Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays an important role in content marketing programs by making your content visible on popular search engines like Google. When content is not optimized for search, it can be more difficult for your audience to discover your articles. The key is to strike a balance between creating useful content that leads to action and creating content that’s easy to find.
Here are five simple ways beginners can create more SEO-friendly content without compromising quality:
1. Identify Target Keywords: A keyword is a word or phrase people use in a search to find content. When Google indexes your website or a piece of content, it looks at several different factors to determine your ranking. This includes the keywords you use and how you use them. Since your ranking dictates where you appear in search results, it’s important to be selective when choosing keywords.
You can use Google’s free Adwords Keyword Tool to select keywords. The tool will tell you the number of monthly searches and competition associated with a keyword based on advertising spend for sponsored links. In general, it’s best to choose keywords with low to medium competition rates as well as volume of searches. You will have a better chance of ranking well for these terms than keywords with more competition and higher monthly searches.
Include your target keyword in your title, subheads, URL, meta description, alternative text field of images and a few times throughout the body of your content.
2. Focus on Themes: With its latest Hummingbird update and push towards semantic search, Google is shifting away from emphasizing exact match keywords and instead focusing on the theme of the article or page.
In the past, optimizing content for SEO was all about repeating your keyword at intervals throughout the article. Now, Google searches are much more intuitive, making a consistent theme and high quality content a top priority. This enhances the quality of search results and further discounts high volumes of low-quality content and keyword stuffing.
At Walker Sands, we have always lived by the rule of writing for human readers first and search engines second. While SEO is important, articles should be valuable to readers above all. If you follow this simple rule, you can mitigate the impact of future Google algorithm changes by producing high-quality, informative content for your readers.
3. Appropriate Article Length: Since Google is prioritizing quality, it’s important to have an adequate word count. In general, 500 words or more for an article or blog post will suffice. And be sure your article flows well with clear, concise sentences.
4. Share Your Work: Content that’s shared, linked back to and posted on other credible websites will improve your SEO rankings and drive more traffic back to your website. Reach out to relevant editors and reporters with timely article ideas that tie in recent news or important industry trends. Get to know the outlet and tailor your topic to their audience. With time- and resource-strapped news outlets, it’s easier than ever to become a contributor.
5. Find Your Niche: With growing amounts of content, it’s important to differentiate your work and focus on a niche. When you create several pieces of content around a specific topic or area of expertise, Google will eventually learn that you are an authority on that topic. Craft a compelling theme that’s relevant to your target audience and continue to develop content around it to grow shares, backlinks and reader engagement.
Although SEO can be intricate and complicated, following these basic steps will provide a strong foundation for developing search-friendly content. By incorporating SEO best practices into your content development process, you can drive more traffic to your website, raise the visibility of your brand and position your company as a leading expert in your field.