In the ever-changing world of search engine optimisation, keeping up can be a challenge. There are however some basic tweaks you can make to ensure you get the most out of your content.
Content is key – write for people, not search engines
Great content is written for people not for search engines!! Filling up your content with keywords doesn’t make it a great article. Nothing is going to beat high-quality content that adds value and wants you to find out more.
Remember search engines follow users – write valuable content and you will increase your rankings as more users will see your site as a value-add environment. The objective is always to connect with your audience and hopefully inspire some form of action from them.
Plan your content – don’t make it accidental
When it comes to content, let’s be honest, no one likes boring content. Your content should always be relevant and regular. Creating great content is not as simple as publishing what you think is an exciting post. You need to ensure you have a content strategy in place, your objective is to gain traffic and have returning visitors.
Planning your content will make all the difference. Before deciding on what content to put out there, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are we trying to achieve through our content?
- What are our customers interested in or struggling with at the moment?
- What are our competitors doing – what content can we produce better or differently
Your aim is to create top-quality, engaging content – you want to be the go-to place for your target market. You also want to encourage your users to share your content, so make sure they have easy access to social media buttons.
Keywords and long-tail keywords
Keywords are integral to search engine optimisation. It is important to take the time to research and identify the right keywords. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools that can help you find the best keywords. Keyword research needs to be a constant practice as their popularity is always changing and you need to make sure you’re staying relevant to rank highly.
You can run free searches and sites like Keyword Tool are great when deciding on which keywords to use – you will be able to see which keywords are popular and you can then easily work them into your content. WordStream, is another great site that will help provide ideas for keywords related to your initial keyword search.
Long-tail keywords are often under-used, focusing on and creating content around these phrases will improve your rankings as you are competing against fewer sites.
Keywords – just the right amount
As we said, keywords play an integral role when it comes to SEO, but you don’t want Google to register your article as spam. Overuse of your keywords will detract from your rankings – a general rule of thumb is to include your keyword in the first 200 words of your content and then use them where they make sense.
Great content that’s jam-packed into long paragraphs, besides looking boring can also make for difficult reading. It’s best to use shorter paragraphs of around 3 or 4 sentences. Adding bullets, bold text and different fonts will also make it more readable.
According to Jason Fried, Founder and CEO of Basecamp, “Short paragraphs get read, long paragraphs get skimmed, really long paragraphs get skipped.”
Does the number of words make a difference?
Longer blog posts and articles feature higher in search results and currently, the optimal length of an article is around 2000 words. With regards to the minimum, typical blog posts are between 300 and 500 words. Having said that, a 300-word article that is engaging and adds value will always beat a 2000-word article that is repetitive and dare we say, filled with waffle.
Consistent unique content
Another aspect of your content that will impact your rankings is the ‘fresh factor’. One of the easiest ways to optimise your freshness score is to create consistent content. If you publish now and again, you are going to fail to attract an audience – you don’t want to be a one-hit-wonder.
Research has shown that you are far more likely to be successful if you are consistent. Decide on how regularly you want to post, if it’s once a week on a Tuesday, then make sure you stick to that. Remember, you are not the only source – there is a world of content out there.
Another trick is to update your content regularly. Even if you have fabulous high-quality and engaging content, Google is always looking for fresh content. If you’re not convinced, according to an article by SingleGrain, some companies who followed this SEO strategy saw their current traffic nearly double.
Images are another important factor when it comes to SEO. So, if you are including images in your content, it’s best to make sure they are optimised for search engines, as well as your readers. More than 22% of all Google searches are Google Image searches so it’s a great way to gain extra traffic.
There are two main steps to optimising your images. The first is to add alt text – this text describes the image and should be done in as few words as possible. The second step is reducing their file size. Large files take a long time to load, and Google takes page speed into account.
Link to other websites
We know intuitively that this doesn’t seem like the best idea as you are driving traffic away from your site. But according to Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger Media, linking out to other blogs is critical to growth. Brian Clark is the king of content marketing and always putting his readers first, has seen him turn his digital marketing company Copyblogger into a multi-million dollar enterprise.
Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz, says, “Linking out sends trackable traffic, it makes your site a more valuable and scalable resource.”
And Neil Patel a New York Times bestselling author and a top influencer on the web, according to The Wall Street Journal, says on his site, “If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll notice that I regularly link out to different sites. Whenever I write a new post, I reference other trustworthy sites, where appropriate.
Link building remains a fundamental part of smart search engine optimization strategy. I link out to tons of high-quality sites and sources, including my direct competition.”
Why do they do this?
A major element of SEO is link building – According to Google backlinks and content are two of the most important ranking factors they take into account.
The rationale behind this is to add value to their readers. You do however need to be discerning when it comes to linking. Another reason for doing this is that if you are putting out quality material, you will find that people will also link to you.
Adding internal links is another effective way to help to keep readers spending more time on your website which will help reduce your bounce rate and improve your SEO rankings.
Title Tags and Meta Description
Whenever we search on Google, the first thing we get is a list of title tags and meta descriptions. Meta descriptions provide a summary of each website. These are very important when it comes to search engine optimisation as they have a serious impact on the click-through rate.
This short description needs to be short, informative and contain your target keywords. Meta descriptions are not long and will generally contain around 160 characters. Your goal is to create enticing titles which convert into lots of clicks, happily engaged users and importantly, will move you up in the rankings.
A final reminder
You can follow all the SEO tips in the world but if your content isn’t high-quality and engaging, it won’t make any difference. As we said at the start – write for people and not for search engines!!!
We can help you write interesting and engaging content for your blog! Get in touch with us.