Content marketing has now become a leading digital marketing strategy. More than 90% of B2B and almost 90% of B2C marketers rely on content in every marketing campaign. This also explains the unprecedented growth of expert content writing services across the world.
Google keeps coming up with regular updates and changes that compel digital marketers to devise new, innovative ways for continued search engine visibility. The first Google algorithm update of 2019 – the March Core Quality Update - led to a major upheaval in worldwide search results. The update affected ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) websites, covering topics related to money and health, such as finance, safety, shopping, medical and legal.
The recent September 2019 update, on the other hand, put a spotlight on the quality of backlinks rather than the quantity. As a result, it’s necessary to keep these emerging trends in mind when planning your content strategy and adapt accordingly.
Make the most of micro-moments for a bulletproof content strategy
Modern consumers quickly look up answers to immediate questions. Google groups these “micro-moments” into:
Develop content that utilizes these micro-moments. First, create content that answers consumer questions. Think audio content during flash briefings, FAQ pages, and Facebook and Instagram stories. Make the content available in the most efficient format and deliver it in their moment of need.
For example, don’t waste time piecing together a five-minute video that explains different payment methods accepted by your business; post this information on the FAQ page of your site.
Rely on micro-moments to get straight to the point and provide your audience with the specific content they’re searching for, so they can engage with your brand on a deeper level. Cut down on the time taken to explain answers and move them forward in their customer journey.
Use topic clusters for internal linking
Don’t forget about long-form content. Use articles that are more than 1,000 words to cater to your passionate followers and loyalists. Given how Google’s recent algorithms assign greater value to longer-form content, creating this type of content helps you achieve a higher rank in the search results.
Also, pay attention to topic clusters; multiple long-form, high-quality content pieces focused on a single topic. Content clusters prove to Google that you’re not trying to game the system by developing a few keyword-stuffed content blocks. Instead, you’re dedicated to providing consumers with valuable information on the topic at hand.
For every broad topic covered by your brand, create single, standalone content pieces that cover various subtopics under the primary “umbrella” topic. Then create more comprehensive “cluster content” for each subtopic, linking these pieces to the central content. Take a look at the image below:
The key topic here is “Workout Routines”. Further pieces like “workout routines to lose fat”, “workout routines to get abs”, etc. help cover every aspect of the topic instead of creating just one solid content piece.
Use topic clusters to establish yourself as a go-to industry resource, and capture the attention of your audience and Google algorithms. The key is to create an ongoing strategy for promoting your clusters, revamp category pages to transform them into clusters and market these pages to promote individual articles and assets linked to your subcategory pages.
Enable your content and SEO teams to work together and start promoting these pages on social media as soon as they’ve finished working on them. Use tools like ContentCal to circulate these articles and promote them through your social media channels for better organic visibility.
Pay attention to user intent
SEO elevates your website's position in SERPs and this helps attract more visitors to your website. But convincing people to actually buy your products, subscribe to newsletters, and return to your site later – all this depends on “search intent” or “user intent”.
See the statistics mentioned above. Ask yourself - Does my content resolve the queries of these target demographics? If not, it’s time you focus your content strategy on search intent.
Search intent considers the reason why users conduct a specific search in the first place. Google has become adept at determining search intent over the years. The search engine now assigns a higher rank to pages that not only fit the search term but the search intent of a particular search query. So, make your content fit your audience’s search intent.
Profile your visitors based on user intent to achieve greater user satisfaction and higher rankings by giving customers what they want. Develop your content around three categories of user queries – transactional, navigational, and informational.
Executed by users who’ve done their homework and wish to purchase a product, transactional queries hold the greatest value. Watch out for terms like “pricing”, “requirements”, “comparison” and “integration”.
Users execute navigational queries to know where to go for fulfilling a need. They generally search for a URL or a physical location, including generic product names, brand names, “location” and “address”.
Informational queries are meant for user research rather than purchasing something. These normally include terms such as “how does”, “when is”, “what is”, etc.
Create content that responds directly to all three types of queries for more conversions and clicks. If necessary, use SEO tools like Text Optimizer to reverse-engineer Google’s idea of search intent for search query.
Check out this screenshot from Text Optimizer. This SEO tool grabs search results from your webpage and applies semantic analysis to extract intent tables. Use the generated list of concepts and terms to optimize your content for Google and user expectations.
Also, consider search intent when evaluating if you’re successfully meeting visitor expectations and giving them what they came for. Set up an event-monitoring tool like Finteza to compare performance across various landing pages.
Prepare for natural language search
According to comScore, 50% of all searches will be voice-based by 2020. The younger generation – think future customers – have warmed up to the idea of voice search, and they’re speaking more and more to voice-activated assistants, such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa.
However, remember that how we speak differs from how we type. So, adapt your content to natural language search. Don’t focus on keywords; instead, answer questions just like human beings. So, write “What are the best digital marketing tools for the hotel industry?” instead of “best hotel digital marketing tools”.
Make it a point to:
- Construct full-sentence Q&As in your content
- Add long, specific phrases to headers and titles
- Optimize natural language content for local “Near Me” searches
- Ensure your site is mobile-friendly since most voice searches come from mobiles
- Target longer, naturally phrased target keywords for a conversational tone
- Use rich snippets; Google Sitelinks to help Google find the correct answers for its knowledge graph
Combine these tips to get your content to the top of the search results, get more traffic to your site and increase brand visibility.
Optimize topics, not keywords
Keyword optimization makes a page rank for separate keywords. Topic optimization, on the other hand, makes a page rank for certain keywords, including the primary keyword and its close related terms and synonyms.
Use topic optimization for diverse rankings and satisfying a changing future in content, as Google moves further away from keywords and closer to user intent. Perform a good job on in-depth topics, and you’ll automatically end up touching on numerous ideas that are connected. Be sure to optimize the page properly, indicating both depth and breadth to Google and allow your site to rank higher for a larger range of keywords.
Use techniques that grant topical authority. The easiest method involves taking the piece of content that ranks highest for a specific topic and modifying it to be even better. Consider exploiting areas where the competition has barely scratched the surface. Take a deeper dive with your own content by adding statistics, examples, step-by-step instructions, and figures. However, don’t make the mistake of keyword stuffing.
Remember, the goal is not to write the longest, most in-depth piece of content. Rather, your focus should be on answering pertinent questions through useful content.
A good place to start is:
- Creating a visual timeline
- Creating a full glossary
- Compiling the best possible FAQ/knowledge base on a specific topic
Use grouping tools like Serpstat to identify subjects behind keywords and optimize the entire group of keywords. Because Google search results are used to group keywords based on relevance, you can optimize each group instead of focusing on the individual keywords.
Trends come, trends go – that’s the way Google works. But that doesn’t mean you should resort to run-of-the-mill web content writing techniques. Instead, figure out what seems like a viable trend and adapt your content to meet the needs of customers.
Be strategic when achieving broader objectives through your high quality content and make it difficult for Google to ignore your content. If necessary, hire experienced content writing services to get the job done and develop a content strategy that can withstand the test of time…or, at least, the next couple of years.