How to Create Content Strategy in a No-Keyword World

Any good content strategy maps information you create against both the buying cycle and subject matter your target audience is most likely to be interested in — whether they find you through search or see your content shared on social networks.

Previously, one of the best ways to peer into the minds of your customers was through keyword research: what words are being searched on in general and which words are driving traffic to your website and, more importantly, leading to conversions?

Unfortunately, multiple changes Google has made in this year to its algorithm and ranking factors have made content strategy development more challenging than ever before.

On top of that, Google has also moved to encrypt all searches, rather than just some of them. This means it no longer sends organic keyword data information to analytics programs, including its own.

Now, when you try to find out in Analytics what non-paid search words yielded traffic and sales on your site, the organic search words report is increasingly full of that mysterious faux keyword called “(not provided)“.

Here’s a look at content strategy in a “no keyword” world.

Freshness of content matters.

It’s not enough to create content for a specific set of keywords, especially now that Google Analytics can no longer tell you what keywords work on your site. Page ranking is more affected than ever before by when the content was published.

Solution: Keep that editorial calendar up-to-date. Publish as often as resources will permit.

Except when it doesn’t.

In addition to publishing on a timely basis, incorporate in-depth, authoritative articles into your content strategy plan. Over time, they will continue to attract links which are still one of the primary signals to Google of a page’s ranking value.

Solution: Plan for longer, authoritative articles on subjects your organization has expertise in.
If possible, supplement with a link-building campaign.

Write for answers, not keywords.

Google quietly launched its biggest algorithm change in years with Hummingbird, designed to serve up results based more on the concept behind an individual search than what keywords were used. The fancy name for this is “semantic search.” It’s yet another way Google is devaluing keywords as a ranking factor.

Solution: Those authoritative articles you’re incorporating into your content strategy and editorial calendar? Answer questions with them. If you can’t get this data from keyword research any more, do it the old fashioned way: talk to your customers. If you have a customer service function, talk to your reps. What do they get asked the most?

Now more than ever, a solid content strategy can mean the difference between a well-ranked site and one that disappears from Google completely—taking your search customers with it.

Planning now can help you avoid lost sales and ranking in the future.

From search engine optimization to content strategy, Innate Agency is on top of the trends; we’ll craft a solution for your business that works for today’s SEO environment. Contact us today to find out whether your current site’s content is helping you rank well — or hurting.

[Photo credit: Erin Kohlenberg, Flickr Creative Commons]

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