How we consume content is constantly changing. With this change in consumer behaviour, Google's algorithm is also changing.
Google's goal hasn't changed - it simply wants to provide the most relevant answer to every question asked.
71% of marketers believe that organic search plays a major role in their business. That's why it's important to learn as much as you can about how Google searches relate to your business, your target audience, etc. Here we list seven areas to look at in more detail:
1. Market analysis
In HubSpot's Not Another State of Marketing Report 2021, 83% of marketers say they conduct market research, and 88% of that group uses that data to make informed decisions in their business. Of those surveyed, 67% of marketers plan to increase spending on market research in the next year.
This just goes to show how important it is to look at both external and internal data to make even better business decisions.
Understanding your market in detail can help you better identify the ranking and traffic potential of digital content. A keyword analysis is a very important tool as it helps determine the terms and phrases used by customers to find content, products and services like yours.
You also need to know the websites that appear at the top of the results for these search terms. They may not be the competitors you think. For example, the content that ranks highest may come from a major media publication, educational institution or government agency that produces relevant content on your topic.
Rank tracking and analysing market insights can help you discover macro-level market trends and opportunities to optimise content with more specific targets, long-tail keywords and less competitive rankings. Here, you need to be creative to find new keywords and search phrases with less competition that drive the right traffic.
2. Search intent
Knowing why your audience is searching allows you to deliver content that they want to consume.
Map your existing content based on your customers' journey. Try to see if you have any gaps in your coverage area. Maybe you're doing a great job of creating awareness and informational content at the top-of-funnel but don't have content that answers commercial or transactional questions. (Or maybe that resource exists but it's not ranking well and would benefit from another round of optimization.)
You can also take a closer look at the questions people ask to find your content. When you have a good grasp of the potential customers' why behind the questions you're targeting, you can ensure that your content continues to provide the best and most comprehensive answer.
Finally, you can go deeper to look at the so-called "micro-moments" - that is, the person's mindset at the time when the actual search is made. In 2015, Google released a series of white papers on four critical micro-moments of a search behavior - know, go, do and buy.
Fast-forward to 2021 and micro-moment strategies are still very relevant. Analyzing SERP results through "micro-eye" glasses can help you better align your content with the customer journey and your content marketing strategy by:
● Understand how to use videos, images and quick blown content.
● Know how audiences and keywords differ in each micro-moment.
● Improve the alignment of keywords to their customer journey faster.
● Identifying ways that paid content strategies can complement SEO across multiple micro-moments to dominate targeted keywords and categories.
● Helps you prioritise content that is closer to conversions.
3. Search types
How does your audience search for your content? This can make a huge difference to the format to be used and even the information to be included.
If you find that 85% of your blog traffic finds your content via a mobile device, for example, you should make it a priority to create a high quality mobile site. The impact of ranking contributors such as page speed, external links, technical elements and on-page factors on the site varies by industry.
4. SERP positioning
Search engine results (SERPs) can look different for each search. In addition to the traditional results with the title, a search snippet and link, they can now include dozens of features, including advanced snippets, video and image results, map packs, questions and answers, etc.
It's important to understand the types of results that appear in the SERPs for the queries you're targeting. For example, if the results page contains a featured snippet in the form of a list that contains older, less authoritative content, it could be a great opportunity for your brand to create and optimize a better list article that targets the topic. Or, if you're engaging with a topic where a video appears in the SERP, you can create and optimize a video to gain rankings in the results that appear in the valuable area above the center of the page.
In many cases, you can learn from trends in your sector, such as healthcare, education, renovation, finance, travel and e-commerce. For example, healthcare and education see a segment of searchers who appreciate quick responses, but that type of content doesn't even show up as a preference for renovation, finance or e-commerce.
5. Types of content
Insights from SEO data can also help determine which content types and platforms make the most sense for targeted keywords and audiences.
For example, a searcher who clicks through to your website for an in-depth B2B buying guide will expect an e-book instead of a blog post. In contrast, a searcher who wants a general overview of a topic is likely to expect a high-level blog post on the topic, not a "gated download".
You may also find that the original content type is not a good fit for attracting visitors. For example, your marketing and keyword analysis may tell you that the guide published last month should have produced much better results than it actually did. Your search results indicate that it's not delivering as expected. To broaden its appeal, repackage it into different types of content assets - a YouTube video, a SlideShare presentation or a series of blog articles.
For example, use Google Analytics and industry trend reports to find out which content types work best to meet different user needs. Use these SEO insights to develop new content and make sure each existing piece is performing to its full potential.
6. User behaviour and real-time automation
This advice gets a little more difficult because you can't necessarily optimize content in response to what people are doing on your site in real time. Still, research from Segment, Accenture and others shows that consumers get frustrated when content feels impersonal, and most are more likely to shop with brands that give them personalized offers and recommendations. That said, it's hard to know who a first-time website visitor is. But if that person converts (downloads an e-book or similar) then for the next time they come back to the website, you can create dynamic content for that person. This feature is usually found in most marketing automation tools. If you want to read more about marketing automation, you can find an article about it here: The value of marketing automation.
7. Engagement and conversion analysis
It's important to know which key performance indicators (KPIs) tell you if your content is doing its job. For example, ranking reports and site traffic are great to look at, but are visitors really interacting with your content or are they just moving on?
Set up Google Tag Manager to track more specific events and set conversion goals in Google Analytics to keep an eye on whether visitors are doing what you want them to do.
You can also look at your social media platforms to understand which content is generating the most engagement. Can you replicate that success in search by targeting a different topic area?
SEO is an ongoing process - there is no end point to getting good results. Your content strategy needs to keep track of different consumer behaviours, from targeted keywords to mobile optimisation and from the searcher's 'why' to different content types.
Are you making the best use of SEO? As you plan for 2022, prepare to go even deeper. Look for areas where you can streamline content optimization, become more detailed in how you align, and scale up your work with smart automation.
Good luck! If you'd like help with SEO and Content Marketing, feel free to schedule a meeting with us below!