It’s All About the Content
You hear it all the time. Content is king (or as we like to say QUEEN)! There’s no shortage of advice online telling you to keep your website content fresh. Fresh content helps your site’s search engine optimization, or as it’s better known, SEO. But what many people don’t explain is that fresh content written poorly – that is, not optimized for SEO – can actually hurt you. It can hurt you big time.
Poorly optimized content can lead to higher bounce rates, lower rankings in search engines, and an overall decline in website traffic. So how do you avoid it? By making sure you keep the following tips in mind when writing your posts.
10 Useful Tips When Writing for SEO
Think about your audience.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many companies get this one wrong. Making content for the sake of making content will get you nowhere fast. Think about who your audience is (or who your dream audience is), and format content around them. Not every blog post and article needs to be about what product you’re selling, but it should be industry-related. If you produce SEO content that is interesting and informative to your audience, you will quickly establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
Make good use of headlines.
Good headlines are vital! Attention spans run short online, and you only have a few seconds to make an impact. Studies have shown that most users will only stay on a blog post for 10-20 seconds unless a clear value is given. Headlines are a great way to promote that value. Headlines should be clear and eye-catching. Use rich keywords that resonate with your audience and your industry. If you’re unsure of which keywords to use, do a little research. Sites like Moz, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, Google Trends, and Wordstream all have free keyword research tools you can use to find the best keywords for your industry.
Take advantage of keywords.
While we’re on the topic of keywords, make sure you use them in the copy as well – not just in the headlines. This helps the user and the search engines to know what your post is about. However, don’t be too generous. Overuse of keywords in your copy can irritate and turn off users, as well as result in penalties from the search engines.
Too many keywords signals “keyword stuffing,” a technique where content creators put as many keywords into the copy as they can to ensure higher rankings. If a search engine flags your copy as being stuffed with keywords, it will keep you from appearing at the top of the search results page.
Keep it one place.
You’re writing the blog, so of course, you want your site to get the traffic. This means you need to host the blog under your own domain name (as opposed to hosting it on a site like blogger.com). You can do this by putting your blog in a subfolder of your domain. (For example, the Red Thread blog is hosted under https://www.redthreadbrands.com/blog/.) You’ll also want to share any other form of original content – like infographics, videos, or whitepapers – from this subfolder. This helps with content structure and organization.
Paint a picture.
People are very visual creatures. Visuals can be easier to remember than written information, and will often stay in a user’s mind long after a line of text will. Adding visuals to your blogs makes the blog more appealing, helps users to understand complex information, aids in SEO rankings, and makes it easier to structure your blogs. In addition, images help to promote your blog on social channels and can encourage people to share the post. Don’t forget that file names and alt text are great places to add in keywords! For a little more insight on the importance of visuals, check out our blog from July: Marketing Design is Not Subjective.
Speaking of social channels, don’t be afraid to push your blog on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Social media is an incredibly valuable tool that can help you increase your reach and get other people sharing your content. Post new articles on your social media sites as well as on industry-related forums. You’ll want to make sure you have an engaging image and description, as well as a call to action. The point of social media is to get people to share, so don’t forget the ever-important share button.
The organization or structure of your post is just as important as the content itself. Great content can get buried if the structure of the article makes it difficult to read. You want to make sure you’re using an efficient format. Consider breaking up the content into smaller paragraphs with their own headlines. This makes the information easier to read and helps to keep the audience engaged. Remember, as I said above, you’ve only got around 10-20 seconds to make a lasting impression. If an article is unorganized or poorly laid out, you could lose readers before they even start.
Get to the point, and keep it active.
Some other things to keep in mind regarding the structure of your post are sentence length and the use of passive voice.
When we write, we want to paint a picture, which can often lead to beautifully constructed, but perhaps too long, sentences (like this one.) Try breaking your sentences up into smaller bits. Around 80% of your sentences should be around 20 words or less. Long sentences can affect readability. If your user is finding your train of thought hard to follow, they will move on to something else before you know it.
Link it together (link building)
While we no longer live in the days when link farming and link buying reigned supreme, link building is still a very important part of SEO. You’ll want to have internal links (links that lead to other places on your site) as well as external links (links that lead to other sites.) But the link building doesn’t stop there. When using video or infographics, consider adding an embedded code on your site. This can help promote sharing. Great content helps increase shareability, as well as the chance that another site will link back to you. One last thing to remember with links: It’s about quality, not quantity. One quality link beats 10 poor quality links every time.
Keep an eye on it
Make sure you’re tracking your activity. Google Analytics is a great FREE tool that helps you track page views, bounce rate, exit rate, and time spent on the page. Using these metrics, you can determine which content is making an impact, and which content might be missing the mark. For example, if you notice that there’s a high drop-off rate combined with a low average for time spent on the page, that could be an indication that the content isn’t relevant to the user’s needs. The site metrics aren’t the only thing that matters, though. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the social aspect. Did most of your posts have likes, comments, or shares? This also helps to shed a light on what readers find relevant, as well as the virility of your post.
Let’s get writing!
All of these “rules” may feel overwhelming, but trust me, following them will save you a headache in the long run. Also remember, you don’t have to do this alone.
One example of this is Yoast. Yoast will review your copy, suggest edits, and even let you know when you’re doing things right. Of course, if you feel you need a little more help on the SEO front, you can always reach out to Red Thread Brands. We’d be happy to help!