From the outside, people often view search engine optimization as this nebulous thing. They think there must be a lot of html code involved, and that the field is rife with terms like domain authority, backlinks, meta descriptions, alt text, and more. All of that is true, but doing all the work in the world in those areas won’t begin moving the needle unless you also have good content to back that up. We’ll explore why search engine optimization begins with content and what that means for your website.
Why is Content so Important to Your Website?
Let’s attempt to answer this question by first answering another. What is a website’s purpose? Though some websites might differ in their goals, if your website is there to grow your business then the primary way it is going to do that is by showing up on search engines. The higher you show up for the relevant terms that get the most traffic, the better.
So now we have to ask another question—don’t worry, we are getting back to the first question—how does Google decide what to rank where? The Google algorithm—often deemed to be the industry standard—has been honed for decades to do one thing, answer search queries as effectively as possible. When you go to a search engine like Google, you are going there to find the answer to a question, even if you don’t necessarily phrase it like a question in the search bar. The algorithm tries its best to understand your intent and to give you results that answer your question. The algorithm understands a lot of things including images and videos, but the written word is what it knows best. When it’s serving up answers, it’s going to be primarily looking for content and it’s gotten very good at finding content that speaks to the original intent of the search.
Why is content so important on your website? I told you we would get there. It’s important because if you want people to find you, your website is going to have to provide relevant answers to questions, and the best way to do that reliably is with great content.
Is There Such a Thing as SEO Content?
The beautiful thing about how the Google algorithm works—and other search engine algorithms for that matter—is that more often than not, well-written content that answers a question will rank for that question regardless of most other factors. However, there are several areas where your content and even your website can excel to help you rank and beat out your keyword competition.
- Multiple Keywords—Every page should have one primary keyword that it is going after, and maybe a few similar ones that you include permutations of throughout your content. In addition to that though think about how your page will be used to answer a question. Are there any other questions that people are likely to look for at the same time? People searching for “How to Change Your Oil” may also want to know what type of oil to use, how often oil should be changed, and more. Maybe you can’t answer all of it in one page, but you can also create other pages and interlink them. Now you are starting to think like an SEO expert.
- Ease of Understanding—You want a piece of content that is easy to understand and that gets to the answers quickly and clearly, if possible. We’ve all seen “news” articles that bury the information you want, forcing you to scroll and scroll to get something meaningful. These are not designed to rank though and many may even have paid placement on search. They are designed to get your eyeballs on ads and to click deceptive links to either earn them money or to get you even deeper into their system. Don’t learn from these websites as they are likely playing a different game than you intend to. This means appropriately using heading and sub-headings to help identify answers and answering questions early rather than saving answers for the end.
- The SEO Push—All things being equal, a piece that has more SEO factors going for it—with optimizations in meta, HTML formatting, schema, alt-text, etc.—is going to have an easier time ranking, especially if it needs to beat out pages that are already ranking.
- The Rest of Your Site—Google does not just look at each page on your site in isolation. It’s going to look at the rest of your site too. If you are already ranking for similar topics, then your new piece will typically get a boost. If not, or if your site has had a reputation for attempts at search engine manipulation, then you may find it difficult to rank without a lot more work than just one piece. This is also why most blog strategies are inherently long-term. In a few months, you’ll start to see some results. In several months, those results may just be soaring off the charts.
Can Your Site Rank Without Content?
What about video? Audio? Images? Can your site be effective without a lot of written content? This would greatly depend on the nature of your site. For some sites—and some searches for that matter—other types of media make the most sense. For example, maybe you have built a site around how-to videos for woodworking. Videos are going to be the big draw and purpose of your site, so it makes sense that they are the primary focus.
However, even for those types of searches, it’s a good idea to ensure that any content directly attached to the media including alt text, captions, descriptions, etc. are all on point. It’s also a good idea to include some relevant content on every page, even if it’s brief. You’ll find you do even better if you go deeper with your content though. Going back to the above example, including a text version of each how-to video will be a big plus. This could be relatively easy to do if you are already writing scripts or outlines during the production of the video.
Who Can Write My Website’s Content?
Ideally, you want someone that is well versed in SEO principles and knows how to get stuff ranking on search engines. A friend that is good at writing is often not enough. What you need is a skilled SEO writer, which is exactly what we can provide here at Phantom Copy.
You can get one of our ghostwriters to begin writing your content right away. We can do it all from blogs, landing pages, and site edits, to a total SEO audit and update. We can even handle link building, your Google Business Profile, and more. Get yourself a Phantom today!