Content strategy for websites: how to get more traffic quickly
Written by Brendan WrightJul 06, 20
Even the smallest business can find success online with good SEO (search engine optimisation). With an effective SEO strategy underpinning your website, your pages and blog posts will rank higher on Google and other search engines and more customers will find you at the right time.
The problem is: every business knows this. If you're only using basic SEO techniques on your website in 2020, you won't have the chance to stand out against your competitors.
What's more, many SEO agencies still follow outdated rules or focus too much on activities that don't make a significant difference to their clients' success, when they should instead be focusing on a solid content strategy.
Why is content important in a website?
Every aspect of your website plays a role in your digital strategy, from good design and usability to links back to your website on other sites. But none is as influential as content when it comes to ranking on search engines.
The first rule of SEO is creating content that includes popular keywords related to your business. The idea is that your website will have the chance to appear when people search for those terms.
Of course, the reality isn't that straightforward, and some businesses feel disappointed when the page they've written doesn't appear on the first page of search results for a topic. But really, that's to be expected.
Google and other search engines use complex algorithms that judge websites according to many criteria when deciding where to rank them in search results, including the site's authority. This ensures they're giving users the best quality results for their search queries.
So, if you've only published a couple of pages targeting certain keywords, should you really be ranked higher than another website that's invested heavily in creating lots of quality content around those themes?
SEO isn't a quick fix or a way to cheat your website to the top of search engines. It's about understanding what search engines want and providing this better than anyone else in your field so you can enjoy long-term rewards.
That might sound intimidating, but any business that commits to a good content strategy can increase its website traffic by thousands of unique visits over just a few months. Here's how.
How to plan your content strategy
The following technique takes a lot of commitment (if you're writing your own content rather than using a digital agency or copywriter), but it's proven to help websites build authority and increase their page rank on search engines to reach more customers.
This approach involves structuring your website as an authoritative content hub with multiple 'silos' capturing many variations on the search queries you want to rank for. This involves careful planning before you even write a single word of content.
Step 1: Choose your major topics
If you haven't already done keyword research, now is the time. Free tools such as Google's Keyword Planner let you enter the broad topic or products you want to target. For each of these, you can see the exact phrases people are using on search engines and how popular they are.
Choose the main topic or topics relevant to your business that you want to rank for on Google. These will be at the top of your content silos, but trying to rank for these keywords right now won't be very successful. For that, you need to build a strong foundation.
Step 2: Choose specialist sub-topics
For each general keyword phrase, you'll find many more 'long-tail' keywords that get more specific. These usually have much lower search volumes, but they can also be a lot easier to rank for if they're relevant to your business.
This is where SEO for a small business website should begin. Ranking for specialist search terms with comparatively low search volume will help to establish your authority on search engines and support your later content that will target more popular search terms.
Step 3: Moving on up
The next step is to choose a related long-tail keyword phrase that has a higher search volume (preferably double) and repeat until you reach the top keyword in the silo. The number of steps it takes to get there depends on what type of search volume your top keyword has, as incremental steps are better than leaps.
Each piece of content you create to target these keyword phrases should link to the pieces directly above and below it in your hierarchy. This linking structure shows Google that the search terms are related and creates strong foundations for your most important content.
Step 4: Create a content calendar
How many content silos you want to create depends on your time and resources, but the more relevant keywords you target, the more people will see your content in search results and visit your site.
A single silo could get you hundreds of unique visits per month – depending on search volumes and how much content you create – so having multiple silos will multiply this effect.
Timely publishing of content is important for maintaining momentum and hitting your targets quickly. It can take a few weeks for Google to notice new pages and add them to its search index, so the sooner you can publish your foundation content, the better.
Creating a content calendar and keeping it up to date will help you or your writers to stay on top of deadlines and know what's coming next.
How to write content for search engines
Targeting keywords isn't all it takes to rank on search engines. Since not everyone speaks in convenient keywords when using Google, the content you publish also needs to cover your topic in ways that search engines understand, and this is where many websites fail.
Writing for search engines involves an understanding of natural language processing (NLP). This is the algorithms that Google and other search engines use to understand more complex search queries and deliver relevant results.
NLP is becoming increasingly important with the rise of voice searches, as it's a major component of voice analysis on smartphones and smart devices such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Home. The six degrees of NLP when it comes to SEO are:
Your content strategy should cover all of these to help you reach as many people as possible.
Entities are a vaguely-defined but incredibly important component of SEO in 2020. They help to direct users to what they're looking for even if they enter non-specific or related terms.
You can find entities for your topics by seeing what other phrases appear in search results or image searches when searching for your target keywords.
Better known as the 6 W's – who, what, where, when and why (and how). Question words are becoming increasingly important for SEO now that many people are using voice searches, which are more likely to be spoken as sentences than typed searches.
There are lots of opportunities to incorporate questions into content, such as in titles and subheadings, rhetorical questions and FAQs. Providing a short, clear answer below the question improves the chance of being featured in search results.
Taking keywords literally can get very repetitive if you keep using the same phrase over and over. Mixing it up by reordering the words can improve the reading experience as well as help you target the different variations that people may be using.
If they're not already included in your keywords, consider the adjectives (descriptive words) that people may include in their searches to make long-tail keywords even longer. Depending on the service you're offering, modifiers such as 'best,' 'cheapest' or 'faster' could help you to reach more people.
Including positive emotional terms in your content may cause Google to associate these sentiments with your website, but real feedback from users is more effective. This can be obtained by opening your website's blog to comments or featuring testimonials from satisfied customers.
You'll notice synonyms for your topics (alternative words with the same meaning) when browsing keyword lists. Including some of these on your pages can help you to rank for these phrases and for your targeted keyword, as Google will likely see the connection.
Should I write my own content?
Following these steps and reading other online writing guides will give you a good start on creating your own content, but many companies choose to outsource this responsibility to a professional by hiring a writer or a complete SEO agency.
While this is an extra cost, having an experienced SEO copywriter writing your website, blog posts, social media updates and other content will improve the chance that your content strategy will be successful.
You'll also save considerable time when you don't have to plan and write your own content, time which can be spent on other aspects of your business and personal life. Taking on too many duties could mean deadlines are missed and your content calendar will lag behind.
If you want to create or improve your website with high quality content, talk to iST Digital's SEO experts in Perth. We can help you with every part of your website, whether it's building it from the ground up or populating it with well-optimised content.
Get a quote today & talk to one of our local Perth content experts.