Getting your website to appear first in a Google search is a combination of many efforts. The blessing and the curse for businesses are that search engines will extract the meaning of the content on a website. This can go either way for you depending on how optimized your site is and how well your website answers search intent. Great content is usually accompanied by a top-ranking and excellent search visibility. So how do you publish great content and prove you fully satisfy search intent?
Choose the right audience
Choosing a keyword is as simple as describing your business. You can get pretty accurate with your keyword selection by simply explaining what your company offers in a way that people type when searching online. To find visitors that are a perfect match for your business, create the perfect buyer persona.
Creating a buyer persona is an exercise that will help you meet the needs of your client on a more personal level. When you go through this exercise the age, occupation, sex, marital status and many personal defining attributes are established. This brings you to a closer understanding of how this person thinks, what’s most important to them and how you can relate to them on a much deeper level than simply describing your product. Knowing your audience is one of the first steps in creating great content because the language you use is more focused and appropriate in communicating your message.
By establishing who your audience is, the subtopics you choose will be tailored to the issues unique to their current life situations. This makes the content you create more relevant to your readers which contributes to optimizing for your main keyword topic.
Optimize for user intent
It’s been said that keywords are dead because we can optimize a page to appear for a search term without actually using that specific keyword. Search engines don’t rely on the presence of keywords to consider a page optimized because they are able to extract meaning from text based on synonyms, LSI keywords, expected terms and associated phrases.
This means that when a search engine assesses your website, it takes into account the titles of all published pages, the subtitles on the pages and the content within to determine whether your site can adequately answer the user’s intent when performing a search query. This capability will match pages to search queries without actually having the search term on the page.
In order to optimize a website to match search intent, publish content that is directly related to the search term to create a hyper-focused keyword topic. The pillar page concept is a perfect example of how to make your site highly optimized for a specific search term.
The pillar page is the main keyword you want to be optimized for which is supported by posts that explain subtopics in more detail. The smaller posts are optimized for smaller search terms that are easier to rank for (usually with less traffic) but are directly related to the pillar page to support your website’s overall coverage of a specific keyword topic. Each page links to the pillar page to show the importance of your pillar page to search engines as well as guide readers to the main page of your site.
Publish shareable content
When the first page of Google is the goal, shareable content will help propel your site to the top by getting more people on your page and giving your content a higher chance of being linked to by other sites. The number of referring domains linked to your page boosts your ranking and although social shares are not a direct ranking factor they give your page a larger audience and a better chance of being linked to by more websites.
Publishing shareable content means creating pages people enjoy reading as well as find value in what is offered. Great content means it is highly relevant to its audience. If you’ve done a thorough job on your keyword research, you should have been able to come up with a few issues or problems that are common to your target audience. By offering the solution to these problems the value of your content increases as well as its shareability.
Post your content to your social media networks to get as much traffic as possible on your site. Use a call to action and ask people to share your content. Social sharing plugins will make it easier for people to pass your page along through their network.
Outperform competing pages
In order to outperform competing pages, you will need to scout your competition. Look at the top ten ranking pages for your specific keyword to see what they’ve published. Take note of the article length, media and referring domains.
Article length isn’t a ranking value but it does affect the length of time a visitor is on your site which is a KPI for a first-page result. Dwell time is a ranking factor that will help you get to the top of search results.
When the goal is to increase dwell time you can make your article longer by including more details and subtopics but the content must be highly relevant and engaging. The top priority is to enhance user experience so if you are mainly focused on creating longer articles you may miss the mark in making higher quality content. Use text and media to enhance the quality of your page and keep visitors engaged.
Video improves dwell time and is the preferred choice in learning about a topic by most people. Include a video at the top of your page to immediately engage your visitors. Combine video with other forms of media to create deeper levels of understanding while increasing your reader’s level of engagement.
The click-through rate your page has will affect your first-page ranking. You can improve your click-through rate by creating headlines that grab the attention of your audience. Use established headline strategies to improve the percentage of clicks your page gets in the search results.
Your meta description also plays a role in determining your click-through rate. Write a convincing description of what’s in store for a potential reader should they click on your site. This is the sneak preview so make the 160 characters work to entice your audience.
The final destination for great content is naturally on the first page of search results. In order to get your website on the map for what your company offers, produce content that helps users find what they need. Know who your ideal audience is and publish hyper-focused content specifically tailored to provide value in their lives to generate traffic that is the best match for your business.