“Content is King”. It’s an old adage that still does the rounds in search engine optimisation (SEO) communities everywhere. SEO has changed so many times over the past decade or so as Google and other search engines have become savvier to the tricks people have used before to game the system. With more and more websites being made, it is harder than ever to rank on the Google homepage for big keywords — and nothing short of impossible without good quality content. So, how can you up your content game in 2018?
We’ve put together a variety of tips which help not only enrich the experience of the user visiting your blog post or website, but also to help you create high-quality content with keywords and long-tail keywords that have the Google seal of approval.
Go into Depth
Something which has become more and more important over the years in the eyes of search engines is the depth of your content. This can mean word count, which is an important metric but is more about the detail and value provided to the reader. If someone is looking for “how to build a house”, Google knows that content which has 200 words is not going to provide the depth of information. Studies have shown that the more competition a keyword has, and the more information out there, the more words are needed in your post to make the grade.
What this doesn’t mean is to go on and on about things or write irrelevant “filler” content just to try and get to the top of searches. This will do you no good in the long run. The importance is to provide value. This doesn’t just have to be done through word count, as the next point demonstrates…
Rich Content and Media
We live in an age where “content marketing” doesn’t have to mean words. Have a think about what is relevant to your post and to your readers. Other forms of media which can be embedded into a post really easily include videos, images, audio, and even interactive media such as polls. Most people are in agreement that certain types of media being included will give you a boost in terms of an SEO content strategy, especially video from YouTube (a platform owned by the world’s biggest search engine) or other similar social media.
Google and the other search engines love websites which keep users engaged, and that they either stay on or click through to another site or blog post, rather than quickly hit the ‘back’ button. Expect to be rewarded for making your content engaging with a mixture of content types.
SEO is an art form more than it is a science. Getting the content strategy right to reach your target audience may be down to an algorithm, but nobody other than the search engines knows what drives that algorithm. A theory which holds a lot of weight is that writing in a normal, conversational style will normally see your content ranking higher in search engines and ensure readers remain engaged. Don’t put readers off by using jargon or scientific language you wouldn’t normally use. Only use words or long-tail keywords you would use when talking to another adult or even young person.
Link Out and Reward Other High-Quality Content
Links to and from a website are arguably the most important aspect of a website from Google’s point of view. They are the main factor used to calculate where a website should rank. Because of this, some people may have tried to ring-fence them and have become tight with what links they give out which help to reach out to a wider target audience.
The truth of the matter is that search engines like to see good, relevant content linked to from other good, relevant content. If you look at Wikipedia, it is full of links to both other sources or other pages on their site. This is a good example of keeping a ‘web’ of links which keeps the whole Internet ticking. Don’t be afraid to write content which includes studies or blog posts others have done and give them credit for their work. This is where a good content writer comes in.
A lot of the time, people are going to Google and other search engines to learn something. Answering questions should be right at the core of your writing strategy. Thankfully, Google provides features such as a “people also search for” box, which gives details of similar searches people are carrying out. For instance, say you are writing about “the best garden furniture”, the related searches may be things like “how much does garden furniture cost?” or “best rattan garden furniture”. See if you are able to incorporate these into your post under new subheadings or within existing content.
Google is smart enough to know that these questions are linked and is likely to reward content which is in-depth in answering multiple queries.
It sounds corny, right? By being yourself, I mean not only portraying some personality to keep people on your page but also not trying too hard to play the system. If it feels natural to write content in a certain way, you are probably much better off following your gut than trying to do things a specific way and ending up being contrived. Search engines don’t want every piece of content to follow the same template, they just want to rank content which is relevant and solves problems. Trust that by doing this, the technology running search engines will reward you.
Write Something Shareable
As we’ve already briefly mentioned, a huge part of SEO strategy and content marketing revolves around the number of links going to a piece of content or a website. By creating a real asset, you increase the chances of links from other sites and from social networks, all of which are proven to improve your SEO. To be shareable, create something more controversial, more detailed or just better put together than the competition. Pay attention to what people tend to share on social media and look for ways you can correlate this with your own content. How can you create something people will enjoy sharing or want to show others?
A lot of content writing can be simplified to whether or not it is providing value to the reader. Asking yourself throughout whether this is the case can hugely help your SEO strategy. Content writing should be enjoyable for both the writer and the reader so create the best you can and don’t sweat the small stuff.