Content is King. It goes without saying that the better your content is, the higher it will rank in search results. Your web project simply won’t work without quality content. It’s a vital aspect of your online presence that should not be overlooked.
In this post, you’ll get a detailed overview of content SEO, and how it will help you dominate search results.
What is SEO content?
SEO content is any resource on your webpages that enables them to rank favorably in search engine results pages. It comprises both the material itself and how that content is organized/presented on your website.
There are three critical factors to consider for successful content:
Writing SEO optimized content is essential because it helps search engine crawlers like Google understand your website’s industry and refer its content to interested users. Simply put, SEO content will determine how well your site ranks in search results. Obviously, for it to work, your website should be appropriately built – with a convenient user interface, and all the technical details like security, mobile responsiveness, and load times that Google views as necessary should be addressed.
Search analysis (keyword strategy)
Analyzing your audience’s search intent, also referred to as keyword research, involves identifying all the topics covered on your site, and finding the search queries they use most. By presenting your content in such a way as to answer specific user queries, you’ll increase the chances that they will see and take an interest in your website. Search analysis involves the following primary steps:
- First, identify and refine the mission of your company.
- Make a list of all the topics you want to rank for
- Evaluate search intent
- Create pages for your topics.
If you do your search analysis the right way, you’ll have a clear understanding of your site’s niche, the topics you want to cover, and the terms people interested are most likely to use when they run searches.
Why search analysis is crucial.
Proper keyword analysis will help you understand your audience. This is important. It is common to find business owners who describe their products and services in a specific manner, and yet their target market uses different terms entirely. Targeting the wrong keywords and phrases is counterproductive; it will alienate your readers and make your brand seem out of touch with its audience. Proper keyword research will help you avoid all these problems.
Key phrases and keywords
The term “keyword” is synonymous with SEO. While it’s often considered a reference to just one word, it may imply several. For instance, DIY ice-cream is a keyword in its own right, same as “social media marketing.” a keyword may comprise multiple words.
Highly specific keywords are often called long-tail keywords. They are longer than short-tail keywords, and they target a particular niche. The longer and more precise a keyword is, the easier it will be for it to rank for a search phrase.
How many keywords should I target?
There is no definite answer to this question. You need several if you’re going to draw enough traffic into your site.
It’s common for even small enterprises to target a few hundred keywords. That said, it’s not necessary to focus on all of them right away. The advantage of having content management systems like WordPress is that you can add content a step at a time. You’ll want to sort through your keywords to find those you’d want to compete for right away (the ones most relevant to your industry), and the ones that aren’t immediately vital, then plan the development process for your content.
Should you target long-tail keywords on your website?
Some keywords (usually the short-tail keywords) receive high search traffic and are fiercely competitive. Others, especially long-tail keywords, are not so competitive, and they receive low search volumes. It’s usually better to have only a few general (short-tail) keywords in your content, with the rest a bit more specific.
Generic keywords should appear most in the top-level pages in your site structure: the home page, and the other navigational pages linked to it.
Search and keyword intent
As you conduct keyword research, it helps to consider your audience’s search intent. Ask yourself what’s going on in your readers’ minds as they type your keywords into their search bars. Are they looking for information? Or do they want to make a purchase? Keyword intent is reflected in keywords like (buy dell laptop) or (how to potty-train a cat). While these examples clearly demonstrate the difference between two types of intent, it’s not always straightforward.
There about 4 significant types of search intent
- Informational intent
- Transactional intent
- Navigational intent
- Informational intent
You’ll want to ensure your content answers your users’ intent.
How does intent affect search engine rankings?
Google has gotten good at analyzing user intent, and it is now an important ranking factor.
For example, over 90% of the internet users who search for a particular term, like “change light bulb,” have informational content, and you’re focused on a transactional intent to sell light fixtures. You’re not going to rank in the search results pages.
Check with the search engines. Search engine results pages are crucial for successful keyword research. If you want to determine your audience’s intent, Google your keywords, and evaluate the results. The results will show what kind of information users who search for those terms want to consume. If successfully create content that answers their need, the site’s performance will improve.
