In the past, SEO has been focused on keyword research and creating content around those keywords – sometimes to the detriment of the actual article with bad examples of this squeezing as many keywords in as possible to the point of being non-understandable. However, the recent algorithm changes by Google which are focusing on searcher intent means that nowadays it is much wiser to look beyond the intense focus on keywords and instead focus on writing valuable high-quality content which not only attracts new customers but is also SEO friendly as well – after all, if no one can find your content then there is no point publishing it!
What is high-quality content?
It is very easy for people to bandy about the words ‘high-quality content’ like this is the be all and end all, but actually isn’t the term ‘high-quality’ a very subjective one? I mean, I look at the term and think what is it that makes content ‘high-quality’, can we measure the quality of a piece of content easily, and if we decide that a piece is high-quality how easy is it to recreate that level of quality again and again in forthcoming pieces of content?
When I first started out creating content over 10 years ago, the focus was on keyword research plus good writing and a dash of SEO, but this is just not enough anymore. The marketing landscape has changed so much since then that even keywords are less important than you might think – although don’t panic, I am not saying they don’t matter at all. It just means we need to think about content and how keywords relate to content in a different way. After all, focusing on keyword research and on-page optimisation can sometimes result in content that is appealing to search engines, but that humans just don’t want to read. High-quality content is a delicate balance between being creative in your writing and using words to attract traffic to your website and drive conversions.
Although I have talked about keywords not being as important for content as they have in the past, you still need to do some keyword research before you start writing, it just needs to be done in the right way! Don’t scrap your existing SEO strategy, work with your writers to make sure you all understand the fundamentals of using keywords in writing in a cohesive and SEO friendly way. This could include thinking outside the box when it comes to analysing the data that you are presented with when you do your keyword research. Instead of focussing on what your SEO tool is telling you, do a Google search instead and see what comes up, and what comments and social shares relevant content is receiving to help fuel your ideas for the content you might want to produce. Also, look at the previous content you have published and see whether your audience is reading it, sharing it or even commenting on it. If they are not, then what can you do to try and improve this and drive your conversions?
There is so much happening in the world of marketing and SEO on a daily basis, that it can be really tempting to instantly start writing as soon as an idea pops into your head – but this isn’t always the best time to write. As much as it is good to be reactive to things, content is always better when there is a clear plan in place. Don’t stifle the creativity too much, but each article you post should have a clear outline, an eye-catching headline, and some idea of which external and internal links you are going to use. You should also think about where exactly on your website this content fits – if anywhere. This will help to ensure every piece of content you share works.
Branding is Important
One thing that many people fail to think about when it comes to content is brand voice and how important this is across every piece of content shared. The language you use in your blog posts, for example, should match the rest of the content on your website – whether it be conversational or more professional. This will ensure your target audience know that the content has been produced by you and what the purpose of the content is. Using the same tone of voice in all of your marketing materials reinforces your brand in people’s minds and also helps to build trust.
People nowadays are wise to a lot of marketing tactics, and won’t stand for misleading or false claims. If you concentrate on making sure your content is original, honest and open, and you are clear about what your product or service can do for the customer then you should find it easier to convert website visitors to paying customers.
Focus on your Target Audience
Don’t write content that you think your audience wants to read, listen to what they want and write content that they actually want to read. Look at things they may have written in the comments section of your blog, or do you get asked the same question again and again when talking to them? Make a note of the things they are asking for and telling you, and use this to fuel the content you are creating. Have a look at your competitor’s sites as well, and see what issues they are addressing.
Don’t Bore Your Readers
Long posts (like this!) can be a little boring for readers, and they might not stay the course and get to the end (we hope you do!) Using some different tactics to keep your reader engaged is therefore always a good idea. You could use infographics, informative quizzes, bold text, examples, helpful tips, or bulleted lists. Try a few of these techniques in different posts and this should give you some idea of what your readers like, and what encourages them to perform certain actions on your website.
Again, the freshness of content is something that is talked about a lot and yes the idea of regularly getting content on your site is a great one, but freshness should also extend to the things that you are talking about as well. Stay ahead of the game and be unique, don’t just write about what everyone else is writing about, and make your content better than everyone else’s as well.
Respect the Data
Every time you publish a piece of content you should check the related data to see how well it is performing so that you can learn from your mistakes and also jump on the shirt-tails of any content that is performing really well. Don’t just guess, use the data to feed your content strategy and keep refining it.
The one thing you should take out of this article is that there is no magic formula for content. What works well for one business may not work for another. Every business is unique and its customers are also unique. Keep trying things, look at the data and be brave.