In the old days, business owners attracted customers with flashy signs or billboards. Today, they use Google.
The goal has remained the same: Get people to come to you.
So storefronts have in many cases given way to websites. Flyers and newspaper ads have practically vanished, and innumerable forms of online marketing cropped up in their place — blog posts, social media ads, and videos, just to name a few.
While paid online ads have their value, it’s also important to know their limitations: Ads on search results pages are clicked on only about 2 percent of the time (known as the click-through rate). Display ads don’t even fare that well.
Generating and marketing your own material, commonly known as organic content, is a tactic that can produce promising results over time.
What Are They Searching For?
If the internet is the modern universe where businesses set up shop, Google is certainly at the center of that universe.
How do you capture the attention of those flocks of potential customers who take to their laptops, tablets, and phones in search of answers? It’s actually fairly simple: Provide them with the answers they’re searching for.
This is the idea behind content marketing. Rather than pour all your resources into advertising to draw customers, you can make your business’ website an oasis of helpful information on topics that you want to be known for — and that your potential customers want to learn about.
More and more commonly, websites feature an ongoing stream of blog posts to achieve this. The results can be powerful.
The Mysterious SEO Formula
Through search engine optimization (SEO), content creators craft blogs and other written material that informs their audience while focusing on a handful of keywords — search terms that their potential audience is known to enter into search engines.
In the earlier days of digital marketing, websites typically practiced the questionable art of “keyword stuffing,” whereby they jammed each piece of content to the hilt with those same couple of keywords, over and over. And over.
But it didn’t make for very captivating reading. And Google caught on.
Nowadays, while Google’s search algorithms may still be confusing, one fairly clear change has taken hold: Writing content that effectively answers readers’ questions and solves their problems will generally rank well on search engine results pages — and keyword stuffing will not.
Making sense of these algorithms is one of the many things that SEO experts can help you with as you piece together your digital marketing strategy.
From Single Keywords to Long-Tail Keywords
If we’ve all learned one thing about searching online, it’s that being specific matters. That’s where long-tail keywords come in.
A long-tail keyword is a more specific search phrase that typically includes three or more words. Compare these examples:
Long-tail keyword: “Durable Adirondack chairs.”
Long-tail keyword: “Buy comfortable thermal socks.”
If you can identify what your customer base is specifically searching for, you can create blog posts to duly inform them. You can offer answers to their questions and help solve their problems.
Consumers who find your website in this fashion are more likely to read, rather than skim. When you focus your blog content on what matters to your audience, you’re likely to achieve strong rankings on Google without resorting to the old method of keyword stuffing.
Evergreen Content: Built to Last
While paid online ads have their advantages, you can draw consistent, long-term traffic to your site by employing SEO strategies and creating content that will continue to be relevant over time — commonly called evergreen content.
When you write about topics that are evergreen in your business, you give your site more than just a quick boost of traffic. It’ll keep that traffic coming over the long haul, without any additional spending or effort on your part, except for occasional minor updates.
And with well-placed, multiple calls to action (CTAs) that prompt your readers to click on an offer, that evergreen blog post will also help you continue to generate leads over time.
This is why evergreen content is one of the most important marketing terms to know. For what is largely a one-time effort to produce, it has enormous potential to boost your SEO and keep you contending for top search rankings — for months, maybe years.
Join Them Where They Live
Again, in the end, perhaps the best thing you can do for your business is listen to your audience and help those potential customers solve a problem.
Need to learn more about what those problems are? Join them in the online communities where they spend their time.
When you “listen in” on those conversations that take place in Facebook groups, subreddits, or Amazon reviews, you’ll develop better ideas about how to reach your customers, how to engage them, and how to help solve their challenges.
Listen to your customers, and help give them what they need — those basic tenets have always been at the heart of any smart business. It’s just a question of how to best apply them.
If you’re not yet putting Google to work for your business with a sound SEO strategy, it’s time to get started. It’s time to join the universe.