A Guide To Writing & Optimizing Great SEO Content (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.
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 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
 

SEO Optimizing Your Online Copywriting: Tricks of the Trade

SEO Optimizing Your Online Copywriting: Tricks of the Trade

Search engine optimization is a bear of a topic. Many of us feel like we’re staring down a ferocious bear as we try to wrap our heads around SEO optimization of our online copy. It can seem like a daunting task, even when we hire a professional. Today, our goal is to turn that ferocious bear into a teddy bear by the time you finish skimming or reading this blog. Are you up for the transformation?

 

SEO Updates: Pandas and Penguins and Hummingbirds, Oh My!

Writing for the web has been said to be a beast of a task. Unlike traditional copy where you wrote for the audience, online copy demands that you write for the search engines too. Google, the king of search engine beasts, makes no secret of their requirements for proper SEO optimization. The guide they provide is great, but suddenly we find ourselves being hit by various creatures. In 2013, we had a panda, a penguin and a hummingbird thrown at us! Since when is throwing untamed wildlife at us okay?

Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird were all updates to SEO. With each one, the focus of optimization and rankings changed. At times, it felt like we were being attacked by wild animals. Now that the dust has settled (and the wildlife seems to be caged, at least for now), the ferocious SEO bear really does look a bit more like a cuddly teddy bear.

 

The Truth about Keywords

In all the wildlife excitement, someone had the courage to start a vicious little rumor that the days of keyword optimizing were going, going, gone. Based on Google’s SEO updates, we respectfully disagree. It is undeniable that how we use keywords has changed, but we have by no means been discouraged from using them altogether. As a result, you still need to tackle keyword research and keyword usage when optimizing online copy.

Keyword research is a frightening topic. “Research” isn’t a word most of us appreciate. It brings to mind painful classes and scary essays. What exactly is keyword research? Well, it boils down to discovering which words or phrases your target audience will use when conducting an Internet search. We published an informative blog about keyword research that can open your horizons to this concept in more depth, back in December.

You’ll want to pinpoint the top 1 to 3 keywords for your target audience. These words should be inserted into the following places:

  • The title tag
  • The #h1 headline
  • Image alt tags
  • The body of the text (usually in the first and last paragraphs)

SearchEngineLand published a fantastic article about optimizing a single page of content with multiple keywords. If you need (or want) detailed information about where and how to place your keywords and phrases, it’s a great additional resource.

Keyword usage in copy is a whole new ball game these days. In the past, Google’s search algorithms weren’t synonym smart. As a result, we had to use specific keywords and keyword phrases. It wasn’t uncommon to read copy that made both the writer and editor cringe. Proper grammar? Forget it. Semi-proper grammar? Maybe. Keyword phrases were often out of order or senseless because they had to cater to the search engine.

Thankfully, search engines are smarter today. Not only can they handle synonyms, but they can also adapt to variations! Instead of having to insert “sandwich peanut butter” into a sentence and cringe, we can now write “peanut butter sandwich” and the search engine will still grab this key if someone types “sandwich peanut butter” into a search query.

Keywords and phrases still need to be researched and used, but they don’t have to be used at the expense of quality content. The general rule is that a piece of content should have a keyword density of approximately 1 to 2 percent. However, the flow and quality of the copy should take priority because, as CopyBlogger points out when writing about SEO copywriting, “Google treats the truth and authority of your domain, what others think about your content and the words they use to describe it, as an important indication of quality and relevance.”

 

The Importance of Relevance and Authority

 

The primary way websites are ranked today is through a combination of relevancy and authority. In essence, search engines want to see relevant content conveyed by a credible or authoritative entity. They have numerous algorithms designed to determine relevancy and authority; geo-location, search history, Query Deserves Diversity and Query Deserves Freshness, just to name a few.

Domain authority is growing more and more relevant to SEO. At first, wrapping your head around it can be a terrifying prospect. I’ll be honest: the first time I read about domain authority, I felt like I was sitting at a tech conference. I thought, “My god, I’m in way over my head.” The SEO bear was growling at me, and I could have sworn he was about to swipe. Then, I started to find resources that helped me make sense of the tech jargon.

Moz published a great article about domain authority. Personally, I had to read it a couple of times to grasp it all. Don’t feel bad if you have trouble understanding domain authority at first. The learning curve isn’t as steep as it appears, and it really is natural to feel a little lost. Here’s what you need to know about domain authority in laymen terms:

  • Domain authority, or DA, is very difficult to directly influence.
  • A DA rating represents how a website performs in search engine rankings.
  • One way to begin increasing your DA is through SEO linking, but don’t expect immediate or noticeable results.
  • The only sure way to influence your DA is to spend time improving your overall SEO.

