A user-centered approach to building content | White.net

A user-centered approach to building content

By Charlie Williams / December 11, 2014

At the end of November I had the chance to present in one of SEMrush’s excellent webinar series. The topic: how to take a user-centered approach to content building for more traffic and links.

It was certainly an exciting, if a little nerve-wracking, experience, and one I really enjoyed, as being able to share ideas and ways of thinking is one of the great facets of the SEO and online marketing industry.

Fortunately, SEMrush recorded the webinar, and you can hear my dulcet tones pontificating on the beauty of user-centered content here:

Content is the heart of most successful online marketing or SEO campaigns – at least for brands where you don’t have the option to burn and churn domains – and even more close-to-the-bone tactics such as private blog networks still rely on those linking sites having regularly updated and contextually relevant content. You can’t get away from it.

Here at White, this has become a major theme of our work, as has the effort to translate this need to our varied, both in industry and job description, client base.

As Google and Bing have also moved towards a ranking model that seeks to reward strong user experience, such as sites that show little bounce-back to the SERPs, we’ve also found ourselves delving deeper into the discipline of UX (user experience). We’re checking out new blogs, going to training classes and more; anything to develop our SEO results.

And it is from looking at these diverse elements of online marketing that the idea of user-centered content has become very important for us, both as an internal ambition, but as a tool to encourage site owners to think more carefully about their content. This has become part of our ethos of what I’ve taken to call, for lack of a better term, content development.

Taking the best of SEO (such as keyword topic research), UX, content strategy and online publishing can help all sites, big or small, develop their content into something that gains traffic, and wins sales. This is something that we’re excited about working on, and I’ll be writing about and speaking on further in 2015.

The webinar’s focus

In this webinar I wanted to look at the next steps for a site’s content once you’ve covered the basics of your product or service, improved on-page optimisation and perhaps even started a blog for content marketing. There’s fantastic opportunities for a site to build content that answers user needs, as implied by their search query, language or feedback, rather than just turning all content into a sales pitch. That content will then help drive traffic and improve semantic relevancy.

I wanted to encourage attendees to think about adapting a user-centered design approach to their content, looking at practical methods of finding content that encourages a site to transition its expertise online, and diversify and increase its online reach accordingly.


By making the most of in-house resources, simple tactics such as analysing Google Suggest and conducting user research and then putting these ideas through keyword tools, most sites create user-centered assets that will drive long-tail traffic, be shareable by their very nature and expand their relevancy for the product or service they promote.

I’d like to thank SEMrush for letting me talk at their webinar, and most importantly everyone who attended; I hope it was interesting or helpful in some way! This is a big topic, with a glut of different angles and an exciting process of developing your content with the same care as a new design. If you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share, please leave a comment below or pester me on Twitter or Google+.

Photo Credit: Яick Harris cc

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Charlie Williams

Head of Marketing

Search veteran and content enthusiast, Charlie is head of marketing at White.net. A regular writer & speaker on SEO, Charlie specialises in content development, technical SEO & keyword research. He also runs the Optimise Oxford meetup

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