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plan content that ranks

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Plan Content That Will Rank, Drive Traffic, & Produce Business Results with Dan Shure

Would you like to know how to plan content that ranks, drives traffic, and produces business results?

If so, you’re in the right place!

That’s exactly what we talked about during the November edition of #ContentWritingChat! But if you missed out, we have this recap that’s jam-packed with valuable tips you can use.

Prepare yourself to become a master of quality, purpose-driven content!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Plan Content That Will Rank, Drive Traffic, & Produce Business Results with Dan Shure

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Dan Shure. Dan is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with some well-known brands like Sumo and Ring. He’s also podcasts on SEO as well, hosting Experts on the Wire! Throughout the chat, he shared some great tips with us, so let’s go ahead and dive in!

Q1: What factors does Google consider when it comes to ranking a piece of content?

It’s safe to say all content creators want their work to rank highly on Google. But what’s the secret to getting your blog posts to the first page? These are some factors that Google considers, which you’ll want to keep in mind:

As Dan said, relevance is incredibly important to Google when it comes to ranking content. Google will be looking for signs that your content is an authority on the subject you’re discussing, as well as the code and schema behind the content itself.

If you aren’t aware, Google actually has a 200+ page manual called the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. This shares how they rank content and it’s worth checking out! But to save you some time, Julia read it and is giving you the scoop in this post.

Julia also mentioned Google’s EAT And YMYL acronyms. Your content needs to be expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. Make that a top priority every time you create.

This is a great list to check out from Opt-in Monster!

Readability, quality, authority! These are just a few of the factors that Narmadhaa knows are important to Google.

Sarah knows incoming links are still crucial. As she said, it’s like a vote of credibility for your work.

Ben said it’s all about keywords, backlinks, readability, relevancy, authority, and more.

As Sabina said, it’s important to find a balance between including keywords without stuffing and creating content that people are interested in, and being trustworthy and helpful.

Q2: How do you plan your content around your audience’s needs and SEO?

When creating online content, you can’t be solely focused on your audience without considering SEO if you want to rank in search results. And you can’t be so focused on SEO that you completely forget what your audience needs! How do you find a balance? With these tips:

It all goes back to your keywords! Dan suggests finding the best keywords by researching and analyzing for traffic potential, competition, and matching them with your goals.

He also said to find queries that not many people have answered or those that are low quality. Find unanswered problems and craft a solution so people will find you when they turn to Google for answers.

Lexie’s advice is to ask your audience what they need first. It helps to know as much as you can about them. And from their responses, you can form questions and do keyword research for your content.

Gene loves using Answer the Public to find questions from his audience. It’s a great way to see what they need help with.

If you really don’t know where to start with getting to know your audience, create a survey and send it to them. You can also host a Q&A on social media. The options are endless, but you have to be willing to seek the information you need.

Social listening is crucial! Your audience is on social media, so it’s smart for you to be there too and pay attention to what they’re saying. From there, use their conversations to craft your content.

Q3: Are there any quick fixes you can make to improve the ranking of one of your blog posts?

Let’s say you have this blog post that’s really good, but it’s not ranking the way you hoped. What can you do to give it a little SEO boost? These tips will help:

For Dan, it’s not really about quick fixes. Your best bet is to give the content a complete overhaul if you truly want to see results.

Julia knows it’s so important to keep older content updated. In fact, it’s something we do regularly here at Express Writers! If you need some tips, this #ContentWritingChat recap will help.

Sarah’s advice is to interlink new and older blog posts. If you can link relevant pieces of content to one another, it’s a great way to keep people on your site longer. Plus, it gives them plenty of content to consume as they start building a relationship with you.

Q4: How can you determine if your content is actually helping you achieve results in your business?

We all want our content to help us reach our business goals, right? You might be trying to grow your email list, increase your conversions, or something else. But how can you be sure your content is actually getting the job done? Well, you’ll want to remember this advice:

As Dan said, the first step is to actually establish your business goals. What are you trying to achieve with the content you create? This will let you know which metrics you should keep an eye on.

As Lexie said, you have to set goals first. You can’t plan your content without knowing your goals beforehand. She also said you shouldn’t be too pushy with sales if that’s your ultimate goal with your blog content. It’ll turn your audience off fast.

Create a strategy, define your audience, define your KPIs, and your objectives and goals. From there, you have to get to work. Then, your next step is to track your results and make adjustments as needed.

Don’t forget to set goals during the content planning stage! You can’t plan content and they choose your goals. Your goals need to come first so you can choose content that will help you achieve your desired result.

Make sure you spend time with your analytics! As Sarah said, you have to measure your results.

This is a great tip from Warwick. You can set up goals in Google Analytics to keep yourself on track.

Q5: How important is it to keep your blog’s archives refreshed for SEO purposes? What can you do to ensure they still rank highly?

Do you have archives that are collecting virtual dust? If they’re still getting traffic, it would be wise to update them so you can deliver fresh content to readers. So, what steps can you take to ensure they’re high-quality and still getting attention? Here’s what you need to know:

When updating blog content, Dan does a number of things to give his posts a refresh. He makes sure to fix images and links, add internal links, make copy and aesthetic improvements, and more.

Dan also feels that sometimes it’s necessary to delete content that isn’t performing well. He suggests doing an audit to look for posts that get little to no traffic, are low quality, don’t have backlinks, are a poor reflection of the brand, etc.

Your archives represent your brand and can solidify your authority. Make sure they’re giving people a good first impression by keeping posts updated, including images, links, and information.

As Lexie pointed out, stale content will send your audience running away! You don’t want that to happen, do you?

Warwick has actually deleted pages that are no longer relevant and he’s taken the time to optimize his work for proper keywords. He’s seen some tremendous results thanks to Julia’s guidance.

If all of it seems a little overwhelming, don’t let it get you down. Make sure you schedule time for updating your older content. That’s what we do here at Express Writers! Aim to update a certain number of posts per quarter to stay on track.

Q6: Do you have any go-to tools, tips, or strategies on SEO that everyone should know about?

It’s time to spill some secrets! These are the things our audience relies on to master SEO:

Dan loves using tools like SEMrush, Screaming Frog, and Moz, just to name a few.

Julia wants to remind everyone to research and write around your keywords!

Lexie and the Netvantage team love using SEMrush’s topic research tool for finding popular questions. She also uses Answer the Public to find questions as well.

These tools are definitely worth checking out!

Kathryn enjoys testing out her headline writing skills with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

Make sure you invest your time and effort into planning an editorial calendar. Ankitaa says your content should be focused on your audience’s needs and support your brand message.

Always track your results and pay attention to what works for you and what doesn’t.

Sarah wants to make sure you know the importance of linking relevant blog posts to one another. If you aren’t doing this, go do it now!

Q7: What should we keep an eye on regarding SEO in 2019?

2019 is right around the corner and it’s time we start preparing! Which SEO trends are at the top of the must-watch list? These are the ones to keep an eye on:

Dan’s advice is to watch how Google is treating keywords, but translating them into entities or intent.

Julia is keeping her eye on mobile-first indexing, featured snippets, and making sure she creates quality content. She shares some more trends in this blog post.

As Sarah said, artificial intelligence and voice search are key things to watch!

Don’t forget about voice search too!

Jakub is watching out for voice search, featured snippets, and search intent.

Want to join the next #ContentWritingChat? Our Twitter chat takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Mark your calendars and follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest!

backlinking

The Scoop On Backlinking & Content: How Should “Getting Links” Fit Into Your Content Marketing Today?

Question to all of you awesome content creators.

Do links matter? If so, how do we “get” them?

The resounding answer to the first question is yes, absolutely.

The second part is a little bit trickier.

You need to use them correctly, and recognize what you should be doing compared – along with what you need to avoid.

Let’s discuss what needs to be done to encourage the right ranking factors as you put your content into content marketing. (And the links, too.)

backlinking in content

How to Think of Backlinking & Creating Authoritative Content

Rand Fishkin of Moz has said: “Don’t build links. Build relationships.”

I 100% agree with that statement.

Google has gotten smarter about links, and ultimately changed how rankings are related to good and not so useful links.

Back in the day, there were shortcuts that would lead to higher rankings in search engines. Link builders could manipulate the way search engines indexed your pages and your content to raise your visibility in places like Google.

The ability to do that has gone to the wayside as only quality backlinks have become a standard part of SEO.

Quality backlinks add to your authority and credibility, making your content more relevant to search queries. When they are appropriately used, link building will raise your reach and rankings organically, even if it does take more time than link building from yesteryear.

Some people think backlinks are dead, but recent data proves that link building tactics are alive and well.

linkbuilding tactics

The Way Backlinks Have Changed Over the Years

Link building, or backlinking, has changed a lot since it began. Years ago, the standard was to focus on what was known as low-influence linking to build up your credibility.

Low-influence links were links that pushed domain diversity even if they were not necessarily links that were perceived authorities in a given sector. The idea was to amass hundreds of links that pointed to domains all over the place that would lead back to your site and raise your ranking.

Domain diversity would theoretically lend itself to credibility and therefore boost your overall visibility. It worked once upon a time, but in the end, domain diversity proved to be fruitless as opposed to lucrative.

Links like that are not the way to go today. Instead, you want to focus on quality over quantity, but what exactly does that mean? We are glad you asked.

The Differences Between Quality and Quantity

As was stated, it was common practice to link to hundreds and hundreds of low-ranking sites to raise your rank, but over time, it made more sense to work smarter and not harder.

That means working for quality links compared to the quantity of links.

In other words, you wouldn’t want to include a link to a power tool company when you are reading an article about nutritional well-being, right?

