Want to master the art of getting your content seen through search engine optimisation? It’s easy to do with a bit of planning and strategy.
You diligently created content for months and added it to your website for all the world to see. Then you waited for the traffic to flow to your site and the sales to roll on in. But…the traffic hasn’t arrived, people aren’t engaging and converting, and the sales aren’t hitting the bank. What went wrong?
In previous posts, I’ve looked at authentic communication and defining your tone of voice to engage your target audience. In this post, I look at how search engine optimisation helps your content get found and improves your ranking on a search engine results page (SERP).
SEO is a complex beast and a long game! There are no easy fixes – ranking well takes time and patience and has many puzzle pieces. Nobody can promise you guaranteed results – anyone who does may be taking you for a ride.
Content creation is one piece of the SEO puzzle. I’m a copywriter, not an SEO website developer so it makes sense that this post will focus on SEO copy, not technical SEO.
What elements impact your website’s search engine rankings?
There are many SEO ranking factors. Broadly, they fall under:
Technical SEO: As the name implies, technical SEO relates to the technical aspects of a website, such as loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and crawlability, to ensure search engines can find your site and index it.
Link building (also known as off-page SEO): shows search engines that your site is credible. When other websites link to your site, it can improve its authority and credibility. HOWEVER…backlinks can also harm your site. You want reputable, credible sites linking to you— gone are the days of the more backlinks, the better. You want links from sites with high domain authority to help your site, not hinder it.
Content creation (also known as on-page SEO): This is where you can take simple steps to increase your ranking. You want high-quality, relevant, engaging keyword-rich (without keyword stuffing) content to satisfy the reader’s search intent. The longer people stay on your site engaging with content shows the search engines that you have valuable content. This can help increase your SERP ranking.
How do you optimise your content to improve your SEO ranking?
It can be disheartening when all your hard work doesn’t result in the returns you were expecting. It’s hard not to become despondent, throw it all in, pack your bags and head off to live on a commune off-grid (perhaps a little melodramatic, but you know the feeling, right?).
Credible, engaging and valuable content targeted at your ideal customer is a powerful tool to get your brand noticed. The right content can help you attract customers, generate and convert leads, build relationships and position you as a thought leader. So how do you make it work for you once it’s out on the interwebs?
As mentioned above, content is only one factor that impacts your SEO ranking, but a good place to start is keyword research.
Keyword research is an essential part of content marketing and SEO. When creating content, it’s important to use keywords relevant to your product or service so potential customers can find you. You’ll need to understand the words and phrases your ideal customer uses when searching for your product or service. Once you know the primary words they use, you can compile a list of synonyms – similar words or terms people use to search for your products.
There are lots of tools to help you with your keyword research. Such as:
- Google’s Keyword Planner
- Answer The Public
- Moz Keyword Explorer
Keyword planning tools range in price and functionality, so it’s best to look around and see which best suits your needs and budget. As with everything, the more you pay, the more features you get.
If your budget is a little tight right now, you’ll find a more extensive list of free tools here. A really quick and easy place to get started is by typing your search phrase into Google and looking at the related searches at the bottom of the page:
When you’ve decided on your keywords and synonyms, you optimise your content by including them in:
- your page title
- headlines and headings (H1, H2)
- the page URL or permalink
- image titles
- image alt text
- the first 100 words of your text
Once you’ve done your keyword research, it’s time to start writing content that not only uses the right keywords but also provides value to your readers.
Focus on quality content, not quantity
Quality trumps quantity when it comes to creating content. There’s no point creating copious amounts of content if it isn’t engaging and informative. Content for the sake of content is, well…just content. Your content needs to answer your customers’ needs and offer value.
The Google bots look for EEAT when trawling the interwebs for quality content. What’s EEAT, you ask? It’s a principle. When the Google bots trawl the internet, they look for content that’s going to add value for the searcher:
E – Experience. Does the content reflect your experience in the subject?
E – Expertise. Does the content highlight your expertise on the subject and back that up with credible facts?
A – Authority. Are you an authority to write about the subject? Have you written about it before, or can you demonstrate how you’re an authority on the subject?
T – Trust. Can you link to testimonials and social proof that demonstrates your brand is trustworthy?
To help your content capture attention, cover topics that appeal to your target audience —this will help widen the scope of potential customers and subscribers you’ll reach. Focus on creating quality, expert posts and articles that your audience will find valuable instead of churning out generic posts that don’t stand out from the crowd.
Provide value by offering actionable advice or new insights and perspectives on a particular topic. This could be interviews with experts in your industry, case studies that highlight customer successes, or data insights and analysis of current trends that relate to your product or service.
Also, use visuals that illustrate the value of your content. These can be images and infographics that engage readers while helping them digest the key takeaways. This leads to my next point…
Use optimised visuals throughout your content to break up text
Incorporating visuals like photos, graphics and videos into your content is a great way to capture attention and stop your ideal customer from scrolling on. They’re great for emphasising important points or breaking up longer text pieces. People process visual information faster than text, so images are often more effective at capturing and keeping people’s attention.
Images should contribute to your overall message. When selecting images for your content, choose ones that are relevant to your topic and are high quality. If an image adds clarity or emphasises important points, then go for it. If not, avoid cluttering your blog with lots of unnecessary photos or videos.
If you’re creating content for your socials, using images and videos is vital. Hootsuite report that 47% of adults prefer content in the form of images. Just make sure the visuals you use are relevant and appropriate for the platform you’re posting on — what works for Facebook won’t necessarily work for LinkedIn and vice versa.
47% of adults prefer content in the form of images
2023 Guide to Creating Stunning Visual Content for Social Media
Use keywords in engaging headings to make readers stop the scroll
Your content needs an eye-catching and engaging title to stand out from the crowd. Keep in mind that the title is important for getting readers to engage with your content and can also impact how search engines rank it. Make sure your titles are concise and catchy, and use relevant keywords. Also, posing your title as a question can help you land a Google featured snippet.
If you’re creating an article, alternate between focus keywords and synonyms in the title, sub-headings and throughout the body of the text. For videos, add relevant keywords to your video titles and transcripts. When labelling images, make sure you include your focus keyword. Finally, ensure your headings accurately represent what you’re talking about so your readers aren’t disappointed when they click on them.
There are loads of headline generator tools to help you with this task. Just Google headline generator and take your pick! I also like to use Coschedule Headline Analyser to rate headlines that are generally more appealing to readers and more likely to rank higher in search results.
Not strictly SEO, but…make use of your social media platforms
You’ve put in the hard work of producing valuable, scroll-stopping content – now it’s time to get it out there. Take advantage of your social media following on whichever platforms you market yourself.
Take time to research what type of content performs best on each platform. Then create a social media strategy that includes repurposing your online content with a compelling call to action. This will increase the visibility of your content, encourage engagement and help you reach more potential customers.
Need help with search engine optimisation of your website content?
If you need help optimising your content to achieve more Google love, get in touch. I’d love to help you with one piece of the SEO puzzle!