As any search engine optimisation agency will tell you, the goal of Search Engine Optimisation is to simply drive organic traffic from a search engine results page (SERP) to your site. Typically, in South Africa, this means employing every available means to ensure that your target landing pages rank well in a Google search.
If you manage to rank well for your keyword/phrase and then reinforce your brand’s presence by way of paid-for Google Ads, the chances of a potential customer landing on your site and engaging with your content are very much higher than it would be via other, legacy marketing channels. The value of search engine optimisation (and a good agency) can hardly be overestimated.
The Evolution of Search Engine Optimisation
Over the years, SEO has evolved from a chaotic dash for rankings for a set of highly competitive keywords into something that, to be done well, requires large amounts of sophisticated strategic planning. Moreover, it must form part of a holistically planned marketing approach.
Ideally, your search engine optimisation agency and your marketing team should communicate on a regular basis to ensure that the agency handling your SEO is well acquainted with your overall strategy.
Strategy, Strategy, Strategy…
This needs some unpacking, but in a nutshell, it means that you should know and understand the needs of your customers well and be able to identify what information they’ll need at every point in their buying journey.
This is to say that a well-defined and well-researched diagram of your marketing funnel will go a long way in helping you identify the type of content to produce to capture the attention of your customers, and thereby take them from one stage in the funnel to the next.
For example, if the top-most tier of your particular funnel is brand awareness, then you will want to develop content around carefully chosen, highly relevant topics, with the aim of establishing your brand as an authoritative voice in the space. The content should, in addition to providing quality, useful information, guide the reader to either more related content on your site, or to the next stage in the buying journey – whatever that may be.
The same then applies to all the other tiers in your funnel. The point, to hammer it home, is to know what type of content your customers need at every stage of the buying journey, and then targeting keywords and phrases based on that.
A car site, to use an illustrative example, will have posts about how to negotiate financing for those customers who are already well into the journey, as well as posts about motoring in general for potential customers at the top of the funnel.
The value of an established search engine optimisation agency comes to the fore here owing to their depth of resources when it comes to experienced copywriters who can craft content around the above needs.
The Question Then Becomes: “What is Good Content?”
Google is very clear about this, and explicitly state in their SEO Guide:
“Creating high-quality content takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill. Content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive.”
A knowledgeable SEO agency will always point out that content is written for a reader, and not for Google. It is essential to understand that Google is a company much like any other, and that their service is helping its users find the exact information they need. Finding the information should be as quick and hassle-free as possible.
If Google’s algorithms judge a piece of content to be of a good standard and highly relevant to the search term, the content will rank. This, however, is easier said than done, and there are never (ever) any guarantees that any piece, no matter how brilliant, will appear as a top result.
If a search engine optimisation agency promises you this, they are either overconfident or completely ignorant.
The Effect of Word Count
With this warning issued, there are many things that need to be done to give the content a chance at ranking well. The list of on-page and backend factors could be elaborated on at length (and there are some great articles out there), but one that is often discussed is article length.
Although Google remains tight-lipped about the algorithms that judge the quality of content, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, once tweeted:
“Word count is not indicative of quality. Some pages have lots of words but say nothing. Some pages have very few words that are very important and relevant to queries. You know your content best (hopefully) and can decide whether it needs the details.”
As a search engine optimisation agency, however, we know that research suggests that content with higher word counts does, in fact, find favour in search rankings. The conflict is only apparent, though: the truth (most likely) is that for many topics across a wide range of industries, it takes considerable length to develop “factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive” content.
Basically, in many instances, the provision of good content demands longer articles. Another possible explanation that holds in many agencies is that the greater word count gives Google a better idea about the topic of the content.
The conclusion that SEO agencies and professionals draw is that there is no ideal length. Once again, the trick is to write for your readers, and to develop content around their needs. This need-fulfilling content should use as many words as necessary to cover a topic factually and comprehensively.
An SEO Agency with Expertise – iLEAD et al
To learn more about what an expert search engine optimisation agency can bring to the table, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re passionate about getting our clients fantastic results, and the continued success of our work more than speaks for itself.