Google looks for great content marketing
Search engine “spiders” trawl the web 24/7 looking for content (in case there is anyone out there who might be confused about this, it’s not a real spider – the “spider” is a little piece of code). Importantly, they also return to check on “changes” to sites since their last scan. How often? Who knows – it depends on lots of subjective factors. The results are stored in enormous databases – this is called “indexing”.
So what is Google looking for? The list of factors they consider in their algorithms is enormous (around 200) and arcane, but if there is one thing we can say for certain, they want high quality content. More so all the time. That means the content is driven by the best interests of your readers, not an often misguided attempt to guess what might rank well in search engines. As well, the days of trying to trick Google – so-called “black hat” techniques (link buying, content farms, keyword stuffing and much more) or “gaming Google” – are over (avoid like the plague SEO consultants who make claims about placing you “number one” on search engines). Penalties apply, so be very wary.
As a service professional, what you need is to provide value for your readers. Have you written original content in plain English? Is there a clear interest in the interests of your clients (or prospective clients)? Have you provided a comprehensive FAQ section that addresses the potential anxieties and pain points of clients? Is the biographical information more than a mere recitation of a CV (boring!) – does it instead provide a narrative that is founded on the understanding that this information is usually the first point of contact for prospective clients? Is it humanising? Do you have a unique selling proposition that is well established?
Write content in your client’s shoes
Most Australian professionals are in the relationship business. If I take my own profession, the law, and especially for smaller suburban lawyers, the success of a law firm depends almost entirely on word of mouth. It’s really no different for accountants, superannuation advisors, financial planners, insurance brokers or whatever – the relationships you create are most of the story of your marketing. This is where your website content and content marketing – high quality website content that is optimised for the internet – must reflect the word of mouth that sustains your firm. In part this means you should communicate with clients in a way that is respectful, helpful, informative and (hopefully) egalitarian. This must be the guiding principles of your online content.
To write great content you must be able to step into the shoes of your clients and prospective clients and speak to their needs. What can you tell them that will help them in their day to day lives? Do you have an angle on a common problem they have not considered? How do you differentiate yourself from other professionals?
While you may have given enormous resources to your online content, remember it is not for your benefit but your readers’. Your readers are the first and only judges of that, and so you must always work to engage their interest. You know these people – they are your clients, the ones you meet (or hope to meet) every day. Have you focused on their needs? Yes? Then Google will love you too.