Key points on this page:
- Google says it itself: Content is the most crucial part of an SEO strategy.
- The type of content to create depends on your target audience and goals, including long-form or short-form written content, lists, guides, videos, and infographics.
- Google's quality guidelines emphasise creating content primarily for users, avoiding deceptive practices, and focusing on valuable and engaging content.
Content is at the centre of SEO. Valuable and engaging content should be the primary focus of any SEO strategy.
SEO is a complex beast. There are over 200 ranking factors Google uses to decide where it’ll place a website. These are constantly evolving. One thing we know for certain is that content is, and will always be, the most crucial part of your SEO strategy.
Google has always been clear about the importance of content in any SEO strategy.
Straight from the beginning, Google mentions it in its SEO Starter Guide: “Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other [SEO] factors discussed here.”
What sort of content should you be creating?
There are lots of different types of content, from long-form to short-form, video to interactive.
For some, long-form written content (over 750 words) might work. For others, short-form content is the way to go.
Either way, quality and substantial content improves the chances of people engaging and sharing your stuff. It gives plenty of opportunities to answer the questions your audience wants to know.
Lists are becoming more and more popular. They are easy to create and even easier to read for the user. Examples include “These Top Ten Hints Will Help You Create Better Content” or “Your 7 Steps Away From Higher Keyword Rankings”.
Guides are longer pieces of content, similar to a long-form article that show steps on how to do something. You can post a full guide on your website, or you can post a summary that requires visitors to fill out a registration form to access the full guide.
This can be a good way to generate leads, but keep in mind doing it this way will likely reduce the amount of SEO traffic you drive to the guide.
Google loves videos for SEO. Videos are a powerful way to reach and engage with your audience.
The best thing? You no longer need to spend money or hire fancy equipment. Most smartphones are so sophisticated we can shoot high-quality videos from anywhere, anytime from our phones.
Are large-format images that contain a lot of data (often in the form of graphs or charts). Infographics have long been considered the holy grail for SEO as they can generate a heap of backlinks quickly and easily.
So, how do you create the quality content Google wants?
Google’s quality guidelines clearly state:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Don’t deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
The content you produce should be useful and informative. It should be credible and highly engaging. It should be better than your competitors. Think about the content you read.
Cite and link to your resources. Break down your content with sub-headings, images, videos and GIFs when possible to make it more digestible for your reader.
Promote it through all your social media and any other marketing channels you use like email marketing. Use your Google Analytics, other software and social media engagement and shares to assess the success of your content.
There are no short-cuts or quick wins. SEO takes time, effort and resources.
If you are just beginning your SEO strategy or reviewing and refining your current one. Then focus on a plan involving creating content first, and the other ranking elements, second.
At the end of the day, creating valuable and engaging content should always be your first priority.