Updated: Jan 31
Business is all about connecting with your target audience. In that process, Google provides the central hub. When the process works, the search giant continuously directs potential customers to your perfectly-tuned, finely-crafted content.
But it doesn’t always work that way. Without Google, those connections never materialize. It doesn’t matter how perfectly tuned or finely crafted your content is. No one will see it. That fact makes it crucial to understand how to use Google in order to maximize the value of your content marketing campaigns.
It can be a tricky effort. The best practices for finding and attracting new customers always seems in flux. Tastes change and (maybe more importantly) so do algorithms. Anytime you produce a piece of content you essentially have two audiences: 1) the potential customers you want to engage, and 2) Google’s algorithms. You need to keep that second one in mind in order to get your content seen at all. However, it’s important to remember that the first audience is ultimately more important, since they are the ones who actually sustain your business.
It creates a balancing act. But it is possible to make it work. Here are a few tips to help you reach an audience through Google, as you craft your content marketing efforts.
Define Your Audience
Before trying to create any content, you have to zero in on a specific audience. It may seem like targeting the widest possible engagement will lead to the biggest marketing success. But it usually doesn’t work like that.
Sales come as a result of engagement. Customers react better when they connect with your brand and feel like you understand them. To form that bond, you need to target an audience primed for your message. Besides, a well-defined audience is easier to find in cyberspace. You can become more specific about ad words and SEO targeting. It makes it easier to use Google as a tool.
Study the Data
Google is the icon of the modern Internet, and the modern Internet is all about data. Use the tools Google provides to learn more about your audience and about how well your content is reaching them.
After all, it’s difficult to get to know your audience directly. Your customers might be scattered throughout the country, or even throughout the world. As such, the deeper you dive into the data, the more closely you can connect.
Remember learning about the scientific method in eighth grade? It’s about to come in handy. As you might vaguely recall, the central aspects of the scientific method were experimentation and data collection. Google will provide the data. You just need to provide the experimentation. Trying new things will help you sharpen the appeal of your content over time. However, the process shouldn’t involve random alterations. It needs to come about as a result of a plan.
Create well-conceived content meant to broaden your understanding of the market. Know what you are testing with each piece of experimental content and use the data Google provides to help you know whether the experiment was successful.
Worry About Quality
When targeting content for Google, it’s easy to become obsessed with the algorithm. It’s like the Terminator movies: you are battling a computer. However, Google’s algorithms aren’t your ultimate audience. They are just a tool, a way to get to the customers out there in cyberspace. Don’t forget: you are trying to reach actual human beings.
If you can’t connect with potential customers on a personal level, you won’t get satisfactory results. For that reason, the quality of the content is important. Even if you master the SEO process, your content marketing will fail if you can’t make people engage with your work.
Keep Quality Consistent
You need to find a balance between quantity and quality. There is a temptation to keep up a constant flow of content, in order to stay relevant and remain on people’s radar. However, compromising quality can have serious brand implications.
This is another scenario where chasing Google can be dangerous. Well-run SEO efforts can get you clicks. But heavy traffic doesn’t mean you are sufficiently connecting with your target audience.
Overemphasizing traffic can lead to a diminished brand over time, if it comes with dwindling or inconsistent quality. Optimizing for Google can get you seen, but that doesn’t mean you are sending the right message.
Be Open to Change
Saying that your level of quality should stay consistent isn’t the same as saying it should never change. Quite the contrary, you should make an effort to keep your output fresh, even if it’s been successful. Rather than staying on the content treadmill, you should always be making small adjustments to get better results. This makes you more responsive to your audience and leads to a more interesting product.
You’ll also have to change to keep up with Google. The search engine is constantly refining its algorithms, forcing you to tweak your content to keep up. Having a flexible frame of mind keeps you on the cutting edge of those developments.