This is an update of a content article I wrote in 2021. Interestingly, I used the word “helpful” related to your content, which ended up being the name of the big Google update in 2022.
You know your market better than anyone. Sometimes we overthink and get stuck when it comes to content creation for our small business SEO. I always say that you should always err on the side of just being helpful to your customers. Now with the 2022 Google update that is still rolling out in early 2023, helpful content is more important than ever. But how do you get started, when you decide you want to show up for an important search related to your products or services? If you don’t have tools or an SEO to help you, you can still do a decent job of covering the basics. Let’s take it in a few quick steps.
Pick a Search Phrase
Ten years ago it was much more important to nail a keyword phrase exactly. You may see significant differences in results for plurals vs singular or an acronym vs the words written out. These days it is more about aiming for a concept. Creating great and unique, helpful content that best answers someone’s search query. For a small business, I often recommend creating a lot of more detailed pages for different types of customers and solutions. But don’t overthink this too much. Go to Google and search for the phrase you want to show up for. Remember if you are a local business, your location may play a part in this. Definitely worth using your target market in your content to help get you search presence in that area. Combining a general product or service search with a county or town name will help you limit the competition and also target your market better.
Note the PAA’s for Your Search
PAA stands for “People Also Ask”. Google will give you a few of these with nearly every search. They are other questions people will also ask Google around the same subject area. Take note of these because they can be great ideas for supporting content, or to add to this piece of content to help make it more thorough and helpful. Remember, you are trying to create the best content for this query. You want to provide helpful information gain to help your page stand out from the other pages ranking on the first page now.
Check the General Similarities of the Top Ranking Pages
Do some research on who is currently ranking and the content they provide. How many words are there? It will tell you what Google has found that searchers want. Some queries only need a couple of hundred words, but others take much more detailed explanations. Also, note the main topic areas that are covered in the content. Are there themes that you see recurring in every page that ranks highly? Make sure you cover these topics too, and in a very digestible format with good headings separating different subtopic areas. Though this post is meant to show you how to do things for free, a nice tool that costs less than $200/year like Website auditor may be worth the expense to grab some of this data for you. Their TF-IDF report will break down the top ten and which phrases show up regularly in all of the content. It can save you a lot of time for a relatively low cost. There are other tools that do this. I’m not getting paid to mention this one, but I do use it, so passing it on to you. This will give you ideas for the topics you need to cover in your content.
Put It All Together and Repeat for Helpful Content
Once you have all of this information, it should help you put together a nice, solid page of content that is helpful to users and with a little data telling you what users actually are looking for. As you write, remember to break out your concepts in clear and concise ways, using headers and lists so that it is easy to find the specific answers people are looking for. Add images or videos that help get your ideas across. Remember you want to provide the best information for the search need. Once you do that for one search target, start over and keep building pages on your site. As you add more great information to your site, Google views your entire site as more of an authority on the topic and starts to rank you a bit easier.
Remember to think about how you can add extra, targeted and specific, helpful content. If you are a local business. Think how you can apply answers to your local market. Include specific answers for types of clients or markets. Maybe the weather in New Jersey forces you to use your product or service at different times of the year. Or your proximity to certain local resources or landmarks may change the process or make it easier. Point these out in your helpful answers. There are many ways to be “helpful”. You can expand on different solutions for what you offer. You can expand on different types of users for what you offer. You can expand with tips on how to speed up parts of the process. You can expand on ways what you offer have changed recently and how they appear to be changing going forward. These angles can be taken on pretty much any product or service. There is a fountain of potential blog posts to help make your website more useful and helpful, and therefore more authority in the eyes of Google.