Updated: May 5
It wasn't too long ago that ranking above your main competition in SERPs was easy if you added regular content. Reaching a higher page ranking meant that you could get a better share of organic traffic.
These days it's still true that posting good-quality content is essential for your site if you want to please Google and the other major search engines. Adding regular quality content also works well at a local level.
If you are running a business where your customers live in your local community, search results will rank on location, helping you reach customers on your doorstep. However, good content alone won't be enough to help you compete on a national level.
If your business isn’t actively working on its SEO performance, you’re likely falling behind your competitors. Creative.onl says SEO is “arguably the most important and commonplace digital marketing technique open to businesses in the 21st Century.”
The importance of fresh content for SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about boosting your website rankings in search results relevant to your business. Most SEO experts will commonly target Google rankings, but what works for Google will usually work for the other major search engines.
For Google to rank your website highly, your content needs to be relevant. Basically, what you post on your site needs to be helpful and informative for users seeking more information about a product or service in your field or helps them with a problem or issue.
As Neil Patel explains very eloquently in his blog about SEO Copywriting, you need to understand that you are writing for people and not for search engines.
Good quality written content is highly valuable for SEO because it accomplishes two things; it establishes relevance for the keywords and phrases you use and builds the trustworthiness of your website.
By providing good quality, relevant content, Google will see that your site is trustworthy. It will rank with more authority (higher in the rankings) than a similar site with less quality or non-related content.
Keeping up with consumer mood changes
The landscape of consumer content has undergone a paradigm shift over the past decade. The nature of our website content began to change way back in 2011 with Google implementing the Panda update.
The days of keyword stuffing came to an abrupt end, and quality written content became the norm. In fact, it was seen as the only way to rank well on search engines. However, with the introduction of social media and the advancements in digital technology, consumer mood and demands started to swing more towards infographics, video, podcasts and audio content.
Consumer habits are always changing.
But despite the shift in consumer moods towards consuming more short, instant updates and visual content, there still needs to be a lot of solid, high-quality written content to back up this information.
You could produce and release the most amazing video clips, podcasts, animations and infographics. Still, suppose your site doesn't also have a solid library of written content for your web visitors to dive into. In that case, your site may not look quite as authoritative to Google as your closest rival with tons of blog posts and informative pages, which can affect your SEO ranking.
To stand out to your target audience and meet with search engine algorithms, you need to make sure your website is diversified with different types of content to appeal to everyone.
Providing excellent user experience (UX)
A big part of your SEO efforts is to look at everything you create from your users perspective. Google is now rolling out page experience ranking signals for websites. This is based on 'Core Web Vitals' that measure your site's performance.
Essentially, this means checking that you provide your users with a good experience in terms of speed, ease of navigation and finding the information they are looking for quickly and easily.
Having good quality content will anchor your website and enable you to use relevant keyword optimisation within your content. But if your users find that your content is poor, full of affiliate links, is slow to load or not easy to read, uses irrelevant keywords, or your site contains broken links, it will impact your SEO rankings with Google.
Joshua Hardwick explains this well in his SEO blog. He says it is important to note that any kind of content can be “SEO content”: product pages, landing pages, interactive tools, and even videos. But when most people talk about “SEO content,” they’re talking about blog posts.
Joshua is right about this, and a great way to boost your SEO is to steadily and consistently feed your blog with fresh, relevant and helpful information that you know your users will be hungry for.
Key tips for successful SEO
So, where do you go from here? What do you need to do to boost your SEO?
Probably the most challenging task for you to do is to rank higher than your competition in search results. The easiest way to battle with a competitor is not to battle them at all. You can do this by differentiating your brand from them in some way.
Instead of competing for the same keywords and keyphrases, find what makes you different from your competition and optimise those features instead. If you are targeting the same market audience, then go deeper and go more niche.
Look at what your competition is writing about and take your writing a step deeper. Focus on quality rather than quantity. It used to be common for businesses to churn out blog posts almost daily, but this often resulted in poorly-made content of less quality.
Think about your content design
Today, you need to focus more on quality and solve your user's problems or address their issues if you have any chance of beating out your competition. You need to make your content more about your end-user or customer rather than about yourself.
Good SEO these days is all about user experience (UX). Sarah Richards of Content Design London wrote a post for Yoast on content design and says this: “Content design is answering a user need in the best possible way for the user to consume it.”
At the end of the day, good-quality content is critical for your SEO. Still, to make sure that your content is delivering the right message and is aimed at informing your users or helping to solve their problems, it is worth going back through your content to re-evaluate it for your SEO goals.
This may mean updating or rewriting your older content to refresh the information and make it more user-focused. Or it could mean simply creating more evergreen content that stays relevant all year round, but with a content design that favors user experience for better SEO success.