Adam Barber

How to develop an effective content strategy

If you own or manage a website, you'll know that the right content strategy can win you relevant traffic, boost engagement levels and improve your conversion rates. Content comes in many forms and you will of course need to tailor your strategy to fit your organisation. Here are our general pointers for making the best use of your on-site copy...

Always original, always relevant

Any copy you produce or commission must be both unique to your website and relevant to your target audience. For some time now, Google has rewarded sites that publish original material, while booting duplicate pages out of the index. With the Panda / Farmer update on its way to Australia it's now more important than ever for websites to purge duplicate content.

As well as areas of your site that may update regularly, like your blog or your media pages, you should regularly audit your static pages. Investing the time to rewrite generic product descriptions or duplicated destination guides will add real value to your website for your visitors and for Google.

Relevancy also plays to both humans and to Google's crawler. Long gone are the days when the algorithm could be duped into ranking pages that have a few well-placed keywords and not much else. Even if a user does end up on such a page, you're likely to see a nasty bounce rate in your analytics.

Producing content that's not only unique to your website, but also relevant to the keywords you're targeting, makes it easier for Google to index and rank your pages and will encourage people to stay longer, follow internal links and click on your calls-to-action.

Write for both audiences

An effective content strategy requires you to consider both Google and your target market with everything you write. Fortunately, most of what you need to do to appeal to the algorithm these days will also appeal to your desired visitors.

As Google's algorithm has got smarter, it has been able to do a much better job of replicating human behaviour. It gives more weight to areas on the page that get more eyeball time from users in eye-tracking surveys; it rewards sites that publish fresh and unique information because users say they like fresh and unique information; it ranks pages that load quicker because users get annoyed with long load times etc, etc.

With your on-page copy, you should make sure that what you're writing allows for the natural inclusion of your keywords. Google will recognise the related terms and synonyms and visitors to your site won't dismiss your content as keyword-stuffed spam. You should also make intelligent use of areas on the page that Google pays particular attention to. Unique page titles that include your keywords, for example, give the algorithm a useful steer, without compromising the user experience.

Develop an evolving structure

As well as getting individual pages right, your content strategy also needs some structure. We recommend splitting your content into two broad pillars: static and dynamic. Your static content covers product or service descriptions, reference material, 'how to' guides and other evergreen pages. You won't need to update these pages every week, but you should have a plan for gradually adding more of them to provide better-targeted results for your users and allow you to exploit long tail search terms. 

Your dynamic content could be a company blog, an industry newsfeed or something else that you'll update frequently. Dynamic content won't have the lasting impact of your static pages, but it can dramatically improve your user experience. You'll also find that this type of content punches above its weight in search while it's fresh, which can win you relevant traffic that can then be pointed at your static pages. Blog posts and news articles allow you to exploit trending topics in your niche and also give you something to share on social media platforms.



Posted by Fran Taylor, 9 May 2011

Could you please explain the difference between a Content strategy and an SEO strategy? I am assuming content is one component of an overall website SEO strategy that included links and technology makeup?

Posted by Adam Barber, 9 May 2011

Hi Fran - yes, I would agree that content is only part of a good SEO strategy. You mentioned links and alluded to the various on-page factors you have to consider. You also have your social media and brand building activities, which all contribute...

Posted by Adam Barber, 9 May 2011

... worth noting also that just as content is only part of your SEO strategy, SEO is only part of your content strategy. The right content can help you improve conversion rates across your site regardless of how you've been found. Thanks for the question.


Adam Barber Castleford Media Pty Ltd Adam Barber
Company: Castleford Media Pty Ltd
Position: Director
British new media professional living and working in Sydney. Interested in developments in online content, search, social media and the digital world in general.

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    Castleford Media Pty Ltd

    Castleford Media is an established content marketing business based in Australia and New Zealand. We can produce customised news, blogs, web copy, whitepapers, case studies and infographics for your website and social media.  More info & Contact Details



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