Search engine optimization (SEO) is a big part of any digital marketing strategy. That means that you need to write content that will appeal to search engines and keep your site near the top of the rankings. However, search engines do not buy your products or services. Real living, breathing people do, and if your content doesn’t appeal to them, then even top rankings for every keyword won’t be able to help you.
One of the trickiest things to master as an SEO content creator is balancing the need to satisfy what search engines are tracking for and what will engage readers. It means that your content has to get your website to the top of rankings to get people to visit your site, and be interesting enough to keep them there. This might sound daunting, but there are ways to achieve this. Here are some tips for walking the tightrope between search engines and readers.
Your content has to be relevant and authoritative on the subject about which you are writing. What does that mean? It means that your content must be educational to the reader. It has to be well-researched and provide links and sources. You want your readers to have trust in you, to ensure that they’ll come back. Also, the more trust they have, the more likely they will be to buy from you. If you are writing an opinion piece, be passionate and strong about your position. By taking a stand backed by facts you will gain the respect of your readers, even if they don’t necessarily agree. But be careful how you pick your sources. Ron Shelvin talks about quantipulation.
The basic meaning of it is that some numbers are really hard to verify, and that allows the marketing and fintech industry to misrepresent some facts.
Finally, you can share your content with groups on social media that have a common interest. The more shares you get, the more authoritative and trustworthy your content is considered.
Search engines will also appreciate authoritative content. In fact, it is something they look for. That means they can tell when something is well-written and relevant, or if you’ve simply stuck a few keywords into a jumble of words and called it a day. If your content is shared a lot it will help you gain legitimacy in the eyes of search engine algorithms, so do what you can to expand your network.
Originality is also important. If you copy and paste from another article and swap in your keywords, it’s still plagiarism even if it isn’t your term paper for English lit class. It will be flagged, and your ranking will suffer at best, and your website could be removed completely from ranking at worst.
Use the Right Tools
There are tools you can use that will help with all of your efforts to be original, well-written, and authoritative. For instance, well-written articles are written not just for the best-read people on the internet. They are written for everyone, which means they have to be at an easily understandable level. A tool like Hemingway will help to identify sections that are unclear, or that aren’t at an appropriate reading level. You want your writing to be intelligent and informative, but simple to digest.
Another tool that comes in handy is Grammarly. It gives you grammar advice in real time that goes beyond what your world processor provides. It will help with spelling, word choice, clarity, and punctuation. Your writing will benefit, and you can probably learn a few things as well. One of the best things about Grammarly is that it doesn’t just apply to your blogs and articles. It will interface with your emails and other writing documents as well.
An SEO rank checker will help you to see whether your writing is satisfying search engines. You can input your keywords and a URL and the website rank checker will tell you where that page ranks for each particular keyword. You need to know if your efforts are working and change tactics if they are not, which is what makes a website rank checker so valuable. Checking your Google keyword ranking regularly will help you keep on top of things.
Plagiarism is a huge red flag to search engine algorithms. While it’s true that most readers probably won’t catch if your work is just a copy and paste job unless it’s copying a famous piece of writing, the search engines will. When they do, your website can get knocked down the rankings and you will have great difficulty climbing back up. Some pages will even be eliminated from the rankings altogether for a specified period of time. In some cases you may not realize that you are repeating what others have already said. Use a plagiarism checker before posting anything to scan the internet to make sure your words haven’t been written before.
Use Keywords Strategically
There was a time when search engine algorithms only searched for keywords, regardless of what the content was like that surrounded them. You could write a jumble of words and cramp your keywords in as many times as possible and you had a chance of ranking. Those times are no more. Algorithms and indexing programs have evolved much beyond that, and it is much more complicated and difficult to rank for specific keywords.
When your keywords appear in your content they now must seem natural. They need to make sense within the content of not just the sentence, but of the paragraph and in the context of the entire article. There are various beliefs as to how keywords should be placed, such as whether they need to be at the beginning and end, or in subheadings. You should do A/B testing on your site to see what is working for you. If there is a page that isn’t working, then re-evaluate your keyword placement and usage and make any changes you think are necessary.
Meta-descriptions appeal to both humans and to search engines. Why? Because they are a clear and concise way to describe the content of a page. A meta-description is embedded in the code on a page, but may not necessarily appear on the page. However, when a search engine indexes the page, it will use that meta-description to classify it. When a searcher searches for your keyword, the search result will show not just the URL, but also the meta-description as a short explainer on what the content of the page is about.
And short means short. It should be no more than 150 characters. Your keyword should be in there, which can be tricky for long tail keywords, but you can do your best. One of the most important things to remember is the intent that users have when they search for keywords. Think about what they are really asking with their search, and try to answer that question in 150 characters while using that same keyword. For example, if someone searched for “touchless car wash,” then make sure that your meta-description refers to your business offering a touchless car wash. There are several website hosting platforms that make it simple to add meta-descriptions, and this small tweak can make a big difference when you run your page through a rank checker.
Writing isn’t easy, and writing with SEO in mind can make it even harder. You are creating content for humans and for an algorithm, which means that you need to balance the interests of both. Make sure that your writing is clear, authoritative, reliable, and original, and you will see your pages skyrocket when you put them through a page rank checker. Search engines will be more likely to put your website in front of the eyeballs of potential customers, and website visitors will be more likely to convert to a sale. Your success depends on getting it right.
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