Search engine optimization “how to” series: Content
SEO Content is and will continue to be the most important piece of your website’s overall page rank. Google regularly stresses the importance of good quality, custom created, and originally developed SEO content made for the users of your website. In other words, write quality and educational content for your viewers! Your keywords still come into play on this, just not in the overt, in-your-face approach many have followed over the last decade. You’ll want to make sure you know who you’re writing for and understand what keywords will attract this audience to what you write. For more information on keywords see the 2nd part in our series: Search engine optimization “how to” series: Keywords.
Let’s outline some of the key points to make sure you’re in-tune with as you plan and execute your content strategy.
1. Keep it real! Original content is king and will continue to be.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 100 times, “create original content”, and I’d add, “make it good”! Google will go so far as to penalize and remove pages that don’t produce original content as seen here in Google’s own answer. This will mean writing it yourself, or your staff, or quality contractors who are gifted writers and understand the material and SEO basics. Do not reuse existing content already online, do not use overseas writing farms for $2/hr (they can’t even speak English well – why would you pay them to write it?).
2. Be Interesting please!
We know it’s hard enough to write your own SEO content, and now we’re asking you to make it interesting? Yes we are, why would you spend all this time to produce new content and then bore people to death as they read it? Keep it short and lively, full of honest and accurate information that your user will find entertaining and helpful.
3. Help your readers.
Remember, you’re looking to attract new viewers and keep them coming back. You want them to see you as an expert and place their valuable consumer trust into your capable hands. So help your users! Give them useful and applicable information they can do something with. If you’re a baker, tell them how the pros frost cakes, if you’re an IT consultant, tell them how to judge their companies overall hosting vulnerabilities. Give a little bit away, and they’ll keep coming back and they’ll view you as the expert.
4. Write great headlines.
Ok, now that you’ve got original, quality, and helpful content that’s accurate and interesting… be exited about it. Most people scan headlines, they like to think they can figure out everything they need to know about an article by reading the headline (most of the time they’re right) and they don’t want to waste their time on articles that aren’t valuable to them. Write strong, attention grabbing headlines that are true to your topic, but promote it in a quick and concise way.
5. Give them something to do.
Provide not just educational information to your readers – but give them some items they can get into right away and take action on. It will engage them immediately and increase the likelihood that they’ll be appreciative of your writing and your offerings.
6. Update often.
It’s hard to write good, original content when your part of a small team, or even worse if it’s just you. However, you need to – and you need to do it often! The more you write (provided it’s the right content) the more Google and other search engines will see you. You’ll also be increasing your website’s overall content appeal and usefulness to your viewers. Blogging once a week would be a great target to reach for starters, however, 4-5 times a week would be fantastic, and you’d build up your indexed pages quickly.
7. Be quick and to the point.
Your readers want valuable and education information they can do something with. They also want it quick. Don’t beat around the block diving into stories that are of moderate interest to your readers or the story. Remember, you’ve been given a precious amount of limited attention from your readers – now prove it worthwhile to them and give them the good stuff right away.
8. Use media.
We’ve all heard it – a picture is worth a 1000 words, and it holds very true in this context also. Images, videos, charts, infographics and more all do a great job of helping relay information to all our different types of learners. Break your numbers down visually, illustrate a location or an idea with a great photograph. The point is to bring the users on the journey with you. Additionally, Google is on to this also – and provided the images are relevant, it rewards content with solid images and video included.
9. Break it down.
Help your readers understand the starts and stops in a story or idea. Help them see the big points through the little ones. Use proper headers (H1 – H6’s) and bullet point your lists. Italicize and bold where it’s needed (but don’t overdo it either). Again, Google’s bots appreciate this and will reward your organized SEO content as being more readable – thus user-friendly.
10. Add links.
Within your website and outside. Google thinks it’s just great when your blog links to another credible and valid source of information on the same topic. Find ways to do this often and enhance your rank and your users value in the education process.
Check back on Friday, September 19th to view the 4th part in this series: Search Engine Optimization “How to” Series: On-Page
Has this blog been helpful? Are you at the next step? You may want to begin implementing good SEO tactics and procedures but you feel lost. Well, fear not, we’ve written a great eBook that covers the basics of SEO. It’s free and quick reading and will help you understand the most important elements to any successful SEO strategy.