Although SEO strategies are constantly evolving to keep up with changes to search engine algorithms, some marketing essentials stay the same. Your company still needs to stand out. Why do customers search for a business? They do it because they have a problem that needs to be solved or because they don’t have something and they’re hoping to find it. The goal of your business should be to solve their problem or fill that void with a product or a service that meets their needs. And you can only do that if the customer can find you.
As we discussed in a previous post, people are increasingly conducting online searches by speaking to their personal virtual assistants on their phones and other devices. This means that searchers tend to ask their search engines questions the way they might ask questions of other people, that is, in complete sentences. Searchers (who are your potential customers) don’t look for what they want using a jumbled mess of keywords piled on top of each other. That means that your company website absolutely should not feature content that is nothing but a heap of keywords either.
The established wisdom that you should write content for people and not for search engines is still true in 2018. Search engines like Google, though not yet sentient beings, are already smart enough to detect when unscrupulous marketers are trying to trick them by stuffing keywords into a webpage. If you try to do this, they might even penalize you for it by shoving your site lower on a list of search results than it ought to be (and certainly lower than you would want it to be). To be found by real human searchers you must be able to tell a story that is engaging to real human readers. And that story should also answer questions that real humans ask.
Creating content for your company’s website gives you the chance to define who you are and what you do. It also allows you to sell yourself to the type of customer who would be most likely to want to patronize your business.
For instance, let’s say that you own a restaurant. Naturally, you want as many customers as you can get. But simply striving to appeal to everyone is not enough of a marketing strategy on its own. What selling points does your business have that sets it apart from the crowd? Maybe your restaurant serves barbecue. Maybe it’s a Thai or Mexican place. Perhaps you cater to diners who want organic fare, or need for their meals to be gluten-free.
Those are the basics, but your content branding strategy needs to go beyond that. Is your restaurant at the cutting-edge of culinary development, or is it full of laid-back, home-cooking fare? Are families welcome there, or do you have a large cocktail menu that might cater to young partiers? Is your place one where people can count on watching the big game while they eat or one where a couple on a first date might have the chance to engage in an intimate conversation? All of this is part of your company’s brand, and it defines how you attract the kind of customers who are most likely to enjoy what you have to offer. And if they like what you do, they’re more likely to come back. Not only that, but they’re more likely to tell their friends about it and to post positive and accurate reviews of your business online.
You tell your story through content. You define your brand through content. And if you do this well, then you get the customers your business wants and you can leverage them to expand your customer base even further.
Content that can attract customers is not just limited to words. Your company’s website should also be aesthetically pleasing, and that means having an appealing layout full of pictures and videos. But remember that multimedia items are great for human browsers but not so good for search engines, which can’t understand this type of content. They can only detect the words that you use to label it. This is why you should make sure to assign accurate and descriptive tags to your visual content. Look at this as a chance to throw in a few extra keywords as well.
For instance, when you upload an image onto your website, give it a title using words that can help a search engine identify that image as something that rightfully accompanies your written content. Returning to the business example we discussed earlier, let’s say that you run a gourmet burger restaurant and that the image seen here depicts one of your signature items. A person can see this for what it is, but a search engine can only see the text connected to it. Therefore, make sure that the filename for this image is something like joeseverythingburger.jpg, and not img64738.jpg. In the same vein, be sure that your alt tag for your image (the words that describe the image for people if it fails to load) is just as helpful and descriptive.
Remember that content is your brand and your brand is your business, so make sure that it says what you need to say to reach your target audience. And, although you should write for people and not for search engines, it’s essential to create content that is accessible to them as well.
If you’re not sure how to do that, reach out to us. We here at Triple Canopy Media would be glad to show you how it’s done.