There are a number of SEO tools available for companies looking to increase reach with their content. And we’re not going to lie — they can be pretty tempting if you’re choosing long-term organic strategies over short-term paid boosts.
But taking this approach is also a good way to lose sight of what your content is actually meant to achieve. We’ll look at why many companies are trending away from sharable content, and what you can do if you want to put your company in the spotlight.
What Search Engines Want
Above all else, search engines are looking for content that adds value to the searcher. This doesn’t mean that keyword optimization, word count, and Flesch scores aren’t important. These elements are routinely used to bump content up or down on the results page. But there’s danger in relying solely on these factors.
So why do so many companies stress the number of backlinks over valuable content? The answer is clear: because it works. Companies see excellent results when they play to the less nuanced requirements of search engines. ‘Sharable content’ is vague. A Flesch score of 60 is much more straightforward.
What Readers Want
Let’s be honest: no one is waking up in the morning frantically checking the latest blog post of their local plumber. But there are plenty of people out there wondering how they can winterize their pipes to avoid paying excessive utility bills. The reader is looking for helpful tips that contribute something to their lives rather than sentences that are stuffed with keywords.
Viral articles and content are increasingly rare — so rare that it’s easy to see why companies have given up on them altogether. But website managers don’t need millions of people to see their content. They can build a loyal audience by tapping into the very real needs of the customers and partners that they’re trying to serve.
The best way to think about sharable content is to start with your perspective. What makes you want to click on something? From layout to wording to information, what is most helpful to you? For most people, it’s answers that cut straight to the point.
This is why many organizations have taken to placing bullet points at the top of their pages that highlight the most important information. They use the rest of the space to fill in details and hopefully provide more context to the main takeaways.
As you work out your overall strategy, you can start digging into the details of what your audience is looking for. This is where you might need to make the kinds of sweeping generalizations that could get you into trouble.
For example, just because you’re going after a highly educated customer base, doesn’t mean that they need their content to use every $5-word in the book. Similarly, you don’t necessarily need to dumb down content just because your audience is unlikely to have gone to an Ivy League school. In many cases, companies can split the difference and use audience feedback to adjust.
One of the best ways to generate sharable content is to have real professionals speak to their experience. A Florida pool cleaning company could easily post a generic article about how often to change your filter. This is a real concern that should get plenty of hits from property owners who would prefer their water to be as clean as possible.
Yet, consider what your content could be if you talked to a cleaner who found a baby alligator in the pool of an abandoned home. This is exactly the kind of story that would get shared on social media, resulting in a ranking boost that could never be bought.
It’s hard to coordinate sharable content for a number of reasons. It’s difficult to find a professional with highly specialized skills who has both the time, talent, and inclination to write content. It can even be difficult for a qualified writer to find time to meet with them! But if you really want to take your game to the next level, you need more than metrics.
If you need a little help in finding the right angle for your website, Temper And Forge has a staff that is thoroughly prepared to help you stand out from the competition. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line.