 

The Trick to Improving Your Overall SEO

The ultimate trick, the perfect key, the guarded secret…it all comes down to one primary thing: quality content. SEO is literally all about creating content that is so compelling, so relevant, so current, and so knock-your-socks-off awesome that people want to promote it. They want their friend to read it. Their friend reads it, and they want their friends to read it. Before you know it, your content has gone viral.

 

Social Media SEO

One aspect of search engine optimization that seems to fall by the wayside is social media. Since the trick to improving your SEO is quality content that goes viral, it stands to reason that a rather sizable part of increasing your optimization is through optimizing your social media channels. Let’s discuss 5 things you can do to optimize your social media regardless of the platform—Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.:

  1. Include keywords. There are those pesky keywords again. Solid keyword research will most definitely pay off! Search engines take cues from social media. By including your keywords in your social media updates, you’ll increase your SEO. The more consistently you do this, the easier it will become for people to find you and your content. Don’t forget to use hashtags on platforms that support them, like Twitter and Google+.
  2. Be engaging. The biggest mistake made by businesses today is neglecting to be social on social media. Yes, social platforms are ideal for promoting your content and offers, but you must take time to make posts that are purely engaging. In other words, ask questions, get people talking, respond to them, and then stay involved in the unfolding discussion.
  3. Be sure to include lead generation content. It’s important to do more than promote your website, product, or service. You need to step into the new, leading generation of content. Season your activity with content about offers, downloadable content, and webinars.
  4. Post frequently. Regularity is vital. You need to engage fans and followers with fresh material regularly; otherwise, they won’t have any reason to give you their attention. Each platform has its own “shelf life.” For example, tweets don’t stay up long because of Twitter’s dense activity. So, you’ll tweet more often than you’ll Facebook.
  5. Incorporate value. It’s easy to start blasting out social network notifications, but you’ll look like a spammer if they don’t carry some value. Every update you send out should bring value to the audience. Don’t waste their time. They’ll leave you for someone else! Make it a point to share information that educates, engages, informs, and interests.

Aside from these best practices, you can go even further and optimize per social media platform. If you’re interested in learning the ins and outs to each platform, take a gander at The Ultimate Guide to Optimized Social Media Updates from HubSpot.

 

SEO Linking

Linking can be a burly SEO topic because of the consequences if you do it wrong. Improper linking can land you in trouble with Google. Therefore, learning how to build SEO links properly is important.

In essence, links are like streets that connect pages. Search engines send out their creepy crawlies that crawl the web, and they transverse these streets. SEO link building is a bit of an art. While challenging, it is essential. 4 link building strategies to use include:

  1. Build a blog that is a resource. Blogs are an excellent platform for creating optimized content and building links. In fact, Google’s own engineers actually recommend blogging as a SEO link building strategy. Use your blog to consistently publish fresh, informative and relevant material that is both entertaining and educational. Build links to your posts via social media channels. Start and participate in conversations, and you’ll soon earn listings and links from fellow blogs.
  2. Be newsworthy. If you can be and stay newsworthy, you’ll earn the attention of bloggers, press and news media. This is a sure way to earn links. Staying newsworthy can be as simple as offering free giveaways, releasing new product, or starting a conversation.
  3. Be inspirational. People love things that inspire. If you can insight an emotional reaction, you’ll like have content other want to share. The SEO world calls this “linkbait.” Leverage the combination of usefulness, value, and emotional reaction to create a response. Users who see the content will likely share and link to it. These types of earned reputation are invaluable to establishing credibility, authority and ranking potential.
  4. Get your customers to link right to you. If you have partners or loyal customers/followers who love your product, service or brand, you can send out partnership badges. These badges are icons that link back to your website. This is a simple, yet respectable means of building SEO links.

 

Ferocious Bear vs. Teddy Bear

Search engine optimization appears, at first, to be a bear of a topic. In all honestly, it’s the technical aspect to it that scares most of us away. As you can see, SEO isn’t all about in-depth technical knowledge. The ferocious SEO bear is really more of a teddy bear, once you get to know him. He has a marked appreciation for quality copywriting, he isn’t strict about keyword etiquette and he’s surprisingly social.

Optimizing your online copywriting can be an enjoyable task, especially when you take into consideration the avenue of social media. You have the opportunity to build your rankings just by reaching out to other people. We all love to stand around the water cooler at the office and chat. We like the interaction, and—let’s be truthful—we’d rather carry on a conversation than work. Social media hands you the opportunity to carry on a conversation around the social water cooler, and the best part is: you’re doing the optimization work while you chat!

So, now that you see how simple search engine optimization can be across the broad board of copywriting, do you see more of a teddy bear versus a ferocious beast? Hopefully, your answer is yes. Now that 2014 is upon us, we can gear up for a great year of SEO and copywriting. This time next year we can swap stories about the indigenous wildlife Google threw at us and how we survived (and learned) the latest evolution of search engine optimization.