SEO-friendly content is carefully crafted to capture a high ranking on search engines like Google. Optimising content like blogs and videos for SEO ensures it’s relevant to popular search topics, phrases and keywords and formatted to satisfy user experience (UX) and search spiders.
Search engines need content to analyse, index and rank your website according to certain algorithms and criteria – and your content needs to be adapted for SEO for your website to be found by users and drive conversions and sales.
Since you need content and SEO to work together like one hand washing another, here are 10 ways to craft content for SEO.
1. Create SEO content that satisfies humans first
To paraphrase Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk, the first rule of creating content for SEO is don’t create content for SEO – that is, not primarily.
SparkToro lists several Google ranking factors , but relevance, authority, expertise and trust are amongst the most important.
Therefore, committing to a core SEO philosophy of providing useful, high-quality content that’s enjoyable and engaging for customers is a smart move.
Although creativity and craftsmanship are harder to quantify than technical SEO tactics, they’re crucial for customer conversions. So when you’re planning human-first SEO content, here are a couple of issues to bear in mind:
- It’s not uncommon to find that a blog which has been formatted and optimised perfectly for SEO and ranks highly on an influential search engine is actually poorly written.
- While some SEO pros might not be too concerned about the fine points of professional writing, low-quality copy means that discerning customers might not stick around long enough to read your blog and SERP exposure that drives traffic might not equate to conversions like sales.
Consequently, you should always aim to create SEO content that simultaneously pleases people and search engines – this takes considerable effort and skill, but benefits your business in the long term.
2. Develop an SEO content strategy and plan
There are many different types of content marketing , so you’ll need to sit down and develop a content strategy and plan to decide which formats and mediums are most effective for connecting to your audience and gaining traction on search engines.
Here are some SEO strategy and planning factors to consider:
- Because SEO is a perpetual process, you’ll need to make sure that your budget matches your aspirations. You shouldn’t splash your annual spend in the first month on high-concept VR videos, then have to cobble together cheap graphics for the rest of the year.
- Whether you’re working on SEO content in-house or with an agency, audit the human, hardware and software resources you already have and decide which extras you can realistically afford before proceeding.
- A solid SEO content strategy helps you take a long-term view of the moves you need to make to build your brand online and establish yourself as an authority with customers and influential peers.
- The next stage is a practical SEO content plan. This clarifies the responsibilities of various team members, lets you plan projects and helps you schedule when various types of content will be published on your website and shared on your social media channels – on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Sun Tzu said that ‘strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat’ – it’s the perfect mindset for the SEO battlefield.
3. Conduct SEO content research for audience, topics and keywords
While old school black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing are counterproductive and could see your site penalised by search engines, you’ll still need to ensure that your content reaches your key audience by optimising it with targeted keywords.
Targeted keywords are the high-intent terms and phrases your potential customers are actually searching for online, so integrating them into your content means that your business can be placed at their fingertips exactly when they need you most.
To connect with the right customers through targeted keywords, you’ll need to carry out:
- Audience research that helps you identify the people who need your products and services, find the places they spend time online, and grab granular data insights into their demographics, psychographics, preferences and habits. This process helps you create three dimensional buyer personas that help you personalise content as well as optimise it for SEO.
- Keyword research helps you find the relevant, valuable keywords that match your audience’s search intent with your professional expertise, products and service. Tools like Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush and Google Search Console can make keyword research more efficient and less time-consuming.
- Topic research allows you to build content topics around the SEO targeted keywords you’ve identified – for instance, you might write a blog that provides a thorough answer to an FAQ or a video that explains a complex service to customers in accessible terms through clever animations.
After this research on audience, keywords and topics are complete, you’ve laid the foundation for an SEO content campaign that delivers tangible results.
4. EAT SEO content for YMYL websites
Digital marketing is awash with potentially confusing initialisms and acronyms.
