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The Future of SEO: Quality Content and Relevancy

SEO is where many businesses get frustrated. You have a great website, but Google doesn’t seem to like you.

The likely reason is simple. Competing businesses are publishing better content that fulfills your audience’s needs more effectively.

Many business owners are then left feeling like the only option left is to buy their way to the top of the results with paid ads or give up completely on the idea of their website as a serious lead generation tool.

Our growth-driven SEO agency can help you to leverage the latest SEO trends to gain an edge over your competition and strengthen your brand’s ability to organically attract new customers in 2021.

Create Quality Content

All your content should be geared towards educating your audience by providing helpful solutions to their problem and clear answers to their questions. Creating high-quality content is not a 2021 SEO trend, it has always been this way, but now it’s more important than ever.

Google’s mission is to guide users to content with useful knowledge. If you create interesting content that is valuable to your audience, Google will reward you.

Not only creating valuable content, but you have to be strategic with your content because how you organize, optimize and communicate will make all the difference in securing a prime position right where your customers are searching.

Once you have their attention and earn the click, your content must deliver just what they were seeking and encourage engagement with your brand to have the best chance at winning their business.

This brings us to the ultimate question then: how can I create quality content that earns the attention of my audience?

How to Create Quality Content

There is no magic bullet for producing quality content. Making great content is hard and takes time, but getting a grasp of the fundamentals is the perfect place to start.

Let’s dive into the latest content marketing trends you can use to start growing your business better in 2021.

Let Your Audience Guide You

There is a user that lives behind every search query, and each search is driven by some desire.

Deeply understanding the searchers’ intent provides the necessary foundation to create content that they will find useful. The search intent makes all the difference in the value users get from your content and how much influence it ultimately has.

Keyword research is not a new trend in digital marketing, but it’s useful for uncovering the problem a target audience is trying to solve. It gives you unedited insight into the needs of your target audience. These insights should be your guide in creating content for them.

Your content should clearly and concisely satisfy your audience’s search intent while providing related details that they are likely to also want to understand as part of their broader Search Quest. The value of your context is a crucial component for winning influence on Google for the search term you want.

Underpinning this deep contextual relation is Google’s algorithm 2019 BERT update that it uses to better understand the meaning behind sentences within all the context nuance.

Build Authority But Remain Relevant to Your Audience

Your content goal should not only be to get visitors to your site but to pique their interest enough to get them to check your other content. Any action a user takes will contribute to all ‘user signals’ that impact how Google assesses the value of your content and ranks your site.

The December 2020 Google E.A.T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) update is a critical defining factor for SEO trends in 2021. The Google E.A.T update saw sites with high niche authority move up the search ranking. Still, many smaller websites that would not normally be seen as influential authorities in their niche, saw improvements in ranking. In some cases, they were able to outrank very authoritative sites.

It is evident that Google’s algorithm increasingly takes into account and weights users’ signals (CTR, bounce rate, and dwell time, among many others) as well. This is the only explanation for why many smaller websites outrank seemingly authoritative sites with loads of backlinks and optimized pillar pages. Google simply got better at determining Content Relevance.

Make Your Content Easy To Read

Easy to read content is just as important as quality content for SEO. In order for your site to rank well on Google, you have to keep your site visitors engaged. That won’t happen without highly readable content. This 2021 content marketing trend means that generic articles will increasingly fall by the wayside in favor of detailed, well-crafted content that is easy for readers to digest.

Well-written content improves the user experience because nobody likes to read something incomprehensible, boring, or stuffed with keywords. A poor user experience on your website will lead to an unsatisfied audience that will send poor users’ signals to Google. Poor users’ signals (low CTR, increased bounce rate, and decreased dwell time) will hurt your website’s relevance.

