Alethea Spiridon, Content Editor, Pedestal Search
It’s one of those trifle “techy” things other people are hired to worry about, to figure out, to plod through from nine to five. And no one but a few people in a company will truly know how important it is.
Fair enough, we can’t all know everything about a business we run or manage or have a stake in, but it behooves leadership and management to know and care about SEO content if there’s a company website (and in 2023 you should all be online). I feel rather strongly about all of this. But I’ve been knee-deep in content for decades, in one way or another, so I know words matter and why content is important for SEO—and a large part of SEO strategy are the words, the content.
Content is King, but words are the Queen
Bill Gates, in 1996, wrote an essay where he said content is king, a much-bandied about phrase since he wrote those words.
But he also wrote in that same essay that “no company is too small to participate.” And now more than ever, we need to truly consider those words, because I know many small-to-medium enterprises don’t give much thought to content and how they use it, or have it created. Larger organizations do, for the most part. But it’s something all businesses need to seriously think about and put money toward.
We spend so much on the technical aspect of managing SEO and websites and data, and don’t often put the same kind of pocketbook respect to the content side of things, and this is what will hurt businesses down the road. Expecting your content and website to be found in an ocean of pages on the internet without help is like asking to find a specific droplet in that ocean. It’s an impossible task. But search is your lifeline and oxygen mask.
Content might be king, but words are the queen, and the money you spend hiring talent to make that magic happen is the ace in your pocket, putting you leaps and bounds ahead of many businesses. Global online content consumption doubled in 2020. People have yet to tire of consuming content, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. But at the rapid pace we’re consuming it, there has been a decline in quality, in the caring that goes into content curation, and that simply can’t happen. Not now.
In fact, Google won’t let it happen for the part they play in quality of content (and for them it’s the whole package that is your website, and if Google doesn’t like what you’ve done with that website, based on a ton of metrics, your website is swimming with the fishes). What my top concern as Content Editor is quality content, and I’ve been fighting this battle and marching to this beat for a long time, as a writer and editor. Quality of content and a fast, functional website are key. This is where SEO comes in.
Google SEO Pays Off
When I ran my communications company full-time, one of the first initiatives I took as a new business owner was to create a website, a good one, from scratch. I hired a solo designer and paid him thousands of dollars, money I didn’t have as a single mom just starting out as an entrepreneur, but I knew with everything in me that this was where the bulk of my “budget” had to go. I didn’t know a lick about SEO at the time (2006) but apparently my web designer did and he SEO’d my site so well that I ranked on page one of Google for years without even trying. My domain had what I did right in it and I had keywords about what I did and the services I offered throughout the site, and he used all of this (that happened organically) to optimize my site so I could be found. And found I was.
I was even the third from the top on page one for a long, long while once I started buying Google ads (also important). A heavily and properly optimized website plus Google ads, along with relevant and good page experience for my audience put me top of the charts as it were for years. So when I preach the virtues of SEO and all that it entails, I actually know what I’m talking about. I managed to work as a solopreneur for thirteen years while I raised my son in many ways thanks to good SEO practices. Imagine what you can do with a real budget and a team!
Evolve or Die! (Harsh but True)
Don’t get distracted and forget the fundamentals, and good SEO practices are fundamental. Without them, you’ll fall behind. Evolve or die, it’s as simple as that. And SEO has been evolving constantly since we started doing it way back in the 90s when we thought keyword stuffing was a good idea (it isn’t). Good content keeps the user (receiver of the words) top of mind. We write content for lots of clients and all those clients have various goals in mind, but we always need to remember who the audience receiving this content is. What do they want and how can we give it to them in an engaging, organic way?
We’re all tired of being “sold to.” The winners and leaders in this next step of the SEO-content-digital journey will understand that and will approach content and SEO strategy with a more holistic approach. The hard sell doesn’t work anymore, if it ever really did. Like that time I was basically held hostage in a conference room trying to be sold a timeshare. That aggressive approach didn’t work, not one iota, and neither will creating content that doesn’t add value to the audience, your client/consumer.
Add value, optimize, be original, stay ahead of the curve, and really want what’s best for your audience. This is a simple recipe for online success. Complacency and “doing what’s always been done” isn’t an option.
Create Good SEO Practices Now to Stay Ahead of the Curve
Keeping up with changes is critical today, and there are many. If you don’t, you won’t stay where you currently are; you’ll fall so far behind you’ll have to start from scratch.
Creating good SEO content that’s smart, evolved, and original means:
- Creating high-quality and original content: Google prioritizes original, well-thought-out content over low-quality content (go to page twenty-nine). Your content should be well-researched, engaging, and provide value to the target audience. Content should be unique and offer something different from what’s currently out there.
- Optimize for user intent: Google’s algorithms are increasingly focused on delivering the most relevant results based on user intent. Consider the user’s pain points, motivations and needs, and create valuable content that solves a problem.
- Focus on local SEO: If a local business, optimize for local SEO to appear in the top results when someone searches for a product or service in your area.
- Embrace new technologies: Keep up with the latest technologies and trends in SEO, such as voice search and AI. Natural language processing (NLP) is fast becoming the move you need to stay on top of. NLP, a branch of AI, is making it so that search can now handle queries that are more organic and true to how people speak. Voice search queries are more conversational and natural-sounding than traditional typed searches. Content should be optimized to include natural-sounding phrases and questions that people are likely to use when speaking. This is where we’re going next (which means you should probably start thinking about updating your older content to match this development).
By following these best practices, you can create a smart, evolved, and original SEO strategy that delivers results and helps your business succeed. Staying put and doing what you’ve always done is barely a way to keep your head above the water, let alone lap your competition and get you to the other side with plenty of oxygen to spare.
About the author:
Alethea Spiridon is the Content Editor at Pedestal Search, overseeing the content team where she ensures quality control and consistency of style and brand across SEO-driven content, alongside editing content created for clients. She’s been an editor and writer for over twenty-three years, with a degree in English and graduate certificates in book and magazine publishing, and creative writing. Helping clients achieve success through engaging, solid content is rewarding and she can’t preach the virtues of good content that’s done well enough.