Content And SEO

There are two camps in the seo world. Those that see content as the most important thing for search engine rank and those that see links as the most important thing for search engine rank. The truth is both camps are partially right. SEO is a combination of both optimized content and relevant backlinks and those sites that have achieved a high rank usually have done a good job of both.

In my last post Content Is King I talked about how most of the top visited sites had one thing in common. That being they all had good content which created repeat visitors. The discussion in that post wasn’t so much about seo as it was an observation of high traffic sites. I’d like to continue talking about content here, though more in how it relates to seo.

SEO For Less Competitive Keywords

As I said high rank is usually a combination of optimized content and relevant backlinks. For less competitive keywords content alone can probably get you a page 1 ranking. The links come into play more for competitive keywords. For the non-competitive terms it’s often possible to rank from just your optimized content.

For either competitive or non-competitive keywords content is part of the equation and it’s usually the part you can better control. Link building takes time and in many case a lot of time. You may not always have a say in how another site links to yours. Writing optimized content can be fairly easy once you know a few things about how and there’s really no excuse for not having quality content

It’s tempting to think the only way to get traffic from search engines is through the generic and competitive keywords. They are the ones most often searched. However Google estimates that over 50% of all searches in a given month are unique to that month. So more than half of all searches in a month are typed in once and never again during that month. Those one time searches are the less competitive keywords and at over 50% of all searches that’s a lot of traffic that can be had through content alone.

I’ve written previously about the advantages of Marketing To The Search Engine Tail so I won’t rehash it all here. I will reiterate that going after the search tail can be both easier as far as seo is concerned and more effective in generating targeted traffic to your site. Several of my posts rank well in search engines without having any external links pointing to them at all. They rank based on having focused and optimized content even though I wasn’t thinking about keywords (well not much anyway) as I wrote the post.

Optimizing Your Content

There’s a lot of information and misinformation about how to optimize your content on a given page. I generally follow a simplified approach to optimizing content on my pages. By far the most important place to have keywords is in your title tags. For some non-competitive keywords just writing a good title can get you to the top of the search engines. If you do nothing else on the page make sure you write a good title. Don’t overdue it and stuff your title with keywords over and over, but do use your keywords at least once and even twice.

After you have a good title add your keywords into some headings on the page. Make sure to mention the keywords a couple of times in your first paragraph and also at least once in your last paragraph. For the rest of your page mention your keywords a few times where appropriate. That’s really it. You don’t need to analyze and measure your keyword density or stuff keywords into alt attributes. If you write a focused page on a given topic you’ll even find that you naturally get in the keywords where you should.

Good Content Will Gather Links Organically

You may have heard that the best backlinks to get for your site are organic or natural links. Organic links are typically going to be one way links from relevant pages which are the most effective links you can get to raise your rank in search engines. Many additions to search engine algorithms the last few years have been ways to detect unnatural links and reduce the weight of those links and their effect on rank.

The best way to get organic links is to have good content. If you have a page with good information people will want to link to it since it will be useful to their visitors. If you create a page with a free tool that is useful people will naturally link to it. Those organic links will raise the rank of you page and probably some of the other pages of your site as well, regardless of any specific seo you performed on the content.

Even if you fall into the ‘linking is king’ camp it’s still important to have good content to get those links. Maybe you can get enough quality links to that page to get it to rank, but wouldn’t you also want to get the free links that will come your way by having a page worth linking to. They’ll only improve your rank further or help keep you at the top longer.

Content For Conversions

What good is all that traffic if your pages don’t convert. Do you really want to spend all that time on seo to build search traffic that leaves your site soon after seeing your page? I’m guessing no. You need to have the content once your visitors arrive to get them to take action whether that action is buying something, signing up for your newsletter, or just clicking deeper into your site. All the links in the world won’t keep visitors on your site. Only your content can do that.

When you write your content write it for people first and search engines second. Part of the beauty of my simplified approach to optimizing page content is that the page is written for people. You can seo a page all you want, but if a person ends up tripping over all those extra keywords you’ve stuffed in then the page ultimately does no good. The people reading the page will just move on to another page or worse another site.

Your content can have many benefits to your seo efforts. It can rank a page for less competitive keywords and help convert visitors into paying customers. It may not be the only part of a successful seo campaign, but it is an essential part. Optimize your content for your visitors and it will generally be optimized for search engines as well. Your visitors will thank you and you will find a lot more of them viewing your site.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

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