On the other hand, if you wrote an article about post-workout foods that help you recover faster, then you want to link to studies from credible and well-established sites that support your claims.

nutritionlink

Quality links point back to relevant content and trustworthy websites. You want to focus on the best links that are relevant to your content and that go to top ranked sites.

Cultivating quality links takes an extended amount of time to build credibility, but once it is established, it lasts compared to the low-influence links of the past.

Know Where to Place Your Links

There actually is a way to place your links into your content. They’re not randomly set – there are rhyme and reason for every single link you see in the material you read every day.

Have you ever noticed that there are links both in the content you read as well as the bottom in the footers or navigational areas of different pages?

The first example is a screenshot of an article from political site ThinkProgress. You can see that ThinkProgress has a relevant link to Business Insider within their content.

The second example is from an iOS app production company, Tapbots. With Tapbots, the only way you’ll see links to click on is to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page.

Looking at the two examples above, which one do you think is more effective?

Links that are in the content work better because they are seen directly by your audience and will be considered editorial links.

If you put links in the footers or headers, they have less weight since they aren’t relevant to the content and they are not immediately visible to your audience.

Recognize Less Than Stellar Ideas When You See Them

You know that quality links are a good idea, and you may be tempted to try expediting the process to increase your ranking and visibility.

There are so many suggestions out there to increase link building, but be wary of the options that get presented to you and steer clear of anything that sounds too good to be true.

In doing your research, you may come across the prospect of buying links. Horrible idea. Don’t do it.

Buying backlinks has been a bad idea from the beginning, but people continue to do it because they think that it will increase ranking in the long-term.

The truth is that it will hurt your site’s ranking because if you happen to get caught using unethical link building tactics, your rankings will drop quickly. It will be hard to come back from that.

There are many examples of this happening after buying backlinks.

In one instance, a blogger thought buying backlinks was a good thing and his traffic report seemed to prove him right.

While his visitors apparently went up in a short time, his visibility and rankings earned before purchasing backlinks were utterly lost when the effect wore off.

His site had been penalized because Google knew that his backlinks were not genuine as well as being irrelevant to his content.

Something else to remember is that press releases don’t do much to improve your rankings either.

The occasional press release is okay, but you should never use press releases as a central pathway to link building because they don’t have a direct effect on your credibility.

Google’s Penguin and Hummingbird algorithms devalue press releases, so you don’t want to use them for much more than spreading brand awareness and generating referral traffic.

Something else to remember is that link building does not have to be expensive.

In a survey analyzed at Moz.com, it was found that more than a third of business owners have a budget of less than $1000 set aside for link building every month.

Disclosure: I’ve never budgeted a penny! I’ve always believed in “good content,” and the links followed.

Recovering from Bad Backlinks

Google understands that shady companies encouraged terrible ideas at one point, so it is possible to improve after bad backlinks.

All is not lost, even if you have already made poor choices, so long as you work to fix them.

You will want to remove all links that are not beneficial to you and your content. That means contacting site owners and requesting removal. If that doesn’t work, disavow the links.

Disavowing is a relatively straightforward concept – you’re basically asking Google not to associate those links with your site.

You will also want to check for bad backlinks that lead to error pages as error pages do nothing to raise your ranking at all.

The downside is that with fewer links, your traffic will likely drop, but if you follow the right way to incorporate backlinking into your content, you will rebound – eventually.

Your last option would be to start over from scratch with a clean slate and a fresh site, but only consider doing this if you have been penalized and you can’t do anything to change the perception of your site.

Also, most agencies include link building as part of a packaged deal, so if you see extraordinary amounts for link building alone, you should probably steer clear of that offer.

Pages with Fewer Links are Ideal for Backlinks

If you’re planning on creating backlinks on your own without an agency, it’s a good idea to evaluate high-quality links to ensure you get the effect you want by backlinking their page to yours.

Consider the image of pouring a concentrated food dye into a cup full of water.

More water dilutes the color, while less water keeps the color more intense, right?

The number of links on a page that your content is backlinked to is like water to dye – they dilute the quality of the link that you connect to.

You want to connect to a high-quality link that has fewer outgoing links on its page to get the best influence on your ranking in a more organic way.

When in Doubt, Google it Out

Google webmasters have created precise guidelines as to what is suggested and what needs to be avoided when backlinking.

While you shouldn’t necessarily aim for Google’s idea of perfection, as long as you avoid all of the things Google does not like while also focusing on business building strategies like high-quality link building as part of your content marketing, you’re golden.

If you aren’t sure quite how to make that happen, request a consultation to help you get your content planning underway.

cta

google fred

Google Fred: The Biggest SEO Update Affecting Content That Rolled Out in 2017 & How it Can Affect Your Content

Google has become increasingly cagey about its updates. If there is one, unless it’s gargantuan, you probably won’t hear about it from the search engine.

Take a look at some of their communications on Twitter via their spokespeople, John Mueller and Gary Illyes:

It’s like it’s physically impossible for them to come out and say it.

Because of this secrecy and caginess, marketers and webmasters have to play a game of detective whenever they notice changes to search. This “volatility,” as it’s commonly termed, shows up in their automated statistics, particularly those for SEO visibility. From there, they have to read the clues and compile data to come to any conclusions.

The most recent Google update waves that rolled through the internet happened in March 2017. It’s now simply known as “Fred.” (Gary Illyes jokingly said all the updates should be called Fred, and it stuck for this one in particular.)

There was no announcement, no forewarning. SEOs and webmasters noticed the “volatility” affecting their stats and their rankings. Then they compared notes, which all lined up.

Here’s a good example from Glen Gabe, the marketer in front of G-Squared Interactive. He shared how Fred affected a site that had heavy advertising:

GSQI_fred-major-hit

Overnight, the site lost almost 60% of its organic traffic from Google.

That’s a huge amount. Lots of other sites reported traffic losses just as deep, but Google kept mum about it.

So, that begs these questions: What did Fred do? What kind of sites, exactly, did it affect? How do you stay on Google’s good side if they won’t offer guidance about their algorithm updates?

And, perhaps most importantly, what does the biggest Google update in 2017 mean for you and your site? Let’s delve into this topic together. Grab a tea or a coffee, and join me!

google fred content

Google’s “Fred” Algorithm Update: The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

This update sent shockwaves through the internet.

Some marketers discovered their traffic had been hit hard (down anywhere from 50% to 90%).

It was obvious that Google had done something big, but they wouldn’t cop to it outright.

This tight-lipped response was nothing new, but it understandably rankled the SEO community, and not just because it was/is frustrating. Not just because it was/is frustrating, but also because Google’s zipped lips are no help in the face of huge chunks of organic traffic gone overnight.

Kristine Schachinger for Search Engine Land summed up the frustration in her column:

searchengineland_thetroublewithfred

Here’s What Fred Tweaked

So, we know that Fred was mainly a quality update – but what aspects of quality did it affect?

SEOs analyzed the stats from hundreds of affected sites to figure out what it did. They found that this update mainly affected content sites whose goal was revenue (as opposed to providing value to users). Specifically, Barry Schwartz termed these sites as “ad heavy, low value.”

These sites had features like:

1. Heavy Advertising

One of the defining features of all sites badly hit: ads. Each and every one had heavy servings of advertising. Or, they had generous helpings of affiliate links sprinkled into their content. These ads were liberally integrated, pushy, and deceptive. Lots looked like on-site links but actually took you elsewhere.

2. Redundant or Non-Expert Information

In most cases, sites that suffered an organic rankings dive also featured redundant, non-expert, or rehashed information. This was thin content – not well researched at all, stuff that merely skimmed the surface.

3. User Experience (UX) Interference

The user experience is how easily a visitor can navigate your site, click around, and find what they need. This is a big factor for site quality because a poor UX can totally impede that information-gathering process.

Here are some examples of roadblocks to a good UX. Glen Gabe calls these “low-quality user engagement problems”:

  • Disruptive pop-ups that take over the whole screen
  • Confusing navigation and site hierarchy
  • Too much advertising – so much so that it drowns out the content
  • Problems viewing the site on mobile

4. “Jacks-of-All-Trades, Masters of None” Content

Another common feature was that most of the sites with traffic hits had a content format, like a blog. However, topics covered a wide range of information without any rhyme or reason.

Some of these hit sites publicly shared their URLs. Here’s an example of a few posts from one of them:

contentsite_example

The content was not published to inform users; rather, it only served as a vehicle for advertising. In particular, the above blog featured useless information that Wikipedia or the “help” section of a product website already covered better.

Here’s How to Keep Fred Happy

Now that you understand what the Fred update did and who was affected, you can keep your own site compliant and Fred-friendly.

This will be important for the future because Google is never going to stop throwing out updates. In fact, it’s pretty much a standard monthly thing these days.

Here’s how to stay on Fred’s (and Google’s) good side to keep your chances of getting blindsided by any future update slimmer.

1. Recommit Yourself to Quality Content and Good SEO Practices

If you’re already on top of your on-page SEO and content quality, good. Keep going. This commitment is one that builds on itself in terms of positive gains. The longer you stick with it, the better the results you’ll see.

If you’ve cut corners, tried some “shortcuts,” or are just plain unsure about where you stand, you need to recommit yourself to quality. That means you should start making improvements to your site and content right this second.

The sooner you start, the sooner you can get on your way to climbing the ranks, not falling into a black hole of Google penalties.

2. Pay Attention to UX

UX (user experience) is the first determiner of your site’s quality. If your UX is terrible, your visitors won’t be able to read your content at all. That’s a big no-no.

