Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) aims to increase a company’s visibility in organic search results. This not only increases the chance for more conversions, but also enhances a business’ ability to rally a growing community around the solutions or products it offers.
Google frequently updates its operative algorithms while staying true to its mission to organise the world’s information in a relevant and accessible manner.
In order to compete and continue to rank high, businesses must keep fine tuning their branding strategies and implement a continually evolving set of SEO best practices.
Three guiding principles
Guides on SEO tend to adopt a technical, jargon-laden language and businesses that encounter sudden drops in their ranking often need to rely on experts to make a diagnosis and prescribe solutions
Sure, there are tons of technical details that ought to be incorporated into SEO strategies. However, by keeping Google’s unchanged mission in mind and following its logic by way of three guiding principles, businesses will rise in the rankings and be better equipped to remain competitive across algorithmic updates.
1. Craft high-quality content
Google ranks websites favourably if they are alive and thriving. This means that a website must be fed new high-quality content on a regular basis. However, merely producing content cluttered with keywords or paraphrasing other content is no longer sufficient.
Content must be engaging and more importantly, it has to be unique. Google has no reason to prioritise one website over others if the information or insights it provides are readily available elsewhere.
Practically, this means content strategists must go beyond mere reformulations. Instead they ought to find a delicate balance between building a coherent narrative around trending keywords and developing their own unique language to frame a brand’s core message and propel a subject forward.
2. Maintain a healthy website
Besides relevance, Google’s core mission is to render information accessible. This relates strongly to user experience.
If visitors to a website are plagued by intrusive ads, misled by broken links, find it difficult to navigate and need to endure slow page speed due to heavy design features, Google assumes user experience to be of lower quality and consequently downgrades a website.
No matter on what device, the rule of thumb is that visitors should be able access their content of interest quickly and be left in peace to consume it.
3. Build a good reputation
Relevant, high-quality and accessible content drives authority. Google seeks prioritises such authority by trying to find the best fit between a visitor’s search query and the pages in question.
This does not just require contextualising keywords into a coherent body of content that keeps readers engaged and lowers the bounce rate. It also means embedding content in a larger conversation through sufficient internal and external links and organically formed backlinks.
Building authority and rising to the top on search engines takes a long time. Apart from optimising user experience, it ultimately comes down to publishing high-quality content that is unique, tailored, engaging, genuine, innovative and yet embedded in a larger conversation.
For such work, content writers need to be able to free up time and laser-focus their energies on the creative process. Content Intelligence (CI) can help with that.
Content Intelligence to release creative energies
We have only just begun to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to the field of content marketing. However, its potential for content creatives is becoming more and more apparent.
Marketing software providers include Curata, Ceralytics, TrackMaven and Conductor. Their CI programmes, which leverage natural language processing and machine learning, allow users to rapidly gain actionable insights into a piece of content and its wider context, and assist in making decisions as to what themes best to develop next and what to avoid.
Although a tool such as Google Analytics provides insight into how content is received, it renders only limited intelligence. It is overly focussed on traffic and keeps content strategists mostly tied to intuitive logic.
CI software on the other hand, maps a brand’s relevant digital ecosystem and provides predictions and prescriptions grounded in big data analyses. Instead of merely quantifying readership and assessing basic online behavioural patterns, CI helps content understand itself: what it’s about, the manner in which it speaks, how effective it is and the emotional responses to it.
Adopting CI into content strategies effectively alleviates stress around data computation and strategic uncertainties, frees up time, assists in finding direction and ultimately enables content marketers to focus their energies on the area where AI technology still does not significantly achieve human genius: the creative process.