What Is SEO Content? Tips for Building a Successful SEO Content StrategySEO/SEM
There’s nothing surprising in the fact that 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine. Every time you need a product, service, or information, you go to Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine available because this is the most convenient way of finding stuff.
But what if you’re on the other side of the barricade? What if you have a website and want more people to know about it? In this case, you have to optimize it for search engines. In other words, you have to offer SEO content.
But what is SEO content anyway? How to determine whether your content is capable of attracting enough search engine traffic? And what should you do to make your content SEO friendly? In this post, we will answer these and other related questions.
What is SEO content and why is it so important?
If you run your own website or blog, the concept of search engine optimization shouldn’t be new to you. To make your web resource visible throughout the internet, you have to fill it up with the information (content) that would be in line with the standards that define how search engines rank websites. That is, if your content doesn’t meet the requirements, it will be less searchable online. Following this logic, if your website is used for selling products, for example, your business will remain ineffective simply because it will not find its target audience.
Thus, the content should be thoroughly optimized so that search engines like Google could “read” (or ‘crawl’, as a more technical term goes) it better – and rank it higher as a result.
When users come to your website directly from search engine results page, they generate organic traffic which is also taken into account by search engines while determining the relevance of your site. The more organic traffic your website draws, the higher rankings it is likely to get.
Another piece of thought-provoking statistics claims that 70% of all search engine traffic is attributed to the organic listings. So if you are building your online promotion strategy around paid ads only, you are limiting yourself to less than 30% of the overall traffic. Therefore, if you really want to go big, avoiding SEO is not an option.
Indeed, the process of creating SEO content is time-consuming and requires a complex approach. However, the results are usually worth the hassle. It is reported that 66% of marketers acknowledge SEO as one of their top priorities.
But what exactly makes content optimized for search engines?
What makes SEO content?
When we talk about SEO content, we usually have text in mind. And although the term ‘content’ also incorporates images, videos, audio materials, etc., a text is the primary concern in the context of SEO. Since search engines cannot appreciate the value of other forms of content, they rely largely on text to define whether the information is relevant and useful for the audience.
This means that search engines take into account mostly formal indicators of your content. This makes the following elements particularly important for SEO:
- Keywords: When people want to find something on the internet, they type the related queries in the search box of an engine. That’s why using the right keywords within your content is so important. For a search engine, they serve as indicators showing that your content is related to the topic in question.
- Content arrangement: For search engines to crawl your site better, the content presented on it should be organized in a proper way. Clear and logical structuring will not only give a boost to SEO but also improve user experience and make it easier to find information on the website.
- Backlinking: A good sign for a search engine is if your website has a profound and elaborate system of internal and external links. A fair number of internal links signal that the website has a solid structure and is thematically coherent and consistent. External links prove that the site refers to other sources which increase its credibility in the eyes of a search engine. That’s why it is so important to cite other authorities in your niche and link back to reputable web resources.
- Meta tags: These are relatively short text snippets that explain search engines what the web page is about. Meta tags are not shown on the page itself, but they exist in HTML, are readable for search engines, and some of them are displayed in SERPs (search engine results pages). Meta tags are:
- Titles – basically, the headlines of your pages; they are short and briefly describe the content of the whole web page; they show up on SERPs as clickable links.
- Descriptions – short snippets of text that offer a bit more detailed information about the page’s content; they are longer than titles and can also be seen on SERPs (below the title and page URL).
- Keywords – a set of words or phrases relevant for the content presented on the page; they are not shown on SERPs but are taken into account by search engines while matching your content with users’ search queries.
- Robots – an indicator that gives search engine crawlers directions on what to do and what not to do (for example, index the page or not, follow the links on the page or not); they can only be found in HTML.
Thus, meta tags not only improve your SEO but also influence the amount of traffic the page attracts. The more descriptive and engaging your titles and descriptions are, the more people will want to click on the link to your website.
Except for the elements noted above, it is worth remembering that SEO content is not only about keywords, links, and meta tags. For your website to drive search engine traffic effectively, your content must, first and foremost, represent lots of value for your target audience. It must solve their problems, engage or entertain – or better, all at once. If the information you provide resonates with the audience, people will keep coming back to your website, and your SEO will improve as a result.
How to build a successful SEO content strategy?
Now that we know what exactly SEO content is and what influences website rankings, it is time to figure out how to elaborate an SEO content strategy that will make your website searchable.
Just like developing any other strategy, it is important to approach the task with consistency: start with preparations, work on the realization of your plan, and check whether your strategy brings the desired results.
Determining your goals
Developing SEO content without clear goals in sight is pretty much as productive as looking for a needle in a haystack. Think what you want to achieve with the help of your website.
If you’re into e-commerce and want to sell more products, you should focus on writing appealing and detailed product pages, articles about your products or news from your industry, guidelines that explain how to use the things you sell, etc. You can even consider starting your own blog so your customers can follow your latest updates.
If you’re going to make money from ads published on your site, you will have to attract as many visitors as possible so that more people can see those ads. In this case, your website will need some particularly engaging and informative content, for example, interesting and thought-provoking articles with captivating headlines, insightful long-reads or product reviews (which are quite popular today and draw a lot of traffic). You can also consider making some highly entertaining content that will encourage visitors to return for more time after time.