But when it comes to adapting content for SEO, YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) and EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) are noteworthy, because they’ve been influential since Google’s August 2018 medic algorithm update.
Here’s what they are and why they’re important:
- YMYL is a content rating Google has incorporated in its algorithm to attempt to ensure that search results that could potentially have a significant impact on users’ ‘health, wealth or happiness’ deliver information that’s relevant, but crucially, correct too.
So if you’re doing business in any sector connected with health, finance or safety, you’ll have to be extra careful that any content you share is of the highest possible quality, meets the standards required by industry bodies and independent regulators, and protects the best interests of potential customers.
- EAT connects intimately with YMYL because when people are searching Google for sites that hopefully answer some of life’s most important questions, content that evidences expertise, authoritativeness and trust is at an absolute premium. The search engine prefers to serve up sites that incorporate EAT in their content creation because it protects users from potentially harmful or inaccurate advice and criminal activity like fraud.
Good practice like conducting thorough research on any given topic, citing evidence from reliable sources, building links to reliable websites, and clarifying information on returns policies and data privacy will all contribute towards an excellent EAT rating.
But crucially, EAT means Google also wants as much information as possible about the main author of each piece of content, so it’s worthwhile including detailed author profiles on your website, with links to other sites that back up credentials and expertise.
Put simply, if you’re not already doing it, incorporating EAT into your YMYL content is vital for any business serious about SEO.
5. Publish deep dive content for SEO
When it comes to optimising blog content for SEO, search engines prefer posts that offer readers a deep dive into the substance a topic, rather than the opportunity to merely dip their toes into high level takeaways.
However, although size is significant when it comes to SEO, there’s no sense in padding out word count for the sake of it – here are some points to consider:
- A 2016 analysis of one million websites by search expert Brian Dean revealed that the average length of a blog post on Google page one was 1890 words.
- Dean’s 2019 analysis of 912 million websites proves that long-form blogs get 77.2 per cent more backlinks than shorter posts and quality links are another vital SEO factor.
- To increase article length for SEO, you should find information-rich topics which can be explored in full in a logical, systematic manner, so that you can share valuable, expert insights a reader will appreciate.
- Don’t confine your deep dive content to blog posts – write comprehensive guides and playbooks that offer a high volume of genuinely useful information for free. As well as increasing your presence in search engine real estate, you’ll be building up an authoritative reputation through authentic content.
- Make the effort to find the latest research for your particular area of expertise from accredited sources – or even better, conduct your own original research.
As you can see, combining article length with quality is a fantastic formula for smash hit SEO content.
6. Format content headlines, meta descriptions images and URLs for SEO
No matter the substantive content of your web page (blog, service page etc.), following best formatting practice means it’s always optimised for SEO.
But formatting isn’t all about bland technicalities – the good news is that sticking to these rules also enhances the reader’s experience because it often means you’ll adopt an intuitive and engaging storytelling structure.
Here’s some advice on optimising your web page for SEO:
- Use your headline H1 tag once per page and make sure it matches your page title. Once your page is indexed by search engines, its content will be used to create a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) snippet, so this assures readers that your content is relevant and valid.
And don’t forget to make your title snappy – it hooks readers in by making you stand out like a bright beacon in a misty sea of search results.
- Think of your meta description as a free advert on search engines – it doesn’t directly affect SEO because it isn’t used in ranking algorithms, but crucially, it does appear in search results.
You want to write a meta description of around 120 characters for mobile and around 140 characters for PC. And since making it as catchy as possible will convince people to click through, you should channel some pithy and punchy Papa Hemingway prose.
- To optimise URLs for SEO, be sure that they don’t contain special characters, capital letters or underscores.
You’ve also got the option of using a long URL that might rank higher for the specific search query your content addresses, or alternatively, using a shortened URL that focuses on a main keyword in the hope of ranking for a wider range of related queries.
- Optimising your images with Alt tags is important because search engines can’t see images, therefore they need the graphic file’s alt tag and name to understand exactly what it is.
