SEO and content are like Vegemite on toast. They just go so well together. And when they are at their best, they have the power to help move your website to the top of Google’s rankings.
When the quality of your content is poor, your website may become so buried in Google’s search results that it will seem nearly impossible to recover. By combining great content with proper SEO practices, you’ll end up with a winning combination sure to boost your traffic.
So, continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
What is Content?
Before we can dive deep into what makes quality content, let’s first go over what we mean when we say “content.” Essentially, content is information that is presented in a manner that is relevant and contextual and satisfies a searcher’s intent. The more useful, relevant, and contextual the content is, the higher quality it’s going to be.
The Differences Between Content and SEO
Some people may be confused when they hear others talking about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and content. There are many people out there who just assume that they’re one and the same. However, this is not the case.
The main difference between these two terms is that SEO is much more technical. It’s essentially a set of rules that are followed in order to maintain a technically healthy website. The primary goal of SEO is to make your website easy for search engine crawlers to “read” and be found on Google.
Content, on the other hand, involves conveying meaning. This is done in a number of ways that include words and visuals or diagrams. Content is all about what’s actually on the page and what that information is saying to someone searching for a specific intent. It’s what’s going to help Google find a website and put that site in front of the right audience.
Some examples of good SEO practices involve doing keyword research, setting your company up with Google My Business, and maintaining a healthy social media presence. Examples of high quality content, on the other hand, involve matching user intent, staying on topic, using relevant keywords, and engaging a specific target audience.
Still, in the case of SEO and content, these two practices are interconnected; feeding each other to achieve even greater success.
Why is Quality Content Essential to SEO?
Google handles billions of searches every day. By mastering high quality, optimised content, your website can see increases in traffic and conversion rates.
The aim of Google’s search engine is to deliver results that are relevant and useful to users in as short a time as possible. This means that content that is beneficial to searchers can improve a site’s SEO performance.
How do you know if your content is useful to those searching?
According to Google, content should be:
- Informative and useful
- More useful and valuable than other websites
- High quality and very well written
- Credible and accurate
- Engaging for the audience
When your content can check all of these boxes, you’re setting yourself up for a very successful SEO campaign. And if your content isn’t optimised, you’re not going to rank well at all in search engines.
Writing optimised content needs to be audience-centric and highly targeted to a specific audience persona’s search intent. It’s not enough to just choose a topic that you like to talk about and write about that. While you may be interested, it often is not what people are searching for.
A good content strategist will be able to help you identify content topics that are specifically relevant to your audience and satisfy the concept of “user intent.”
A key point here is that quality is far more important than quantity. You are far better off producing content with engaging visuals less often with a more strategic approach, rather than just posting lots of content that just creates “noise” and doesn’t really target user search intent.
How to Create Optimised Content
Writing optimised content isn’t incredibly difficult, but it does take effort and you need to know what you are doing.
There are several steps that you need to follow in order to get your content as optimised as possible.
1. Know Your Audience and Their Mindset
As we’ve already mentioned, your content needs to be audience-centric. To do this, you have to know your audience and their trigger points and be very aware of your brand voice.
As a result of recent events, it is also important to be aware of your audience’s mindset and that their decision-making barriers may have changed.
Also, the actual information that you write needs to be valuable to your audience and match their intended search. Content that is not valuable and doesn’t match the intended search will likely be penalised by the search engines. You can’t try to trick people into clicking on your website for one thing and then show them something else.
Also, very importantly, you shouldn’t be posting content that isn’t relevant to your brand. This will not only hurt your rankings, but it will also turn away your customers as they will no longer be able to trust your brand’s voice or direction.
2. Determine Your Topic and Perform Keyword Research
Your main goal when creating content is to make sure it is geared to a specific audience. You’re also going to have to do keyword research so that you can make sure that your content will actually be able to find the audience it was intended for.
Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they’re the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.”
There are several tips that you should keep in mind when you’re choosing topics and keywords:
- Avoid keywords that are highly competitive and have extremely high search numbers
- Match your topic to the keyword
- Focus on long-tail keywords (keywords that are made up of 3-4 words specific to your product or service)
- Use a keyword research tool that’s proven to work
- Ensure that you don’t overuse your keywords in your copy or you will be penalised
3. Develop Your Format and Outline for Optimal Readability
Formatting is very important. Make sure that the core content is broken down into small, bite-sized pieces. People who read content online have extremely short attention spans. Nobody wants to read a huge block of text, not to mention that it is hard to do so on mobile devices.