To keep things up to standard, first look at the basic structure of your site. Approach it like an average visitor would. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it easy to read?
  • Is it easy to navigate and/or find what you’re looking for?
  • Do your pages use SEO properly?
  • Is the page layout clear and logical?
  • Do all the links point to where they should?

You need to make the user experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Using disruptive or deceptive site design, on-page advertising, or links will do the opposite. Google will penalize you.

3. Rethink Your On-Page Advertising

Ads are fine to use on your site – within reason. For example, the Fred update targeted sites who used ads so aggressively, they messed with the UX. When ads get in the way of somebody gleaning the information they need, Google has a problem with it. You should, too.

If your focus has been on monetizing your site, think again. Cut back on ads, especially ones that break up or interfere with content. Make them less intrusive, and try to improve your advertising for the user. This often means getting rid of most of your ads and making the ones you have left more intentional.

4. Check Your Old Content

When your site-wide experience is optimized for your audience, then you can move on to your content and link quality.

First, critically analyze your blog posts and content pages. If they’re thin, badly organized, or full of errors, you’ll get penalized. Rewrite them, improve them, and add depth and value.

Going forward, it will help to have a set of quality guidelines in place for each and every piece of content you create. Rigorously adhering to these will help you keep publishing top-notch content and improve your rankings.

google_qualitycontent

Via Google

5. Look at Your Backlinks

To stay on the right side of Google, check on who’s linking to you. Make sure your link profile is made up of relevant, quality sites.

If sites with zero value are linking to you, this can hurt your rankings. However, there are ways to rectify the situation.

  • Just say no to link schemes, including paid links and spam.
  • Check the quality of your backlinks with tools like Moz, Monitor Backlinks, or Google Webmasters.
  • Contact sites with low quality and ask them to take down your link.
  • When the above fails, disavow all links that negatively affect your site. This tells Google to ignore them when it assesses your site for quality.

6. Stay on Top of Google Announcements (and Non-Announcements)

Yes, Google is notorious for keeping quiet about updates, but they do still announce a few (sometimes). It’s important to keep your ear to the ground so you know about important changes as soon as possible.

As for unannounced important changes, keep yourself in the loop with the help of your social network. Many SEOs and marketers take to Twitter when they see something fishy going on. Other major sites like Search Engine Land will post updates and attempt to confirm the situation with Google.

Follow these blogs and fellow marketers so you’re always in the loop:

Check out my list of recommended SEO and content marketer bloggers here.

To get almost instantaneous SEO updates, one marketer who stays on top of updates like none other is Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick).

7. Avoid These Practices Like the Plague

Link schemes aren’t the only bad SEO practices to avoid (there’s a reason it’s called “black hat SEO”). There’s a host of others out there. They may sound like great shortcuts to ranking, but they’re actually ethically unsound in Google’s eyes.

  • Cloaking – This technique presents one page to human visitors and another to search engine crawlers in order to deceptively boost the site’s rank.
  • “Thin” content – Thin content has no meat to it. It’s shallow, short, vague, rehashed, or unhelpful information that provides no additional depth to a topic.
  • Content scraping – This is the web equivalent of plagiarizing. It involves taking content from another site and passing it off as your own. You can do it with old-fashioned copy-and-paste, but lots of people employ software or special programming language that does it for them.
  • Automatically generated content – Perhaps the laziest black hat technique on this list, automatically generated content is created through programming. It gathers paragraphs of random text interspersed with keywords.

Google has an even bigger list of deceptive, spammy, confusing, or manipulative tactics they have targeted. Sites who use them will get penalized – so not worth it.

Stay Ahead of Google’s Update Waves and Ride the Tide to Great SEO

Here’s the bottom line about unexpected yet gargantuan Google updates like Fred.

To avoid equally huge penalties that hurt your business, you have to attempt to stay ahead of the curve.

This means committing yourself to only producing and publishing high-quality content. It means never engaging in link schemes. It means focusing on your site users, first and foremost, rather than monetization, A.K.A. lining your pockets.

It can definitely be frustrating when Google pulls the rug out from under you with a big update they won’t confirm. You’ll be less worried, though, if you know you already have great policies and standards in place for your site and your content.

In fact, websites with this commitment to quality often see a boost in traffic after an unannounced update. This is the ideal scenario, no?

Many times, after an algorithm change, with the amount of organic content on our site we’ll see an increase in rankings. Our SEMrush rankings show steady growth with some decrease here and there. Here’s a typical month of position rankings for our site (screenshot taken of September 2017 rankings):

semrush september express writers

If all of this information seems overwhelming and leaves you wondering where to go from here, the answer is simple. Start with your content, make it better, then work outward from there.

If you need help, we can write quality content that will make a difference. Our authority content level is one of the best ways to stand out on the web! 

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site presence & seo

#ContentWritingChat Recap: “Back to School” with Your Site Presence & SEO: 101 Refresher

This time of year, a lot of people are heading back to school. They’re stocking up on supplies, getting textbooks, and preparing for another semester of classes. However, even if you’re not heading back to school, it doesn’t mean you can’t do a little learning!

For this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we decided to go “back to school” by talking about the basics of building your site presence and mastering SEO. This was another one of our community chats, where our participants are the stars of the show. And they certainly had some great advice to share!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: “Back to School” with Your Site Presence & SEO: 101 Refresher

If you’re ready for a refresher course on site presence and SEO, you’re in the right place! Grab a pen and paper to take some notes and let’s dive right in!

Q1: Explain the importance of SEO and how it integrates into your online marketing.

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share why they feel SEO is important. What did they have to say about it? Here are a few responses from the chat:

As Jason said, SEO helps people find and see you online. The keywords you target in your content are just one of the ways you can boost your visibility in search rankings.

Lexie mentioned that SEO is a huge part of everything they do over at Netvantage Marketing. They conduct keyword research before creating anything. Then, that keyword is used in the page title, body copy, etc.

When done right, SEO helps your brand become searchable and more visible on search engines. This is why you want to conduct keyword research and choose the right keywords for each piece of content you publish.

As Elizabeth pointed out, Google can’t send people to your site if they don’t know you exist.

Brittany made a great point! You can’t build something and expect it to be successful. You can’t just publish a piece of content and expect people to find it. You have to put in the effort to optimize your content for search engines like Google.

Q2: What are the basic SEO steps every blogger needs to take when publishing new content?

To get started with SEO, we need to have the basics covered. So, which steps should you always keep in mind when you’re publishing a new piece of content? Here’s some advice:

As Julia said, it starts with knowing your audience. Without knowing your audience and understanding their needs, you can’t create content they’re interested in. You’ll want to follow that up with keyword research to choose the right long-tail keywords for your content.

Lexie also knows that keyword research is an essential beginning. The keyword you choose for a piece of content will be used in the page title, meta description, and throughout the body copy. However, as she pointed out, you should always incorporate the keyword in a way that’s natural.

Choosing the right keywords goes back to paying attention to your audience. Your content should address their pain points and the questions they’re asking.

Brittany said you want to go for the keywords people are searching for. The right keywords are going to help you rank higher in search results.

Tony shared a helpful infographic with some tips that are important to keep in mind!

Q3: How can you make sure you’re speaking to the right audience in your search optimized content?

Another priority is to make sure you’re reaching the right audience with the content you’re publishing on your website. After all, you don’t want to risk attracting all the wrong people to your site. Here’s how to make sure you reach the right people:

Audience and keyword research is essential here. As Jason said, you need to know who you want to reach and then research the terms and phrases they’re searching. This will help you write the content that targets your ideal audience.

Having a reader persona is essential. You want to know who you’re trying to reach and create content that answers their questions and addresses pain points.

As Julia mentioned, Google looks at content like a human does. You’ll want to write with your human reader in mind if you want to succeed.

Lexie said you should communicate with your audience, not at them.

Jenn is a fan of actually talking to her audience. You can strike up a conversation with your ideal readers to really get to know them and their needs.

A little research is going to teach you everything you need to know about your audience!

Q4: Name a few top mistakes you see repeatedly in SEO content.

There are quite a few mistakes that people frequently make in their SEO content. And if you don’t know what they are, you won’t be able to avoid them! These are things you’ll want to avoid on your own website:

As Lexie pointed out, keyword stuffing is still an issue today. She also mentioned it’s a mistake to not use your keywords in headings.

Mallie also feels keyword stuffing is huge NO.

Andrew feels using visible clusters of keywords can actually cheapen your content. You don’t want to go overboard when incorporating keywords into your content. It needs to be done naturally.

Choosing the wrong keywords is also a big mistake. If you aren’t targeting the correct keywords, you won’t successfully reach your audience.

One thing that a lot of people still forget about is their meta description. Don’t forget to take an extra few seconds to type up a meta description for your blog posts.

Mistakes Zala has noticed are not optimizing for the right keywords and local search, poorly written content, and failing to check analytics to see what actually converts.

One huge mistake that Julia sees is people putting out crappy, worthless content. That’s not serving a purpose for anyone. You need to focus on adding value with everything you publish.

Q5: Are there any tools you rely on when it comes to creating SEO content?

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you with SEO, but how do you know which ones you should use? Here’s a list of suggestions:

Jenn is a big fan of Moz.

Lexie turns to a variety of tools, including SEMrush and Answer the Public.

For Mallie, the Yoast plugin for WordPress is a must!

Sabjan is also a fan of Yoast.

Julia shared a list of her favorites with us, which includes BuzzSumo and Quora. Both can be used to find out what your audience is talking about.

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can help you craft amazing, clickable headlines for your content.

For Cheval, Twitter chats are a go-to. You can learn a lot from others through chats.

Don’t forget that you should never stop learning. Jade reads various blogs and watches what some of the experts in the field do.

Q6: How can you tell if you’re achieving your desired SEO goals?

