After you've created the perfect website for your business, how can you make sure that people will actually visit it? The answer is to create a strategy for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) -- the higher you rank on search engines like Google, the more people will visit your site, and potentially convert into new clients.
Many businesses that understand the value of SEO hire expensive specialists and consultants to help increase their websites' search rankings, or pay for marketing services that create websites optimized for SEO. But if you're bootstrapping a new business, you may need to spend your funds investing in software rather than SEO.
The good news is that you can take steps to improve your SEO, without hiring an outside consultant -- you simply need to create quality content that people will actually want to read and share with the world.
Creating content for your website has several benefits, even if it doesn't immediately drive a spike in traffic to your website:
- It positions you as an authority within your field, which helps boost your reputation in the eyes of both existing and prospective clients.
- It provides a valuable resource for your existing clients. Plus, if they think that your content is useful and engaging, they are more likely to remain clients for many years to come.
- Good content is naturally shareable; the more your clients share your content with friends and family, the more likely it is that you'll convert those people into customers, too.
What makes content high-quality?
Search engines like Google aim to provide visitors with high-quality links to reputable sources. Therefore, it is in everyone's best interest for you to generate high-quality content that answers the kinds of questions that people search for online.
Before we dive into the process of generating content, let's go over a few high-level guidelines to keep in mind.
Longer, in-depth content outranks shorter pieces: A study by the SEO experts at Backlinko determined that the first page of search results linked to content pieces that were, on average, 1,890 words long. This suggests that, in general, you should focus on creating longer, in-depth articles, rather than shorter content. Think about what knowledge you have acquired in your field of expertise -- is there anything you're passionate about, or any particular wisdom that you want to share with other people? Go into detail about your area of expertise, and people will want to read what you have to say.
Images matter: The same Backlinko study also found that content that included at least one image ranked more highly in search engine results. Adding images to your blog posts will help illustrate your point and keep your readers interested. It may even make it more likely that they'll share it on social media, which will drive more traffic to your site.
Now that we have a general idea of what makes content SEO-friendly, let's get into the process of actually creating content. The first step is to brainstorm a few ideas for what you should write about.
Pick a topic
You may have heard the old adage, "write what you know." Think about what kind of knowledge you have to share with prospective and existing users/patients, and write articles that address those topics.
Simply by consulting your personal expertise, you can determine one or more suitable topics, and go from there. For example, if you are a chiropractor, think about what kinds of questions your patients tend to ask you over and over again, and how those topics could be addressed in an article. Chances are, if your patients are asking about these topics, then there are other people who are searching online for answers to the same questions. If and when they do so, you want them to be able to find the answer on your website. After you invest time in creating relevant, quality content, that same piece of content can help you continuously attract new patients for months and years to come.
For example, if many of your patients have requested advice about relieving back pain, that may be a good jumping-off point for your research. You can use Google's Keyword Planner to check the search volume of various keyword phrases related to this topic.
To get started, you will need to create a Google AdWords account in order to use the Keyword Planner. The Keyword Planner is designed to help you determine how often people search for various keywords, so you can form an advertising strategy around that analysis. But don't worry -- the Keyword Planner is free to use, even if you don't actually intend to sign up for a Google AdWords campaign.
Once you sign into Google AdWords, you can start planning your first AdWords campaign (remember, you don't actually have to go through with the campaign unless you want to). In one of the steps, you can begin researching keywords by entering phrases/keywords.
If, for example, you are a chiropractor, you may be unsure about which terms people tend to search more often when it comes to "back pain". You can type as many related terms into the planner as you want, and compare how each term ranks in search volume.
In the example above, we see that "lower back pain" is a popular search term -- however, it looks like it's a little too popular, meaning that it's probably too ambitious for us to hope to rank highly for such a general, widely searched term. On the other hand, "hurt back shoveling" is a bit too specific. We should look for something that's slightly more specific than "lower back pain", but still popular enough to attract a lot of people. "Stretches for lower back pain" seems to be a good option, as does "best lower back exercises."
Now that we have analyzed the various keywords and determined that we should focus on exercises and stretches to help relieve lower back pain, we can make a note to create content that's specifically addressed to those needs. Plus, if you're a chiropractor, you probably have a lot of experience and education that can help you create content around these topics.
Though we've provided some guidelines about how to select potential topics to write about, it's important to understand that any content relevant to your business is better than no content. So don't fall into the trap of paralysis by analysis -- if you can provide your own view on a topic of your expertise, then it's worth writing about. Even if you've hired a service to help create your website and provide you with content to jump start your marketing efforts, it's important to continue supplementing that content with some original content of your own.
Continue creating related content
Once you've started writing articles based on the keywords that perform well in Google's Keyword Planner, you'll need to build off of that momentum by creating related content on a regular basis. As you continue to create content, you will naturally start to find ways to link all of your articles and resources together.
As you start writing your first article, you may think of a related topic that you'd like to address. This is the perfect opportunity to create a related article that links to your first article, and so on, until you have created a rich source of information for readers. Think of Wikipedia -- each article is linked to many other related Wikipedia articles. That's what makes it such a rich source of information, and what keep readers engaged when they visit the site.
If you want to do the same for your site, you should make it as easy as possible for visitors to navigate from one article on your website to another. Think of the "related posts" feature at the end of some blog posts. Your readers will find that useful, and will be more likely to spend more time browsing through the various pages of your website.
Multi-page visits also decrease your bounce rate (the percentage of visitors that only access one page before leaving your site). Lower bounce rates are good for your SEO because they indicate that your site has high-quality content that keeps visitors engaged.
As a business owner, you are uniquely positioned to share a lot of specialized knowledge and firsthand experience with your clients. Existing and prospective clients will appreciate that you have taken the time to create quality content that answers their questions and serves as a valuable resource that aligns with their needs.
In an age where high-quality websites are par for the course, you can make your online presence stand out by providing original content that demonstrates expertise in your particular industry. You'll not only impress your customers, but also increase your search engine ranking, which can help drive more new users to your site (who may convert into new customers). Although it requires a significant investment of your time, creating content is a smart strategy that will help you attract new business, while leaving a positive impression on existing customers. The best part of all is that once you get the ball rolling and have a substantial web presence with a rich content base, you'll be able to reap the rewards for years to come.