When I began working at Tower, I joined an Internet Marketing team that promoted the approach of content, SEO, and social media working cohesively to create a holistic digital marketing strategy. Working closely with a team of brilliant SEO professionals (Oh, hey guys! Did you see I just called you brilliant?!), I have picked up many SEO writing tips that have elevated my content. I’m sharing them below in the hopes that they will help to make your content better as well.
Probably the most eye-opening of all the SEO writing tips that I received was the fact that every piece of content you create, whether a blog post, a web page, or a video, needs to be strategically keyword driven. Through the extensive keyword research completed by your SEO team, you can gain insights into the phrases and questions, appropriate to your business, that users are entering in online searches. It’s these keywords that can take a generic content topic (Domain Authority) and give it real focus (improve my site’s Domain Authority). Optimize your content by including an assigned focus keyword in these key areas:
- SEO title
- Meta description
- Body of your content
Formatted for Easy Consumption
This bit of advice, you may already be following without any prompting from me. Web users have notoriously short attention spans, so the best way to present your content is to make it easy to skim. Format your content for effective user consumption by:
- Using H1, H2, H3 formatting to organize your main and supporting ideas
- Breaking long segments of copy into bullet points
- Including graphics to help illiterate complicated points
An eternal debate in the land of Internet Marketing is how long content actually needs to be. There are those that argue that short, matter-of-fact content is what users are looking for. While others argue that long-format content is what makes Google happiest. Instead of choosing an arbitrary word count, think about the goals you set in your content strategy. An article from The Write Practice, explains that the content of different lengths can fulfill different goals.
Shorter content can be great for encouraging user comments and sparking conversation, while longer content often gets more social shares and external links. It’s the longest content (I’m talking 2,000+ words), however, that often ranks the highest in Google search results.
Building a Link Profile
Here’s another bit of advice for creating optimized content, understand the importance of linking. When creating content, you should include links to both internal and external pages.
Internal linking leads users to additional blog posts, product pages, or videos where they can get more information on a particular topic. (Hello, rabbit hole!) This results in users visiting multiple pages on your site and spending more time on site. Internal linking is also best used for leading users through their own buying funnel: from initial interest to information gathering, and decision making.
External links, which are links to pages on sites other than your own, play a much different role. By linking to other high-authority sites relevant to your industry, you are building your authority. External linking can also be used a modern-day version of “list your references.” If there is a survey, research paper, or online article that you pulled facts from or quoted the author of, link to the page to acknowledge the original source.
Here’s something else you want to think about when incorporating links into your content, the anchor text. Anchor text is the word or phrase you add your link to. In the past, it was commonplace to use “click here” or “read more” as anchor text. But now we know that anchor text should be keyword focused and descriptive, so the readers know what they expect when they click on a new page.
Where to Next?
A final writing tip I picked up from the SEO experts, closeout each piece of content with a call-to-action, providing clear direction for what you want your users to do next. It may be as simple as asking a question and encouraging them to leave a comment. You can also provide options for further reading on a specific product or service to propel them through the decision-making funnel. Are you using your blog to support lead generation? You can direct users to an online form where they can contact you for further conversation.
When you focus on attracting users who are actively looking for information related to your industry, products, and services, you’ll be much more effective in reaching your target audience.