Successful content marketing is a positive feedback loop. Great content is engaging and searchable, resulting in more traffic from search engines. More traffic from search engines results in more data you can use to construct additional content, which creates ongoing opportunities for user engagement.
Getting started is the hardest part of content ideation and creation. Here are 5 steps to launch your content marketing for better user engagement and SEO results!
1. Create Pages That People Will Read the Digital Way
Marshall McLuhan once said: “The medium is the message.” In order to convey your marketing message, your content needs to follow the structure that website users find accessible. Digital readers consume content by:
- Scanning text for key points, rather than reading each line intently
- Gravitating toward subheads that break up the text and communicate the topic at a high level
- Digesting information in bullet point lists. This breaks up large blocks of text and pinpoints important questions, details, and considerations
- Interacting with visual support content on the page, such as embedded video and graphics
This probably sounds more like skimming than reading, so you might feel tempted to scrimp on the text in favor of images and videos. However, the written word is still vitally important to successful website content.
TIP: Written text is the least resource-intensive content to create. Yes, it takes time, but you’re drawing on knowledge and experience you already have and information you regularly share in conversations with customers and colleagues. Website visitors read your content when it provides value and is formatted in a readable way with subheads and bullet points
2. Make Content That’s Worth the Time
Consumers who visit your website don’t just want the same information from your competitors’ website but stated slightly differently. Always remember:
Great content adds value to the user experience.
In addition to quality writing on your service pages and blog posts, you can maximize user engagement by:
- Investing in interactive content that maximizes what Social Media Today calls “dwell time,” or the time users spend on a specific page. Content with the most interactivity includes quizzes, slideshows, and infographics
- Shooting original videos that tell customers about your business, take them on a tour of the office, or address common questions about your services
- Embedding unique assets like reviews and before-and-after photos that show potential customers the results you have achieved
TIP: According to Search Engine Watch, “As content marketing evolves, it is more beneficial to go beyond the written posts to new formats that allow you to broaden your value.” Your blog posts from years ago might still generate traffic, but the information is likely outdated and the presentation poor. Converting the content into something interactive and visually striking can help you leverage the existing traffic while upping the engagement through a novel presentation.
3. Chart the Journey for Your Users
A website is more than just a digital storefront for your business. Well-planned menus and design should create an intuitive and targeted journey for users visiting the site that (optimally) concludes with the visitors becoming a customer.
Your content can benefit from the same tight structure.
If content is the heart of your website, links are the valves that control the flow of users through the site. Effective content is planned and contributes in guiding visitors down the decision-making path you lay out for them. Linking to supporting content and driving them to “destination” pages furthers their journey and moves them to make a purchasing decision.
TIP: Maximize your authority with long-form content. Most visitors arrive on your site seeking the answer to a question. Long-form pages answer the original question and much more. A post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog observes: “Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic.”
When creating long-form pages, make sure you address the question and make the answer easy to find. Add anchor tags that help users navigate large bodies of text.
4. Optimizing for Search – In All of Its Forms
Better search engine results drive higher website traffic. The more users flock to your site, the stronger the quality signal sent to Google.
But the reasons visitors come to your website will vary. Some users are ready to make a purchase on the spot, while others are just gathering information. As a result, solely optimizing for [Your Location + Product/Service] is no longer a guaranteed way to show up on the first page of search results.
Instead, vary your optimization strategy to account for the fluidity of semantic and voice search. Because these queries derive from human speech (literally so, in the case of voice search), the wording is much more conversation- and thought-based than the fixated terms in traditional keyword strategies.
But, semantic search queries also reveal user intent much more readily. Questions around finding “the best,” “the most affordable,” “the nearest,” and other queries provide your practice insights on the user’s state of mind and stage in the purchase decision. Per “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” by Moz:
“Every search performed at the engines comes with an intent—to find, learn, solve, buy, fix, treat, or understand. Search engines place web pages in their results in order to satisfy that intent in the best possible way.”
TIP: Tools like Google Search Console can help you find semantic search phrases that you can integrate into your optimization campaign. As part of our expanded approach to keyword research, optimizers at Page 1 Solutions review a wide array of search queries, from high-level keywords to semantic queries, and optimize content on our clients’ websites to take advantage of both large-scale and niche search traffic.
5. Mind the Metrics
Website traffic is probably the most obvious: the higher the better, right? Yes, but driving the right kind of traffic to your website will be the key to successfully bridging content marketing to your bottom line.
The metrics all business owners should understand in Google Analytics are:
- Traffic channels: Where users come from, divided into direct, organic, referral, social, and paid advertising categories
- Bounce rate: Measures the frequency with which users access a page on your website, then leave from that page without clicking elsewhere
- Avg. time on page: The average length of time visitors spend on a given page
- Device: The number of users accessing your site on desktop, smartphone, and tablet devices
- Demographics: The age, gender, and language of your visitors
Now that Google has launched mobile-first indexing, device metrics are more valuable than ever. Google is crawling your website like a smartphone does, so your SEO depends on your ability to provide an intuitive experience for mobile users.
A mobile-first website design creates an effective foundation for user engagement and SEO.
In some cases, comparing metrics to each other will provide insights on how customers engage with your website. For example, see how your site performs with your target demographic of users, then check the bounce rate and average time on page to make sure they stay long enough to absorb the content and visit more than one page.
Pages with a low bounce rate and high time on page are effectively engaging users. You can even go outside of Analytics and see if you’re seeing more leads for services tied to pages that perform well.
TIP: The different traffic channels each come with their own set of metrics, including average time on page, bounce rate, and more. These data give you the ability to segment your audience and see what’s working on your website and what needs improvement.
Neil Patel notes that more than 90% of experiences online start with search – usually organic search. If your search channel traffic is lagging, it could be a clue to look at the other metrics to make sure your content is optimized for users and search engines.
Learn how to enhance your customer engagement and SEO results through the creation of quality online content. Call Page 1 Solutions at (303) 233-3886 for a free evaluation of your website and digital marketing.