How to Create Useful Content that Ranks in Google
The first and most important step in creating blog content that’s useful is knowing who you’re creating content for. For contractors, the target audience is most likely homeowners, commercial property owners, realtors, insurance adjusters, home inspectors, or all of the above. We understand that you may not have all the time in the world to dedicate to content creation or research, which is why we broke down several helpful tactics for you.
In this post you’ll learn about three major factors for creating content that’s valuable, useful, and ranked highly in Google.
1. Understand your audience
Knowing your audience is the first step in creating useful content. If you have five minutes then you have time to research. Here are a few tactics we suggest to collect useful data about your target audience:
Treehouse Resources: When it comes to researching useful content, there is a lot already available at your fingertips. In the Business Center, you have specific Reporting Widgets that are keeping track of your website’s data, keywords included.
Explore It Widget: A word cloud that shows you what the top keywords on your website are, and vary in size based on how often they appear.
Content Analysis: A list of your websites most visited pages, to give you a better idea of where viewers are going to find information.
Beyond what's available at your finger tips within the Business Center is Google's autocomplete. Research how your customers think by looking at the keywords that they are searching for on Google. Go to Google in an incognito window and type in your search queries (or keywords) one at a time. As you begin typing in the search box you’ll see predictions appear. This feature is known as Google autocomplete (or autosuggest).
Google published a product update in 2018 explaining how autocomplete works. This is what they said:
“We look at the real searches that happen on Google and show common and trending ones relevant to the characters that are entered and also related to your location and previous searches.” This means Google will show you how potential customers are searching!
Another Google resource is its related questions feature. Look for the “People also ask” box on the search results page. This shows searches that are similar to your query in an attempt to answer your question. Clicking on a question and expanding it will trigger more related questions to appear. Make a note of the questions that best relate to your topic or services and write new blog posts or update existing posts to answer some of these questions.
Google related searches: Scroll to the bottom of the search results page and look at the “Searches related to” links to see other search queries related to the topic you searched.
Google Trends also allows you to see related topics and queries for a given search term and the results can be filtered by region, time range, category, and the type of search (web, image, news, etc.).
Tactic: Check out 3rd party discussion boards and forums. Customers often go to these sites in their own research for service industry answers. Read the questions and comments that your potential customers are posting on discussion boards and forums, such as Reddit, Houzz, Facebook, etc. and create related content.
Resource: Websites such as Answer the Public provides you with a list of questions that your potential customers are searching for related to your industry or keyword. After you’ve collected data about who your ideal customers are and what they’re looking for, you can then use this information to create click-worthy titles and engaging blog content.
2. Give your audience (and search engines) what they want
It’s important to focus on giving your ideal customers what THEY want – not what YOU want or what you THINK they want. Create content that answers their questions and solves their problems.
Focus on topics instead of keywords
It’s hard to talk about SEO and not talk about keywords and keyword research. Keywords tell searchers (and search engines) what your content is about. While keywords are still important for creating content that ranks in search engines, with advancements like Google’s RankBrain as explained in this article from Search Engine Land, Google can better understand the intent of a search query and the concepts on a web page based on the relationships of words using a machine-learning artificial intelligence system. Ask yourself what questions your potential customers might be asking about the topic and research those terms.
Use long-tail keywords in your content
Now that you know who your ideal customers are, what topic you’re focusing on, and why they are looking for a solution, put your keyword and related terms in the title, subheadings, image alt tags, and throughout the content of your blog post - without over-optimizing or keyword stuffing. Remember not to focus on a single keyword, but rather on answering the question your audience is asking.
Create local content
Small businesses, such as contractors, can compete in the local search results, improve rankings, and increase conversions by creating location-specific content. Write about local events that your business is hosting or sponsoring, company trainings, new products or services, projects, or customer testimonials. Your Treehouse website is already using the organic content you upload through the widgets, and generating geotargeted results as a customer views your website. Meaning the content that John Doe is viewing on your website is from work that is closest to him geographically. This gives viewers the sense that you’re a local contractor.
Tip: Make sure to mention specific towns and cities in the title of the post, throughout the content, and in image alt tags.
3. Engage your audience
The ultimate goal is to create unique, quality content that engages your audience and converts them into customers.
Focus on the intent: Useful content is clear, practical, and solves a problem. You should avoid jargon and keyword stuffing and make sure that your storytelling connects to your topic.
Use visuals: Adding photos, images, and infographics makes your content more digestible. Visual elements are proven to make people spend more time on your post and increase engagement on social media.
Promote your content: Don’t forget to promote your useful blog content on social media networks that are relevant to your industry and your audience.
For more ideas, check out this blog post where we explain how PR can impact your SEO efforts.
Once you understand who your ideal customer is, you can then create content that resonates with your audience and that’s ranked highly by search engines. If your audience finds your content useful, then Google will too.