When developing killer content for your blog or website, there are two key considerations: first, how to create quality content that will engage, entertain, and ultimately drive conversions; and second, how to make that content available to a broad audience. As the majority of web traffic comes through search engines, creating content that is optimized for search visibility is one of the best ways to get your name into the world. While traditional marketing may have considered these two concerns separate, they are increasingly part of a unified content strategy that makes SEO a factor at a very early stage, producing content that seamlessly blends engaging writing with SEO-rich markers.
Although these aims - quality content and high search visibility - may seem at odds with each other, it’s vital to your marketing success to start considering them part of a holistic goal. Yes, your content should be well-written, dynamic, and full of valuable information for your audience, but none of that matters if it languishes in an unseen corner of your website. A high SEO ranking can pull your content out of obscurity and get it in front of a new readership. But today’s audiences are smart, and simply peppering your article with keywords will only serve to turn readers off.
What makes an article good?
While truly great writing can’t be taught, good writing definitely can. As a marketer, you are ultimately a storyteller, conveying the story of your brand through different mediums and reframed for different audiences. Now all you need to do is translate this skill to the page. Here are some best practices for creating impressive, captivating articles:
- Use concrete examples: Nothing gives writing more power than strong, relatable examples. Avoid the purely theoretical by using case studies when talking about a product’s success or focusing on one customer’s story. Find points of connection in news or pop culture to give your reader a frame of reference. These tangible stories will stay with them longer than facts or numbers.
- Don’t hide your voice: One of the best things you can do for your brand is to give it a unique voice. Don’t be afraid to be funny (if you are funny), quirky, even a little bit weird. It can be helpful to read the piece aloud to see if it sounds like you. Your genuine voice is one of your greatest assets. Yes, you need to adhere to the standard of professionalism appropriate for your industry, but the more you sound like a human being, the more people will want to engage with you - by re-posting, commenting, and finally, by purchasing your service or product.
- Know your audience: Your blog is not your diary, nor is it an interoffice memo. Make sure you choose language suitable for whomever you’re addressing. If you’re writing for a larger audience, stay away from jargon. Keep paragraphs short and on-point, and section difficult-to-understand material into digestible concepts. Include links to examples that will help elucidate the work. Finally, become your fiercest critic: revise, revise, and revise again. Circle the ideas you find irresistible and cut everything else. The more focused you are, the more your audience will be able to gain from your work.
Writing for SEO
With those tips in mind, crafting a good article should be simple. Now to address the next piece of the puzzle: getting your content seen. Along with cross-posting and social media, optimizing your content for search engines is a proven way to place your work before a new audience. By optimizing your content to appear more often in search engine recommendations, you will be increasing both the visibility and trustworthiness of your brand.
Some ways to create good SEO-friendly content include:
- Choose organic: Incorporating highly visible, popular SEO keywords into your articles is one of the best ways to drive up your recommendations. Major caveat: these keywords need to be included in a way that feels organic to the subject matter. They mustn't stand out or be jarring to the reader. Readers, especially those who spend a lot of time in the digital world, are extremely capable of noticing if you’ve just stuffed your work full of words you hope will drive up visibility.
- Keyword placement: Make sure you optimize the placement of keywords in your SEO articles by putting them in your titles and subtitles. Create a hierarchy of keywords and use the most search generating up front. Be sure to use your most important keywords in the title.
- Picture this: Include images with alt text to get your page showing up in image searches as well. Images will also break up the text in a dynamic way. Image-driven content is getting more and more play as a digital marketing technique and it is especially suited to viral content.
Lastly, don't expect the website to do all the work for you. Engaging on Facebook, writing blog posts with keywords and links, posting to the site with images, these are how you rank and get indexed. I may be able to build a site you love, but unless you put in the work or pay to have these things done - your website is like a flyer on a windshield. Some will find it, but most will pass it by.
With these tips in mind, you should be on your way to a higher SEO ranking in no time; and, at the same time, you’ll be enhancing your reputation as a quality content provider. Win-win for your brand!