How does building a content first approach to SEO benefit our client sites and why does this approach build real-world ranking longevity?

Many of you reading this will be aware of the recent changes Google has made to its search algorithm that impacted websites across the board. The reality of this though is that Google makes changes all the time. Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a “major” algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways.

Taking a content first approach to SEO mitigates the impact of these algorithm changes.

Sometimes Google confirms the updates and other times it simply rolls them out. The important thing to take from this is that the changes are always focused on improving Google’s service to end users. Who are searching for information pertinent to the search terms they’re typing into Google.

The SEO industry is thriving: According to a recent study by Borrell Associates, companies are going to spend $65 billion on SEO in 2016. This is more than triple what they predicted for this year back in 2008. What’s more, the company is predicting that the SEO industry will continue to grow to an estimated $72 billion by 2018 and $79 billion by 2020.

There are multiple factors creating this perpetual growth in the industry, from more users all the way through to the decreasing power of traditional advertising:

More User Searches. The number of per capita searches continues to grow, as older generations make way to younger generations who rely on Google search to answer any and all questions.

Faster Technology. As connection and search results become faster and ultimately more convenient, people’s reliance on Google increases.

More Users. The sheer number of search users increases every year, compounding the effects of the per-user search growth. This is largely due to the internet becoming more affordable and more available to different demographics. One day soon, thanks to efforts by Google, Facebook and other companies, we may enjoy the universal availability of the internet.

The Decreasing Power of Traditional Advertising. Traditional advertising is dying and has been for some time. Every year its importance wains and once it has eventually disappeared, those businesses dependant on it will need to rethink their customer acquisition strategies – changing focus over to inbound digital marketing.

We’re getting better at creating and managing more intense SEO campaigns. As a simple example, what used to be a matter of keyword stuffing and cheap link building has now become an intricate strategy of content development and publication. At Shareable our focus is led by content. We firmly believe that SEO is actually all about Content Marketing, and vice versa. There are differences in how we approach each, in fact, SEO and content marketing are distinguished from one another in several critical areas but you still can’t separate the two entirely. In general terms, SEO has a narrower focus whilst Content Marketing is far broader and holistic.

A content first approach to SEO is actually a Humans first approach.

One of the problems with the SEO industry has been that the approach has always been ‘Google First’ or ‘What does Google want?’ rather than ‘What do our visitors want?’ Google doesn’t generally share what their algorithm changes actually do and as a result it’s always a bit of a guessing game as to what has actually changed. Our advice to clients is to actually disregard ‘What Google wants’ because essentially ‘what Google wants’ is what’s best for the end user and the end user just wants answers to their questions. Answers provided by high quality content.

Google has been telling us for years that it wants us to create pages primarily for users – not for search engine ranking (It’s actually in their Webmaster Guidelines). A human first approach concentrates on delivering a great experience with great content that actually benefits the audience on the page. Search results are made up of just three things: a title, URL, and a description. Stuffing any of these with keywords doesn’t do your visitors any good. A proper title is one that tells visitors exactly what the page is all about. A good URL is one that informs visitors about the structure and organization of your site as it relates to the page itself. And a thoughtful description is one that gives visitors just enough information to ensure them that the page has the information they are looking for.
Humans First and not Google First.