Tools to use
There are several tools you may use for keyword research. Unfortunately, most aren’t reliable. They often provide false search volume metrics. You’re better off using tools like Google, and Bing suggests.
In fact, Google’s “autocomplete” feature can be a content writer’s best friend. Google processes over 4 billion searches each day.
If you have ever received autocomplete suggestions while typing queries into Google, you know how surprisingly accurate the feature can be.
Google automatically attempts to finish search queries. Its efficacy is based on an algorithm that generates suggestions from previous user data. It inadvertently allows you to view the most common phrases used by people interested in a particular topic.
Optimizing your keyword strategy.
There are several keyword strategies you may implement for your site. One is to focus on ranking for highly specific (long-tail) keywords first, then aim at generic (short-tail) keywords later on. Alternatively, you could focus on short-tail keywords first, then progress to long-tail keywords later.
Your keyword strategy shouldn’t be static. It should evolve to reflect the growth of your website and company. You should follow all the changes that transpire within your company and adapt your content strategy accordingly. If your shop launches a new product line, extend your list of keywords. If you intend to enter new markets, you must consider them in your market as well.
Site structure is critical for successful SEO. It enables search engines to understand your site.
Site structure gives search engines like Google clues on relevant content. This helps them quickly index it and identify its niche.
Site structure helps your pages gain favorable ranks in search engine results pages. The arrangement of your web pages helps site crawlers understand their relation to your home page, and this, in turn, helps them rank in search results. Consequently, if you develop helpful, high-quality content for a blog post, and it earns large search volumes, it will boost the static pages on your site.
Good structure helps you ensure you don’t compete with your own content. Your website will likely have several articles written on different topics. If you wrote about 10 reports about a particular topic, Google wouldn’t know which of these is most important. You’ll have to clarify the issue through the site structure.
Proper site structure helps you achieve excellent user experience. Putting aside the fonts, colors, images, and graphics, a good website is all about effective structure. Human beings love rational presentation – your users want to find things where they expect them to be, so a robust, logical structure is cognitively satisfying.
The more appealing your site is to your audience, the more attractive it will be to search engines. Website crawlers use audience insights to rank your site. If it has a low click-through rate and a high bounce rate, it won’t perform in search results. Conversely, when a site has low bounce rates and high dwell times, it will enjoy favorable search engine rankings.
What’s the best website structure?
You’ll want to structure your website like a pyramid. Your home page should appear at the top, followed by your navigational pages, which link to more pages.
Tips for a proper website structure
Create a proper Site hierarchy: Site hierarchy is the way your information is organized. It will determine your navigation and URL structure, so it is essential.
Vital hierarchy features.
Your hierarchy should be logical: Don’t complicate the process. Your goal here is simplicity, for your sake, and to ease the task of crawling your website. Each major category should be distinct and unique. The subcategories should bear a meaningful connection to the parent pages under which they are located.
Limit the number of significant categories. Aim for between 2 and 7 categories. There should be only a few prominent categories on your site. Unless you are a leading global platform like eBay, having a multitude of categories will not benefit your site.
Create a URL structure that matches your navigation hierarchy.
If you’ve created a logical hierarchy, this shouldn’t be too hard.
Tags and taxonomies will complement your site’s structure, and help search engines understand it better. They will enable you to group your articles on related topics.
Avoid duplicate content: readers won’t mind if the same content shows up at multiple locations on your website, but search engines have to choose what appears in search results, and they won’t want to show the same entry twice. Furthermore, when other websites reference your content, they might link to different URLs, which will negatively affect the rankings for each article.
Your articles should be fun to read and encourage your audience to stay on your website. At the same time, their content should be search engine friendly.
The first rule for compelling content is to be original. Your articles or blog posts should be new and unique, and they should focus on topics your audience will want to read.
If you did your keyword research right, there’s a long list of search terms you want to rank for. However, search terms aren’t necessarily article topics, so you should find original ideas for your blog content in which the desired search term has a prominent feature.
