elevate your rank on search results - with content
content rules - because relevant content builds relationship
7 Content Rules
7 Content Rules
1. Content rules.
Top among the tools that help your website get seen - is content. Content. CONTENT.
You’re right if you’re thinking that content includes everything on the pages of your website; images, buttons, branding, quotes and articles.
But, when marketing-pros talk about what makes a website hum, they’re talking about content that engages. Specifically, long-form content that engages by adding value. This article is an example of that kind of long-form content.
Content Rules (as in, it dominates) because search engines like content because readers like content.
They especially like orginal content, new content, and content aligned with the goals of your website.
As you design, redesign or update your website, do a little research into key words and pertinent topics. Great content that aligns with frequently-searched words will help you and your business get found by the web-crawling-bots. And, that helps you get found by your potential audience.
Content rules the digital sphere because it’s an authentic way to build real relationships with your clients and customers.
As a thought-leader in your arena - someone who knows their stuff, does their homework and shares from both research and experience why what you’re saying is valuable - you are someone who can build relational-trust with content.
It’s like any relationship. Same rules. Being authentic and helpful is always good. Real relationships won’t last if all you show is the surfacey stuff.
You need to dig down and share ideas that really matter. The article, “The Big Ask,” is an example of real stuff that scores on the authenticity-meter, (hint - because it’s true). This article would score higher on the value-added side of the relationship. Both are real. Both delve below the surface.
When you share authentic and helpful stuff, you cultivate relationships. And, like us, your readers place greater value on content that’s free than on paid-advertising. Because, as in any relationship, a free-exchange (my email for yours) is clearly more trustworthy than a relationship with someone whose trying to buy our love. For that reason, more than all others, content rules.
The 7 Rules
Of Website Content that Rules
Great Content is Optimized, Need-based, Transformative, Engaging, Narrative and Trustworthy. (I’m actually not big on acronyms, but from time to time it’s a memorable device that helps to hold the details together.)
Bottom line? Great content’s organic relationship builds trust.
Whether you’re designing or upgrading your own website (or you choose to hire me to design your website), give some thought to what kind of content will be important to your readers.
Be real. Be helpful. Invest in the start of a great relationship.
Do a quick site-analysis.
How’s your Website’s content?
2. Optimize your website
So you’re ready to add content! Hooray! And, you’ve got some ideas about some of the great content you’d like to see on your website. That’s fabulous.
I’d like to tell you to disregard everything I’m going to say next. Instead, I really want to encourage you not to let it constrain your work. Write about what you know, what you’re passionate about. Throw SEO to the wind and just write.
That said, knowing something about SEO will help as you’re creating your content. It’s a guide - not a dictator. Because, at the end of the day, great content needs to be interesting, genuine, helpful. Go for that.
So here’s what you need to know about content optimization. There are keywords and these keywords should be worked into your content; not in a fakey way, but in ways that are genuinely helpful.
Can you guess which keyword ranks in the CONTENT of this article?
What CONTENT do you suppose that might be? I know, these are trade-secrets and I probably shouldn’t be sharing. But, if you want to crush the competition, then getting your CONTENT right is key.
Learn a bit about the keywords that are resonating with your audience. How can you do that? Ask yourself, what questions will your potential clients or customers type into a search box or speak into their phones?
Experiment by typing in logical searches.
Type keywords and phrases into a search bar to see what the competition is doing. What kinds of words turn up in the headings of your search?
Head that direction; without becoming a copy-cat. Originality is not only scored by those web-searching-bots, but by your readers. Give them something they’re not finding everywhere else.
Those search-bots also like it when your page title, your content, your alt-tags, metadata and URLs all sync-up. An article about CONTENT should talk about CONTENT in the title, the URL and the metadata. Make sense?
Great content will align your website for high SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Ideally, that’s strategically built into your site from the outset, then modified as you continue to learn what works for your audience. At the end of the day, strong SEO is something you can take to the bank with traffic that generates leads, and leads that generate business. Great content not only real and helpful, but it’s optimized so you, your work, your website, your business - can be found.
Take the Fast 5-Question Eval to rate your website’s welcome factor.
3. Need-based & Relevant
There’s a lot of content out there, but as you know. Not all of it is helpful.
Standing out from the crowd is easy with content that actually provides useful information.
Talk with those you serve. Learn about their challenges. Let their voice shape what your website has to say.
The best websites help you accomplish a project or solve a problem.
Think about how you use the internet. You have a question. You want answers. You may make a reservation, an appointment or buy a product. But, before you do any of that, you’re going to look around. You’re going to learn something about your choices.
Be the website that helps people learn.
Be the website that’s top of mind when people are looking for the products, services or solutions you offer.
Dated photos, old stories and past-due stats say, “irrelevant.” Stand out by by keeping what you do current and relevant.
