If you want to get an unambiguous answer to question from the title, I’ll disappoint you. There is no straight answer to that. You cannot specify whether content generation or content optimization for search engines is more important in content marketing strategy. You should find budget and time for both. However, there is not point in investing in activities that are no longer effective.
Thus, if you want to find out how to balance between these two approaches to take the most of it, sit comfortably and continue reading.
Content is king
Maybe content is king but the king needs his queen to rule. You might have a great collection of quality articles, but you will not get any benefits if no one finds them among a plethora of information. On the other hand, driving huge traffic to your website will not make any good if visitors don’t find relevant content there and leave straightaway. Thus, you have to find a balance somewhere in between to benefit from content marketing. One won’t go without the other.
I know there are also other forms of content distribution, but you really should make friends with Google. Your presence on its search engine results pages (SERPs) is crucial for your online visibility. You want your business to be found, you want attract clients and keep them with you. The former can be achieved thanks to keyword optimization the latter is possible thanks to a value your audience can drive from relevant, high-quality content.
Combining SEO with quality content creation will be your powerful tool for gaining inbound links and organic traffic, which boost your rankings and lead to increased sales and brand exposure.
SEO is the process that many marketers often get confused with. The main reason is that it constantly changes. With every new update introduced by Google, approaches in optimization that we’ve followed so far become useless. I can imagine keeping up with all the upgrades might be frustrating.
When we try to optimize our content, lots of questions emerge. Should meta description be keyword-rich? Should I submit my page to Google manually? Does the number of my pages matter? Is local SEO important? Should I focus on link building? These and many more queries appear when we try to get along with Google. Now I’ll try to answer them.
Quality over quantity
I hope it comes as no surprise to you that the quality of your back-links and own sites is more important than its number. Links are an important part of your website’s authority, but remember that linking is not a numbers game anymore. The relevancy and diversity of these links is a key.
Thus, if you were to invest in your content strategy, I’d rather recommend to hire someone who would write for you instead of a person to do link building. Indeed, the second strategy often leads to growing the number of sources. However, they are not necessarily of the highest quality. Link building done correctly is still valid and valuable, but the quality content generation is a long-term investment that would bring more relevant links over time anyway.
It goes the same with the number of your own sites. Naturally, the more pages you create the more chances of showing up for various searches you have. Again, the quality rule applies here as well. You might have lots of pages indexed in search engine, but if content is not relevant to your audience you will not drive qualified traffic and leads. On top of that, not everything you publish gets indexed and sometimes even if it does it doesn’t remain in the index.
Write for human not search engines
Keyword optimization is important for ranking, but do not exaggerate with it. You want your pages to be indexed on the SERPs, but it’s not an end itself. You want to be found in order to drive traffic to your sites and convert it into subscribers, sales leads, or whatever your goals are.
Thus, don’t overuse focus keywords. Try to naturally incorporate them into page titles, which should be easy to read in the first place. Your audience goes first and you should write for them not for Google.
On top of that, the algorithms are no longer trying to match the exact keywords a user type into a search engine to keywords from your website. Google tries to understand a given query and match it to relevant and high-quality content, so it also evolves in this direction.
Local SEO can work miracles
4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information and 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same (Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior). Consumers seek for online information at every point of purchase process, on every device and in distinct places.
If you run a local business, it is a perfect opportunity to attract customers who are nearby. They would be more likely to buy from you if they find relevant information online about your business. Thus, don’t forget to optimize your pages also for local searches.
Keep information consistent across all sites you own. Make sure that address and directions appear in your ads across smartphone and computer or tablet. If you use abbreviations for your address (e.g. Ave, instead of Avenue), use them on all of your pages in the same form. Also ensure that information about product availability are up-to-date.
See also: Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Local SEO.
Your homepage is not a Wikipedia page
It is not true that you homepage should include a lot of content. Quite the opposite! It should contain only the most relevant information about your business. The information that would make a good impression on new visitors and convince them to your products or services. Essentially, your homepage should be visually appealing and include enough content to convey necessary information about your value proposition and instructions what a visitor should do next.
The content needs to be consistent and clear, so Internet users will not get confused about what your company offers. Keep it simple.
Meta description is your online card
Meta descriptions have no bearing on search rankings. However, it does not mean you should underestimate their power and ignore them. They serve as preview snippets, explaining users where the given page will lead them to. You get around 150-160 characters to convince a user to click on a link and visit your site.
Develop a compelling meta description with relevant information about your page. Think about the reasons a why a person should click on this link and not on any other from the search results. That’s why I recommend to also include focus keywords in meta descriptions as well. They will not affect your ranking, but keywords will appear in bold if match a search query. Don’t forget to include a sort of call-to-action, that would ultimately convince a user to click.
Google knows everything
If you can’t find something on Google it simply doesn’t exist. It might not be entirely true, but if the answer does not appear on search results, it may be hard to find it anywhere else.
Therefore, you cannot hide much from Google. There are positive and negative consequences of that. Good thing is that you do not need to submit your website to Google in order to appear in search results. It will find your site and rank it according to its own algorithms.
On the other hand, you cannot conceal bad sites linking to your site. They will know! This is why link building that it used to be widely employed is not that effective anymore. Actually, it can be harmful for your website as you can get manual penalty for unnatural link building.
3 takeaways from the article
If you were to remember three most important things about content generation in harmony with SEO strategies, they should include the following points:
- High-quality content is a long-term investment that would positively influence your ranking in the future, so don’t trim costs in this field.
- SEO landscape is continuously evolving, so in order to stay on top of things follow Google updates, so you’ll never apply invalid strategies.
- Keep the balance between quality of content and its optimization. Write for human, but always have in mind that you want to be ranked good on Google as well.
What’s your most effective SEO strategy? Leave us a comment!