Algorithms Change. Is Your Content Strategy Keeping Up?

by Mike Hoffman | May 22, 2017

Search button on virtual screen pressed with finger

Even in the smallest markets, competition is fierce to appear on the first page of search engine results. If you’re asking yourself why you’re not at the top of the list, you may be wondering if the problem lies within your content. Could more potential clients find you if you used the right terms?

A few years ago, the answer would’ve been “maybe so.” Long-tail search terms, such as “Idaho birth injury lawyers” or “Montana motorcycle accident attorneys,” were a primary SEO tactic. By evaluating your stats and adjusting the prevalence of keyword terms on each page, you could target the specific phrases people in your market were typing into search engines.

So, what happened?

Google, Bing, and other search engines wised up, and they now serve results based on very accurate guesses at the types of content people are searching for. It’s referred to as semantic search, and it means someone searching for “car accident lawyer” may produce results for pages where that exact phrase may not even be used at all.

Rather than shoehorning repetitive, bulky search terms into your copy, you can focus on covering the topics your audience is seeking out. The search engines fill in the blanks themselves.

What does semantic search mean for you?

First and foremost, new semantic search algorithms provide you freedom to use more natural-sounding content on your site. Without the need to focus on the quantity of search terms used on a page, you can concentrate on the quality of the words on a page. This is a good thing! Semantic search rewards deep pages that address the questions people are asking, and as a bonus, your site’s performance is no longer reliant upon your copy sounding like it’s written for robots.

Make no mistake, keywords and search phrases still have relevance, but they’re just some of the many moving parts of a solid SEO and content strategy. As SEO best practices continue to change (and get more complex), you’ll also want to think about your site’s overall content strategy. Rankings and traffic are important factors to consider, but so is ensuring your potential clients can easily find the information they need.

When looking at your site, some content-related questions to ask yourself include:

  • Why are people coming to my site in the first place?
  • What questions do I typically get asked by my clients?
  • What specific case types are popping up in my market?
  • Who are my typical clients, and what types of devices do they browse on?
  • How would I search for my site (or sites like mine) using Google voice search or Apple’s Siri?

After answering questions like those above, you can focus on addressing topics that resonate with your potential clients, and you can present them in an easily digestible manner for the people most likely to visit your site. Then you can relax knowing semantic search will do the heavy lifting and help direct people who need your help to your website, regardless of their exact search query and how many times your page features it.

Here at cj, our Interactive team uses website statistics and our full arsenal of agency resources to create web content strategies that resonate with your audience. For more information about making your website content work for you, leave a comment below or contact one of our Client Services representatives to learn more.