When you have your objectives outlined, finding ideas for your content is much easier.
Defining your audience
When you create content, it is critically important to understand what kind of audience it is aimed at. Otherwise, you’re risking to confuse the visitors on your site, which will eventually result in a heavy drop in your rankings.
Thus, your content must correspond to the expectations of your target audience. For instance, if you’re targeting professional marketing experts, you will have to concentrate on data-rich formats like educational articles, infographics, etc. On the other hand, if you’re running a hobby website, it is a good idea to go for some image-heavy content including photos, video tutorials and so on.
Creating a content plan
One of the most important factors taken into account by search engines like Google is the frequency of content updates. The more often you add new quality content, the better your chances are to rank higher in search results.
That’s why it is recommended to make a content plan or schedule that you could follow in order deliver your audience something new on the regular basis. Just outline the topics you are going to cover, specify formats, and set deadlines for each item on your list. Not only will this allow you to come up with fresh content often, but also avoid uncomfortable situations when it is time to make your next post, and you are totally out of good ideas.
As it was already mentioned above, keywords have an incredible significance for SEO. So if you want to drive search engine traffic to your website more effectively, you have to make a good research of keywords that you will later introduce into your SEO texts.
Do it in advance, before you plunge into writing, and take your time. Consider creating a semantic core (a coherent set of the most relevant keywords) for your website based on the topic you’re covering. You might want to seek help from paid services available in abundance on the market or use free research tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
Creating SEO content – the essential part
When you’re through with all the preparations, it’s time to pull up the sleeves and develop some quality SEO content. Here are some tips that might come in handy in this challenging endeavor:
- Use keywords wisely:
- Introduce keywords in decent quantities but don’t get carried away; keywords abuse can result in penalties induced by Google; make sure they are evenly distributed within your SEO text.
- Don’t get fixated on similar keywords; use synonyms, abbreviations and plurals, introduce related words and phrases that are often used in the same context, etc.
- Keywords must feel natural within the text; if your text is oversaturated with them and feels clunky, the keywords will not bring the desired results for SEO as Google tends to penalize websites that insert too many keywords adding no value to the content. Besides, texts overloaded with keywords are harder to read which might put off a lot of your potential readers.
- Try to insert keywords at the beginning of each passage (or at least sentence).
- Use keywords skillfully in headlines and subheadlines.
- Organize your content properly:
- Divide a text into relatively equal logical parts with the help of headlines and subheadlines h1, h2, etc.
- Make use of numbered and bulleted lists: they make it easier to highlight the most important information and add to the readability of your texts.
- Consider using bold fonts to emphasize certain points: this doesn’t influence SEO directly but allows readers to scan your text much faster and easier which adds value to your content.
- Cite credible sources and provide links to websites with a good reputation.
- Don’t forget to link back to your previous materials when it makes sense.
- Write appropriate meta tags with relevant keywords.
- If you write a lot of articles, try to make them longer than at least 1000 words – Google ranks extensive content higher because it is usually more informative.
- Write your content for the audience, not for SEO purposes only: as long as your content is useful, engaging, consistent, and full of value, people will keep returning to your site.
- Set up share buttons on the pages where you post; this will allow your readers to promote your content on social media.
- Spice your content up with relevant statistics; this elevates the engagement level and gives your statements more credibility.
- Make sure your text is free of spelling and grammar mistakes, typos, logical inconsistencies and other weak points that can spoil impression from your content.
- Employ different content types to boost engagement, for example:
- Blog posts;
While certain content types are not capable of boosting your SEO directly (like images and videos because they are not “readable” by search engines), the diversity of materials you deliver on your website will attract more visitors and encourage many of them to come back to it regularly.
- Make sure your website loads quickly – slow sites are not preferred by the audience; reduce the file size of images to make them load faster.
- Make sure your website is mobile responsive.
- Create a well-structured XML sitemap.
- Keep your URLs short as Google ranks shorter URLs higher.
Monitor your website analytics
Can’t say it’s a “final phase” of your SEO content strategy as monitoring the website analytics should go alongside with content creation, but it is something you’ll want to attend to only after you accumulate at least the basic volume of content.
Analytics is important because it allows you to see what works best for your website. Your success can be easily measured by the number of views, length of sessions, social shares, number of links referring to your site, comments, subscribes, conversion rates, etc. Tools like Google Analytics can help you with obtaining analytical data.
By monitoring website analytics, you can figure out where your customers are coming from, what they like, which content types are preferred by them, etc. On the basis of this knowledge, you can make further amendments to your strategy and improve your SEO.
Creating SEO content might be challenging and time-consuming, but the results are absolutely worth it. Unfortunately, SEO is sometimes unconditional and unpredictable as search engines change their standards and requirements quite often. However, sticking to the tips outlined in this article can help you achieve very impressive results.
And don’t forget that Ning allows you to create an awesome social website and offers tools needed to improve its SEO: you can write accurate meta tags, start your own blog, diversify your content with images, videos, and audio materials, add social share buttons to your posts, and more!