages of the marketing funnel?
Creating content that is centered around content themes that align with user search behaviors and provide real value to users is the best way of improving your visibility within an organic search.
Within this article, Yva Media covers why there is a continued shift towards valuable content, and how you can adapt your content strategy for this change.
Google’s Helpful Content Update
One of Google’s most recent algorithm updates has been named the “Helpful Content” update. It is geared towards providing users with the most helpful content in line with the expected intent behind a search query. I.e. Google will display content that is product-led if a query has a purchase intent, content that is informational if a query needs a specific answer to a question, etc.
Search results such as this have been displayed for quite some time, however, Google has done more extensive work on this part of their algorithm of late, to display truly helpful results.
Google’s Broad Core Algorithm Updates
Only days after Google’s helpful content update finished rolling out, Google began to roll out another algorithm change: a broad core update. Broad core algorithm updates tend to target different signals and are completed multiple times a year. They are designed to finetune the broader algorithm, hence the name.
When such updates roll out, changes are felt across multiple types of websites including publishers and marketers.
Why is this important in this context?
Because part of the broad core algorithm update still targets the content portion of the algorithm, meaning further content performance changes will be felt.
What Does This Mean for Content Production
Content production needs to be completed in different formats, considering users and how they best digest content. Different people learn in different ways, and therefore the simple production of blog content alone is no longer viable.
Additionally, content needs to be built to provide true value to the user.
Ways to do this are:
- Use user search data to inform your content strategy, but do not hinge your entire content strategy on it. I.e. identify user search behaviors and content themes they search for and align these with your existing content strategy, and strategic pillars.
- Build a content strategy that aligns with your business personas and each stage of the marketing funnel. Different personas have different content needs, and these change as these personas move through the buying process.
- Build a content strategy that considers multi-media formats such as video content, infographics, and interactive content. This is much more engaging and helpful to different types of users.
- Build content in such a way that it answers a specific user need quickly upfront, before delving into more detail in the body of the content (be it an article, video, etc.)
- Consider content engagement, i.e. create content that provides new information and that users can engage with by providing their opinions, sharing the information, etc.
- Consider conversions based on your content, i.e. how does your content help drive users down the conversion funnel to purchase your product or service? How does your product specifically answer your user’s needs?
In essence, your content production needs to become much more strategic (if it hasn’t already) in order to create valuable content for users.
Why Is This So Important for Your Business
Businesses trying to create content for content’s sake to ensure they are putting fresh information on their website without truly providing value to users will have suffered from these updates. Why?
Because Google’s mission has always been to ensure that they are providing the most useful content to users, to help them answer any question as quickly as possible.
If your business is providing generic content that does not read well, doesn’t answer a need for the user, or isn’t engaging, it will be difficult for this content to be rewarded within the search engine results pages.
This in turn means less organic traffic driven to your website, which in turn means fewer conversions and revenue from organic search.
Building valuable content has never been more important. To start building content that your users will engage with and digest, make sure you consider the following:
- What your users really need from any piece of content
- Why they would come to you for answers to their questions
- Which formats will be the easiest to digest for the user
- How easily can the information be found on your website
By thinking about the above elements, you will improve not just the quality of your content, but the journey to said content from anywhere else on your website.