When you’re creating content for SEO purposes, you’re essentially trying to do 2 things simultaneously. Firstly, satiate the ever-changing tastes of Googles algorithms and secondly, engage the people who will be reading it. Here’s Probella’s guide to writing good quality SEO content for 2019.
Don’t obsess over keyword density
The world of SEO has changed. In the early days, Google’s analytics software was relatively basic and the practice of writing barely readable, keyword heavy articles was commonplace. Though this trend is unfortunately taking a while to disappear completely, the changing shape of the online landscape means that it is no longer the preferred approach to content creation. “Quality” content is something of an ambiguous term. Even if you run everything through readability checkers and ensure you’ve hit your keyword targets, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re guaranteed engagement. Any written content you present must be genuinely engaging and written in a way that is grammatically correct and in keeping with the tone and style of your site. Keywords do matter, but when they appear to have been forced into the text, sacrificing the natural flow of the piece, Google’s algorithms will detect this.
Be Aware of Trending Topics
No matter what your industry, writing about trending topics can be a great way of bringing people to your site. Though distribution of the content on various platforms is a large part of the process, writing about subjects that your potential customers are already searching for means they stand a much better chance of finding you. Research is key as you need to be able to comment on current industry events in an authoritative and unique voice, without just restating things that your competitors have said.
Though a lot of SEO content doesn’t have to be ground-breaking prose, web users will get bored of seeing the same phrases repeated too frequently. Language changes and evolves, and natural trends do emerge, but you need to be wary of using phrases that have already begun to grate. “I stan” or older sayings such as “people can’t handle it” are extremely effective in the early stages of their lifespan, but after so long, they can be deterring people and make your brand voice sound a little bland.
Understand the purpose of the content before you create it
Landing page copy does a completely different job to a think piece or a blog post. Similarly, product description copy is worlds apart from a customer service email. You need to be aware of who you’re writing for and what you’re hoping to achieve. Littering an industry specific news piece with multiple calls to action will confuse the reader whereas excessive detail and dense body copy on a landing page can be intimidating. Make a check list and always try to work to a brief, even its just a few simple bullet points.
Verbosity is Usually Entirely Unnecessary
As that bullet point alone demonstrates, using deliberately elevated language for its own sake can be jarring to the reader. Though you don’t necessarily have to “dumb it down,” your content should be created so that it can be understood by as many people as possible, unless you’re appealing to an extremely specific market. Personality and flair are a brilliant thing in writing but be aware that using too many unusual or “difficult” words when marketing to mainstream audience will alienate more people than it attracts.
People Still Love Headings and Bullet Points
It’s a simple technique but its also very effective. When information is broken down into headings and bullet points, it’s easier to digest quickly. It also provides the writer with an opportunity to use keywords in a more organic way. In longer pieces, this approach should generally be used sparingly but in higher volume, time sensitive content, it can be a great way of presenting information concisely.
Writing for Multiple Platforms
This technique is difficult to master but those who have studied English, journalism or creative writing will be able to create passages of text that can be used on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and your own blog. Like old fashioned journalism, the key is to include your points succinctly in the first paragraph, then expand upon them throughout the article, adding more detailed information as you progress. This means that users can get a brief synopsis from a tweet or status update, but they also have the option to go into more detail if they wish. It’s like writing for 2 or 3 different audiences at once.
Grammar Matters So Much More Than You Think
There’s no denying that standards of online writing are slipping, and even professional news websites frequently run in to criticism because of a lack of care and attention to detail. Grammarly can help and most office writing packages now have a reliable error checker, but proof reading is still essential. Though machine learning is improving, English is a complex language to master and traits such as idioms, metaphors and slang can be detected as “errors” rather than intentional flourishes or augmentation of the piece. Always make sure your text makes grammatical sense. Not doing so automatically labels you as unprofessional.
A unique and engaging tone of voice is essential
By tone of voice, we mean the way in which your writing comes across to your readers. Factual text is fantastic but if it’s entirely devoid of personality, it can feel as entertaining as reading the dictionary. Whether it’s a wry sense of humour, a focus on ethics or a deliberately disruptive approach to commenting on current trends, your written content needs to stand out for a reason. Think about what makes you different from everybody else and capitalise on this. Never imitate, but don’t be afraid to draw influences from some of your competitors or even your role models. Essentially, you are trying to create text that compels people to think, to act and ultimately, to stay engaged.