Guest article written by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.
When it comes to traffic online, content is, was, and perhaps always will be a big deal to small businesses. In our ongoing quest for more clicks, engagements and buys, there may be no greater metric for success than how our visitors interact with our business content. This is especially true as the face of online content continues to evolve (from tried and true blog posts to Instagram photos and beyond) and SMBs must ride the winds of change to figure out what clicks (quite literally) with their respective audiences.
Regarding our content and traffic, Google represents the great gatekeeper that helps drive new and existing business to our sites. While we know the steps that SMBs must take to look bigger in the eyes of Google, the search giant is often viewed as a benevolent yet stubborn master. Although Google provides plenty of tips and tools to SMBs looking to grow their presence online, they also establish the rules of search that may make or break your business and completely transform the way we approach our content. With every new update and algorithm change, we’re at the edge seating, waiting, and wanting to know what to do next.
So, what exactly does Google want from our content today? How is Google now different from Google three years ago? How do we know whether or not we’re following best practices and putting our sites in the best position to grow?
Organic and Optimized
Brands both big and small are spending billions on developing content, meanwhile over 93% of all B2B marketers are rolling out a content marketing strategy. This isn’t some sort of accident either. Businesses know the importance of content marketing, yet often come up short when it comes to rolling out a strategy that works.
Crafting content that is both “organic” and “optimized” may seem like an oxymoron. We may think of organic content as blossoming naturally, while optimized content is robotic yet efficient. These concepts of content, however, go hand in hand. How?
Organic traffic is driven by content from your company’s blog, articles, testimonials, social media presence, photos, videos, and so on. Simply having content is an important piece of the marketing puzzle (along with having a lot of it). We know that we should produce often, but how we craft our content is almost as important as the content itself.
That’s why optimizing keywords, title tags, URLs, and the more “technical” aspects of content become important. Although SEO often scares off many SMBs, it is absolutely paramount to making sure your content has proper search engine visibility. Thankfully, Google has become increasingly transparent in terms of what they want.
With a Personal Touch
Your readership will suffer if Google suspect you are a robot. This remains one of the greatest challenges for today’s small business owners and marketers; finding the sweet spot between readability and optimization. We know all too well that readers will turn off immediately if they suspect they’re reading keyword-stuffed spam, meanwhile such content also suffers if nobody wants to share it via the social network. Therefore give your content a personal touch in the wake of optimization.
What does that personal touch entail?
- An understanding of your audience, what they want and what they’ll respond to
- A clear and natural voice, providing your content with a personality which users can identify with
- A distinct message or call-to-action, reminding your readers of who you are and how you can help them
The Bottom Line
Google pushes these changes to bring the most helpful and valuable content out there to online searchers. If you develop consistent and optimized content with a strong, memorable voice, then Google will reward you with more traffic. So if you focus more on using SEO to your advantage and drop the robot voice, you’ll be on your way to more traffic and business through organic search.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.