We Search for Content, Not Keywords

Posted by Corey Smith on Mar 21, 2012 4:01:00 PM

search engine optimization with content

When businesses are looking to increase their location in the search engines they will create their list of keywords they think they should be found for and go to work. They may do this themselves or they many hire another company to do it for them.

When hiring another company to do this for them, businesses will often hire search engine optimizers with a wide variety of tactics at their disposal.

Most optimizers will create many inbound links for your website. They’ll do this by either creating a series of spam sites and having them all link to you or they will find a number of forums, blogs, directories and other sites that will post links for free.

Link building is a very viable tactic but you have to be careful with how you do it because if they are not legitimate links, one day Google, Bing and Yahoo will figure it out and stop caring about those sites. In fact, you could build a lot of link equity across many websites and a new update from Google and all that link building will have been wasted.

I have always been a fan of creating compelling content as a primary tactic for increasing rankings in the search engines. Compelling content is what will drive people to stay on your site and learn more. It will drive people to want to read more on your website than just the page they are looking for. It will help your audience convert more to your goal when they get there.

Let’s look at it this way. Let’s say you are medical doctor specializing in elbows (yeah, I know this is not common, but it’s just a “for instance”). You could hire a search engine optimizer to create a series of links that come for a variety of key terms. Some are terms that you think are important and some are terms that a little bit of research shows what your searchers might look for.

When these people come to your site, in the absence of compelling content that drives them there, they may quickly leave.

But, I think the concept goes even deeper. In reality, we don’t know what keywords people really care about. I am constantly amazed at why people find my website.

Just today alone, I was found by the following searches:

  • mobile website vs responsive
  • pay your dues work
  • social media infographics 2012
  • should responsive design be used for mobile viewing?
  • why empty inbox

There are a few key things to notice about these. First, they are not single word key terms. Second, they are not key terms I would have ever considered optimizing for.

We never know what people will care about. Every day, people are searching for combinations of key words that no one has ever searched before. The only way to capture those visitors is by always writing new content. The keywords will be found and people will come.

Your next step is to figure what to do for those visitors when they come to your website.

Corey Smith

Written by Corey Smith

Corey Smith is the founder of Tribute Media and serves as the Digital Marketing Strategist. He is also the author of "Do It Right: A CEO's Guide to Web Strategy" and "Tweet It Right: A CEO's Guide to Twitter."

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