The almighty Google has one very simple goal when it comes to its search engine results page (SERP). They want you to find exactly what you are looking for quickly and easily. If Google had a Yelp page here is what a 5 star SERP review would look like:
“The search bar was easy to find and to type into. After I starting typing a few words, it offered helpful suggestions and recommendations. I selected one of the recommendations, clicked on the descriptive second result and found exactly what I wanted on that page! The information was so valuable that I stayed on that website for 15 minutes reading other great content and even posted a couple of great articles to my Facebook page! #lookhowsmartiam! I will definitely use Google the next time I have a difficult question like “how do you make a low-calorie margarita?”
The problem: Google doesn’t create all the content on the interwebs, and, therefore, doesn’t have much control over what goes up.
The solution: Google Webmaster Guidelines.
These are Google’s guiding principles regarding design, content, technical SEO and quality. Google has to put the algorithmic hammer down if it wants to provide a great customer experience, and these guidelines are the rules you follow so Google’s hammer doesn’t take you out.
Breaking It Down
At Total BS Media, content is king. We preach the word of inbound marketing and high quality, relevant content. Google loves honest practitioners of inbound/content marketing because their goals are the same as Google’s: provide your users with a valuable engaging experience.
Basic Quality Guiding Principles
There are four basic principles, but they can be boiled down to a single idea. Create high quality, relevant, and engaging content on your site, make it easy to use (think shop, sign up, contact, etc) and easy to share.
The top priority for your website should be to please and delight your users, not to please and delight search engines, although, they are a close second. If you execute on a content marketing strategy consistently and thoughtfully, you kill two birds with one stone. Users are happy because you have provided value with your content and product offering, and Google is happy so they recommended you to someone because you offer a great experience.
This Sounds Great! How Do I Get Started?
The first step to any content strategy is to identify your buyer persona(s). A buyer persona is a generalized representation of your ideal customer. By defining this ideal customer, you understand their unique needs and how to create content that is relevant, engaging and useful to that specific persona. Step two is making sure that when that buyer persona lands on your website, their path to content consumption and conversion is clearly and easily laid out. Google want this too. The customer experience should be a top priority and run in tandem with your content strategy.
Engaging, unique, and valuable content are at the heart of Google’s basic quality guidelines, and should be at the heart of your content marketing strategy as well.