SEO is the invitation to the world that you’re open for business!  The non-geek easy guide to using SEO in your web content (part 2 of 2)

Welcome back! In part 1, we talked about:

  • BERT (Google’s newest algorithm for searching using natural language), and
  • SEO (search engine optimization) and the its importance to your business so clients connect to you

Now, we’re going to dive into how to write your content so that Google easily finds you. And when Google finds you, your clients can find you.

Google is consistent with change

Change and Google go hand-in-hand these days.  As technology advances for the general public, Google responds. 

In 2019, BERT became the newest revision of how Google searches and BERT won’t be the last.

In the last few years we’ve also seen the changes in voice recognition with Siri (remember the “Big Bang Theory” episode with Raj falling in love with Siri?) and Alexa. 

When you’re writing your content for the web, you need to keep all of these changes in mind.    The best tip is write as if you’re having a conversation with a friend, rather than lecturing.

Google wants to look good, too

Before you look at your keywords and BERT-friendly writing, remember that Google searches web content for expertise, authority, and trust. Google wants to be seen as a reliable resource, just as you do.

Heather Lloyd Martin, a leading expert in SEO, uses the following example to explain Google’s core values:

“EXPERTISE – does the company/writer have expertise in this area? How helpful, detailed and useful is the page? YMYL pages are held to a higher standard.

AUTHORITY – is the site/writer a recognized “authority” on the topic? This is where having a niche can come in handy.

TRUST – is the content published by a reputable site?

Even a small business site can have E-A-T

Plus, Google recommends a “satisfying amount of high-quality content.””

If we look at building blocks for SEO, start with a strong foundation and use these core principles to write your content.

Mix in customer need

This is the fun part.

Q. What is your customer looking for?

A.  Answers to their questions!

Do you know your customer – who are they, what do they need, how do they search?

If you’re not sure or clear, do your research. 

After all, there’s no point in  wasting time and money writing content nobody is looking for.

  1. Understand your customer’s journey.
    1. Where are they? Are they just starting to look for information – very early stages of gathering
    1. Are they further along, now they have information they can tighten up their search and be more specific
    1. Are they absolutely clear on what they need and ready to connect
  • Check with your customers and be sure you understand their journey:
    • Check forums like Quora to see what questions your customers are asking in your industry – verify you’re answering the questions customers are asking
    • Use your customer’s language when writing
  • At each stage of the journey, your customer has different questions. 

Your information needs to answer all the questions. Take your time to write thoughtful, simple content to help your customer understand and decide their next steps.

  • Show your expertise using a friendly and conversational tone. Write in a warmly inviting way and use visuals (which you also use SEO and tags with).
  • Consider trending topics to help you with your content and wordsmithing. If you want to check out some resources Buzzsumo is a good resource (with a paid subscription) to start with.

How to find keywords, phrases

Keywords are the words people will use most often while searching online.  Keywords are words describing the content of your web pages, blogs and posts. 

Ideally, the keywords customers are using to search with are matched by the keywords in your content.

This is why it’s valuable to understand how your customer is searching. Your content will echo the customer’s question through your word choice, and in answering by repeating parts of the question.

For example:

Your customer is looking for a great steakhouse that service Brazilian beef in Vancouver. 

Your web content could include the phrases “We serve only the best Brazilian steak in downtown Vancouver. Raised by the top ranchers in Brazil, the beef we use becomes best steak in town. ”

That’s a simplistic example. But it shows the formula of answering the question by reframing the question into the answer and weave in the keywords.  

It’s easy make it a habit to use the words your customers are using.

Check the competition – learn from them, too

When you’ve got a draft written, pour a coffee or make a cup of tea, settle in, and search your competition.  

Remember, there are giants in the industry with massive marketing budgets and inhouse writers creating content full time.  You can take a look at those sites, but they have resources you probably don’t. That’s not you and it’s OK. 

We’re looking at how you can be your best.

One way to start is by using your keywords (which are based upon your customer’s search terms) to search and see what pops up on Google.

You’re going to pay attention to the information showing on the first page of Google. And don’t panic.  Skip over the paid ads and scroll down to the organic ones and go to page two.

Organic search results are those that are ranked by content and use (rather than paid  advertisements).

“70-80% of search engine users are only focusing on the organic results.” (MarTech, 2018)(Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

These are sites whose content and SEO are best matching Google’s BERT and SEO paradigms without paying for advertisements.

When you look the sites on the first page of a Google search:

  • what keywords are used (can you find them in the writing)
  • what questions are being answered (directly and indirectly)
  • and what quality is the content

The reason these sites are on the first page of a Google search is because they’re hitting the mark.

Is there anything you can learn from these and incorporate into your content?

Is there anything you can add to bring something unique to your site? Does you need more content? Maybe yes or maybe no.  This can be influenced by your industry and how your customer responds.

As BERT continues evolving, searching will keep shifting.  As voice searching gets more sophisticated, searching will keep shifting.

Answer the questions

Before BERT, your site might get great ratings because it answers one question perfectly for the customer. Other times, even though it’s the same content, it might not get noticed if the customer has asked the question differently. 

But, if you’re clever and as BERT becomes more popular, you’ll develop the skill to write friendly and conversational content responding a broad range of search terms.

And a simple tip: remember to use all your pages on your website.  That might sound silly, right?

Sometimes business owners forget to use SEO on all their pages.  The more quality content you have, the more SEO you should use. This gives more for Google to check and rank.

Finally

At the core, remember the values Google starts with – “expertise, authority and trust” (from Martin).

Skillful SEO writing is subtle and invisible. Informative content incorporates SEO, so the customer feels satisfied because their questions are  answered.

If writing SEO friendly content is outside your comfort zone,  there’s help out there. You can connect to a copywriter who specializes in using SEO. And, you can also look for a copywriter who understands your niche.   

The good thing about using a SEO copywriter is they’re up to date with the changes in SEO and Google. 

If you’ve great older content in a blog or on your website (even from a year ago) it can be worth your while to talk to a copywriter about checking and updating the content so it can continue to be found.

There’s lots going on in the SEO world and staying on top of it is a smart step in promoting your business.