Google’s recent “Panda” algorithm update has laid the smack down on low quality content, and sites scraping and profiteering from others’ content. A just move for site owners who’ve been working hard to create unique content to optimise their sites, but perhaps more significantly, a nod to the future direction of qualitative improvements that Google intend to rollout in order to ‘clean up the SERPs’.
Content has to attract people, and links
Now more than ever it is important for website owners to take a step back and ask fundamental questions about the content on their websites, in order to ensure that their content is optimal in driving traffic and attracting links:
- What is the intention / function of my content? (Informative / contextual / in support of products)
- Who does my content appeal to?
- Is my content unique / original?
By taking a closer look at how your existing users are interacting with that content you can begin to see where you can make improvements, or where you might be ‘missing a trick’, especially in terms of link building.
Don’t just look at your content in a subjective way though, ‘get under the bonnet’ and take an objective look at your analytics data to ask questions like:
What users are searching for to find your site? Did your users find content relevant to their search?
What people are looking for internally on your site? How long did they spend interacting with your content …and what they did they do afterwards?
For those who love their analytics this may sound like quite a basic thing to do, but that’s the beauty of it, a simple but effective basis of understanding goes a long way to help identify search trends and quick wins! A little bit of analytics deep diving can reveal new sets of traffic-driving keywords (that perhaps weren’t even on your radar); give you an idea of what people want, or expect to see when they visit your site; and indicate new content topics that you should be tapping into.
Think you’ve run out of ideas for your content?
Get your cap on and start thinking outside of the box! It sounds pretty clichéd but a little bit of word-association, mind-mapping and looking at social trends can seriously help you to expand upon your content ideas. Dan covered Link Acquisition & Contextual Relevancy [Part 1] last week – for some awesome mind-mapping examples go and check out his post.
If you need to expand your audience and traffic volume; try to segment your target audience and prepare engaging content that appeals to each user group. Expand upon your existing topics and ask others around you to share their ideas.
If you need to generate traffic in the first instance, or draw in an additional (and in some cases alternative) audience base; be creative and be prepared to do something different to get your site the attention it needs.
NB: Don’t be afraid of taking your site content in a new direction; whether that’s in regard to the style, tone, or simply to keep up with the zeitgeist. Remember as your site has developed over time, so will your user-base.
A few things to consider:
- Whatever the medium of your content, produce it for a human, rather than a search engine. Sure, make it search engine friendly and as error-free as possible, but don’t worry about ‘getting your keywords in’, or stuffing the copy with repetitive synonyms of the same keyword, because human-orientated content naturally lends itself to topical-relevancy.
- Take advantage of social media channels and let the world know that you have produced a fantastic piece of content. Social media mentions are important signals to search engines that there is something of interest afoot, and that their bots should perhaps take a look.
- Once you’ve set it live, monitor its success with analytics such as PostRank and get some real insight into when and where your visitors accessed your content, who your influencers are, and some comparable data on which piece/type of content performs best.
- Once you’ve got your reader’s attention, hold on to it. Ensure that you follow up your latest instalment with another piece of awesome content that is similar / on-topic / trending, and you’ll be able to reel that traffic in once again.
If you produce awesome well written, attractive, and accessible content, then people are naturally going to want to link to your content. Or rather, your whole site is going to attract a whole lot more links, and traffic for that matter.