How to Create Quality Content that Your Audience Loves

  • Start with keyword research and analyze searchers’ intent behind the search term you discover.
  • Deeply research the topic that you’re about to write.
  • Find the balance between being comprehensive while keeping it simple and easy to read. This comes down to formatting your text, so it’s digestible, using visual aids or rich media like video or audio.
  • Provide a trusted source on any claim that you make in the article.

Improve Your Content Relevance (and Ignore Backlinks!)

The whole point of tracking backlinks and anchor text from the get-go was for Google to determine how relevant and valuable any given content page was.

Now that Google can directly determine the value of a piece of content, backlink profile assessment is the outdated methodology and less instructive than newer benchmarks.

Google Analytics is now embedded in virtually every website giving Google eyes into your exact User Metrics and their ability to analyze the text on your site to determine deep contextual meaning has increased exponentially.

You know those harmless looking little checkboxes GA offers you when you first add your site? If you selected all without closely reading, you’ve already signed off and given Google the A-OK! Oh look you’re on Chrome and signed the same permissions. They can use that data too ;).

Still, Google takes it a step further, where they don’t have direct data access they can estimate user metrics reasonably well simply by tracking how many times people come back to search more on a given topic until they find the solution.

In fact, sites that successfully close a user’s Search Quest consistently are strongly signaling their ability to satisfy a user’s search query thereby making it valuable and worth making more accessible to others (i.e. granting higher positioning in the Search Results).

Seems logical right? Not even close!

No one just comes around asking us how to improve their Content Relevance, the number one biggest question we consistently hear from our prospects from 10 years ago up until today is: What about backlinks?

The simple answer is they only matter AFTER you’ve built the most valuable, relevant content you can that is satisfying your target user search queries well. Plain and simple. Backlinks are still a consideration, just an increasingly minor one.

The Road to Irrelevance… Bye Bye Backlinks!

Way back in 2014, Google Search Head Honcho Matt Cutts announced to the world that it was not wise to build guest post links, the most popular form of backlinking, in The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO.

Cut to June 2020 and clearly, Matt overestimated the “fall” part as literally nothing had changed. To the contrary actually, an entire multi-million dollar cottage industry had developed around “Content for Links” Guest Post SEO from entire agencies built around being able to create a basic piece of optimized content and place it on sites that focus on publishing this free content to complex and expensive software that could streamline your outreach allowing you to find more and better guest blog opportunities.

Then John Muller, the new Head Honcho at Google Search, dropped the bomb that most of the SEO industry still prefers to ignore to this day:
“Essentially if the link is within the guest post, it should be nofollow, even if it’s a “natural” link you’re adding there. FWIW none of this is new, and I’m not aware of any plans to ramp up manual reviews of this. We catch most of these algorithmically anyway.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg from a tiny window into the brain of someone familiar with Google’s algorithm. It’s not too hard to extrapolate that Google is actively detecting and algorithmically devaluing any and every kind of backlink that has been manually built (for marketing purposes rather than organically generated) to game the search results.

Why Content Relevance is the Future of SEO

Backlinks and anchor text are some of the original building blocks of the web. These methods however have become increasingly outdated for measuring the value of a piece of content.

Google no longer needs to rely on backlinks at all. First-hand User Engagement metrics and a deep understanding of Content Relevance are simply far better, more accurate ways to measure value.

We see this evolution every single day in our Keyword Finder. Brand new pieces of content with no backlinks and low site authority ranking on the first page and sometimes even #1 in competitive niches among a whole slate of high authority sites with lots of backlinks.

Google has evolved. Make sure your SEO strategy evolves with it.

To change is to grow. To stay unmoving is to fade away.

Treat your site as a living organism rather than an object. Understand that it needs food (content), maintenance (technical updates), and upkeep (brand promotion) to grow strong. A strong, healthy website will bear delicious, juicy leads that are ripe for the picking.

Let us know how you’d like to see your brand improved in the new year and we’ll build you the best strategy for your 2021 digital marketing success!

We hand-craft award-winning digital brand and marketing campaigns that earn you better customers for less.