Most membership organisations have good placement on the search engine results page (SERP) for their organisation. However, it is likely you’ll want specific content to be found through search, so ensuring you are using best practice for SEO is important when creating content.
Search is a really important channel – it is reported that 61% of traffic for business websites comes from a mix of organic and paid (e.g. Google Ads) search results.
Google’s algorithms (the model they use for deciding which content is displayed when a search is carried out) are continually evolving and becoming more sophisticated. It can be easy to get stuck using previous best practice, when Google (and other engines) have moved on. These are my suggested 4 key elements for good optimised content:
1) Quality over quantity
Quality content is paramount. Quality content incorporates great unique writing, good visual design and a great user experience. Whilst visual quality and the User Experience (UX) are not qualitative factors in search engine rankings, the quality of content should always be a factor when publishing and the knock-on effect of bad UX can cause rankings to drop.
Select one or two keywords and use them wisely and within context. Do not try to incorporate these keywords as much as possible, as search engines are evolving to recognise ‘keyword stuffing’ and it will negatively affect the ranking of the content.
70% of searches are ‘long-tail’, which means the search term is longer than just a keyword and are generally more specific, so something like “accountancy exams in London” which presents an opportunity to provide content to match these searches. Somebody searching such a specific term is more likely to be interested in engaging with, or purchasing from, your organisation, compared to a keyword search like “accountancy”. Although difficult to predict, it is worth trying to work out what some of these long-tail searches could be and include them in or provide an answer to them in your copy.
Inbound, outbound & internal links – they’re all important. High quality link building can make a huge difference in search engine rankings and it is important not to favour one type of link over another – links from external sites to your own are equally as important as high-quality outbound links and linking to relevant pages within your own site adds to a great user experience, which is also necessary for high rankings and to create high-quality content.
4) Page factors
Search engine rankings are not just based on the content seen by readers – meta tags, titles and image descriptions have a big influence on making sure that your webpages rank highly in search results.
Your keyword(s) should be included in the first 65 characters of your page title. And your URL offers an opportunity to include your keyword(s) too.
Both short and long-tail keywords should be placed as close to the beginning of meta description information as possible, alongside relevant information and additional key information about the content.
If your website has a SEO tool in the CMS, use it!
Search marketing can be hard to keep up with, but Google’s tools including Google Webmaster and Google Trends are very useful for helping improving your rankings. SEO is a long game, as it takes a while for your content to move up the search, but it cannot be ignored.