SEO 101: Steps to Make Your Content Work Harder
Businesses of all sizes are investing more time, resources, and money into content creation than ever before.
Almost every organization that I speak with understand the potential return on investment that great content can deliver, and yet disproportionately few companies are spending anywhere near enough focus on making existing content work harder toward current and changing business goals.
What follows are my three favorite tactics that work to leverage the value of your existing content and support greater historical and existing content contribution toward your business goals.
To clarify, my focus here is about getting more bang for your buck. There are other great reads on Search Engine Journal if you are looking to solve other specific content needs (like making your content stand out from the crowd).
1. Reinforcing Content Purpose & Deriving More Value
Every piece of content that is created and added to your website needs to have a clear purpose.
However, the purpose, positioning, and pitch of content can – and likely will – change over time. Plus, there are often industry or search changes that provide new opportunities for extra visibility targeting.
High-quality content isn’t enough unless there is a valid reason for the content to exist in the first place.
Common Content Purpose Updates
How can you revisit and reinforce purpose into existing content?
There are many ways.
Common content purpose includes:
- Informing and educating.
- Driving users through a buying cycle.
- Expediating time to purchase.
- Reinforcing trust and expertise.
- Encouraging herd mentality.
- Selling products and services.
- Positioning the brand.
Once you’re happy that the content is serving it’s intended purpose, the next action is to maximize and grow its value.
Some of the tactics that I regularly deploy to maximize the value derived from purposeful content (in this case the purpose being to “educate and inform”) include:
- Targeting SERP features like featured snippets and rich results.
- Increasing the depth of content topical coverage.
- Answering core audience questions.
- Expanding the onsite authority passing to key topical pages.
- Use of mixed content types.
Content Purpose Updates in Action
Here’s an example of this exact approach in action (disclosure: this is based on work I do with WorldFirst).
Some of the characteristics used for educating and informing people (in this case tied to foreign exchange) can be seen below.
- Answering the most relevant user questions, informational barriers, and positioning content within a framework that supports Google rich result inclusion, as well as driving the user through an informational journey.
- Increasing the topical coverage and depth of standalone page value to encourage single destination solutions for the website visitor.
- Incorporating mixed content types to support alternative and preferred user content, the inclusion of content within other verticals (in this case image search, plus integrated search result pages), and perceived content quality.
- Independent segment value specific to solving identified audience needs.
2. Increasing Your Domain’s Topical Authority
When businesses are looking to expand into new areas, add new products and services, or generally solve audience dilemmas, frequently they will add a single topical page onto the website. They assume doing so will be enough for Google (and other search engines) to associate this topic with the authority of the website.
This simply isn’t the case.
For search engines to attribute any tangible levels of expertise, trust, and authority to a new business and/or website focus area, the content needs to facilitate a number of trust and expertise factors plus demonstrate value above that seen with long-standing content coverage areas.
Tactics to Grow Topical Authority Faster
Assuming that you’ve already created amazing content that is the best resource of its kind when compared to your business and SEO competition, here are some actions you can take to help build topical authority faster:
- Increase the scale of on-site topical content coverage with a tiered approach to content creation. This can include alternative content types and targeted blog posts discussing key intent areas on the topic. The goal is to associate the site more effectively with the topic when comparing it to other established topics.
- Improve internal linking to topic pages (primarily to the main topic landing page or hub) passing page views, engagement, and authority.
- Promote external trust signals with external brand mentions on the topic as well as backlinks pointing to key topic pages. A focus here needs to be fresh backlink signals from topically relevant externally trusted and authoritative ranking, non-competing sites.
- Fuel social engagement, social sharing, and engagement with topic-specific influencers and generally with your established audience. Building buzz, PR, and new topic-based social awareness will help speed up the relevance of the brand to new areas of interest.
- Leverage important website navigational areas to reinforce the value and relevancy of the topic to the business. This can include persistent sub-navigational elements like footers as well as the primary navigation. This will help place the topic higher up in the perceived site hierarchy and importance.
3. Refresh, Revisit, Refine
Content will never live up to its full potential unless you put in place measures to:
- Refresh it.
- Revisit the content based on latest data sets.
- Refine and update the content reflecting the ways in which it is being discovered, interacted with, and its general functioning.
Each piece of content added to a website should be given enough time (2-3 weeks) to build authority, generate impressions and traffic, and generally begin to build up a data set large enough to make an informed decision on potential modifications.
Some of the questions you need to answer with new content include:
- Does it fulfill its purpose?
- Can you get more value from it?
- How is it performing compared to your other content and compared to other competing external content?
- Are people enjoying the content – reading it, sharing it, clicking on links, completing intended outcomes?
- What is working well?
- What can work better?
- Does the content reflect the search queries people are using to discover it?
- Can the content deliver more value to the user?
- Are there underperforming metric areas that can be targeted for improvement?
Your content can always work harder.
While it is true that “‘SEO never sleeps,” it’s equally correct to assume that “content is never complete.”
Every new data point, user interaction, and search query is an opportunity to act on and improve when it comes to content.
My three easy actions to make content work harder and deliver extra results sooner are:
- Reinforce content purpose and derive more value.
- Increase your domain’s topical authority.
- Refresh, revisit and refine.
Source: Search Engine Journal | 3 Easy Steps to Make Your Content Work Harder