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Content Marketing & SEO Blog

Blog about startup growth strategies revolving around content marketing, SEO, CRO, and social media marketing.

How being vague is hurting your SEO performance

Sean Smith

Google doesn't want you to be vague. Nothing ranks poorly quite like vague content. That means content that is made up entirely of fluff, doesn't resolve a problem, doesn't have a clear message or doesn't deliver direct value.  

Google want's to index content that resolves problems, delivers direct value, and that answers questions

I was working on a client's site recently and upon trying to establish some form of on-site page-level keyword targeting I literally started to get a headache. We have a list of about 30 keywords that the client has to target. They HAVE to perform for these terms, and what do I have to work with? About 5 "solutions" pages that honestly don't cover these keywords in the slightest. Each "solution" could be an umbrella for about 10-15 keywords associated to that vertical of interest in their service.

Currently on these pages is about a paragraph or two of absolute gibberish. I honestly believe that if a man who had been blind for 40 years miraculously obtained the gift of sight, even he would not give two-shits about these pages. They are so vague that I got nauseated reading a sentence in. Obviously the information has no meaning to me because I don't understand their product.

That is exactly the problem. Your message should be so clear and your communication so crisp that even a complete nincompoop such as myself should be able to grasp what you are trying to provide. If someone like me (who is being paid to look over your content) doesn't even want to look over it, you're really proper fucked when someone who you're trying to pitch gets to your site. 

How I maintain solving this problem is easy. Essentially rip these pages to shreds and lay down a new foundation.

  1. We created an "umbrella" page for each of the fundamental keyword groups associated with their services.
  2. We distilled down those groups into sets of keywords to target. 
  3. We made the umbrella pages into essentially the summary page of the entire keyword group and filled it with far more effectively targeted and clear copy.
  4. We created subpages for each keyword in the groups, elaborated on what each keyword meant, how our service essentially solved the problems of each keyword, and pulled in a blog feed of the content related to that keyword, as well as other resources (whitepapers, ebooks and the like) 
  5. We linked all of these subpages in the side navigation. So now whenever you click on the umbrella page that essentially is a piece of the service offering you will see the keyword-targeted pages drop down underneath.  

This gave us far better on-site targeting for each of these keywords, made it far less vague and once the content was properly indexed by Google took our client from being un-ranked for every keyword targeted to nearly instantly within the top 10 on the first page and growing steadily. Most of these keywords were medium volume and low-medium competition, so obviously results vary but trying to get links pushing to a page with no clear message has about a snowball's chance in hell. 

Google doesn't like when content is vague. Google runs off of keywords, interaction, problems, concerns, questions, answers, and general queries. If you look at your pages and say "there is no way someone would get to this page if they wanted to know about 'X' then you know you aren't targeting keywords properly from an on-site perspective. 

As SEO's we should be focusing on structuring our content to be clear, concise, user-driven, and consciously acute. If your pages don't serve a user, they won't be served on the engines. It's as simple as that. Less bounce rate, higher click through rate, higher time-on-site, higher page-view, higher rankings, higher organic search volume.

Plus I have a personal vendetta against vagueness, it's plainly obnoxious.