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What Role Does Content Play in SEO?

What Role Does Content Play in SEO?

content-3Courtesy of Smart Insights and First 10

“Content is the new SEO,” some people say.  In some respects, this statement is true.  Google rewards websites with fresh, interesting content, while website owners prefer to link to other websites that produce high-quality content.  In addition, Google’s hiding more and more data so SEO professionals can’t precisely understand search engine rankings and keywords that drive traffic like they used to.

2 Google Updates Rewarding Content

In terms of internet marketing, these updates are quite old, but they’ve completely changed the way SEO works:

Google Penguin:  This update came out in February of 2011, and it cracked down hard on websites with thin, low-quality content.  Content farms like eHow.com were impacted particularly negatively.

Google Fresh:  Released in November 2011, this update primarily focused on giving preference to time-sensitive content.  In addition, it also provides more juice for websites regularly updating their content.

From this perspective, you really don’t have to do anything but regularly write your best stuff.

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Courtesy of Smart Insights and First 10

But There’s More to it Than That…

So, now you know the high-level aspects of content, and how it helps SEO.  However, at a more technical and fundamental level, here are some things you can do to maximize the SEO benefits of your content:

Keyword research – Target phrases with less than a few thousand local searches per month, as measured in Google Adwords.  You’re most likely to rank for these terms in the coming months, and sometimes, when you’re lucky, you hit the 1st page of Google within just a few days or weeks.  You can get hundreds of additional visitors in some cases.

On-page optimization – In your content, target a primary phrase and place it in the title.  Throughout the rest of the content, include that phrase once every 100 – 150 words.  Add in a few long-tail variations of the keyword.  Link the primary phrase and 1 of the variations back to your home page.   This accomplishes 2 things:  1)  it gives you the best chance of ranking your content for particular keywords and 2)  the additional usage of the phrases make it more likely you’ll rank for those phrases over the long-term.

Develop and rank cornerstone content – On your site, target a few pages to be your “cornerstone pages.”  These pages contain your most powerful content – the content people find fascinating, and that drives conversions.  Throughout your blog articles and other web site pages, link to these pages the most often.  Over time, passing authority to other pages in this way gives them the best chance of ranking for your keywords.

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Courtesy of Smart Insights and First 10

Content is Essential to Your Online Success

If you haven’t figured it out already, make sure you embed it in your mind now – content is what allows you to succeed online.  Interesting stories are great, but now that you know more about optimizing it and the SEO benefits, you’ll get that much more value out of yours.

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