Paragraphs should usually only be between one and three sentences long.
Also, content should be crafted into smaller sections that are no longer than around 300 words. This will make the information more accessible and convey more meaning to the reader.
Keep in mind that not everyone is a writer. Remember, you are a knowledge expert in your field, but you may not be the most creative or skilled content writer. So, consider engaging a skilled content strategist and spend the time briefing them thoroughly.
Remember also that Google is looking for good quality content and with increasing advances in AI, this will become even more important in the years to come.
4. Stick to the Target Keyword & Topic
A good content writer will stick to the target keyword and topic that is targeted to the user intent and will refrain from going off on tangents or adding too much background or anecdotal information.
Most people who are searching online are looking for specific things. Content that is off-topic will lose the interest of the audience and result in them moving to another site.
You also don’t want to target too many keywords in your article. Having too many keywords will hinder you from making content that’s as relevant and useful as possible. As you continue to write, you should be constantly checking to ensure that you’re sticking to the planned keyword and topic.
5. Place Backlinks Throughout for More Credible Content
For Google, credibility is a big factor when deciding how to rank websites. Because of this, you need to make sure that you’re linking to authoritative, trustworthy, and relevant websites. Doing so will help to ensure that your content is viewed as credible by search engines.
With that said, you need to use words that are relevant when you’re attaching backlinks to them. If you don’t, Google may penalise your site. It’s also worth noting that you should attach a link to around three adjacent words.
As you write more content with links, you’ll also want to add those other sites to link to your page.
How To Optimise The Content You’ve Created
After you’ve written your content, there are several steps you can take to make sure it’s as optimised as possible. Let’s take a look at those steps below.
1. Optimise Your Title Tag
A title tag is a clickable headline that shows up when a user executes a search. The tag is the line of text that’s placed at the top of each search result. There are a few reasons why title tags are important for optimised content.
Mainly, title tags help search engines know what your page is all about. Also, it may very well be the factor that determines if a user selects your page or a competitor’s page.
In order to make sure that your title tag is optimised, there are several criteria you’ll have to meet:
- Don’t stuff several keywords into the title
- Put your target keywords at the beginning
- Keep the title tag to under 60 characters
- Your tag should be specific and relevant to the content
Failing to follow the tips above may result in you ranking lower or even being penalised by Google.
2. Optimise Your Meta Description
The meta description is the small line of text that shows up under the URL and title tag.
Google claims that meta descriptions don’t directly impact a page’s ranking. However, it may affect whether a person decides to click on your page or a different one. It’s also worth noting that a page’s click-through-rate (CTR) can also indirectly impact a page’s ranking.
When coming up with a meta description, it’s recommended that you:
- Provide a specific, short description of what the content is about
- Keep it to less than 160 characters
- Include keywords that are relevant
That last point is extremely important as the keyword will be highlighted when the user looks at their search results.
3. Optimise Your URL
The structure of your URL is another SEO component that will indirectly impact your site’s rankings. This is because the URL may determine if a user decides to click on your content, and this will affect the click-through-rate.
Your URL should be inviting and simple to understand. Users may be turned off by ones that are mysterious and long as they may seem unsafe to click on.
Why is High Quality Content Important for SEO?
When your content is high quality and optimised, it’s going to greatly improve the visibility of your site.
Good quality content will:
- Help you reach a broader audience
- Improve your standing with search engines
- Increase user traffic
- Provide opportunities to “start a conversation” with your audience
- Invite prospects to your customer journey
All of this will ultimately help you increase your conversion rates and turn readers into buyers.
How to Get Started Writing Great Content
So, now you know how to write great content!
Just remember, it can still be difficult to know exactly what to write about and how to design a strategy that will improve your business as a whole.
You might know your business inside out and be the expert in your field, but are you also an expert content writer? If not, then utilise the skills of a professional and don’t forget to include engaging imagery, as this is another key interest factor when attracting an audience.
For more information, call (612) 9440-9369
Authors: John Jantsch and Stacy Farrell
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