So, how do you know if you’re actually achieving the goals you set out to reach? Here’s what you need to know:

Andrew knows the first step is actually setting quantifiable, trackable goals. Without clear goals in mind, you won’t know what you’re working towards.

Jenn suggests watching how your rankings change. Is your domain authority changing? How many backlinks are you generating? These are all factors you may want to watch.

Marijana recommends using Google Analytics and Moz. You can track any changes, as well as the terms you’re ranking for.

Another thing to keep an eye on is how people are finding your site. What keywords are they searching to discover your content? This is important information to keep in mind.

Q7: What steps will you take to give your site a refresher in the months ahead?

Now that we’ve talked about giving your site a refresher and SEO basics, we wanted to know how our chat participants could improve their own sites. Here’s what they had to say:

Brittany is working on a content audit, as well as reviewing her content strategy. She’s even taking Julia’s course!

Even Julia is updating older posts from the Express Writers archives!

Jennifer is currently working on updating her older posts for SEO.

Mallie plans to update her blog post images with alt text.

Read, discover, and learn. Remember that you should always learn and find ways to improve your skills.

Q8: What are your favorite resources for learning more about SEO and growing your website? Tag them!

These resources are a must for our community! Check them out:

Neil Patel, Moz, Search Engine Journal, SEMrush, and HubSpot are bookmark-worthy resources! They’re great for learning about your site presence & SEO.

Julia shared a great list of suggestions, including Content Marketing Institute and Kissmetrics.

These are resources that are worth checking out!

Mallie is also a big fan of Moz’s content!

Join us for #ContentWritingChat every Tuesday from 10-11 AM Central Time! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you don’t miss anything!
#Contentwritingchat

seo content tactics

6 Top SEO Content Tactics to Use in 2017

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? We did, last week on the blog.

Check out the resolutions a lot of us made way back in early 2016:

According to Money, the top goal for Americans was to “enjoy life to the fullest”, and a close second was “live a healthier lifestyle”. Far down at the bottom was “pay off debt.” As a country, most of us are fairly realistic and stick to one goal.

It’s good to make goals, even if we don’t always achieve them.

Setting goals gives us a vision for the future and puts something in our sights that we can reach for. Personally, we aim for better health, more time with people we love, and a more financially stable lifestyle.

On the content development and marketing side of things, setting goals and looking to the most useful SEO content tactics for the next year also gives us something to look toward. Quality content comes from using SEO as an effective tool, drawn from your supply of strategies and experience. Ready to dive into our most useful SEO content tactics to share for the New Year? Grab a latte and join me!

2017 seo tactics for great content

SEO Roots: A Look Back at the Beginning Before We Look at the Future

I was born in 1991, when the launch of the world’s first website happened. (I like to say it was fate bringing the internet and I together – since eight, I’ve had a natural affinity and love for our world wide web.) As the ‘net grew to include Google (1997) and Yahoo (1994), marketers took advantage of keyword stuffing and spammy backlinks in order to rank high on search results.

The art of SEO, or search engine optimization, came along in the early 2000’s to help connect users with the information they needed to find local results. Since that time, user-focused SEO and changes to Google meant rankings had to be earned through relevant, quality content rather than an overuse of keywords.

Today, relevant content and mobile optimization are required to rank at all, and must be backed by authority and expert links.

Content no longer ranks high simply due to a large amount of spam or repetitive keywords throughout a piece of content: it ranks high based on a lot of factors, many of which are now human-based more than bot or algorithm based. (Check out my post all about how semantic search is the way of the future.)

6 SEO Content Tactics to Use in 2017

Search Engine Journal recently gathered the wisdom of 44 SEO experts to ask their views of what trends will define 2017. We gathered about 15-16 for our roundup in the last week of December 2016. While everyone has a different view of what the year will look like, there is one thing they all agree on: as we move forward, it becomes even more important to stay aware of the latest technology and how our strategies need to adapt, no matter what year it may be.

Here are the SEO tactics we need to watch as we go into a new year, one still unwritten, yet full of possibility and growth.

1. AMP

The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) was integrated by Google early in 2016. The open initiative encourages publishers to create mobile-optimized content—pages load quickly on mobile devices for more efficient use.

The goal with AMP is to deliver the best mobile experience to the average user, lessening the wait time for things like videos and graphics. Experts across the board believe that this new year will be the deciding factor in whether AMP stays or gets shelved.

2. Mobile experience

Apps will continue to be a part of the user experience, which means indexing them will be important going forward. As the introduction of RankBrain has made its impact in the world of algorithms, so too has the continued focus on mobile.

Google has already talked about making their index mobile-first and restructuring algorithms to first use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages. This will continue to be important in 2017, especially as 3 out of 4 Americans own a smartphone, up from 2015.

Mobile activity will intersect with search engine optimization and ranking going into this next year. As Duane Forrester reminds us at SEJ, “the shift has already happened…if you’re still ‘thinking about mobile’, consumers won’t be thinking about you.”

3. Content optimization

As industry experts point out, our focus needs to be on content optimization rather than keyword optimization. And while it remains important to a content marketer’s SEO strategy, there is the temptation to get trapped in the “content is king” cycle.

With millions of articles published each month, there has to be something to make you stand out from all of the other voices who want the attention of your audience. Long-form content is a start in the right direction.

4. Machine learning

Innovative technology and its capabilities will reveal previously unseen patterns of searcher behavior. Advanced machines like Google’s RankBrain and the rise of artificial intelligence will make it even more important to put forth the effort in order to rank with the best.

The area of search engine optimization will move forward as a technical approach. The challenge may lie in not knowing why a piece of content ranks at a certain spot, as machine learning has an influence on the algorithm.

5. Voice search

Billions of searches are done each year via voice commands, and the number is only expected to grow. This trend will have an impact on our keyword optimization since we don’t speak in the same way we write—think asking a question versus typing a statement into a search box.

The move toward conversational search among a variety of devices will definitely have an impact on SEO, especially as we consider the “one correct answer” given by a device. This goes back to quality content and making sure you are providing the most thorough and most readable answer.

2016 internet trends

Kleiner Perkins Caufiled & Byers 2016 Internet Trends Report

6. Quality links

Well-organized resources filled with useful content can make quite a difference in the building of trust with your audience. Links still matter and contribute to rank, and as Google reminds us, creating “unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity” pays off.

Experts differ on the importance of link building. Adam Audette at SEJ believes that content developers would do well to focus on link building for amplification rather than for SEO purposes. Think of it like a circle: if you create great content, and promote it well, that content will be linked to and subsequently return value to your site.

We’ve seen it happen: a year after I published this podcast with Joanna Wiebe, CrazyEgg picked it up and linked back to our site, citing it in their post defining conversion copywriting. The link quality was almost 80 DA (domain authority) – a huge link boost!

So, remember: backlinks still matter. These links back to your webpage still need to be authoritative and relevant as it relates to SEO. Create amazing content, publish it, share it: you’ll get links from high quality sites if they think it’s good enough!

4 Key Tactics to Keep in Mind for Creating More Fantastic Content in 2017

While predictions from a host of experts can be helpful going into the new year, what exactly are we supposed to do with all of this information?

1. Optimize for mobile

Accessing the internet via the phone and tablet surpassed desktop usage in 2016. Those numbers alone should be motivation for all of us to better understand AMP and mobile-first indexing.

stat counter

It isn’t enough anymore to build a site for desktop usage and then scale it back for mobile users. Not only does this drive users away, but it may prevent them from visiting at all. As Search Engine Land notes, content and links on a mobile site are key drivers in search engine visibility while ranking is still based on the desktop version of a site.

2. Focus on long-form content

Every SEO strategy should focus on the building of high-quality content that is relevant and authoritative.

Joe Pulizzi talked about the rebirth of long form in an exclusive email that went out just last Friday to the CMI audience in an exclusive email, PDF export here:

Now how, in this world of “snackable” content, multiple smartphones, and no attention span, are we seeing these longer­form pillar collections of content cutting through the clutter?

The point I’m trying to make is that nearly every marketer we talk to has run to shorter posts, shorter social media updates, shorter videos, shorter podcasts … thinking that audiences don’t have the desire to invest themselves in content for a longer period of time. But they absolutely do … if the content is worthwhile. Those marketers who take a longer­form approach can immediately position themselves and their stories as differentiated simply because of the length.

So, when all your competition is going small, maybe it’s your time to go big – in­depth article series, hearty and detailed podcast interviews, a full­fledge custom print magazine, and possibly even a customer event. When everyone else zigs, you zag. – @JoePulizzi

[clickToTweet tweet=”When all your competition is going small, maybe it’s your time to go big in content. – @JoePulizzi” quote=”When all your competition is going small, maybe it’s your time to go big – in­depth articles, hearty and detailed podcast interviews. – @JoePulizzi”]

Joe hits the nail on the head.

Long-form content also gives the writer an opportunity to share authoritative information with quality sources to back it up. Readers will return if they know they are going to receive solutions to their need.

3. Keep pace with technology

The chatter about artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and voice-search innovation. Over the course of just two years, Amazon sold nearly 5 million Echo devices, which allow users to control their home through smart technology and perform voice searches.

The rise in the use of digital personal assistants will change how the average user searches, increasing the number of conversational queries during the process. Whether we are asking Siri or Google Assistant, the way we search with our voices is different than how we type in a search query.

Adapting your SEO strategy according to how the audience is using your site and developing content with a conversational tone are just two ways to stay engaged with the newest digital inventions.

4. Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

Google tells us that PWAs are engaging, reliable, and fast, bringing a new level of quality to a home screen. These apps are live and installable, eliminating the need for an app store.

