In this era of connectivity where access to boundless information is at your fingertips, anyone can search for content on subjects that pique their interests. In theory, this is excellent news for digital marketers, who create multimedia content aimed at a target audience of consumers. However, in reality, it can be challenging to ensure that people actually find the content you want to place in front of them. If you want to create content for organic traffic to your website–which most marketers do–you need to focus on search intent first.
The Problem With Creating Content for Organic Traffic
Based on data compiled by the SEO experts at Ahrefs, 94.3 percent of the content pages on Google earn no traffic from the queries of search engine visitors. That means only 5.7 percent of the content published online gets traffic from Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Since most users tend to browse just the first page, this stat means it’s unlikely to create content for organic traffic unless your pages rank on the first page. Don’t get disheartened; instead, shift the focus of your content creation to increase your ranking organically.
Setting Search Intent as a Goal
To circumvent this issue and maximize organic traffic, you need to create content with user intent at the forefront. In simpler terms, write blog posts that your target audience will search for and want to read. Technically, this means developing value-driven content with keywords, links and other SEO factors that increase your chance of showing up in the SERPs.
Your content should answer a question, provide a solution to a problem, give information that satisfies a curiosity or provide material that compels and entertains. Creating content for organic traffic is easier than you might think when you keep search intent as the primary objective. Follow this four-step outline to curate content that appeals to your target audience and shows up on the SERPs.
1. Learn How to Optimize Keywords Strategically
In SEO semantics, a keyword is a term—or cluster of terms—that encapsulates what your piece of content is about. For instance, if you wrote an article on the subject of how Facebook Ads expand the reach of a social media campaign, an obvious keyword would be “Facebook Ads.” Keywords matter because Google crawls the internet in search of content that substantiates its users’ common queries. The most relevant matches are indexed on the first SERP.
The more you build content around the keywords your audience searches for; the more your SEO rank will increase. For assistance with keyword research, use tools like SEMRush and Google Analytics. Be careful not to keyword stuff (overload an article with keywords), as Google considers that spam. There are specific locations for your keywords that you should opt for, without sacrificing the readability of the text.
Use this list from OptinMonster as a guide, trying to place keywords in the:
- Title of your post or website page
- Meta description for the page/post
- Subheadings used within the content
- Introductory paragraph of the article
- Naturally throughout the post of the body
- Alt text for any featured images
- URLs for the post/page (a.k.a. the slug)
- Any anchor text for links within the post or page
- Social media posts used to share the content
Pro Tip: WordPress users can download the free Yoast SEO plugin; it will automatically check your keyword placement on pages, posts, images and titles.
2. Use Internal and External Links
If you want Google to notice your content in the first place, then you need to make it easy for them to navigate your pages and posts. Google finds a piece of content most readily when it contains links to other valuable pages or articles in the text. Internal links solidify a relationship between the content you publish and the webpages you intend to promote through the content.
Use this as your internal link strategy checklist, which follows best practices from Yoast:
- Link to your “cornerstone content,” which features the most thorough and relevant information about your business.
- Add contextual links in the article which connect multiple blog posts you have written on different angles of a similar topic.
- Add navigational links in the article to other posts or pages on your website that can answer a question in-depth, present a tutorial guide or offer supplementary material for interested readers.
- Add links in the article to your most popular or recent pieces of content, as these links tend to increase your website traffic overall, which Google reads as an indication of the article’s credibility.
- If you are obligated to feature unimportant links in the article, make sure to tag “no-follow” and “no-index” in the link’s HTML code, so they do not affect how Google ranks the value of your content.
Many businesses choose not to include external links in their content. Wrongly fearing that they will guide readers away from their page or share their “link juice.” That theory is a myth. According to Google’s E-A-T standards, valuable content puts the reader’s interests and needs first. Which means if you write great content, you need to use external links to:
- Cite sources and data to corroborate your claims, as well as include relevant quotes and expert opinions to support your ideas.
- Provide further resources to your readers to do a deep dive into those specific topics.
Notice how this article has multiple external links to provide more context and information to the reader. Google notices this and gives more SEO value to content that serves the user’s best interest.
3. Remember to Optimize for Mobile
In 2018, an estimated 52 percent of website traffic was from mobile devices, according to SEO and content marketing firm Stone Temple. Due to this shift, Google announced that it transitioned from desktop-first indexing to a mobile-first approach. In other words, SERP rankings are in direct correlation to how your site performs on a smartphone or tablet.
Mobile-first indexing is essential to keep in mind when formulating content for organic traffic. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to evaluate the mobile effectiveness of your content.
Consider these factors when producing content for a mobile audience:
- Ensure the format of the article is conducive to the screen dimensions of both a tablet and a smartphone.
- Keep in mind that readers prefer a scrolling experience on their devices rather than clicking over to another page.
- Tag your article on the backend with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) code.
4. Make the Content Interactive for Your Readers
The more a piece of content is disseminated across the internet, the higher your chances are that it will draw the attention of Google. For this reason, it’s not enough for people just to read the article—you want them to respond to it and do something that increases its visibility. This is why a call-to-action (CTA) is critical because it tells the audience how to interact with the content once they finish reading. Whether your intent is for users to leave a comment on the article or share it on their social media accounts, a CTA brings clarity to this next step which boosts your rate of conversion and widens the potential for traffic.
Keep this advice from Yuqo in mind when crafting your CTAs.
- Be clear and concise about what action you want readers to take. Is your goal for them to enroll in an online course, subscribe to an email newsletter, make a purchase from your website or share the content with their Facebook community? Make sure these instructions leave no room for confusion.
- Avoid generic or overused buzzwords and instead choose “power words” that evoke excitement, momentum, and stimulation. Persuade your readers to act. For instance, rather than “Join our email list,” which is bland and uninspired, try a CTA like “Want monthly inspiration sent right to your inbox? Our tribe of email subscribers would love for you to join us!”
- Make sure the CTA placement stands out from the rest of your article. Commonly placed at the bottom of a page and it can either be a clickable button or italicized text. However you decide to format the CTA, confirm that it’s prominent and visible so readers cannot miss it.
Create Content for Search Intent
If you want further resources to help you create content for organic traffic, check out some of our other guides:
- Boost overall website performance with our Basic SEO Checklist.
- Use the metrics and analytics at your fingertips to evaluate the effectiveness of your existing content with our Beginner’s Guide to Data.
Need help with content creation or content marketing? Let’s chat about our content services!