3 Rules for Creating the Right Content, Not Just More Content

A computer with lots and lots of content
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As a marketing professional, you’ve heard it for years: you need more content. More pages, more content on the pages, more blog posts, more content in your blog posts, you get the idea.

That has been true for years and remains true today, but with one huge caveat. It must be the right kind of content, otherwise it’s fruitless.

So what’s the right kind of content? I’m glad you asked, since it’s the entire purpose of this article.

The amount and type of content you need depends entirely on the goal that content is trying to fulfill. Not all content is right for all situations. This article, the first in a series, will discuss the right content to allow your webpages to be discovered by prospective customers on search engines. There are three main rules to follow. Let’s get into the details.

You Want to Improve SEO

3 Steps of Good Content
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Who doesn’t want to appear higher on search engines, amIright? But that’s such a blanket term — higher on search engines. What does that mean? Higher in what context?

What it really means, if you break it down, is when a prospective customer searches a term relevant to your site, you want your site to appear high on the search engine results page. So let’s say I sell video doorbells, and I want to be on the first page of Google when someone Googles “video doorbells.” Then guess what? I better have a lot of content about video doorbells!

Because here’s the dirty secret about search engines: they can’t know your website is relevant for a search term unless your website includes content about that search term.

Let’s extend our what if scenario further: maybeI don’t sell video doorbells , I instead sell security systems. And I have an absolutely beautiful webpage all about my state-of-the-art security systems. But I have one sentence about how my systems connect with video doorbells. How can I expect that to appear higher in the search results for “video doorbells” than the pages that currently dominate page one, which include PC Mag’s “The Best Video Doorbells for 2019,” Consumer Reports’s “Best Video Doorbells of 2019,” and CNET’s “The Best Video Doorbells of 2019.” Are you catching a pattern here? These sites have written content about video doorbells, not just a single mention of them on a page about something else. Therefore, my security system page is never ever ever going to outrank them, nor should it, because those other sites are more useful for the searcher.

Rule #1: Write Relevant Topics

Rule 1: Connect the topic to your company.
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This is why the first rule when it comes to content is to ensure your topics are directly correlated to your offerings. This hypothetical security company of mine probably needs to create several new pages, but I need to be careful about what I spend my time on. Yes, I could write my own best of list, but is www.mattsecurity.com really going to outrank PC Mag, Consumer Reports, and CNET? Of course not. So writing my own list of top video doorbells is probably a waste of time. Instead, I need to consider more specific searches that prospects might conduct, and write content to those searches. For example, perhaps a page on “How to Connect a Security System with Your Video Doorbell” would capture interest from people searching for that exact topic. And I’d be more likely to rank highly for it too. Or maybe I need to go even more specific, something like “What to Do When Your Video Doorbell Keeps Freezing During Video Playback.”

There are no doubt more effective topics than these examples, but the point I’m trying to express is that, when you think about adding new content, you need to consider how the content will actually benefit your website and its goals. Only write content that your audience needs and will be able to find.

Rule #2: Write Focused Content

Rule 2: Focus on one topic at a time.
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We’re all in agreement now that you should only write relevant content, right? Great. Next we need to discuss how specific to make this content. The answer: very. Here’s why:

If I write one monster page for my security company that talks about how to connect a video doorbell to your security system, and why your video doorbell may not be displaying video correctly, and the best tips for how to control the amount of notifications you receive from your doorbell, and how if you aren’t getting enough power to your doorbell you may need to replace your doorbell transformer, and a guide for where in your house your doorbell transformer may be located, what topic am I optimized for?

If someone searches for, “How to find my doorbell transformer,” is my mega page going to appear, or are pages specifically focused on the topic of finding a doorbell transformer going to show up instead?

The answer should be obvious. And the next rule should be as well: keep your content focused on one single, specific topic. More pages, all with a singular focus, are better than one page that tries to cover everything at once.

Rule #3: Use Real Search Terms

Rule 3: The terms you use matter.
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When writing content you hope succeeds on search engines, it’s not just about focusing on the right topic. It’s also about writing that focused content correctly (at least correctly from an SEO perspective).

First and foremost, that means writing the content with a real reader in mind. Search engines these days are too smart to be tricked by keyword stuffing and other tactics that make content appear to be written for robots instead of people. So your first task when writing new content is to write simple, clear, helpful content your audience can understand and appreciate.

That’s the easy part.

What comes next is ensuring that it’s optimized. Not keyword stuffed, but you still need to use the term you’re trying to be optimized for. If I want a page to rank for “guaranteed protection from criminals,” I can’t shy away from using the word “criminal” in my content. Perhaps at my security company we’ve made the brand decision to never say the word “criminal,” because it feels too reductive. Well then my site can never rank for that word. Never. I can only rank for terms that my content is about. Google can’t read my mind. Just because I know that my company’s brand term of “those less law abiding than you” means “criminal,” Google doesn’t know that. Google just knows that someone searched for “guaranteed protection from criminals” and 745 other security company websites have pages that use the phrase “guaranteed protection from criminals” and my website does not.

This is not the same as our original video doorbell example from above. In that instance, the topic wasn’t relevant. My page was about security systems, not video doorbells, so the page was never going to rank for doorbell searches. This is different. This is when your content is focused on the right topic, but you aren’t including the terms people would actually search. Google’s machine learning is beginning to identify semantic meaning, so it may know that, “keep me safe from thieves” is essentially the same as “protect me from criminals,” but if you don’t use the exact term you want to be optimized for, multiple times throughout the content that is focused on that specific topic, than other websites that do use that term will outrank you for it. It’s just science.

So the final rule on writing the right content for SEO is to actually use your SEO terms within the content.

And now you know that the secret to success is not just about writing more content, but about writing the right content on the right topic with the right terms.

If that sounds daunting, consider learning more about our optimized content writing services or full search engine optimization services. We can take on all this research, analysis, experimentation, creation, and reporting for you — your own extended digital marketing and content department.