Original content doesn’t have to be brand new. Even offering a professional opinion on a specific topic qualifies as being authentic. Your view of a particular subject will make your content original and unique.
Consider your audience
If you’re committed to writing original content, you should consider your audience. Ask you’re self
- What you want them to know
- What the central message of your article will be
- The primary goal of your article.
- These considerations will help you develop original ideas.
Content design refers to the processes undertaken to identify the best ways to present information to your users. It’s a combination of the principles of writing, User experience development, and accessibility.
Content writers/creators tend to approach content from a topic-centered point of view. While they aren’t bad, topics are rigid. They are meant to be static; to offer answers to specific questions an audience may have. In a perfect world, the content provided on a topic will fully align with its audience’s goals.
As hinted on earlier, the challenge with topics is that they are born of a publisher-centered view of the world. Publishers understand that people want information. They know what they need to tell their audiences on a particular topic, and they try to provide clear answers. However, they often fail to consider the variation of user needs concerning a specific topic. They don’t realize that multiple people consuming the same content might have slightly different goals and objectives.
As a content creator, you need to develop resources that address users’ varying needs. A typical example that reflects the variation in user needs concerns product comparisons. Lots of people will want to read a product comparison, especially if it’s on popular products. However, there will be differences in what they want to know most.
- Which product in the comparison is best?
- The tradeoffs (pros vs. cons of each entry in the comparison)
- The customization options available
- How to purchase a specific product configuration
As you may have realized from the details above, a single product comparison article may need to account for user interests and accommodate users with varying knowledge levels.
Readability is the measure of how easy it is to read and understand a piece of text. Though it’s often ignored, it has a strong correlation with search engine rankings. You may have high-quality content, but if your articles are written at a postgraduate student’s level, will your audience take the time to understand your message? That aside, search engines classify advanced writing as challenging to read. To reach a broad audience, your content must be categorized as medium or basic readability.
Readable posts keep visitors for longer. The internet is already experiencing an information overload, and much of its content is hard to decipher. When users find blog posts that provide easily understandable answers to their questions, they rarely leave.
Readers like straightforward, scalable content. If you use this approach with your content, you’ll keep about 90% of your visitors, and this will help your site rank in results pages.
Context and search intent
Context goes beyond keywords. It works like this: if you search for Gotham in October, you will likely see websites selling Batman-themed costumes. If you perform the same search in the UK, you will probably be redirected to information on the city of Gotham. Google employs user intent to develop accurate, personalized results. While you craft your content, remember to use language and phrasing that resonates with your target audience. If you understand and address user intent through your content, you’ll rank higher for your target keywords than those who don’t.
Additional tips for effective SEO content
Write a catchy headline
Your headline determines whether internet users will take an interest in your article, and it is often all that appears in search engine results, besides a meta-description. If your headlines don’t catch people’s attention, stir emotion, or make readers want to know more about the topic, you won’t get the results you want.
Write a good introduction.
Your article will have 3 seconds on average to hook readers after the headline. The first sentence in your post will determine whether they will read the rest of your content. Consequently, it should capture readers’ attention and introduce them to the topic you’ll be covering.
Develop a unique voice
Your content is your company’s voice. It should, therefore, match your company’s personality. You’ll want to align your writing tone to your intended market while implementing the SEO practices and strategies discussed earlier in this article.
Optimize your content for online viewing
It’s best that you write short sentences and paragraphs, and complement them with bulleted lists. This will make it easy for your audience to read your content on multiple devices
You must possess accurate knowledge of your topic, especially if you’re aiming for a B2B market. The research will validate your position as an authority within your niche and help you better understand your audience. Add statistics, infographics, and videos to your articles where relevant. They will help you prove your credibility and support your content.
With the advice in this guide, you’re well on your way to writing compelling content that gets search engine rankings. Remember, though, that writing is an art that takes time to master, like all others. And your content will need time to rank online, mainly if you operate in a competitive field. That said, once it starts to produce results, you’ll reap a ton of benefits.