As the old saying goes, content is king. And even in the ever changing world of blogging, this couldn’t be more true. Regardless of any changes that Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter may make; content will still be the one ring to rule them all. Yes, how you promote your content may change or the methods that you use my be different from blogger to blogger. And what works for one blogger may not work for another blogger. But what is consistent and the one common thread that we all have is content. As bloggers we are the primary content creators, and often times we wear many additional hats when it comes to the business of blogging. Content creation is just one of the things that we do.
Content is one of many different forms of SEO, but it’s arguably one of the most important. In the past, content that was SEO friendly consisted of pushing as many keywords as the writer could into the article or blog post. Sometimes web masters would even have content with common misspellings in it. This was designed because search engines use the search terms to send users to pages with the search terms that were searched.
Search Engine Technology Updates Cause Major Changes in Content
But, today, search engine technology recognizes that users want relevant content results from their searches. Search engine algorithms now take many factors into consideration before sending a searcher results. Users want accurate, authoritative content to read and view so that they can find the information that they need. Users are not satisfied with searches that send them to pages and pages of fluff with Google Advertisements on them. They want substantial and useful content that can teach them, engage them, and mean something. So, search engines seek to improve the technology to make sure that happens.
Write In Depth Content And Lose The Fluff
Today, due to the changes in search engine technology meta tags don’t matter as much as creating a lot of relevant, useful content. Keywords still belong in the titles, sub headers, and anchor text but they don’t need to be stuffed into the content in an unnatural way. The content should be written for the reader, not the search engines. Also, today business owners need to write or hire writers who can write more in depth content that is not fluff. Not even a blog post should be fluffy today. Each post, article, video, podcast, infographic, etc. should have a reason for being. If you don’t know the reason, don’t put it on your web real estate.
Use Appropriate Grammar But Know Your Audience
You want everything you publish on your website, or that you offer as a download to your readers and / or users to not feel as if they’re being talked down to. Use the words that are common to use among your audience even if technically the grammar is wrong. If it’s right for your audience then it’s right for your website. It doesn’t matter if you use rewritten PLR, hire a ghost writer or write the content yourself, the content needs to speak directly to your audience in the way that makes them feel comfortable.
Finally, relax your usage of keywords a little so that you can focus on the content of the content. What you say to your viewers is very important. It should teach them, inform them, engage them and even excite them. You want to compel them to act because what they read or listened to, or watched meant something to them. Creating that type of quality content will get you higher rankings and mean more to your SEO efforts than all the fluff filled keyword rich content you can churn out.
Some years ago, the best way of ranking high in the search engines was to make sure that you used enough keywords. In many cases, this was taken to the extreme with bad practices like keyword stuffing, keyword diluting, and keyword cloaking. The result was content, which was very unnatural to read.
In time, Google changed its algorithms so that sites, which used those “black hat SEO” techniques, were penalized. This meant that marketers had to completely change their strategies. It is now essential to make sure that content is of high quality and that keywords are used ‘naturally.’
So, the question is how does your content look? Does it read in a natural way, or it is obvious which specific keyword you are targeting?
Here’s how to make sure that your content is not just a collage of keywords.
• The amount of times a keyword appears. It’s important to make sure that keywords appear naturally. There is not set a limit about how many times a phrase to keyword should appear. Obviously, in a longer article or blog post, a keyword phrase would appear more frequently than in a shorter post. Try to focus on the relevance of your keyword in relation to the content. When you read the article, the keywords should naturally appear.
• Where to place keywords. There are specific areas on a page where both readers and search engines expect keywords to appear. These are in the URL, the page title, the first heading (H1) and maybe in the first paragraph. It’s also important to have keyword variations used in subheadings. Also, remember to use keywords where the reader doesn’t see them – Meta descriptions, image file names, and alt text.
• Think about relevance to the content. A relevant keyword is one that occurs throughout the text. When reading your article, if you notice that there are a few paragraphs where the keyword is missing, look for ways to use an alternative keyword phrase. Definitely don’t have the same keyword repeating in every paragraph. Keep the content ‘human.’ Usually, when you write naturally about a topic there is no need to worry about keywords. Google and other search engines are smart enough to relate your content to the phrases you are targeting.
