We are always being told that ‘content is king’, but what qualifies as good SEO content? How can you create content that is good for your website, good for users, and good for search engines? Here are some key characteristics of great SEO content – use these guidelines to help you ignite your site’s content.
Why do you need content?
We can all agree that content has now become part of the SEO basics, but what makes it so compelling for your business?
- Content increases on-site engagement metrics by getting people to stick around on your website for longer, as well as click around more whilst they are there. An engaging website that fares well with users is more likely to rank (and convert).
- Content can be used for lead-generation as part of your sales funnel. Downloadable PDFs and guides have become a popular (and perhaps an overdone) content marketing tactic. Here is how to integrate your content strategy with your sales funnel.
- Great content that spans your niche will increase your search engine relevancy. Publishing frequent content that is filled with diverse keywords will keep your site fresh and relevant.
- Content can also help increase your domain authority. Content is the cornerstone of many SEO link building tactics like the Skyscraper Method – without great content you will struggle to establish yourself as a viable player in your vertical.
Don’t fall into the SEO trap of chasing after volume and neglecting quality – the SEO gains achieved by an in-depth piece are better than those made from lower quality content.
Audience-led & targeted
Content is made for consumption and must be based on audience & market research.
Good content comes from your audience. It uses their language, answers their questions; and speaks to their hopes, fears, and desires.
- Audience led content relies on an intimate relationship with your readership. You need a thorough understanding of who you are talking to – don’t start typing until you’ve done researching. Spend time on social media, online forums, and talking to people to get a real feel for your audience. Capture your research insights to help you align your content with your audience.
- The next stage is developing fleshed-out buyer personas that will help you target your content at a real human being. Buyer personas stop your content from being stale and generic – you’ve got someone real to talk to.
- Interviewing experts is a fantastic way to share valuable data with your audience without having to spend loads of time and money on research. Just make sure you get the right experts in (and use incentives like free promotion to entice interviewees).
You need to intimately know your keywords. Keyword research in 2017 is not about two or three letter phrases, but about broadening your search out to wider content themes, semantic SEO variants, and user questions.
- Use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to find out what searchers are looking for when they are in the market for your products or services. Plan out editorial content that addresses these key concerns.
- Make sure that you have covered all bases, and that you’ve been genuine and specific in your sales copy – bland sales copy won’t impress anyone.
- Use your keywords intelligently and incorporate a wide vocabulary of synonyms into your website copy.
Great content doesn’t stop and meander aimlessly – it flows. That’s why it’s good for SEO – it has a clear purpose. Trying to do too many things at once will make your content messy and unclear.
- Don’t just panic and throw up content without a proper strategy – be clear on what you are trying to achieve with each piece you publish. It’s worth spending more time on content planning to make sure your content is meeting its target.
- Set out a detailed optimisation and promotional strategy for each bit of content that you create, so that you can be sure that it will find a broad search audience.
- Don’t target more than one keyword theme on one page – try to separate content out into discrete pieces to avoid overlap or confusion.
Good content sits at the heart of an organisation and is aligned with its goals and internal resources. Don’t make the mistake of assigning content to just the SEO team – it needs to be everyone’s responsibility.
Get all the different departments involved when creating flagship content. Your content will be much more authentic and successful if experts have been consulted. Here is how to create a culture of content within your organisation.
Be clever about how you use internal resources – integrate SEO and content activities with the wider marketing calendar.
Goes above and beyond
What is the point of rehashing the same old topics that have already been covered by your search competitors? Go above and beyond by finding new content avenues to explore.
- Research your search competitors to see what’s already been done. Find new angles and ways to cover the same topics – try to offer more value and insight than they did. Focus on improving subject matter as well as formatting.
- Focus your efforts on super long mega lists and guides – they get referred to and shared more, and are more likely to rank. Find illuminating images (not stock photos), and focus on quality writing and analysis.
You need content that is going to get people talking and sharing. This takes a lot more than just adding a “share now” button – you need factor in shareability from day one.
- Research tools like Buzzsumo can help you gauge what content topics and titles have been popular recently.
- Observe how big news sites like Buzzfeed break down complex topics into shareable sound bites and photo stories – can you do the same? Include audience questions and opinions as much as you can – reddit roundup posts are a great formula to emulate.
- Making shareable content isn’t just about being funny – serious and helpful stuff gets shared too. Focus on creating tools and guides rather than opinion pieces.
Use different formats, new angles, and multiple author voices. Don’t keep pushing out the same stuff over and over again.
- Got a great content idea? Publish it in different formats and see how they fare. Think outside the traditional blog post format to a series of live tweets, a live video, an interactive microsite and any other formats you think your audience would like! Here are some interesting branded content examples to get your creative juices flowing.
- Focus your content efforts on the channels where you get the most return. Experiment with content length and format until you get the right balance between investment and engagement.