SEO efforts can be boosted by utilizing PWAs while you increase the level of engagement through an app-like experience for your audience.

Moving Forward in Your SEO Journey this Year

Every content developer should know that SEO copywriting is only as good as the skills and tactics behind it.

While 2017 lies open like a crisp book full of blank pages, content developers can continue to keep learning and keep connected with the latest updates on the most effective SEO tactics.

If your resolution is to create better content, connect with us over at Express Writers for some goal-worthy ideas!

seo copywriting

Why Long-Tail Keywords Are Winners to Focus On In Your SEO Copywriting

If your goal is to rank well in the SERPs and draw as many qualified leads as possible through your content, aka online SEO copywriting, long-tail keywords are going to be your best friend.

Here’s a simple example to illustrate just what I mean: as it stands right now, Amazon rakes in a whopping 57% of its sales as a result of long-tail keywords!

In addition to the fact that long-tail keywords are easier to rank for because they’re generally less competitive, long-tail keywords also help you draw high-quality leads to your content because all the traffic long-tails drive is very, very relevant. I’ve relied on using long-tails myself in the last year to build up a repertoire of well-ranking, well-shared content on my blog.

seo copywriting

Why YOU Need Long-Tail Keywords in Your SEO Copywriting Arsenal

Here’s what you need to know about long-tail keywords and how to incorporate them into your SEO strategy.

101: What are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are search queries made up of three-four word phrases that are very specific to a product, good, or service that’s being sold. Long-tail keywords are the phrases search engine users are generally more likely to type in when they’re closer to purchasing an item.

Examples of long-tail keyword phrases:

  • Aztec printed 3×5’ entry rug (not entry rug)
  • juice bar in Austin, TX (not juice bar)
  • size S white dress for homecoming (not white dress)

The searcher who typed these phrases are looking for a very specific product and is likely to purchase it when they find it. While long-tail keywords may seem a little clunky and strange at first, they’re a powerful tool for your web-based SEO copywriting.

Photo courtesy theseoagency.net

Photo courtesy theseoagency.net

The conversion rate for long-tail keywords is approximately 2.5 times higher than it is for head (shorter) keywords.

3 Major Reasons to Focus on Long-Tail Keywords

In the world of SEO and copywriting, long-tail keywords don’t often get as much airtime as their shorter counterparts. Unfortunately, however, marketers who neglect long tail keywords can easily find themselves in a position where they’re missing out on quality traffic and failing to produce all of the conversions that they easily could.

Here are three reasons that you should be focusing on long-tail keywords:

1. Less competition

When it comes to targeting and ranking for keywords, fewer people are going to be targeting “Salvador Dali vintage-inspired 1980’s duvet cover” than will be targeting “comforter.” Because of this, it’s much, much easier to rank for long-tail keywords than it is general search terms. While general terms may be easier to use, long-tail keywords are amazingly specific and, for the marketer who knows exactly what he or she is trying to sell, they can be a speedway toward ranking success.

Additionally, long-tail keywords that present less competition also offer lower cost-per-click prices since few marketers are targeting them.

2. More conversions

Because long-tail keywords are so amazingly specific, the people that search for them are highly likely to purchase your products. The longer and more specific the keyword is – the better. As long-tail keywords become more specific, the number of people searching for them narrows considerably. While this may seem like a frightening prospect at first, it’s important to remember that the people who are searching for that wacky Dali-inspired bedspread are highly likely to purchase it. Because of this, marketers who target long-tail keywords effectively can nab more purchases than their competitors.

3. More relevant results

Relevance is everything in today’s market and copywriters and SEOs who know how to focus on long-tail keywords will invariably provide more relevant search results for customers. Over time, this simple step can go a long way toward increasing customer loyalty, producing quality word-of-mouth advertising, and helping a brand gain dominance and build authority in a niche.

How to use Long-Tail Keywords

While long-tail keywords can provide a serious boost for your content, you’ll need to know how to use them correctly – which isn’t always easy. Follow these steps to get started:

1. Decide what your content is trying to do

Think of long-tail keywords like the ship and your content like a map. One can’t function well without the other. If you don’t know what the overall goal of your content (information, sales, conversions, etc.) is, then it’s impossible to utilize long tail keywords effectively. Because of this, it’s imperative to understand the overall purpose of your content before you start searching for long-tail keywords to beef it up.

To get this process started, sit down and write out the three top goals of your web content. For example, maybe you want it to inform people, drive email subscriptions, and produce sales. Once you’ve defined your top three goals, ensure that everything else in your content is working to support them. This includes your headlines, your social sharing functions, and the value offered by your content. If your content as a whole doesn’t work, is unreadable, or doesn’t provide value, then all of the long-tail keywords in the world won’t be enough to help it. Because of this, evaluating the structure and functionality of your content as a whole helps you lay the foundation for using long-tail keywords effectively down the road.

2. Decide who you’re writing to

No matter what kind of web writing you specialize in, marketing personas are important. By defining who, exactly, you’re writing your content to, you can provide more valuable information, tailor your language effectively, and produce more conversions. This is true for everything from introductory “How-to” articles to high-level niche content. In the case of long-tail keywords, however, it’s especially important.

Because long-tail keywords are so very specific, it’s absolutely imperative to have a solid idea of who your target audience is before you begin writing. When you visualize your ideal reader in as much detail as possible, you’re better equipped to provide valuable content specifically for them. When it comes to long-tail keywords, this can mean the difference between SEO success and flat-out failure. This is especially true for marketers who intend to use long-tail keywords in personalized emails, landing pages, or social media.

3. Use essential SEO keyword research tools

You can’t do your long-tail keyword research correctly without tools, of course. I’ll run through the main ones I use and include some top recommendations.

SEMrush: This is my favorite tool. SEMrush is a hugely effective long-tail keyword research tool–currently, the leading one online. Because SEMrush allows you to see how your competitors are ranking for given keywords, it’s the stand-out tool that many professionals prefer. Additionally, SEMrush allows you to see which keywords your competitors are bidding on, so you can tailor your keyword strategy accordingly.

Marketers who don’t have a SEMrush account need to get one in order to use the platform for keyword research, but I’ll walk you through it anyway. I’ve pulled up a general keyword search on black shoes in SEMrush’s Keyword Analytics section to give you a screenshot, and below it are a few steps.

semrush keyword research tool

  • Log into your SEMrush account and navigate to the left column
  • Scroll to “Keyword Analytics” and click “overview”
  • Enter a relevant topic or keyword (your target search term) into the search bar at the top of the page and click “Search”
  • Once you do this, you’ll be confronted by a barrage of data. For best results, check out the “Related keywords” section or click “View full report,” below the Phrase match keyword section. From here, select any keywords that are more than 3-4 words long and consider targeting them as your long-tail phrases from now on, and narrow down by a good balance of low competition, high search volume, and relevance. (My upcoming book will have a whole chapter with more on this: it really is in art in itself to select best-fit keywords!)

Google AdWords Keywords Planner: Long hailed as the pinnacle of keyword research, the Keyword Planner offers a unique tool that can be helpful for the marketer searching for long-tail keyword ideas – namely, the “Get ideas” function. Once you’ve logged into your AdWords Keywords Planner dashboard, enter your main keyword phrase (“duvet cover,” for example) and click “Get ideas.” From there, you’ll be able to access all of the keywords featured and you can simply choose your long-tail keyword phrases from results featuring 4 or more words. Just remember it has limitations and won’t give you as much data as another tool might.

AuthorityLabs, Wordtracker, UberSuggestThese are all great tools recommended by top marketers and friends of mine in the content marketing space. I’d suggest you check them all out if you’re looking for more tools to add to your category than the ones I use the most (above). Another tool: I also love BuzzSumo and use it regularly for wider topic research; it would be perfect for your long-tail keyword searches, simply by finding what’s hot on your overall topic. I like to get content inspiration from the most-shared or hottest content in my niche, using BuzzSumo.

4. Start writing

Once you’ve decided which long-tail keyword phrases you should be targeting, it’s time to create content to house them. With long-tail keywords, as with everything else, it’s important to remember that stuffing keywords will get you nowhere and that you need to incorporate keywords naturally into your content in order to make it valuable for humans and search engines alike.

Here are some general guidelines for including long-tail keywords into your content:

  • Use long-tail keywords in your headings. Headlines are often considered the single most important line in a piece of content. Because about 80% of people read headlines, whereas only 20% read body copy, headlines are also an outstanding opportunity for you to make a splash with your customer right off the bat. The best headline for SEO utilizes keywords early and helps make it clear exactly how the content included beneath the headline will benefit your reader. Power words, numbers, and promises to solve problems (i.e., “Four simple ways to find the duvet cover of your dreams”) are all good bets. If you’re having a difficult time coming up with an idea for a headline, use a tool like Buzzsumo to check out content that’s gone viral and then craft your headline based on those.
  • Use keywords naturally, always. Long-tail keywords must blend in with your content, which is often easier said than done due to the fact that, by their very nature, long-term keywords are seldom natural and low-profile. Don’t be afraid to break up the words in your long-tail phrase or add colons to make them more readable. Today’s search engines are trending more toward intention than they are literal interpretation, so they’ll have no trouble understanding your long-tail phrase.
  • Include keywords in your introduction. Your introduction sets the stage for the rest of your content, so it’s important to get it right. By including long-tail keywords in your introductory body content, you can immediately make it clear to readers that your content is relevant, useful, and specific, which enhances the chance that a reader will stick around to see what you have to offer.
  • Include long-tail keywords in subheads. Including long-tail keywords in subheads helps your readers navigate your content quickly and efficiently. It also helps back up any claims you made in your headline and help guide readers to a solution. Keep in mind that any long-tail keywords you include in your subheads should be relevant and flow naturally. This will help enhance user experience and ensure that your text is readable and relevant.
  • Include longtail keywords in your conclusion. Including long-tail keywords in your conclusion helps to back up your claims, wrap up your message, and send readers away with a strong sense of relevance and purpose. Because of this, including long-tail keywords naturally in the conclusion of your content is one of the most important steps you can take.

