For More Conversions, Look to Quality Content over Keywords

Think fast. What’s the most important element to consider when creating content for your website? If you answered “keywords!” or “SEO rankings!”, guess again. The truth is, keywords play a vital role in content creation, but serving your audience’s needs should be your top priority. It’s easy to lose track of this critical element – the actual people reading your content – when you set out to develop a solid content strategy. In truth, shifting from a keyword-only strategy to an audience-centric strategy by delivering relevant, high-quality content at the right time will put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to creating content that converts shoppers into buyers.

 

Know Your Target Audience

When creating content, whether it’s for an e-commerce site, a travel destination, a higher education site or anything in between, it’s important to ask several questions.

  • What type of customers are you looking to attract?
  • What is the role of these prospective customers? Are they decision makers? Leaders? Influencers or informers?
  • How can you best get into the mindset of your target audience? Learning to speak their language and address their pain points will take you a long way toward creating relevant and persuasive content.

 

Consider Semantic Search

Two short years ago, mobile search overtook desktop search for the first time. While this had been predicted for years, 2016 was the year it finally became a reality. And people aren’t just clicking away at the tiny keys on their smartphones to perform their everyday searches. Increasingly, voice search is becoming the norm, with devices – and users – getting smarter and smarter at natural language search every day.

Taken together, the rise of mobile search with voice search opens up a massive opportunity to get your brand discovered through these increasingly popular search methods. Incorporating a conversational-style article into your website’s content (think “What time does CVS close?” as opposed to “pharmacy hours”) will not only allow for more aligned indexing, it’s just easier for readers to digest. Which questions are your audience likely to ask? Try this: if you can read it aloud and it feels conversational, you’re probably on the right track. If it feels stiff and stilted, go back to the drawing board.

 

Content Formatting

How do you read content? Do you enjoy massive walls of gray text in a tiny point size with very few paragraph breaks or bullet points?

No. Nobody enjoys that.

We’re all skimmers at heart, so break up your content into sections that make it easy for readers and search engines alike to see what you consider most important. H1 headlines should reflect the overarching theme of your content, while H2s are used as subsections of the H1; H3s are subsections of H2s and so on. Likewise, bulleted lists are both easy to read and easy to skim. Do your audience a favor and use them whenever the chance arises.

Thinking Beyond the Written Word

At Noble Studios, we not only challenge our clients to do this, but we challenge ourselves to use this best practice. Once you have created the first version of your content, ask yourself these questions:

  • How can this article be better?
  • What will engage our audience?

By inverting your initial assumptions and really digging in to look at your content from every angle, you’ll come out with a stronger product. Even if you don’t change anything after asking these questions, at least you will have taken a thorough and thoughtful approach to it.

And, while words are still the foundation on which the Web is built, other elements can help break up your content and add significant value, including high-quality imagery, photo galleries and video content. Video is particularly hot right now, with views on sponsored content having increased a whopping 258 percent on Facebook and 99 percent on Youtube in a short time. Also consider adding infographics, testimonials or stats. These elements all serve to increase trust and can lead to higher conversions.

 

Publish or Perish

In the early days of a blog or website, everyone is gung-ho to contribute. Blogs and articles come at a high frequency for a few months, then, slowly, but surely, the stream slows to a trickle. Before you know it, your blog hasn’t been updated for months. It’s an all-too-common scenario and we’ve seen it time and again. Priorities shift, people get busy with other tasks. All too often, life gets in the way of content.

One way to get unstuck is to create a content calendar. This helps build new muscle memory by keeping fresh content coming at regular intervals. You can use any platform you like, from Google Docs to HubSpot’s free editorial calendar templates or even a home-brewed solution. The point is that you stick with it. And don’t just stop at publishing to your own site. Share your content far and wide – across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and any other channels that are relevant to your target audience.

Need fresh content in a pinch? Dig into the vaults and refresh and older post or Web page to bring your brand back to top of mind for readers. There’s nothing wrong with sharing older posts – it’s all part of the long tail strategy of content.

 

Make Data-Informed Decisions

Make no mistake: numbers and analytics still matter a great deal. But you can balance the need to appease the search gods with the need to create relevant content that speaks to your audience. It’s still critical to track historical behavior using Google Analytics or HotJar. These tools help you see where users are spending time on your site. Also, platforms such as SEMRush, BrightEdge, Google Trends, Quora and many others will help you gain crowdsourced insights to inform keywords for your target audience.

At Noble Studios, we utilize these techniques every day across our client roster, and with proven success. Use these tips as a starting point to boost your own content. And, when you need a helping hand, Noble offers content strategy and content marketing services, so be sure to check out our content services page to learn more.