More than two decades ago, a mildly famous man named Bill Gates wrote the words, “Content is king.” These words were written in an essay that outlined his beliefs about the content-driven future of the Internet.
Today, his words ring absolutely true. Content marketing provides three times as many leads as paid search on the same spend, and three times as many leads as outbound marketing for 62% less.
However, great content can’t exist in a vacuum. It needs to be paired with a viable SEO marketing strategy to be seen in the first place.
Let’s take a look at some tips for making content that plays nice with search engine optimisation.
1. Establish A Keyword Strategy
Keywords are part of the foundation of SEO, and choosing the right ones to integrate into your content will determine how high up the SERPs your ranking will be.
Look for topics in your niche that you believe people will be searching for. Then, identify keywords associated with these topics, and implement them in your content. Ensure that your main keyword appears in the first 2-3 paragraphs of your work so that it’s associated easily with the topic.
On a small scale, you can manually perform this research by looking up the keywords in Google, then checking out the related searches that Google suggests. For a more efficient and detailed research solution, you should make use of keyword research tools that display relevant stats such as search volume.
Keyword research isn’t just for introducing keywords to your existing content. You can also use the results of your keyword research to decide on what content to produce. By looking at what topics people are searching for inside your niche, you can address these topics with timely content.
2. Make Use Of Long-Tail Keywords
A keyword strategy for your content is great. A long-tail keyword strategy? Even better.
Long-tail keywords are more targeted in their niche. This allows them to capture people who are further down their customer journey, and thus are more likely to convert.
They’re also optimised for semantic search, which boosts their search results placements in a time when voice search and user intent are growing in popularity.
The result of this is that 70% of all traffic that is brought in through organic search, comes from long-tail keyword searches. Every SEO strategy should be employing at least some use of long-tail keywords, it’s a no-brainer.
3. Optimise Your Content For Readability
Readability is a very important facet of modern content production. Highly readable content is just that much more pleasing and enjoyable to browse, which affects how much readers remember it and your brand.
Some readability tips include using shorter sentences, around 15-20 words each. Express each idea concisely, and in bite-sized blocks.
You should also ensure that your paragraphs only have a maximum of 2-3 sentences. Walls of text are very unpleasant to chew through.
Finally, consider using bucket brigades to ensure that people stay on your page. Add bucket brigades wherever you feel that a reader may be tempted to stop reading, so that you can reel them back in with an engaging question or an exciting intro.
One further consideration:
More and more people are browsing the web on mobile. This means that a lot of modern readability techniques are based on people reading on small screens that are used in portrait orientation. Try reading your content on both a desktop display and a smartphone, and make sure that it looks good on both.
4. Have A Good Meta Description
The meta description is what’s displayed under your content as it appears in search engines. This description, about 150 characters in length, should serve as an enticing summary that will draw readers in. Even if you rank highly, a bad meta description—or lack thereof—can turn off prospective readers.
5. Produce Evergreen Content
Timely content that addresses a particular event or concern is certainly useful in its own right. However, nothing beats evergreen content, or content that remains useful and shareable long after it’s produced.
Evergreen content is characterized by being authoritative, valuable, and informative to your audience. These characteristics help greatly extend its shelf life and make it highly linkable. This linkability and authority give evergreen content a huge boost in search engine ranking.
6. Create Content Of Appropriate Length
If you’re intending to create in-depth content that produces lots of value for your users, you’re going to have to aim for a little longer than just 300 or 400 words. Research suggests that search engines are biased towards content that’s above 1000 words in length, with even better ranking performance at 2000 words.
It’s not clear whether this bias is because the search engines themselves care about the length of content, or because longer content simply is more engaging and authoritative for readers. Whatever the case, aim for at least 1000 words for your content to improve the rankings.
7. Break Up Your Content With Headings
Introducing headings and subheadings into your content allows you to draw your readers’ attention to the most important bits. This keeps them engaged, and also greatly assists in readability.
On top of that, it’s very possible that search engines pay close attention to the keywords in headings. Including keywords in your headings, especially H1 and H2, has a good chance of boosting your rankings.
If content is king, then SEO is queen—or at the very least, an important advisor who instructs the king in how they should reign over the Web.
A good content strategy goes hand in hand with a strong SEO marketing strategy. Use these tips to improve the search engine friendliness of your high-quality content, and watch as your readership soars, along with leads and conversions!