According to Hubspot, about 64 percent of marketers actively invested time in search engine optimization (SEO) in 2020.
One of the best ways to optimize your website is to create targeted, value-driven content. However, the SEO game continuously changes. Gone are the days of putting in as many keywords as possible and hoping that your site ranks. Creating effective content is all about prioritizing readability and audience interest, with a sprinkling of smart strategy.Yet, when it comes to strategy, you might feel like you’re chasing your tail to keep up with the latest industry and algorithm updates. We get it!
How can you write content that speaks to both humans and robots? (Moreover, how can you use the SEO trends that won’t fade fast and leave you without evergreen content?)
We’ve listed our four favorite content strategies that will always work—even with shifting SEO trends.
All Content Is Not Created Equal
Seventy percent of marketers are actively investing in content marketing, according to HubSpot. But just because you’re creating content doesn’t mean that the content is necessarily valuable (or that it will improve your Google ranking). Content that your audience will always be interested in—evergreen content—is the type of content that marketers should strive to create.
There are some things to bear in mind creating pieces that stand the test of time. The experts at Ahrefs offer a few perfect examples of evergreen topics:
- 10 Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting: the fundamentals of losing weight don’t change much…that’s why this piece of content is still evergreen, despite not being updated since 2007;
- How to Fry an Egg: this post was published in 2017, but it’s still evergreen. The process doesn’t really change, so there’s no need to update the post.
They also give an instance of non-evergreen content:
- “Football scores: There is no evergreen content about the topic of football scores. If you were to write about the latest football scores today, it would be irrelevant in a week from now, despite ongoing interest in the topic.”
The takeaway? Evergreen content is content that your audience will always be interested in, with a long-lifespan angle.
Creating Content that Works for Humans (and Robots)
We’ve established the value of evergreen content—but how do you go about creating these fantastic, informative pieces? Also, how do you create content using proven-SEO content strategies that won’t fall out of favor? We’ve broken down the basics below.
1. Speak to Your Audience
The best content speaks directly to your ideal audience, solving their problems and adding value. But what are they really looking for, anyway? Ask yourself questions like:
- Who is my ideal customer/client?
- What problems do they have?
- How can my business or service solve this problem?
- What is my business best at?
Unless you’re completely overhauling your business offerings or goals, the answers to the above likely won’t change.
To create the best content possible, you need to thoroughly understand your audience’s concerns—what they’re worried about, how much time they have and how you can help them. If you’re struggling to break down your audience persona, refer to our guide.
Keep it sustainable: Good content will always be good. If you put your customer or client’s needs at the forefront, they’ll actually read and engage with your content, which in turn, will boost your SEO.
2. Make it Scannable
Infamous research from Nielsen found that 79 percent of users scan a webpage upon arrival and only 16 percent read it word-for-word. Newer reports show that hasn’t changed in the past two decades. Make things as scannable as possible to ensure your ideal customer can read that wonderful resource you’ve created. If you’re not sure where to start, try:
- Using headers and sub-sections (notice how we use H2 and H3s in this article?);
- Creating lists and bullet points;
- Following a minimal paragraph per section rule.
If you’re not sure that your piece is scannable, ask a colleague who didn’t help you write it to take a look. If they can summarize your article without actually reading it, you’ve made it scannable.
Keep it sustainable: Despite SEO fads, scannability will always be in favor. It allows the reader to easily get to the bottom of your page, where they’re more likely to convert from your CTA, as well as reduces bounce rate.
3. Link Properly
Links are an essential part of optimizing your website. You should have both internal and external within your content. An internal link directs the reader to another page on your site. An external link takes the reader to a page on another website. Though external links may seem counterintuitive, they’re a huge part of SEO strategy. Linking to trustworthy websites boosts your authority and can help Google rank your website’s content.
You should also prioritize securing backlinks to your site. (A ‘backlink’ is when an external website links back to your content).
Backlinko shares their best tips for link strategies in 2021:
- Link to sites with a high domain authority: if you’re externally linking to someone’s website, that’s great—but be sure to check out the domain authority of their website before you pull the trigger. Ahrefs, Moz, and many other websites have free authority-checking services you can use. Aim to link to websites with a domain authority of 40 or above;
- Create a resource: have you ever wished that a piece of content existed in your industry, a one-stop-shop with all the information you need? Detailed ‘how-to’s’ and ‘complete guides’ are fantastic resources that add value. It may take some extra effort, but you’ll be paid back in dividends with backlinks;
- Brand your strategies and techniques: this might sound silly, but branding your strategies and techniques is a great way to encourage others to refer to the material you’ve created. It’s also a great way to organize your content if you’re struggling to focus.
For even more tips on creating a specific link-building strategy, check out our 6 proven tactics.
Keep it sustainable: People often don’t want to link away from their site, afraid they’ll lose “SEO juice,” but this is a myth. A successful website must blend internal and external links as well as focus on building backlinks. As long as you use white hat methods, this will always help your rankings.
4. Don’t Get Hung Up on the Algorithm Changes
The only thing you can count on in the world of SEO is that algorithms can and will change. As marketers, it’s our job to adapt to these changes. However, it’s also our job to transcend the algorithm. Keep your customer/client and audience a priority. Share your expertise and knowledge via content. That will always outlast momentary algorithm changes or industry trends.
For businesses with complicated digital marketing/content strategies and significant traffic, invest in a reputable SEO agency to assist with algorithm updates. This way, you don’t have to stress about the minute and specialized details and can focus on your high-level goals.
Focus on Sustainable Content Strategies
If you try to understand every SEO update and write for search engines, you’ll end up with lackluster results. Remember, even a high ranking on the SERP won’t help if a prospect lands on your site and doesn’t engage with (or like) your content. Yes, algorithm updates and new SEO tactics will help holistically; however, you need to be skilled and knowledgeable to employ them correctly.
The best course of action is to focus on creating high-value content. Leave the technical aspect of SEO to the experts. If you want to use a blend of both strategies—outsource to a digital marketing agency.