Although inbound marketing has made great strides over the past decade, search is still a dominant force when it comes to reaching potential customers online. In fact, Google alone boasts over 3.5 billion searches per day–roughly 40,000 queries per second.

How Search Engines Have Changed

Over the past several years, the rules for creating content were pretty standard– create a lot of quality web content targeting popular and long-tail keyword phrases, and capture leads by offering additional content to visitors in exchange for their names and/or email addresses. Pretty straight forward.

But search is evolving, and those tried-and-true methods of the past decade are losing steam. Search is changing in a couple of ways:

First, searchers are changing in the way they search for information. Years ago, if someone was looking for a web designer in Foxboro, they might search “web designer Foxboro.” Now, searchers are searching more conversationally, and are more inclined to type in something like “best web designer near me.”  

A recent study by Arefs showed that the majority of keywords are now four or more words in length. This is partially due to the fact that over 20% of searches done via mobile on Android devices are now voice search. Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and other virtual assistants are essentially training users to be more conversational with their searches. This is a nod to the increased quality and quantity of content available online.

Second, search engine updates have led to more quality search results and a better overall search experience. Gone are the days where search results were heavily based on exact matches. Now, thanks to updates disguised as cute little animals like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, search is more intuitive and looks for intent and meaning based on the searcher’s query. Content creators have had to shift focus to write more for the user rather than stuff in variations of keywords to show up higher in search results.

Tips for Creating Searchable Content Today

So does this mean that keywords are no longer relevant? No. However, if you are creating content to help drive traffic to your business, it is time to shift focus.

1. Focus on topics rather than keywords.

What topics do you want to be known for?  Build your quality content based on these broader topics (and related sub-topics) rather than focusing on every keyword variation you can come up with to create content for. Yes, you will still use those keywords, but keep topics broad and deep.

Try to organize your content by topic on your website. HubSpot does a great job with this by having three separate blogs, each one chock full of sub-topics related to the main topic of the blog. Using tags and categories within a blog is also helpful.

2. Create an updated keyword list based on most recent search queries.

Because searchers are evolving in their queries, it is time to update that old keyword list. Click here for detailed instructions from Search Engine Watch on how to perform keyword analysis.

3. Know your audience.

Who is your audience? What is the average time a visitor stays on a given page of your website? What are they most interested in once they are on the site? How do users respond to the channels where you post your content?

If you are a restaurant owner, you can expect that website visitors will not want or need to spend a great deal of time on the site. Typically they are searching for your contact information, location, catering services, or menu. In this case, look to provide quality information that is short and to the point, including proven keywords. If you sell tech products, long-form content will be more likely to be consumed as potential customers gather information to decide on a purchase.

4. Create Content with a User-Friendly Structure.

Here are some guidelines for engaging, easy-to-read content:

  • Utilize headings to break up content.
  • Keep paragraphs and sentences short.
  • Create white space to separate pieces of content.
  • Use bulleted and numbered lists to allow users to skim.
  • Leverage high-quality images to engage readers.
  • Create a variety of types of content (video, podcasts, blog posts, infographics, GIFs, etc.).

The takeaway: Search is changing. So should your content. Focus on the topics/subtopics you want to be known for, know youraudience, and create appropriate, keyword-infused content based on your topics and your audience.

It is a fact that business websites with more quality content draw more website visitors than their counterparts. Do you need help creating focused, search-friendly content to increase website traffic, leads, and, ultimately, customers? OpenVine’s content creation team can help you create content and perform content marketing on your social media channels to help you reach your goals. Contact us today to learn more.

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