Using relevant content to improve your search results Digital marketing, Strategy | Rob Hardy | 18 July 2018

I recently came across what I can only describe as a series of ‘overly-optimised’ webpages, where variations of a keyword featured very heavily across the pages. In other words, it appeared as if the articles had been written more for Google than for a human audience. Search optimisation at its worst!

So, I’d like to focus here on the prime importance of relevant content – and how you can effectively ‘kill two birds with one stone’ with this approach… As a general rule of thumb, you should keep your focus firmly fixed on writing engaging and benefit-led copy aimed at your specific target audience. Only once you have written compelling copy for your audience should you then revisit it to integrate ‘keywords’ (ie specific search terms used by your prospective customers) – whilst ensuring that the flow, tone and style are not compromised. As I mentioned above, ‘overly-optimised’ pages will instantly turn-off visitors due to the unnatural repetition of the search term they entered. However, if you take the time to clarify your keywords before starting to write the copy, you will find that you will usually naturally include them in your customer-focused copy anyway. This ‘customer first/ Google second’ approach usually provides the best of both worlds.

In order for the search engines to more easily recognise that you are providing relevant content, try the following six tips:

  1. Aim to have about 3% – 7% of your content as keywords and phrases (ie just enough to register with search engine ‘spiders’), and use a range of different variations rather than just repeating the same keywords several times over. Do not go over 10% keyword density as search engines will often view this as ‘keyword stuffing’ and could penalise your website in their search rankings. More importantly, over-use of keywords looks odd and unnatural from a user perspective, disrupting the natural flow of the copy.
  2. Always keep keywords relevant to your specific proposition – otherwise you risk being punished for ‘keyword dilution’.
  3. Fresh content and frequent updates improve the perceived relevancy of your website. Easy ways to do this are via frequent blog updates or by regularly adding useful new ‘How to’ guides or news sections. As above, just double-check that any new content contains your most important keywords.
  4. Video content, especially on YouTube (owned by Google) can also often help achieve better rankings by improving perceived relevancy.
  5. Remember that prospective customers will most likely use different keywords at different points in time – for example seasonal, monthly and weekly variations and even differences relating to the time of day. Your site needs to reflect these changes in order to be perceived as being relevant.
  6. Even better if you can incorporate relevant content and keywords that tie in to current trends, popular events and prominent individuals. As above though, your site will be heavily penalised by the search-engines if your content is not deemed relevant – if it is perceived to just be riding on the back of any search-terms that are currently popular.

Hopefully this article has provided you with some tips on how to use relevant content to optimise your search results – rather than making the mistake of just writing for ‘Mr Google’… What about you – do you have any other tips on how to use relevant content to boost your search results?

If you’re interested in exploring this area in more detail (together with relevant examples), you might like my recent book ‘Successful Marketing Communications’.

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