Why is a content strategy important?
We alse use search engines, and Google in particular, to answer everyday life and technical questions, and to find products and services which suit our needs: there are a staggering 5.6 billions searches a day in Google, and the number keeps growing fast.
As a result, search is the main channel driving traffic to most websites in the world. This means that if you want new customers to discover your products or services, you need to be visible from Google. And this starts from developing content presenting your offer in an effective way. This is the purpose of the content strategy.
The good news is that Google has been following some very consistent guidelines since the beginning: Google has built this exceptional success story by constantly looking to deliver the most relevant answer to any question.
In a nutshell, if your content is relevant for your customers, it will be relevant for Google as well: so you should start creating your content by putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, and ensure that the way you present your products matches your customer needs, understand the questions they might have, and present attractive and comprehensive answers. This is entirely consistent with the digital ethos about customer centricity. We will develop how you can understand better what matters for your customers, and therefore for Google.
We have our first formula: relevance = authenticity + customer centricity
There are some more good news, as Google is now analysing who is providing the answer to reward companies who have a definite expertise in their product or services, as opposed to opportunistic and smart content writers: the invitation is to be true to your business and demonstrate authority and skills.
Market and keyword research
Whilst your expertise is the most important factor, the choice of words you use to describe your offers is essential too.
In the search terminology, words become keywords to emphasize their importance, and there is a wide range of tools providing the monthly search volume associated to each of them.
The example below shows an example of such a tool (Serpstat) for the search term "digital marketing". It shows that there are, in the UK, at least 20,00 variants for this keyword, with the main terms representing some 22,000 searches a month in the UK.
The high level of competition is apparent with the cost per click on Google Ads being as high as $15.81: yes some competitors are happy to pay up to $16 for one single click.
Whilst "keyword planner" is the most popular method to carry out market research, my experience is that it often lacks the bigger picture: keyword planner provides you with a finite number of suggestions, as opposed to an exhaustive view of the keyword universe in your market. It is also dependent on how comprehensive (and expensive) your paid-search program is.
Understanding the questions and topics associated to your market is also essential to make sure that you provide all the relevant information that a customer will need to purchase your products in confidence. Continuing our "digital marketing" example, the "related questions" and the "related searches" provide us with very useful clues of what needs to be included in the content.
For my own marketing needs, I have developed a comprehensive market research tool, which identifies all the terms and topics generating visits to all the websites competing for services and products. The market map tool identifies all the competitors, withpowerful visualisations to identify how similar their content is ; as well as providing an exhaustive list of terms and topics.
This analysis forms a very strong basis for an actionable content strategy to ensure that your unique expertise gets rewarded by Google by the visibility and visitors it deserves.