By Rachel Foster  

If you’re using SEO as a marketing strategy, you’ve probably heard about Google’s recent algorithm changes. The updates are designed to penalize websites that are engaged in shady content practices, such as keyword stuffing and publishing bad content just to get traffic.

I recently received an email from Outbrain stating that nearly 12% of all search queries will be impacted by these changes. Many website owners have reason to worry about losing their high rankings. However, if you’re engaged in content marketing, these updates should be good news for you, as businesses with the most compelling and relevant content will reap the greatest rewards.

Here are three ways to develop content that both Google and your customers will love:

     1.  Create targeted content for all of your audiences. A scheduling software company once approached me about writing some product pages for them. They wanted each page to focus on a different audience such as salespeople, doctors and other professionals whose businesses rely on appointments. However, they didn’t want original copy for all of the pages. They asked me to just “change a few keywords” on each page. I advised them that this wouldn’t work, as simply replacing “scheduling software for salespeople” with “scheduling software for doctors” doesn’t entail speaking to your audience. Your audience can tell when something is written for them versus a search engine.

 When you write content that addresses the unique needs of each of your audiences, you can improve both your SEO rankings and your conversions. Targeted content will bring people to your website, whether through Google or through other referral sources such as social media. Once visitors arrive at your site and see that you understand their needs, they will be more likely to take the next step in working with you, such as opting in for a white paper or signing up for a product demo.

     2.  Use keywords … but don’t stress about them. Although Google is cracking down on keyword stuffing, you still should determine how your target audience is talking about your products or services and use those     words throughout your web content. However, you don’t need to worry so much about keyword density. It’s more important that your content reads naturally. Whenever you develop a new blog post, web page or other piece of online content, read it aloud to see if it sounds natural. If your keywords are jumping out at you or make your piece sound flat, you’ve probably overused them.

      3.  Maintain a regular publication schedule. One of the keys to increasing your SEO rankings is regularly adding new content to your website. Publishing new content gives the search engines more pages to rank and your audience more reasons to visit your website. Blogging is an excellent way to quickly publish new content and expand your audience. However, if you’re not ready to blog, you can also create new resources or publish your newsletters online. All of these things will help you bring more targeted visitors to your website.

Although SEO is important, creating content that addresses your audience’s needs and concerns should be your top priority. When you do this, you won’t need to worry about every change at Google.

What about you? Do you feel that Google’s changes are a plus or a minus for your business? How do you make your content Google-friendly? Feel free to share your comments below.

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