Search engine optimization – SEO. It’s still a concept that can be difficult to understand. And rightfully so. It’s a concept that changes a little bit every day.
As search engines change and develop new strategies, marketers scramble to keep up. After all, you want your business to do well and rank high. The only way to do that is to keep up with what search engines demand.
That’s why we’ve seen a lot of changes over the years. Black hat. White hat. Link to other sites. Pull back on the links. Load up keywords onto your site. Take them away. It’s difficult even as SEO experts to get it all right.
But over the years, there is one thing that has never faltered: Content. Years ago, the adage of “content is king” became common-talk among the marketing world. It can still be used today.
What Is SEO Content
SEO – search engine optimization – is the process of optimizing your website so it will rank better in the search engines.
On-page SEO is all of the stuff you don’t see – title tags, keywords, metatags, internal links, and external links.
SEO content is the content that’s included on the page to help you rank. It’s the stuff you can see – the words, images, videos, audio, infographics, or a combination of all of these.
Together they work hard to tell the search engines the purpose of the page. The two items work together – or should – to satisfy the ranking system the search engines use to provide a proper rank.
You’ll find SEO content in one of several ways:
Blog Posts – this is one of the fastest, easiest ways to provide content to your site. Because blog posts are easy to create, you can add relevant information to your site all the time. And it doesn’t have to be just text; audio, video, and infographics count too. You can include news, lists, how-to guides, step by step instruction, new releases, general information – the possibilities are endless.
Product Pages – this is where you can be specific with every product you create and sell. Don’t lump them all together – be sure every product has its own relevant page.
Landing Pages – these pages are designed with specific ideas in mind. They might be used to generate signups to a newsletter. They might be used in marketing campaigns to provide relevant information when a person clicks over from an ad.
Static Pages – these are the basic pages of your site – your about us page, contact us page, etc.
How do you optimize your content?
1. Start With Keyword Research
Every good SEO strategy starts by understanding what keywords are relevant to your goals. You can THINK you know; but until you do proper research, you may be missing out on some of the best keywords for your business.
Your keyword research provides information to what type of content makes your visitors happy. It tells you what people search for, what to create content for, and how to use it to increase the potential that visitors will stick to your site once they get there.
This can influence your business in a variety of ways. It can help you decide what keywords to target in your marketing campaigns. It can even influence URLs you select and use, what type of pages to create, and other related keywords you should try for too.
2. Use your keywords everywhere
This is where many get it wrong. When you create content with a keyword in mind, you have to use the keyword as you create your content.
It should be in the title you create for the page. Let’s use this post as an example.
5 Steps To Getting Your SEO Content Right
The keyword is SEO Content. And there it is, right in the title of the page. That puts it into the appropriate title tags for the on-page SEO, as well as drives the SEO content side of the process as well.
Of course, that’s only the beginning.
Once you’ve chosen your keyword, it should be used sparingly throughout the page. If you’ve ever seen a page that uses the keyword over and over and over again, you know how boring that can be. Just remember your keyword and use it in general conversation, and you’ll be on the right track.
Don’t forget that Google is smart too. That means it can pick up on words or phrases that have the same meaning – it’s called Latent Semantic Index, or LSI keywords. Have you ever typed in a keyword into the search box, and looked at the list of related searches for reference? That’s LSI at work.
3. Think quality first
There used to be a time when you could write poor quality copy, optimize it perfectly, and rank high. But these pages had very low reader satisfaction. And when viewers became unhappy, Google listened. And it went to work modifying the way it ranked.
Think quality first.
Think about what you like to read when you do a search.
This also means you should think about how much content you provide.
People want just enough to learn about what they came for. Studies show long format outranks short content … to a point. Again, above all, people want quality.
Long content works well because people can choose how much information they need. They can keep reading, learning, watching, and taking in the amount of content that works for them.
If they find what you offer is high quality, they’ll keep going. And ultimately that’s the real purpose. You want your readers to find value in what you have to say. When there’s value, they stay. They click. They buy.
4. Make it easy to read
Of course, writing content just to have a lot of content is the wrong approach too. If you’re going to write long content, make sure you optimize it to make it easy to read.
And the good news is, in the online world, this increases your optimization. Title tags, header tags, metatags – they all help build your SEO. So it’s a win/win for everyone.
Use things like:
- Short paragraphs
- Bold and italics to highlight information you think is important
- Bullet points to stress specific steps
- White space – it’s easier for a person to keep reading
- Fonts that are easy to read
- Graphics and photos that emphasize your material
5. Always think “what’s next”
Why do you want your content to be read? What do you want your readers to do?
If you create with this in mind, you’ll start developing a natural flow.
We’ve all heard the adage “you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression.” Studies show that carries over to your website too. Very few take immediate action. They need something to assure them the next step is the right step. Of course, it takes a lot less assurance to release an email address, than it does to put in credit card information for a sale.
But if you start thinking about the steps you want your readers to take, it helps you decide how to build awareness, relevance, and credibility into everything you create.
If you have quote statistics, why not provide an external link out to a source that makes your statement more credible?
If you mention something you’ve spoken in depth about somewhere else on your site, why not provide an internal link over to that page to keep them clicking?
If you have an entire category detailing a specific point you’re making in a blog post, for instance, make sure you highlight that in your content too.
If you have a visitor on your page and they trust you enough to get through the first paragraph or two, continue building that trust.
Take them by the hand and lead them to the next step. They trust you. Until you steer them wrong.
What’s your SEO content strategy? Is it solid, working hard for you every day? If not, maybe it’s time for a change.