• Pick good keywords. It’s important to also pick good keywords that are relevant to your content. Don’t forget long-tailed keywords, i.e. longer phrases that are more specific to your product. For example, for the keyword “laptop,” long tail keywords will be “how to use a laptop,” “laptop buying guide,” or replacing a laptop battery.” These are valuable phrases that can yield steady streams of organic traffic. To do this, there are many tools available to target profitable keywords. The most popular is Google AdWords Tools, which is free. However, there are other free and paid for keyword search tools available.
• Write engaging content. Remember that the reader always comes first. It is a big mistake just to write for the search engines. When writing content keep the quality high and engaging for the reader. Try not to force keywords into the content. Try to choose topics to write about which people will find valuable. Some of these topics can include, answers to people’s questions, frequently asked questions, solutions to problems, and “how-to” lists.
Although there have been many changes as to how keywords are used, they are still an essential part of any marketing strategy. Having the right keywords, which are popular but have low competition, is the cornerstone of successful marketing. However, keywords alone no longer help a page rank high in organic searches. Good keywords should be used in high-quality content.
Moreover, keep in mind that over optimization and keyword stuffing is a big fat red flag of spam and can harm your site with losses in SERP rankings.
When creating content always aim for a balance between being engaging and at the same time incorporating your keyword strategy. If you want to make sure that your content isn’t just a collage of your keywords, go for higher quality content. Remember that your readers need to be engaged. If the content is of value, they will share this on social media platforms – something the search engines won’t do.
How to Effectively Deliver Your Killer Content
Make Content Available across Devices
Gone are the days when you could rest on your website not being responsive. You want the content that you distribute to live on your website which is the hub of all things about your business. But, if your website is not responsive and your users cannot consume the content on multiple devices, you’re going to miss out and lose some people.
Produce Interesting Content
Dry or boring content happens when you don’t know your voice. Learn what your business voice is, and start trying to produce interesting content that speaks in that voice. The days of keyword-rich content to just fill the “content slots” for the search engines are over. Google’s job is to send relevant results to their customers, and your job is to deliver relevant results that your customer wants to find so that Google can send them to you.
Build Content That Is Not Promotional
If every bit of the content you create is promotional, people will get bored to death. People do not like being sold to and will not be excited by that type of content on a day in and day out basis. This is not to say you don’t want to promote yourself and your products – you do, but you want most of the content you distribute to be able to stand on its own enough that the reader wants to find out what you have to offer by reading your bio and clicking through to the sales page.
Create Relevant Content
Again – generic, “do nothing” content is old school. Ask yourself as you produce content whether it’s useful to the reader you intend to read it, whether it solves a problem for them, and whether or not it’s about them and not you. Remember, it’s all about them, all the time.
Construct Content That Answers a Question
Some of the best content answers a question that someone in your audience either may have had, or that you can assume that they have due to your study of the audience in relation to your product offerings. Providing content that doesn’t do this is just going to be lost in the shuffle and never read or cared about. That’s where you see “bounces” in your analytics.
Craft Well-Written and Well Produced Content
Grammar matters. Sentence structure matters. But, not in the way you may think. If your content is too stuffy for your audience they may be left feeling like what they are reading is dry and drones on and on. Instead, find a good balance between propriety and entertainment and you’ll have it made.
Ensure the Content Represents Your Objectives
While content is all about them, there has to be a point to your content that ultimate represents your business goals and objectives. If you can keep your business goals at the forefront of any new content creation and understand how and why it fits in with your objectives while also answering the needs of your audience, you’ll have it right.
Use Respectable Quotes from Movers and Shakers
You may be famous in your own right, but the truth is, people like seeing proof in the form of quotes from well-respected movers and shakers within the industry or within the topic you happen to be creating the content about.
Finally, you should know your audience well enough to know what time they are more likely to read the content, where they might be more likely to find it, and in what formats they prefer to consume it. If you follow these tips, and keep studying your audience, you’ll be successful with your content strategy.
So does content matter? Yes, it matters. And it will always matter. Deliver content that is relevant, offers value, and provides a service or answers a question.
Does that mean you should completely neglect social media? Of course not. Social media still matters when it comes to getting your content out there. Yes, search engine traffic is a beautiful thing and it will still be my personal favorite. In fact, since my rebrand, one of the things that I’ve been doing is going back and optimizing old posts. I still make sure that they’re also optimized for sharing on social media because I know that social media is important.
A solid social media promotion strategy combined with stellar content will only help you grow.
What tips would you have to share about content creation?