One of the factors in the way the Internet has changed the relationship between brands and customers has been the ascension of content and the central role SEO optimised content now plays in determining search visibility.
We all know that if a prospective website visitor can’t find you during organic search then your website traffic is in peril.
So what differentiates great SEO optimised content from the pack?
SEO Is Strategy Driven
If your content is out of sync with your SEO strategy, you have a recipe for dysfunction and disappointing organic search derived traffic volumes. Similarly, the best SEO strategy will wither and die without brilliant cut-through content.
We all know Google rewards good “content” and that content is one of its top three ranking factors. Which leads us to our next question.
What does that actually mean for marketers?
If peering under the bonnet of search engine algorithms and countless search results, or spending hours pouring over Google Analytics, are not your ideas of a good time, here are five tips for tweaking your content to create SEO-friendly content for your website.
1. Revisit Your Content Strategy
Sound SEO optimised content starts with strategy. Don't’ wait until the end of the content creation process to map out your SEO strategy.
Every publishing calendar should include a clear identification of that content element’s SEO contribution. Cramming in a few keywords or long-tail search terms is not going to SEO joy.
Do your research up front, identify what search terms your audience is using, and be clear about what forms of content they actively seek out and respond to.
Once you have these issues clarified, you can build a content strategy around them that position’s your website and social media content to deliver the search ranking you are targeting.
2. Create Brilliant Content
Sublime UX makes for excellence in SEO. When your content engages your audience, your viewers and readers consume more of it, share it across their network, and advocate it to their peers.
Common design factors that will contribute to making your content ‘sticky’ include:
- Clear and simple structure and execution.
- Emotional and entertaining (if that is your strategy).
- Credible and trustworthy.
- Educational and inspiring.
- Relevant and practical.
- Include an unexpected delight.
Each content component should try to include a few of these design cues. Always remember, you are writing for a human audience, not for the pleasure of a soulless algorithm, so keep your content real.
- Write for your audience, not your peers.
- Make it sharable and include something that would motivate your readers to share with their network.
- Build in structure. Anchor your content on a strong title and headlines. You're your prose engaging and use keywords strategically and naturally rather than forcing them into the narrative flow.
- Keep your paragraphs short, bold your headlines and key text, include bullet points, numbered lists, and quotes to make your text easy to scan quickly to digest quickly
3. Proof Your Content
Having content littered with typos and grammatical errors is a surefire way to undermine your content’s credibility. Run all your copy through Grammarly for a smooth user experience.
Attributing sources and linking to references is a sound technique, and also good for your SEO ranking. All those outbound links show search engines that you know your craft, and that your website is connected to authoritative websites.
4. Seed Your Keywords Strategically
Your SEO strategy should already have identified a keyword list. Ensure your keywords are woven naturally through your content rather than stuffed in. Google will punish you if it thinks you are stuffing content with keywords.
Keyword stuffing is not only inelegant, it’s counter-productive!
Quality keyword use rules of thumb:
- Don’t overthink your keyword usage. Go for the natural use of keywords and variants in your content. Use synonyms, abbreviations, and plurals remember you are writing for humans.
- Strategically place descriptive keywords in your image text, image titles, alt text and captions.
- Always write for people, but where possible front-load your target keyword in your title and headlines.
- Don’t forget to place keywords in your URL, particularly if you have seeded your title with keywords.
- Include your keywords and their variants in your first 100 words providing the flow remains natural.
5. Practical UX Content Issues
While the more technical aspects of SEO require dedicated resourcing in their own right, there are five aspects of SEO optimised content, which have the potential to dramatically impact your UX:
- Generally speaking, you have three seconds for your content to load before you lose your audience. Don’t go through all that effort creating attractive and engaging content only to have images and media files that are slowing your content’s performance.
- Ensure your content is mobile friendly. Hopefully, your website uses responsive design, but always ensure your forms and CTAs are tappable, and images are aligned centre.
- Include your content page on your website’s XML sitemap. Give Google a helping hand to locate and understand your glorious content.
- Incorporate relevant internal links with keyword-based anchor text to point to your content.
- Keep your URLs short for top-ranking performance aim for URLs of less than 59 characters.
We’ve all heard that Search engines have an affinity for fresh content. However, don’t think you can just tweak your publishing date each day or constantly load new pages onto your website in the hope that it will transform them into fresh content and enhance your organic search ranking.
A more effective strategy would be to tap into Google’s Query Deserves Freshness (QDF) feature. If a search suddenly surges, Google denotes it with the QDF tag and looks for fresh content. So, if your content happens to coincide with a QDF spike, your website will enjoy a blaze of high search rankings while the QDF remains topical.
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Visibility in organic search rankings is critical to securing enduring website traffic. SEO optimised content is the magic sauce that makes SEO fly. If potential website visitors can’t find you during an organic search, then growth could just prove elusive. A smart place to start in ensuring your brand rocket up the search results pages is by aligning your content and SEO strategies from conception.