Conclusion

While long-tail keywords may be confusing, this simple guide can help you get started on the path to SEO dominance.I’d also recommend Neil Patel’s guide, here.

From driving more sales to producing more conversions than you ever thought possible, long-tail keywords are a powerful tool for success in SEO copywriting.

Having trouble creating content that converts? Let us do it for you! Check out our Content Shop to get started today!

gifographic

A Guide To Writing & Optimizing Great SEO Content (Gifographic)

How can an infographic get better? Add moving parts. Our fantastic design team created and designed this first gifographic from Express Writers. In it, we’re showing you the major tricks of the trade when it comes to writing and optimizing great SEO content. Tell us how you liked our first gifographic, and for a limited time, we’re taking gifographic orders! Full transcript below.

seo content gifographic

 Transcript

A Guide To Writing & Optimizing Great SEO Content (Gifographic)

Here’s Why Creating Great SEO Content Is So Crucial To Your Marketing

  • Web traffic drives content marketing. The largest portion of content marketing success, 63%, is derived from website traffic. A big reason why you should focus on having correctly SEO optimized content on your site.
  • 2/3 of B2B Marketers say content fuels their marketing. And if your content is well-written, answers questions, and is optimized for your buyers to find it, buyers are willing to finish 57% of your buying process without even talking to a sales rep.
  • Google loves it! Google has said that quality content is key to rankings.
  • Google Panda is the gatekeeper. The Google panda update has been launched primarily to ensure only high quality content ranks the best. This Panda algorithm looks into factors specifically that include how expertly the content is written, the quality of the source and author, if it is original and not duplicate, authoritative, complete, well-researched, and not-over populated with ads.
  • Optimized blogs are powerful. 8 out of 10 Internet users are reading blogs and social media, which accounts for a whole 23% of time spent on the Internet.

3 Major Types of SEO Content & Tips on Correctly Optimizing Them

Content is the fuel for what you publish on the web. Here are a few of the most common web content types:

  • Web pages. Web pages are one of the most commonly optimized forms of SEO content. Boost your web page ranking through the inclusion of related, well-researched keywords, well written title tags, meta descriptions, awesome headers, and high quality writing. Never skimp on the quality of the writing if you want the best results from your web pages.
  • Blogs. There are approximately 152,000,000 blogs on the web and with that kind of competition it’s obvious that optimizing your blog for SEO is an important way to get it to stand out. Include high quality citations (links) that reference any statistics you include and shoot for 2,000 words of high quality, well-researched SEO content per blog or more.
  • Product Descriptions. When it comes to writing product descriptions, you want people to be able to locate them online quickly and easily. Don’t skimp on copy here either. Include keywords in your product descriptions and write descriptive headlines and meta content for each one.
  • Social Media. Did you know that social media can be optimized, too? Except with social media, you optimize your content so that it can be located and shared by people rather than search engines. So don’t write around your keywords; write your social content around your audience. 

3 Rules of Thumb in SEO Writing

1. Keyword Amount: Stay under a 3% keyword density in your content (web pages, blogs, etc.) Using them naturally is your #1 rule. Headers, subheaders, and throughout the copy are key areas to use them.

How to Calculate:

Keyword Density = (How many times you used the keyword / Total words in the text) x 100

Example: (20 / 800) x 100 = 2.5%

2. Don’t count your keywords. We mean it! Think of your audience, the quality of your content, how well you’re researching the content, and if the copy addresses every question the topic could raise. This is far more important than counting keyword density every time. Simply optimize naturally with keywords.

3. Find original sources when you’re stating a claim, and citate (link to it). See our sources at the bottom of this infographic? Those are our citations. You’ll want to actually hyperlink inside your blogs or other content where you’re making a statement or claim that you’ve read online. Make sure you use the original source when you hyperlink.

3 SEO Tools for the Web Content Creator

  • SEMrush is a powerful keyword tool that allows users to optimize their sites for SEO, create intuitive pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and conduct social media and video advertising research. When it comes to using SEMrush to find keywords for your ad campaign, you’ll want to look into niche-specific long-tail keywords that apply specifically to your industry. While it’s all well and good to target a high-volume search keyword, it’s also harder to rank for these keywords, which means you may be better off focusing on a less competitive, more specific keyword phrase that allows you to rank strongly from the get-go.
  • Wordtracker is another keyword research tool that allows users to search multiple sources for effective keywords. This tool can help you find keywords that nobody is competing on and will be an essential tool for SEO success.
  • BuzzSumo is an effective tool for finding the key influencers that can help you promote your content and get it noticed by a wide audience base. It can also help you find trending content topics and take inspiration for audience related content. Although it’s not specifically SEO, developing great topic ideas and feeding off of industry leaders is every bit as important as SEO optimization.

10 Key Factors of Great SEO Content

1. Write great headers! Aside from your body content, the most important piece of content for SEO is your header. A header tells people what the piece is about, grabs reader attention and gives a general overview of the topic. To make your header as interesting as possible, include your keyword and focus on writing a header that asks a question or addresses your readers’ fears. Create headers that are irresistible and make your readers want to click; include the keyword naturally.

2. Stay away from “stuffing.” Keyword stuffing is a dangerous practice that will get you in trouble with the search engines, decreasing your site’s rank and making it harder for users to find you. Plus, it just looks spammy. So when writing your content, shoot to use keywords naturally. They should be in your header (if it’s possible to include them while still feeling organic) and they should appear a few times throughout the body content. You want your keyword density under 3% for everything you write.

3. Optimize your keywords for many channels. Keywords are important for your website, but they’re also important for social media and email. To optimize for multi-channel visibility in places like blogs, web pages and social media sites, be consistent with your keyword phrases across all the platforms you use.

4. Write good meta content. That little bit called your meta description might be more important than you realize. Think of them as your organic PPC copy; what users will see if your content ranks high enough. 2-3 sentence is all you need there, and be sure to include your main keyword. Treat your title tags like a 4-8-word advertisement for best results.

5. Be unique. All of the content you create should be unique, so you’ll want to strike a balance between curated content and original content. This is one of the best ways to optimize your site for SEO.

6. Include citations. Find and mention industry leaders throughout your content to back up your content. Google cares about your sources and to rank well you’ll want to link to industry leaders. Moz’s MozBar can help you make sure you’re using good sites; the DA (Domain Authority) score should ideally be 50 or more. However, the DA metric isn’t set in stone, so use it with judgment. Additionally, in web content you’ll want to link strategically throughout your own text back to the most important pages of your site.

7. Have high word counts. Did you know that word count can play an important part of SEO ranking? To provide the most value for your audience and rank as well as possible in SERPs, write long-form content between 1,500-2,000 words. Seek to address every question that could be raised on your topic.

8. Make sure all of your content is well- Sounds simple, but it’s crucial. Content that is filled with typos, misspellings, poor-quality links, or too many keywords will harm your SEO ranking and drive readers away. Proofread everything (or hire a proofreader).

9. Earn great links. In addition to using good links in your content, you’ll want to earn high-quality links from the outside as well. The best way to do this is to create and publish useful content that includes your keyword terms and draws social shares. Over time, the links will come.

10. Post often and consistently: Content is the #1 ranking factor for SEO and when you post often, your content gets shared more, viewed more, linked to more and helps you earn better rankings. For best results, post to your various channels several times a week and never let a blog sit unattended for long.  

Sources:

Content Marketing Institute: http://buff.ly/1OoJd4Z

Kapost: http://buff.ly/1OoJzIW

Executive Board: http://buff.ly/1OoJHbu

Brafton: http://buff.ly/1LQ5Co6

Google Webmaster Central: http://buff.ly/1PmBzXs

SalesForce: http://buff.ly/1LQ5W68

Search Engine Watch: http://buff.ly/1WzDB7f

WordStream: http://buff.ly/1WzEIUc

Search Engine Land: http://buff.ly/1WzGe8V

WPVirtuoso: http://buff.ly/1MCf3ok

 

How To Find Your Best-Fit Freelance SEO Writing Solution

When you need a lot of content for your site and you need it done right, these three options usually come to mind:

  • You can do it yourself.
  • You can hire a writer.
  • You can hire a freelance SEO writing service.

Freelance SEO Writing: Finding the Best Option for You

Freelance SEO Writing

The problem with the first option, though, is that even if you are the best writer in the world, if you are running a business, you just don’t have time to consistently write that much and still make it quality.

However, you notice that I didn’t list ‘don’t worry about creating content’ as an option. If there is anything that we can all agree on in the world of marketing, it is that you need an online presence, and you need great content on that site. Brafton created an awesome infographic illustrating this.

This means your best option is often going to be paying someone else to do the writing for you.

Hiring a Writer

When you hire a writer, you can take on a fulltime employee, use an individual freelancer, or contract through a freelance SEO writing service.

With the first two options, you take a risk of hiring someone without as many credentials as you can find through full services. Not only that, but they may not have as full of a range as a freelance service.

With a service, you have a wide range of experience, knowledgeable writers who can specialize in whatever type of writing you want done.

When you are looking for a service, though, you do not want to just go with the first one you run across.

Five Things You Should Look for in Your Best-Fit Freelance SEO Writing Service

When you are looking for a freelance service, make sure they meet at least these five important qualities.

