Content is an essential component of your website. It doesn’t matter if you’re a household name or a mom-and-pop store down the road. Without content on your website that tells visitors about who you are, they will never do business with you.
If you’re thinking about improving your visibility online, it starts with your website. Your website is made up of pages that tell people more about what you offer and why you’re the best company to choose. By neglecting to take the time to tell your story, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with future customers on the world wide web.
Customers look to your business as a solution to a problem. If you can’t show them why you’re the only solution, they’ll jump ship to your competitor who shows them better. Small and medium businesses (SMBs) need content to compete online – don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Why is Content Important for SMBs?
Text-based content is a compelling way to connect with visitors. Words tell them what they want to know, and those words can be supplemented by images, videos, reviews, and more to give an overall picture of who your business is and what it does. It’s as simple as that.
Do You Need Content to Succeed with SEO?
According to FRACTL, “89.5% of people use online search to gather information about a product or company.” Without the right content, searchers won’t find you no matter how incredible your business is compared to its competitors. You do need content to succeed with SEO online and be seen by potential customers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) requires high-quality, relevant content for Google and other search engines to understand what the page is about and rank it accordingly. By throwing up low-quality, spammy pages, search engines will not understand what your page is about, and it will never rank where you need it to be.
Some examples of low-quality pages include:
- Content scraped from other websites. Don’t steal content from other websites to call your own. Scraping content from other websites isn’t just spammy, it’s poor taste and could damage your company’s reputation.
- Duplicate content. While adding quotes, snippets, and other research to a page or post on your website is okay, you want to add additional value by giving your own take on what those quotes or snippets mean.
- Doorway pages. Don’t create pages on your website just to attract specific keywords without adding high-quality content to the page. If you throw up pages for specific locations, for example, without any real value on each page, you’ll never rank for any of those pages.
- Little to no text-based content. Make sure you add real content to each page or post you create. Pages with just a few sentences, Lorep Ipsum text, or nothing at all add no value to your website.
- Content that makes no sense. Every part of your website should make sense to anybody landing on it. Ensure the content is relevant to what the page should be about. Anything less makes it spammy in Google’s eyes and visitors.
Google Webmaster Guidelines goes into more details on things to avoid with spammy pages on your website. If you’re interested in diving deep into what Google thinks of quality content, consider reading its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
What Type of Content Do SMBs Need?
Every piece of content you put on your website is an opportunity to earn traffic, convert leads, and gain potential customers. There are many different ways to leverage content on an SMB website, such as:
- General Pages: These are the bread and butter of your website. Pages like the home page, location pages, and service pages serve a specific purpose for those finding the page. Your homepage, for example, should tell visitors who you are, what you do, and why you’re the best.
- Goal-based Landing Pages: A landing page is leveraged for specific digital channels, such as pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, email marketing pushes, and other specific campaigns to drive a business result. Let’s say you partner with a local publication to promote your business. By creating a landing page for that partnership, you’re connecting better with that specific audience vs. sending them to a more generic area of your website in the hopes of converting them.
- Posts: Posts are a gold mine for SMBs to showcase expertise and authority in their niche. This is the perfect place to share how-to content, detailed tutorials, and high-quality local content with your visitors. By engaging them with answers to a question they have before requiring your services, they’ll remember you when they need you in the future. HubSpot research suggests that “Companies that blog receive 55% more internet users to their websites than those that don’t blog.”
- News: Sharing news about your business, community events related to your business, and industry news is another way to build your expertise. Commenting on industry news is particularly useful in showing people you know what you’re talking about.
- Case Studies: A case study showing what problem your services are solving and how you went about it is a powerful conversion tool to convince someone on the fence about choosing your business. They need to tell visitors what the problem is, what the solution was, and the outcome after implementation. RicketyRoo Tip: Case studies don’t have to be 5000+ word documents to be effective; if your case study would be more compelling with a couple of paragraphs and images, go for it!
- Testimonials: Sharing what past or recurring customers think about your business is the closest thing you can get online to a “word of mouth” referral like you’d get in person from a family member or friend. If your customers are willing to tell others to do business with you – what could possibly be more compelling content to use on your website?
We’re just talking about text-based content for now, but there are dozens of ways to leverage the different types of content on your website. You can use video, images, and infographics as standalone content or supplements to text-based content on your website to enhance how visitors connect with your business.
How Much Content Should SMBs Create?
This is one of the most common questions an SMB asks about creating content for their website. The simple answer is it depends.
Creating high-quality, relevant content that resonates is far more important than just throwing content up on a website without thinking about it. For SMBs, focusing on the following content in this order is the way to get the best bang for your content buck on your website:
- First, create core pages for your website, such as the homepage, about us page, contact page, service pages, and location pages (if relevant). Make these personal, highlighting who you are, what you do, and why you do it best.
- Next, create content to show expertise in your niche. Leveraging your blog to do this is the best way to highlight why you are the only one who can solve a potential customer’s issue. When creating a blog, think about your services and your customers and answer the following with your posts:
- What are the most common questions they ask?
- What are the most common issues they run into before they call you?
- During the time they work with you, what additional questions do they talk to you about?
- Then, start building content from your current and recurring customers, such as testimonials, soliciting reviews, and creating case studies.
This is a simplistic approach to content strategy for SMBs.
When RicketyRoo works with SMB clients, there is a lot of research, data analysis, buyer persona creation, and more to determine precisely what type of content to focus on to drive business first and foremost.
By following the above content workflow for your website, you’ll see increases in traffic and conversions that will eventually let you focus on even more content creation for your website.
There is no hard and fast rule on how much content you need or how long your content should be. The goal should always be to create content that’s beneficial for potential visitors without sacrificing quality for quantity. Don’t let SEO companies or content marketers convince you to blog x number of times per month or that each piece of content needs to have x number of words to succeed.
The truth is if you create relevant, high-quality, knowledgeable content that answers whatever query a visitor used to get to your website – that’s the content you need.
Word count will vary depending on the purpose of each page and blog on your website. It will always vary based on how succinctly you answer the query driving someone to a page. For some questions, such as “how much does it cost to do x,” a direct answer is all you need to give visitors. As you can see, every piece of content will be different from the last.
Want to Grow Your SMB? Invest in Content
Investing in content is a sure-fire way to see your SMB grow online. Without it, how would anybody find your business on Google? Take the time to plan, do what you can when you can, and focus on creating the best possible content one piece at a time.
Whether you’re working with an SEO agency or doing it yourself, you can make an impact on how your business is seen online with the help of content. It’s worth the investment to grow your visibility, your business, and your bottom line.
Don’t waste time trying to get ahead of your competition by ignoring the impact content has on building trust with potential customers. They’re looking to you to tell them why you’re the one they need to do business with – tell your story, share your expertise, and grow your business while your competition scratches their head trying to figure out how you did it.
Melissa is a Digital Strategist at RicketyRoo. As a content marketing expert with a passion for technology and travel, Melissa coaches her partners to connect with their audience through experience optimization, with the goal of retaining more loyal visitors, creating brand ambassadors, and increasing conversion goals. She can be found online writing for TripSavvy, TechNorms, and The Emmys. Past clients include Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Samsung