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On a basic level, it’s not too hard to make your content more keyword rich, but in order to make it really shareable, it actually has to be of high quality and engaging. Creating readable content that is also SEO-friendly is really the optimal goal no matter what your role or industry you're in.
Read on to learn more about how to write highly shareable, high-ranking copy.
Use the Right Tools
SEO is actually quite complex, which is why content strategists and analysts get paid well to do it. Most digital marketers will not have a deep knowledge of it for this reason. The good news is that there are plenty of tools to do the basic work for you and help you gain a better understanding of what’s going on with your web page or copy.
If you’re blogging in WordPress, you can use a plugin called Yoast which automatically sets up your posts to be more SEO-friendly. Google has a whole suite of easy-to-use tools (like Google Keyword Planner) that will help you analyze traffic patterns and rank keywords. And there is a whole host of others such as SEMRush and MOZ to help people with varying levels of SEO knowledge to help get your content off the ground.
Get Cozy with Your Audience
Effective, optimized copy needs to not only be technically set up for SEO, for instance, via strategic placement of keywords, it also needs to be well-composed in such a way that it genuinely reaches the audience and genuinely add value to their lives. So, when you are trying to develop some keyword terms, you can think about what the audience actually needs and values, and build on that.
Content managers and strategists will be doing ongoing research and testing to figure out their audience, so it’s never really going to be cut and dry. However, a great piece of content will both win the hearts of its audience and be SEO-friendly.
Headlines for the Win
Your headline is the first thing that people see and will be what comes up in search engine results as well. Make it useful and SEO-friendly. Use power words and hooks in your headlines to grab a user’s attention. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top (avoid hyperbole, please), but realistic and unique enough to actually pique their interest. A good set of rules is to keep headlines simple, short and use active language.
Create a Keyword Strategy
Writing for SEO is all about those keywords - there’s just no getting around it. So, learning how to build a post based on keywords is important for writing great copy. One way of doing this is simply entering in your own search terms into Google and see what some of the most popular searches are.
You’ll also want to get familiar with something called latent semantic indexing (LSI), which essentially refers to specific terms that match the theme of your content. This is usually associated with secondary keywords. If your whole site is well-structured for LSI, you’re probably going to be a step ahead of much of your competition when it comes to SEO.
Optimize for Mobile
We’re heading into the mobile age, and there’s no getting around the fact that it is now the most widely used in most activities that involve searches. Google now has mobile-first indexing, which means that it’s prioritizing that over desktop computers. Your site and copy must be optimized with this focus in mind.
Content managers should track all key performance indicators, all the time. Of course, Google Analytics is the basic tool you use for this type of thing. You’ll also constantly be wanting to check and analyze keywords. One way to do this is through industry queries which are often found on sites like Quora and Reddit.
Other things to keep an eye on include page views, bounce rate, and social engagement. These metrics should be working in combination with your actual keyword strategy to inform the next phase of your digital marketing campaign.
Don’t Keyword Stuff
Keyword stuffing, or using too many on each page, is something that can actually make your content ranking drop. So, it’s important to use them sparingly and in such a way that they flow with the text. How many will depend on your industry, strategy, ranking, etc.
Always pay attention to the way you are linking as links to solid sources will not only create better value for readers but can boost your page ranking. This applies to both internal and external links. Link from keywords back to reputable, popular sites that are relevant to your product in order to ensure authority with your page. A perfect example of this is posting a press release on your website that links back to a popular influencer.
Leave room in your editorial calendar to create content on-the-fly according to what’s trending, and you’re sure to see an increase in traffic. Of course, it needs to be relevant to your business or website, but when you do it well and produce a post that goes viral, it can really put your name on the map.
A Picture Says More than a Thousand Words
Dynamic, interactive content is certainly something you’re going to be seeing more and more of. But even regular images - photos, illustrations, and especially infographics, can go a long way. Be sure to construct your image descriptions carefully, and include the right types of tags in your YouTube videos too.
Use Writing Tools
If you’ve hired writers, you may want to consider using a plagiarism checker in order to avoid unknowingly getting punished by being lower in searches, or worse. Other useful tools include Grammarly and basic spell check functions in Word and Google Docs.
Call them to Action
Whether you’re writing a web page, a blog post or even a video transcript, there’s no point in doing any of this unless you’re guiding your reader to the next step. You also don’t have to explicitly “sell” your product, here, just encourage them to do something that will keep you engaged with them, such as sharing the article or leaving a comment. And, your CTA is a perfect place to include a few keywords for SEO.
Incorporate Videos with Transcriptions
Video really is going to continue to be popular in the coming years, so you may as well get into it now. While they may or may not have a direct effect on SEO, they are great lead generators to boost engagement and sales. One way of incorporating SEO is to include a transcription with the video.
Previews and Descriptions
Every piece of content has a certain section or two that are key to ensuring optimal SEO. In Google searches, these are Meta descriptions, and they show up as previews in search engine pages and even through social media shares. This glimpse of what’s in store can be crafted in a clever way to pique the reader’s interest and boost search engine rankings. The same can be said about the introduction.
Create Useful Content
Long-form content is going to become more and more prevalent and the more useful and well-researched it is, the better. You can combine this strategy with great linking in order to help boost your search rankings.
Creating one or more useful, practical post or guides about the things you do best is a great piece of content to build visibility and authority, and usually, it will naturally be SEO-rich. Consider things like e-books, how-to guides, and demo videos.
Keep it Simple
Short paragraphs and concise statements using plenty of headlines make copy that is much easier to read and more versatile to adjust in the long run when you’re working out your strategy. Your overall content strategy may require longer posts, but rambling, irrelevant pieces will not necessarily work for traffic.
In general, creating engaging, SEO-friendly content need not be extremely difficult or complex, even for beginners. However, getting your website to the top of the search rankings is something that every single business in the world wants, which means it’s not so easy. Creating high-quality content that’s generally SEO-friendly is really an excellent starting point for anyone involved in content creation.
If you have a digital marketing team running your marketing department, it’s crucial that you hire both competent writers and an experienced content strategist to develop a content strategy that can help you build brand awareness and make your business skyrocket to the top of the search rankings.