1. They can adapt your necessary voice to fit your audience.

Great writers come up with an interesting, unique voice that really resonates with their readers. However, great freelance SEO writing services – or writer – actually adapts yours. Your voice becomes theirs.

When hiring a freelance writer, you need to find one that, instead of having their own voice, has an easily adaptable voice.

They should be writing for your audience in the tone that you would use to talk to your clients. In order to ensure they have this capability, ask for a diverse portfolio.

If a portfolio contains amazing pieces, but they are all of one style, then you cannot be assured that they are adaptably or not.

A freelance SEO writing service is usually good at ensuring this because they can choose one of their varied writers who best fit your need. While a single author can have many voices, think about how many voices you can choose from when you have many authors who each have many voices.

2. They keep up to date with all of the latest writing trends.

The current content marketing structure is likely to look a lot different than the content marketing world of even next year. That is why good writing is not enough.

When you look for a writer or service, make sure they keep up with the growing trends. There are many ways they can show you they do this.

  • They can become certified.
  • They can take trainings.
  • They can demonstrate their knowledge and prowess through their own research. However, if this is the way they learn, you might need to periodically check to make sure they are staying up to date.

Services are usually good at doing this because they often require their writers to update their training as new issues arise. Therefore, when you use a service, you can be more assured that they are familiar with all new and emerging trends – it is after all their business – as well as know that it is likely easier to get proof of this knowledge.

3. They are talented writers.

This one should go without saying, but I am mentioning it anyway. You have to make sure you hire a freelance SEO writing provider that actually knows how to write.

While this alone does not make a good freelance writer, it is the most important. No matter how well rounded they are, a freelancer without writing talent is not a freelancer you want to use.

Here, it might not matter as much if you use a freelance SEO writing service or an individual. However, at least with a service, if you do not like the writer who is assigned to your project, you have the freedom to request someone else.

4. They are talented writers in the area that you need them to be talented in.

Just as important as hiring a talented writer is hiring a writer that is skilled in the areas that you need them to be. Creative writing versus professional or technical writing versus copywriting versus niche writing and on and on all are vastly different.

If you need a professional writer, it is probably not a great idea to use a fully creative writer – even if that creative writer is an incredible creative writer.

You can determine if a writer is good and if they are good at what you need them to be able to do in a lot of ways.

  • Ask for referrals.
  • Check their portfolio or website.
  • Read reviews and testimonials.
  • Ask for a test article in order to see their merits.

While you can find an individual that meets your needs, just remember that here to a service might be a good idea. They have all good writers, but they have writers of varied natures. This way, you are more likely to get the writer you need.

5. They are all-encompassing.

Writing services are good at offering you a wide variety of services. When you use one, they do all the work for you.

Look for a service that works with you start to finish.

  • They consult with you and brainstorm what you need.
  • They create an editorial calendar.
  • They can even do keyword research for good SEO content from the ground up.
  • They write and post the content.
  • They do the social media for the content.

Final Thoughts on Freelance SEO Writing Services

Using a freelance service can save you time and make you money, which makes it well worth the price you pay the service. However, if you don’t get the right service, you will be paying for service without reaping any of the potential benefits.

If you are in the market for a freelance SEO writing service, check out our online Content Shop.

2015 seo content

Getting Ready for Next Year: What 2015 SEO Content Will Look Like

It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys are being prepped. New Year’s celebrations are being planned. SEO content predictions are being made. We published a 2014 Social Media Guide at the start of the year that talked about new trends, solutions, and predictions. We covered social media and marketing trends to live by in 2014.

Let’s take a moment to see just what panned out before we jump into a sneak peak of what we think 2015 SEO content will look like.

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of 2014

Predictions can be like the weather, sometimes good, sometimes bad, and every so often, downright ugly! We are happy to report that our 2014 SEO content predictions didn’t mirror the weatherman, whose reports end up wrong or slightly off. In a nutshell, here’s what we predicted for SEO content in 2014:

  1. Audience engagement and an in-depth understanding of your audience would be vital.
  2. Social media would grow in leaps and bounds becoming even more crucial to your SEO.
  3. Mobile optimization would be a must.
  4. Predictive tools would begin to replace analytical tools.
  5. Facebook video ads, Twitter ads, and possible G+ ads would start to be incorporated in marketing strategies.
  6. Video and mobile marketing would skyrocket.
  7. Offline material would be just as important as online and would need to lead people to your virtual doorstep.
  8. Easy to understand SEO best practices would be adopted.
  9. A social media strategy would be vital to lead generation and audience engagement.
  10. Engagement and inspiration would become the cornerstone on successful online presences.

2014 predictions the Internet over hung on the idea that social media would explode. Consumer engagement would radically determine success. And there would be a migration from best desktop display practices to mobile readership. Check out the growth social media saw in 2014:

social media 2014
by Digital Insights

Image Source: DigitalInsights.com

There’s no denying that our predictions were spot on. 2014 has been the Year of the User. From algorithm updates to content creation, everything we’ve done has been based on what our target audience wants and needs. Those of us who created and stuck to a strong content plan, coupled with social media, audience engagement, mobile optimization, and SEO best practices have reaped the rewards. Facebook advertising and the takeover of predictive tools phased out, but everything else came true.

Based on what has worked and what has changed, what is in store for 2015? What should we be planning, and what trends should we watch?

What to Expect in 2015

2015 is shaping up to be a great year for SEO content. And there’s awesome news in the air. SEO best practices got a lot simpler in 2014, and they’re looking to get even simpler in 2015. In fact, we dare to say SEO is on its way to becoming as simple as the production of high quality, amazing content. End of story.

Okay, it’s not really the end. It’s never the end. But 2015 is gearing up to be the year of local search, organic ranking, natural writing, great storytelling, and some data and analytics thrown in for good measure. Let’s break down what to expect in the New Year.

Content Will Reign Supreme

Content has rapidly become an all-encompassing term. At its core is expertly crafted copy that speaks to the reader. It incorporates great storytelling, research, backed statements and facts, calls to action, and humanization. It’s neither simple nor impossible to create. And it will reign supreme in 2015.

We predict that content will become the new face of SEO. It will be at the core of everything we do, and it will organically build rankings. It will be the best SEO practice, a timeless optimization tool that will never go out of style.

What’s more, it comes in a variety of forms. There’s no such thing as black and white content. It comes in every form possible. And as we step into the New Year, here are some content ideas to contemplate:

  • Create and manage a blog, if you aren’t already.
  • Repurpose your content into new mediums like infographics and videos.
  • Expand into content types that are friendly for on-the-go audience members, like podcasts and videos.
  • Blast newsworthy press about your company to the media via a press release.

Mobile Traffic Will Invade

Epicnewmedia.co.uk predicts that mobile will be king in 2015, and we have to agree. We saw an epic boom in mobile traffic and search in 2014. The predicted migration happened, and you’re the proof. Just stop and think about how many times you use for mobile device—whether phone or tablet—to conduct an Internet search or check out a recommended website.

We use our mobile devices to stream and track content of interest. We’re practically chomping at the bit to check in on our social media. Mobile traffic will invade in 2015, staking a permanent claim to SEO.

In other words, mobile searches are about to overrun desktop. If you’re one of the thousands of businesses still ignoring mobile content, it’s time to change. If you don’t, you’re in for a sobering experience.

Currently, 48 percent of users who land on a business website that doesn’t perform on mobile take it as an indication that the business just doesn’t care. We predict this percentage to grow in 2015. Ignore mobile traffic needs, and you’re setting your business up failure.

Be Social or Die

Here’s the thing; Google uses social media to rank your website. In fact, social media affects your SEO in numerous ways:

  1. Social sharing equates to link building. Link building has always been crucial to SEO. The more social sharing you receive, the more potential there is for an inbound link.
  2. Social sharing equates to activity and authority. The more your content is shared over social media, the more activity Google sees. As more people share, comment on, and discuss your content, Google takes note. Before you know it, you’re seen as an authority. Google gauges the activity as something worthwhile, and your SEO grows.
  3. Faster Indexing: Did you know that an extensively tweeted piece of content cuts indexation by up to 50 percent? The speed at which your content is indexed is affected by numerous factors, but social media activity is the key to cutting that time down.

In 2015, SEO and the success of our content will depend heavily on social media. Ready for the best part? We will have almost complete control over this factor of success simply by focusing on high quality, compelling, and relevant content creation. If you can supply excellent customer service and back it with compelling content, social media will skyrocket your SEO even further than it did in 2014.

Email Will Be Marketing Gold

Visual.ly predicts that email will continue to be extremely important. As people are mercilessly bombarded by data on the Internet, it will be marketing emails that make a lasting impression. In fact, they will be what make an impact.

In 2015, focus on your email. Do you have a subscriber list? Is it extensive? It’s time to build those lists and start leveraging targeted email campaigns. The more personalized and precise the email, the greater the results will be. It just may be your biggest conversion generator.

Fast and Friendly Wins

Google doesn’t like slow. Heck, you and I don’t like slow! Do you think our audience does? No!

We live in the age of one-click solutions and instant answers. If your website isn’t fast—on both the desktop and the mobile device—it’s a death sentence. The average user waits less than three-seconds for a page to load before saying, “Forget it.”

On a scale of one to ten, ten being epic, how user-friendly in your website? Keep in mind that friendliness isn’t just a homepage thing. It’s throughout every page on the site. It incorporates the manner in which you display your content, and what you choose to highlight and make stand out.

The average user doesn’t read. They scan. Your presentation and overall user friendliness will determine whether your content is worth a closer look. If it indicates to the user that it’s too complex or hard, they’ll click away. You’ll never get shares. You’ll never send up social signals. You’ll never succeed in SEO.