When your website connects with real needs, your site’s reputation and credibility increase exponentially.
As you consider ways to scale-up your site, consider including stories from actual clients and customers; include the struggles they faced and how your service or product made a difference. Relevant content.
Transform an average website into extraordinary with content that makes a difference.
Learn more about your audience’s pain-points. What struggles, questions, fustrations do they have?
What can you contribute to the conversation? Are there real-life struggles that you or a client have faced; how did you or your business help them transform ordinary frustrations into extraordinary solutions?
Sharing stories of transformation encourages others with similar struggles. That’s “value-added” content! In a customer-centric market, being a self-centered business or site will make you irrelevant quickly. Value-added content helps you be genuinely invested in your customer.
Blog, publish ebooks, include how-to articles. Some of the best websites out there help customers to own their own success. REI includes resource-articles on outdoor-sports. Disney includes help for planning your itinerary. There are beauty sites that let you try on a different haircut, and car-sites that let you compare their cars against competitors.
Consider your audience’s questions - and write an answer. If they’re looking for a product, explain how yours works and include insider-tips.
Your audience likes to learn.
So, show them how to do something. In our home, we’ve learned how to fix dishwashers, inflate large objects, make recipes, put a boat on a trailer and pack a cargo-van - from value-added objects on other’s websites. Offer value-added content and build a relationship of trust with your audience. Before people buy from you, they need to trust you.
Value-added content that transforms outcomes is huge.
Your audience is made up of current and potential customers who will give you about 3-seconds to catch their interest before they “bounce” out and onto other sites that will capture their attention.
Get beyond boring by engaging your reader in one or more of these ways:
blog about their challenges
ask them what they need; research and write about that
share what you’ve learned from others or your own experience
offer a chat option
In digital, content rules (pulls rank) because it gets you seen, heard, and shared. Great content is how you engage with your current and potential clients.
Contrary to 1960’s marketing, great content isn’t about what management wants others to hear or think - it’s about what the audience is thinking and what they’re eager to hear about. That’s a complete 180-degree turn.
Content that’s in sync with your readers needs and goals is content that rules.
Recall keywords (#2), and how you can engage customers by making sure your website has the right keywords and info (#3) for your audience? Well, one way to tell if you’re engaging your site’s visitors is to keep your eye on the click-through-rate (CTR). Most platforms (including Squarespace) provide some analytics free of charge. When readeres “click-through” you have a good indicator of engagement. When they give you their email in exchange for something you’re giving them, levels of engagement increase.
Keep an eye on what pages are working for you, and which are not.
Are the links working? Do links follow naturally from related content? Do people find the content on the page that they expected to find when they clicked through. Time-on-page reports will give you a sense of whether they’re finding what they came for - on your site.
In digital, it’s all about learning what’s working and making adjustments. Websites are never one-and-done. Your site will benefit from an ongoing investment in content that is need-based, relevant and engaging.
Invite your readers to see behind the scenes. Share photos that give an insider view. Tell client stories. Ask great questions. Share ideas they can use. The best content engages.
Engaging content causes readers to think their own thoughts, solve their own problems, and feel grateful to you for helping them get there. Engagement builds trust, and trust is the beginning of any great relationship.
Tell a story. Stories change brain chemistry.
Tell your story about why you do what do. Tell the story of your business, how it got built and why it does what it does. Tell the story of a client or member of the community that you helped. Tell a story.
Storytelling will increase the chances that a user will actually read your content. You can tell stories with words, graphics, or photos. Storytelling helps your audience to engage their emotion, their memory, and their ability to retell and recall.
Good stories always include an insurmountable problem, how you tried to solve it and failed. And, ultimately what it took to get to breakthrough. Good stories help us to imagine how we might have handled the same situation, often inspiring us to be the heros in our own stories.
Useful content is credible content.
Let your passion for serving your clients show through. Be authentic. Represent yourself and your business accurately. Build trust by engaging your clients with your commitment to them and to the industry your serve.
Share an opinion about a recent news story that's affecting your industry or audience. By taking the lead you’ll benefit from the extra boost of being one of the first to comment on an industry topic.
When you create bold content that connects with your audience, your voice will resonate in meaningful ways, making your website a go-to resource.
Create regular content that’s original.
Your best content will be ideas, thoughts, pictures and graphics that are launched from your wheelhouse of expertise. Write out of what you do and know; your stuff, even if if doesn’t look “slick” is always better than copying what someone else is doing. Your audience likes “real.” Go for authentic.
Yes, scour the internet for ideas to get your creative juices flowing, but then do your own thing. You might also consider a regular content series. Pick a day and add themed content every week, on that day. It’ll keep your readers connected and help you to stay disciplined.
As you power-up your content, remember that content includes everything on the pages of your website; images, buttons, branding, quotes and articles. And, long-form content that engages by adding value is a premium.