Creating content to drive website traffic is a well-known tactic in the digital world, but it is another thing entirely for that content to drive business goals forward. An effective content strategy is essentially an effective marketing strategy; with more and more Internet users distrustful of advertising due to the commonality of spam sites and scams, traditional marketing methods are less likely to work successfully on the web. For a business with a digital presence, website content must be responsible for “selling” the business to potential customers.

Therefore, content is one of the most valuable assets for gaining and keeping new customers. Many methods of improving digital presence exist, but the best strategy is two-fold:  thorough search engine optimization is carried out in order to boost traffic, while quality content attracts customers from this larger number of site visitors, raising conversion rates. Proper use and management of content alone can help to increase ROI.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, aims to enhance the visibility of content on the Internet by increasing the search engine ranking of a website, allowing more people to find the site when searching on the web. Thus, content should be focused on keywords relevant to the topic of the site, and there are two ways to accomplish this.

After identifying or researching site-related keywords in current search engine query trends, chosen keywords should be inserted into domain name, headings, page names, and other text content on the site. It is important to ensure that keywords flow naturally with the surrounding text, since over-using keywords will cause a site to be ranked low by search engines. The recommended keyword density for a site is 3-6%.

Entire webpages as a whole should also be optimized with assigned keywords, because search engines recognize different elements of HTML code, known as “meta tags.” Keywords appear in these meta tags that not visitors, but only search engines “see.” Avoiding broad terms, staying specific to what a site offers, and repeating similar keyword phrases assists search engines in immediately identifying keywords, bettering ranking. Additionally, giving every webpage a different, content-focused description tag that shows up under the website URL in search results can compel potential visitors to click the link.

Once a website garners a larger crowd of users through proper SEO, its content will become exposed to a wider audience of visitors. It is imperative that the content is of high enough quality to be effective in the goal of converting visitors to customers. A superior website should offer content that people cannot obtain from any other source, and there are several ways to produce this kind of unique content.

Site visitors seek useful and helpful content that provides needed information, whether it assists them in solving a problem, receiving the latest news, or being entertained. This information should not be pulled together from various outside sites; not only will that decrease visitor traffic and interest, but search engines will also detect copied content. Unoriginal sites will automatically be ranked at the bottom of results.

When writing articles and other forms of content, avoid content generators, because individual creativity is what counts the most in the creation process. Article writing can always be outsourced if a business team is not confident in its collective writing ability, but original work should still be attempted regardless, because no outside company could know more about the business than the team itself. However, it is generally a good idea for original content to be supplemented with free licensed content or premium branded content that can be legally shared.

The timing and frequency of releasing new content also plays a significant role in conversion rates. Fresh content is a must, because no visitor or customer will return to a website to view the exact same information over and over again. A website has to be updated regularly, especially in its most frequently viewed areas, in order for customers to repeatedly visit it. The ideal rate for adding fresh content is every few days, but a suggested minimum is weekly updating.

Depending on the kind of business, there are various forms of content that can be generated to attract customers. Businesses can expand on their already-existing content to suit their customer base further. The main goal of all of these kinds of content is to promote a business or product subtly rather than overtly.

In addition to text content, every website should feature visual stimuli for those visitors who are more inclined to look at pictures, videos, charts, or graphs than read information. Infographics are another option that merges images and facts. Images and videos are also more likely to be shared on social media, which tends to increase the amount of time viewers spend on those pages.

When including product or business information in content, it should be as detailed as possible. Vague or poor information will not engage visitors, who want to read everything they should know about a product from its description. If technical or aesthetic product information is missing, visitors will begin to search for answers on competitor sites, so it is best to offer plenty of information to begin with. Besides the product specifications, one-site how-to guides and instructional videos concerning ownership or use of the product is sure to entice customers while enriching the image of a product.

Since product descriptions tend to emphasize the benefits and positive aspects of a product, an FAQ is an important piece of content for any site. Containing all the standard inquiries a customer might ask, the FAQ is so crucial that visitors may exit a site that does not have one to answer their questions. Regardless of whether or not the important information can be found elsewhere on the site, visitors will appreciate having one place where all this is information is grouped together. Good FAQs are organized and concise while remaining informative, including visuals if applicable.

Setting up an area for customer reviews on your website will also help in attracting customers. Before making purchase decisions, many people search for and read other people’s opinions on items, relying on “social proof” to feel comfortable in their decisions. Visitors want to read about a product from honest and unbiased sources, which are usually the experiences of other customers. For customer reviews to appear genuine and thus more trustworthy to site visitors, negative reviews should not be filtered out unless they are so scathing that they could hurt a business’s reputation. Negative reviews afford a business with an excellent opportunity to show that it is willing to actively respond to customer issues and complaints.

A great way to build newsletter lists and drive sales leads is to offer freemiums and other freebies. Free things are always appealing to customers, especially when they are well-written and informative introductory materials. Audiences can be targeted with relevant, highly sought-after content so that customers get the content that they want while businesses get the emails and information that they need for newsletter lists and sales leads.

Freemiums consist of any free content that a particular customer base will find valuable. PDF files, resource lists, and free trials are commonplace examples nearly any business could utilize. eBooks that contain ads for business can be given away for free, which increases brand exposure and website traffic simultaneously. Free online classes or seminars can be held, depending on the type of business, which help to solidify a customer’s thinking that a business is an expert on the selected topic. Free software can be made available for download, such as freeware, shareware, and demos. If the software is created by the business, then its ads can be included within.

Free online services or utilities, such as consulting, can be offered from a website, through email, or over the phone. This is attractive to customers because such services are generally expensive. For products, a free trial period can be offered, perhaps with a start-up package, giving customers a finite time to try a product before choosing to pay for continued use. Other free items that can be used or printed, such as CDS, DVDs, screensavers, business card templates, and writing paper, can all encourage a customer to visit and use a website more often.

Crowdsourced contests are another viable way to improve content while also fostering the feel of community for customers. Visitors can be given free entry into a contest or sweepstakes, provided that they fill out information in an application form as part of the submission process. This allows for lead generation in addition to enticing customers with the chance of an interesting or valuable prize. Most people who enter contests will continually revisit the associated site to get results and potentially make a purchase later.

For eCommerce sites, a major content issue is duplicate content; larger, more well-known online retailers are essentially selling the same items, meaning smaller companies must find a way to make their content stand out. Due to the sheer amount of offered products, many customers shopping through larger sites have difficulty in efficiently finding the right products for them. eCommerce sites, however, can take advantage of this situation by creating helpful product guides to afford their visitors with a more hands-on and personal approach at locating the proper product. Additionally, product descriptions on eCommerce sites can be rewritten so that they are similar rather than identical to descriptions on larger sites.

Before any website is capable of driving business, its content must be properly created and correctly used. It is important to remember that ROI ultimately rests in the hands of customers, so all possible measures should be taken to ensure that they are engaged, which improves the chances of turning a profit. Thorough SEO will serve to get a business noticed, and high quality content will then speak for itself through conversion rates of new proportions.