By now, pretty much every small business out there knows that SEO is important. Many spend a good deal of time and money doing keyword research, and creating a marketing and content strategy based on that research. 

And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re still creating content that actually helps your customers. If not, sorry – but you’re wasting your time. Here’s why.

Why the best (and most effective) content marketing is aimed at people, not search engines

In case you hadn’t realised, the folks at Google are pretty smart. If you ever fell victim to so-called black hat SEO strategies – which tried to ‘hack’ Google’s algorithms and manipulate ranking factors to increase a site’s ranking in SERPs – you learned this the hard way. 

Remember, every search engine’s number one priority is pointing its users to the most relevant and useful information available on their query. Since the early days of SEO, search algorithms have become way more sophisticated. As it stands now, content quality is one of the most important (if not the most important) ranking factor of all.   

In fact, Google states this themselves in the basic principles section of their webmaster guidelines: “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.” 

In addition, factors like how much time people spend on a page and how many people share that page on social media also affect your ranking way more than whether or not you have certain keywords in that content. And people aren’t going to share your posts or spend time reading them from start to finish if they’re stuffed with meaningless keywords or phrases that don’t actually add any value.    

As it turns out, the more useful your content is for humans, the more search engines will reward it.   

Other benefits of quality content 

Aside from making Google happy, consistently posting helpful, interesting, relevant, and engaging content has countless other advantages for your business: 

  • You’ll build and grow a loyal audience – both on your website and on your social media platforms.  
  • People will engage with and share your content. 
  • Your brand reputation, awareness and authority will grow. 
  • You’ll generate much higher quality leads, more often. 
  • Compelling, persuasive content = higher conversions. 
  • Content marketing is extremely cost-efficient with a great ROI, which makes it ideal for small business marketing.

And as a not-so-insignificant side benefit, your visibility in search engines and organic traffic will increase all on their own.    

How small businesses can create quality content 

Here are some simple tips for creating content that your audience will love. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to check out our free comprehensive guide on using content marketing to grow your small business!

Aim to provide long-term value

While topical posts and trending topics are a good way to get attention, evergreen content is better for drawing a consistent audience. Start with the questions your customers will always want the answers to, and aim to create content which answers those questions. 

Do your research and link to relevant sources 

Don’t ask your customers just to take your word for it, but back up any statistics or claims with links to trusted external sources.

Keep it simple! 

Remember that the people reading your posts might come from vastly different educational backgrounds, and English may not even be their first language. Try to deliver the facts in an easy-to-understand manner, and avoid complicated jargon or highly idiomatic language – especially if you cater to an international customer base outside of Australia. 

Make your content scannable 

Few people actually read a web page from top to bottom. Instead, we tend to scroll down and scan the page, looking for clues that it has the answers we’re looking for. Convince readers that your content does by including bullet points and short paragraphs with clear subheadings. 

Diversify your media 

Whenever possible, include graphics, video or photos that make your content more visually appealing and interesting. 

Offer something unique 

Find ways to set your content apart from everything else that’s available on the web. This could include your own data or research, or simply offering a unique perspective on the topic. 

Need a little help? Creating quality content takes time, practice, and sometimes a little bit of magic. Prefer to dump the whole process on someone else? Hunter & Scribe’s content writing experts are happy to help!