There really isn't a way to separate content from optimizing your site for search. That's because content is what searchers are looking for - although when we are struggling to come up with keywords, coding, and other SEO stuff, it's easy to lose sight of the fact. We need to always keep the user in mind when we design or add to a website, and that means content has to be focused on what the user is looking for.
The way that search is changing by moving toward semantic or natural language search has been discussed every time Google's Panda comes up. Google isn't the only search engine working diligently to be the one people use, and it is logical to assume that a site that has content worth coming for is a site that will rank high in SERPs if the algo bot can see that worth too.
What Do Your Visitors Look For?
Do you know your stuff? People look for sites with authority and information that is valuable to them. If you manufacture doohickeys, your customers are going to want to know ways to use the doohickey, right? What else would a doohickey-user need to know? Just ask your customer service reps and salesmen. The questions they deal with are the questions you should be answering on your site.
If you don't have a Frequently Asked Questions section that is easy to navigate and fast-loading, then you need to be working on that because doohickey-users don't mess around with stupid stuff when they can go to the next site on the search page and find what they need.
People also want to know that the information they are getting is current. A site that has new content regularly added is a site that is reassuring because it means someone is paying attention. A page about the history of doohickeys is interesting, but the doohickey information they want is applicable today. (If they have antique doohickeys, then that's current information for them.)
What Other Content Would Your Visitors Be Interested In?
Here's where your site can stand out among the crowd and be a destination. If your site is an information powerhouse with articles and podcasts and videos for the demographic your business is targeting, that's good. Having more information than can be explored in one visit gives incentive to come back.
Expanding your content to include the things that your users are interested in is reason to return and look at that content. The doohickey user is on your site, for example, to figure out a problem they encountered using their doohickey. While there, they see that doohickeys can be used in ways they never dreamed of, and that many whatsits are helpful when using doohickeys - so they want to read about how whatsits work.
Doohickeys and whatsits sound like a kid's book, but the point I am making is absolutely serious. The more you know what your customer needs to know and would be interested in, the easier it is to focus your content and get results.
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