If SEO and great content were a love story, they would have started off as friends. Historically, SEO has had little to do with creativity or even quality of content. When the concept of optimisation was in its early stages (in the mid-1990s), pages could push to the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) positions with a barely-intelligible article stuffed with keywords galore. Link-building was a similarly shady story; filling a third-rate third-party site with links to your page could land you in the top search results.
Over the years, SEO and great content have grown closer. This is mainly due to improvements in the complexity of Google’s algorithms, which now have the capability of reading between the lines to determine reliability, relevance and reputation (the 3 Rs often cited in SEO courses) of a page. For Google, precise, creative and fresh content is becoming an increasingly important part of optimisation. Instead of focusing on individual keywords, SEO professionals now have the freedom to think like a customer and not a search engine, to write creatively and not robotically.
Blogs and Case Studies are a brilliant way to take advantage of Google’s changes and reach a wide range of potential customers. Hydratec recently rose to a first page ranking for one of their product keywords, ‘Algi Hydraulics’, following a Case Study on the product which Jade wrote for them here at Austin Marketing. This is a great example of how moving up the search rankings goes hand in hand with great writing which keeps your audience up-to-date with company news. Of course, analytics and keywords are still relevant, and consistent SEO attention has seen Hydratec’s page slowly climbing the keyword rankings from a 3rd to a 1st page position.
It looks like SEO and great content have no intention of breaking up. With the rolling out of RankBrain last year, an update which allows the Google search engines to learn from experience, experts recommend that pages of useful content which answers users’ questions will succeed in the rankings going forward. Looser predictions for future updates include personalisation of results depending on the speed the user is travelling at and trustworthiness scores for individuals. But experts agree that changes will happen at a slower pace, meaning, whatever the future holds, content is set to be a key factor for years to come.
So could this be a never ending love story? It looks likely. Whilst analytics and targeted keyword SEO are still highly relevant, Google’s new updates demonstrate an evolving approach to the concept of relevant content. And it starts with quality and creativity.
Getting to the top of the SERPs (and staying there!) is important for any company. If the right audience can easily find you, you have the chance to engage them with fabulous content, wow them with technical competencies and ultimately get a head start in beating competitors to a contract or order.