Part Three: How to Write Great, Search Engine Optimized, Website Content
If you’re following along at home, you’ve already read the saga of how SEO started. Isn’t it nice to see how far we’ve come? We are all much better behaved optimizers now! In the previous part of my SEO Tip series, I guided you in identifying which terms you want to focus on.
Now that you know which words to use in your writing, let’s move on to numbers 6 through 12 in my tips for writing great, search engine optimized content – the actual content generation!
6. Mix it up
Not everything you write should be about totally current, cutting edge concepts. Make sure you’ve got evergreen content that works in all seasons regardless of trendy terms. Your low-card dieters will always want to know how to manage junk food cravings, whatever the fad diet of the moment might be.
7. Keep it fresh!
One thing that we know is a solid metric for Google is the freshness of content. It wants to see pages edited and added regularly. Set a content publishing schedule and stick to it – if you can keep things interesting, Google will keep watching you.
8. Keep it related
Imagine that your website is an apartment building. It’s narrow but tall. Your website has an overall topic (the subject you write about, main service or product category you sell, etc.). That’s your building – your vertical. While you have to write as though you’re at home, you can visit all of the apartments as you go. Find ways to get creative and venture into new corners of the building, while still staying true to your main topic. When your content is rich and varied but remains related, it’s easier to figure out how to rank it.
9. Realize that value matters
The search engines decided years ago to assess a “value” to sites, and to rank more valuable sites higher. Their actual rules for this judgment are, of course, mysterious. But we know that it matters that other valuable sites link to yours (not random, unrelated backlinks, but legitimate ones), that you have great depth of content (a combination of rich content pages, and enough of them, being updated over time), and that the on-site experience is positive enough for users to want to stay a while. All of this (and I’m sure, lots more we don’t understand) adds up to the value of your site to the engines.
10. Understand that “content” doesn’t just mean words
… especially these days. Images, infographics, videos, and all sorts of media help add value and keep users interested. Content Marketing means understanding all the ways to build and maintain quality content.
11. Travel more
Seek out ways to generate content off your site as well! Guest blog post for someone else. Write an article. Get interviewed. Publish a press release (but only as a last resort). Find ways to get your voice out there, always using your terms and linking back to your site. And of course, create your own channels outside of your website address (social media, blogs, YouTube channels, etc.).
12. Be the expert. Use your voice.
Brands, retailers, consultants, service providers… these days every business and professional is a brand with (if they’re doing it right) a cultivated “voice.” Write as you must, but keep true to that tone, attitude, and style. If you’re a manufacturer, you have a wealth of product development information – use it! If you’re a publisher, you own all the content – share it (in bits)! If you’re a consultant, you have an opinion – spout it! Find your niche and use your voice.
BAKER’S DOZEN – Bonus Tip!
13. Remember your audience.
This isn’t really an SEO tip. But if I’m telling you to write “good” content I’d be remiss if I didn’t do a better job of clarifying that all of this quality, value, relevance, freshness, and whatnot must result in something that people actually want to read! When you write something original that’s worth sharing, your readers will do the hard work for you. When you create content that educates, you will solidify your brand’s position as a leader and an expert. When you write to the needs of your audience, they will eat it up and come back for more. Think about who you’re speaking to. Write to them, make it personal, and reap the rewards of thoughtfully crafted content.
That’s it! 13 tips for search engine optimized traffic, but ultimately so simple. No tricks, no panic when the algorithms change. Just write well, create valuable content, and stay on top of it. Do THAT, and they will come.