I’m sure most of you have heard a few SEO experts saying something around the lines of “Content is King”!
If you haven’t, well there’s quite a few and they’re right in many ways, SEO optimized content can make a huge difference for your website. In fact, that is often the answer to the question of, ‘how do I rank better in SERPs?’ Answer: Create great content!
But a lot of people are stuck wondering, what makes great content? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for that question. Some will tell you to write 3000 word articles and insert variations of your main keywords in strategic places. Others will tell you to stop thinking about SEO and write for your readers. And others will say you must execute a proper keyword research investigation before you start writing anything down. What about all of the above?
Sounds like a lot of work for one piece of writing, doesn’t it? Especially if your site is not already an authority and you don’t know if the article will even rank. I’ve run into articles ranking top 5 and they don’t really give me what I was looking for. Sometimes it’s a question and the answer is not provided, other results often are not even related to my query. So why are they there? Sometimes it’s because someone paid Forbes a lot of money to put that article in there with a link back to their site. Other times it’s because there are no updated articles on the query, so you get old irrelevant results from authority sites. We don’t all have that luxury though, so we do have to work a little harder to reach our goals.
The main thing to keep in mind here is that indeed you should be writing for your readers. Answer your readers’ questions, provide the information they’re looking for. If you run a personal blog, get your readers attention and relate to them. If you have an ecommerce site, talk to your readers on how your product will make their lives easier and/or better. Longer content is better, I agree, but don’t write long content just to meet a minimum word count. You do need to insert some keywords in there, but don’t overdo it or overthink it, don’t lose focus.
Some Do’s & Don’ts of SEO Optimized Content:
Do: know WHY you are writing your content. Are you providing a better answer than what’s already out there to a question? Or perhaps you are trying to get people to buy a product. Really knowing what you’re trying to accomplish with your content will allow you to focus on that and not on rankings. This will make your content more appealing to the reader.
Don’t: Write content just to have content on your blog, low quality content is frowned upon by search engines. A lot of companies have employees write content just for the sake of having something there. If that’s your job, well that’s different, don’t tell your boss you will never write again. Instead try to convince him/her to give you more time and resources to create more in-depth quality content. This will pay off in the long run and give the company more credibility.
Do: Focus on a single topic or keyword. This will allow you to use variations and synonyms of your main keyword without losing focus. This will also make your piece more readable and easy to understand.
Don’t: Cover several topics in one article, this can make for a confusing read. Not only that, but you could end up with several different keywords all over the place and not rank for any of them. Remember, it is your readers that you want to please the most.
Do: Use images, charts, etc. When it comes to online reading, adults go back to being children, we want pictures! We don’t want just a bunch of stupid words!
Do: Make sure your URL, meta title, description, and <h1> are related to the topic on hand.
Don’t: Make your URL, meta title, description, and <h1> the same, if possible don’t even use the same keyword. This will look spammy and could poke the panda. Use variations of your keywords as well as synonyms.
Do: Link out to authority sites when applicable, as well as other pages on your own site. If you’re a small business, it’s even ok to link out to a competitor who is an authority in your niche. This shows search engines you know what you’re talking about, and relates your business to those authority ones.
Don’t: Forget about the technical side. As shown in the graph above, this is important in making sure your content is found and displayed properly.
Do: Provide reliable sources to back up your claims or statistics. If you’re going to be providing informational data, show your readers where you got that information from. This can make it easier for your readers to trust in what you say.
Don’t: Forget to proofread and spell check! You want to be taken seriously, so make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors making you, your site, and your business appear unprofessional.
A straight step by step, one-size-fits-all guide for creating great content does not exist. There are so many different topics, businesses can be very different even on the same niche, that what works for one might not work for the other. These do’s and don’ts however, are tips you can apply to almost any piece of content you create. Following the tips above can help keep your users reading, and help your site in the SERPs. Create great content by answering a searched query, providing information the user is looking for, follow the do’s and don’ts, and your content will be shared naturally.