Local SEO

According to Greg Gifford, Director of Autorevo’s Search and Social and contributor to Search Engine Land, local SEO will be both necessary and easy. SEO is coming down to a very simple staple: What you do, both on and off your site, must work together to make your user experience awesome. Your SEO and local SEO will flourish if you work toward this goal.

Gifford says that mastering local SEO in 2015 will be as simple as being awesome and earning awesome links. So, how do you be awesome?

  • Home Page Content Matters: If your home page is a slider or banner and a few sentences, you’re in trouble. Potential customers and search engines need to know all about you. So put some meat on that page!
  • Limited Content Means Limited Results: We copywriters cringe at the customer who says, “Less is more.” We get that you don’t want to overwhelm visitors with a research paper, but give your audience more credit. They’re smart, smarter than you think. They don’t want a paragraph of, “We sell X and can do X for you. Call us now!” If you’re stuck in that mentally, get out. Now! As Gifford says, “Today’s shoppers want immediate information.” Pack it in on each page with useful content. Skimp on them, and your “less is more” concept will paint you a fly-by-night scam.
  • Keywords Died: They died a long time ago! Yes, we still use them. Yes, we still research them. But we do not, under any circumstances, at any time, stuff or spam our content and website with them! You got that? Stuff your celebratory turkeys this year, not your website. There are still a slew of websites relying on this outdated, dead tactic. It will murder your SEO and rankings in 2015. Google will see to it, personally.
  • Title Tags Matter: I once had a client come to me and say, “I want nine keywords in my title tag, so I rank well.” I nearly had a heart attack. Gifford puts it perfectly, “You’ve got about 500 pixels of width for your title tags…if [you stuff] 100 keywords…into your title tag, you just look desperate.” Do you know what Google does with desperate? It eats it for breakfast and drops it to the dark, dismal, lower reaches of that search with a million hits. Do you want to be number 908,456? No! So use those title tags to summarize the page, concisely and accurately. Drop your primary keyword at the beginning. Place your business name at the end. And you are officially an awesome title tag maker. Google (and your copywriter) will thank you.

Outsourcing: It Really Is Okay

In the past year, we’ve seen a trend indicating a lean toward outsourcing. Although we cannot speak for every industry, we can speak for what we know. And the outsourcing of content creation is a growing trend across all businesses that want strong online presences.

At the heart of 2015 SEO is content. Content is rapidly becoming the new face of SEO. Like never before it is crucial to find a content creation team. Longer content is equating to better rankings, better ROI, and all around better everything. Your task in 2015 is to become the content leader in your niche. Recognize that your best chance at doing this is through team effort because you cannot hope to do everything yourself and run your business.

2015 SEO Content: Join the Party

What are you looking forward to in 2015 SEO content? Do you have some predictions of your own? Share them in the comments. Let’s get a discussion rolling!

Featured photo credit: RyanKing999 / iStock

 

 

content rankings

7 Ways Content Can Get You High Content Rankings in SERPs

You’ve heard it repeated over and over, ad nauseum.

It’s a cliched phrase.

And yet, we’re going to say it again anyway (with enthusiasm!), because it’s true:

Content is king. (Or queen ?.)

In other words, it’s kind of a big deal.

queen

Without content, you can’t rank on Google’s first page. 

Nope. Never. It’s not going to happen.

This is because content does two things for search engines:

  1. It provides information on what a web page is about, plus a roadmap for how the other pages within the domain relate to each other (called “interlinking”).
  2. It answers a user’s questions and/or fulfills their search intent.

Both contribute to rankings.

To find out whether your page nails either one of them, search engine crawlers will look for major clues – dead giveaways that your web pages provide exactly what the user and the ‘bots are trying to find.

If you don’t have content on your website, these ranking clues will be nonexistent.

That means your site and pages will not get indexed, let alone hit the coveted top 10 or top 5.

Content MUST be at the base of your rankings strategy. According to Search Engine Land, “Get your content right, and you’ve created a solid foundation to support all of your other SEO efforts.”

search engine land

Content is not only king or queen; content is key.

If you want high rankings for your content and pages, you have to have it.

How does it work? Why does it work? Let’s explore.

content rankings

7 More Reasons High Rankings in SERPs Depend on Content

1. Content Tells Search Crawlers What Your Page Is About

How do search crawlers figure out what your page is about? How do they know which keywords to rank you for (and if your page is worthy of ranking)?

They crawl the entirety of your page, from the code to the content. 

The code helps distinguish your page, but much of the clues to what your content is about comes directly from it (Google calls these clues “key signals”). 

google search indexing

The parts of your content that help organize the information for readers is also helpful for crawlers. Think:

  • Headers
  • Sub-headers
  • Keywords and keyword placement
  • Link anchor text
  • Hierarchy of headers (H1s vs. H2s and H3s, etc.)

2. Content Is a Framework for Natural Keyword Use

Once upon a time, you could repeat a keyword on your page with zero context and rank for that term. According to Moz, this meant search results had extremely limited value.

moz search relevance

Conversely, think about search results today and how relevant they are – how they answer the questions you have or fulfill your information needs. This is possible because search engine engineers have improved the way results match up with user queries.

Search ‘bots don’t just look for instances of keywords anymore. Instead, they look at: 

  • The context of those keywords/phrases
  • The relevance of the content to the user’s search terms

In other words, natural keyword use matters more than your primary keyword appearing X number of times on the page.

And, of course, the best foundation for natural keyword use on your page is to write comprehensive content on your topic.

3. Content Gives Users What They’re Looking For

Think about doing an online search. Most of the time, when you type some keywords or a question into the search box, you want something.

Content fulfills your search intent, depending on what you’re looking for. According to Yoast, search intent falls into four categories:

  • Navigational
  • Informational
  • Transactional
  • Investigational

Wordstream defines the three major ones:

wordstream search intent

Each type of search intent has corresponding content:

  • Navigational: Homepages
  • Informational: Guides, how-tos, articles
  • Transactional: Sales pages, landing pages

Knowing your audience and building content to match their search intent will help your site pages rank well. For Google, especially, satisfying users is #1. 

4. Updated Content Keeps Your Website Fresh

Another factor for ranking that search engines look at is freshness – has your site been updated recently? Is someone taking care of it? Or has it been abandoned or forgotten?

The freshness of your content tells search crawlers that somebody is still keeping house. The lights are on, and yes, you’re home.

Publishing fresh content helps crawlers establish your relevance, but updating old content is helpful, too – it keeps the information you offer up-to-date and accurate.

Plus, according to Moz, “Websites that add new pages at a higher rate may earn a higher freshness score than sites that add content less frequently.”

moz content freshness

This means publishing fresh content consistently will work in your favor for higher page rankings.

5. It Keeps Users on Your Page Longer

The longer visitors stay on your page before returning to a search engine, the more relevant it must be to their needs.

Makes sense, right? This concept is called dwell time, and it could be a Google ranking factor.

WebpageFX dwell time

Image via WebpageFX

Similarly, “time on page” is the amount of time the user spends on your page before navigating off-page (the destination doesn’t matter).

Both concepts are relevance-related. That means, if your content fulfills your user’s search intent, they’ll spend more time on-page. If your content isn’t relevant (or, let’s face it, if it sucks), the user will leave more quickly – sometimes immediately.

If you keep your visitors on-page longer, it’s a good indicator of your page’s relevance, which can contribute to better rankings.

How do you create topically relevant pages? With quality content.

6. It Builds Connections Between Your Site Pages

Search crawlers can’t index your pages without links between pages. These links help the ‘bots understand how your entire site ties together and the various page hierarchies you’ve put in place.

Content with links to other pages on your site helps the ‘bots AND your users make connections between them. These are “breadcrumbs” that show the way, so to speak, so both crawlers and users don’t get lost navigating your website.

web style guide confusing links

Without a defined link structure, your website will become a maze of pages that are too hard to navigate. (Image via Web Style Guide)

web style guide link tree

A logical link structure, including content pages that link to each other, helps create relationships that are easy to follow and understand. It’s a literal map to your website. (Image via Web Style Guide)

Interlinking your content pages in a logical way is a best-practice for higher rankings, because it makes your site user-friendly.

7. Great Content Helps You Build Links and Content Rankings

Let’s not forget one of the greatest advantages to publishing content on your website: link building.

It works like this:

  1. If the content you publish is high-quality, in-depth, accurate, and meets your audience’s search needs, they’ll find it valuable enough to share. 
  2. As the piece is shared, your authority strengthens. 
  3. Based on the authority built from your high-value content, people may start linking to your pages as trusted information sources.

These are called backlinks, and they’re ultra-high on Google’s list of ranking factors.

google-friendly site

Backlinks are literal clues that people trust you, like your content, and find it relevant to their needs. They are votes for your page to climb the rankings. And, according to Backlinko, Google counts these “votes” heavily in your favor.

In fact, the number of referring domains/backlinks a site has directly correlates to their Google position. If you have more, you’re more likely to hold the #1 spot.

backlinko backlink study

Therefore, a GIANT key to high rankings in SERPs is high-quality content. You can’t build authority without it. And, without authority, no one is going to want to link to you and “vote” for your site.

Want High Rankings in SERPs? You Need Content

Undoubtedly, content is the way to rank highly and advantageously on Google SERPs.

Without content, you’ll be attempting to steer a boat with no sail, rudder, paddles, engine, or any other key part that makes it move forward.

Instead, you’ll float aimlessly and get nowhere.

If you want better visibility online…

If you want higher authority and rankings… 

If you want your website and brand name to matter 

You have to publish content.

web content CTA