Keep your alt tags concise and precise and search spiders will spin through them smoothly, rather than getting stuck.
- Make good use of internal or external links because these are essential for search engines crawling your site easily.
Good internal links allow a search engine to crawl through your entire site and associate each page with relevant keywords in your anchor text – while high quality external links increase your trust and authority by positive association.
Nail down all of the SEO web page formatting elements above and you’ll give your content the best chance to shine online.
7. Use offsite SEO content to build links
So far, we’ve focused on onsite SEO techniques, but offsite SEO can also help enhance your web presence and rankings, so it shouldn’t be ignored.
One of the best ways to implement offsite SEO is with link building through blogger outreach – writing articles related to your business offering, which are then published on trustworthy, high-traffic websites operated by influencers who have a ready-made audience for your content.
Add blogger outreach into your SEO mix and you should see a spike in your search engine rankings for desirable search words and phrases. It’s an especially effective tactic for challenger brands who want to rank nationally or internationally, but be sure that the partner websites you work with are of the highest possible standard.
8. Use video and visual content for SEO
The written word might still be the cornerstone of content, but nowadays you need to add visuals and video into your content mix in order to achieve peak SEO performance and make your communication more interesting, inventive and entertaining for your audience.
Visual content is also more shareable on social media, so you should be adapting it for each platform in order to promote everything you produce promptly and effectively.
Your visual content can stand alone or be integrated into your blogs and webpages in order to offer a more immersive experience.
Here’s more information on why you should include visuals in your SEO content mix:
- Creating infographics can boost your website traffic.
- Video performs better than any other type of Facebook post and it’s been proven that it gets 59 per cent more engagement than other types of content.
- When it comes to learning, humans are hardwired to prefer visuals over words, so if you want your marketing messaging to be simple, effective and memorable, publish pertinent pictures and make attention-grabbing mini movies.
As you can see, it’s evident that visual content makes your content more vibrant and your SEO strategy more robust.
9. Improve page speed to optimise content for SEO
Google’s mobile-first indexing policy means it’s a given that your website should be optimised and adapted for mobile as well as PC users, but to ensure your content is supercharged for SEO, you might also need to improve your site speed.
Whether they’re sitting at home planning next year’s summer holiday or scrolling their mobile screens on the move to find a florist, web users will switch quickly to your competitor if your website takes more than a few seconds to load.
To ensure your pages load faster than a chubby child chasing an ice cream van, ask your web development partner about UX analysis that assesses conversion rate optimisation (CRO).
10. Diversify your SEO content strategy
The regular algorithm updates of Google and other search engines mean that you’ll always have to be agile and ready to adapt your content so that it meets the latest requirements.
But you should also diversify your content strategy so that your output reaches your audience when they’re at different stages of the marketing funnel.
Essentially, this means thinking carefully about the type of content to use that matches with user intent at each stage of the process – from an initial broad interest in your products and services to the point when they’re on the verge of placing an order.
Here are some pointers on SEO content diversification:
- Top of the funnel content which raises awareness and attracts a target audience includes blog posts, infographics, podcasts and news from your sector.
- Middle funnel content that peaks customer interest and persuades them that you can solve their problems includes whitepapers, playbooks and comprehensive guides.
- Bottom of funnel content that convinces customers that you’re the best option in the marketplace and pushes them towards buying includes case studies, product and service demonstration videos, testimonials and FAQs.
Provide the right type of content at the opportune time and you’ll attract and convert customers at various stages of the marketing funnel and guide them towards parting with their cash in a subtle and sophisticated manner.
Final thoughts on crafting content for SEO
Crafting content for SEO involves blending technical elements like page structure and keywords with creative elements like quality writing, visuals and video.
With the right balance, you’ll have an awesome alchemical mix that elevates your SERP rankings and makes customers smile – what’s not to love?
Want sales-driven SEO Content? Contact us for a chat