Content SEO: Writing for Your Audience
According to a recent Microsoft study, people’s attention spans have dropped to a range comparable to that of a goldfish. This short attention span means that as blog writers working for optimal content SEO, crafting your content to immediately grab your reader’s attention is at an all-time high in terms of priority.
While this type of approach is hardly a new one, many businesses still appear to struggle with understanding their audience and the reason they’re blogging in the first place. Are they creating content strictly for search engines to crawl or for people to read? The right answer regardless of industry is both.
Understanding Content SEO
Understanding the main concept of content SEO doesn’t need to be overly complicated, in fact, it’s actually quite simple. The idea behind it has always remained that you create valuable content that helps your website rank higher up on search engine results pages (SERP). The methods behind doing this, however, are a little more complex and have evolved dramatically through the years.
A Holistic Approach to Content SEO
In the past, content SEO strategies revolved around integrating target keywords to focused pages on your website. The idea behind this was that by creating a keyword optimized page and building links to it, search engines would be more likely to crawl those sites and display them near the top of the SERP.
Today, however, many industry leaders agree that a holistic approach to SEO is the best way to improve your search rankings. This type of content marketing strategy focuses on creating web pages that can best serve the reader. After all, when people search the internet for answers, they’re likely looking for a source that can provide them with some sort of value.
Search engine algorithms constantly change and evolve. The lone constant they’ve always strived for, however, is to locate the content that most accurately represents what users want. This doesn’t mean that you forget about keywords altogether. However, the days of keyword stuffing and watching your rankings rise are, thankfully long gone. By focusing on the needs of your readers, you can increase your SERPs rankings by providing high-quality, well-written content.
Write to Be Seen
The truth of the matter is, your SEO content strategy needs to be strong in order for you to succeed. Without a proper SEO content marketing strategy, you may as well be writing blogs, printing them out, and posting them to your company fridge. It all comes down to visibility, and without strong content SEO, no one can see you or any of the great things your company is up to.
Understanding SEO practices can be complex, but the main idea is that after finding relevant keywords you want to rank for, you begin implementing those into a content marketing strategy. By placing these important keywords in your content, you’re letting the search engines know what it is you’re writing about. While keyword volume was once the go-to strategy, the rise of semantic search has given way to the integration of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords into content. These are keywords that relate to the target keyword which search engines can use to obtain a more clear understanding of what the content is truly about.
For example, let’s say you’re using “office safety” as a target keyword. This is a broad topic that will make it hard for your page to rank considering the internet is likely crowded with similar content on the subject. However, if you also include phrases like office fire safety and fire evacuation plans, search engines can understand your content is about how to remain safe during an office fire as opposed to let’s say, sexual harassment in the office or violent employees.
Write for your Readers
So we know that writing with search engines in mind remains just as important today as it was years ago, but what does that mean for our readers? Truth be told, the days of “over-optimizing” your content are long gone. Google’s search algorithm is too smart for that now. In fact, your rankings will actually suffer if you write blogs that way today. The best way to understand how to write effective blog content is to think about the types of things you enjoy reading online.
Creating quality, eye-catching content helps to grab the reader’s attention and keep them on your site. Furthermore, creating this kind of quality content makes it more likely that readers will return and share your posts on their social media accounts. As a business, free marketing via word-of-mouth remains a fantastic tool for increasing your conversion rates.
SEO Content Writing Tips
So now you know about the importance of content in SEO, but how do you actually execute this type of strategy effectively? Writing for people on the internet today is tricky, but not impossible. Let’s take a look at some effective ways to engage the reader and increase content SEO.
Note that this blog already features many different headers. The Heading 1 (H1) tag reads, “Understanding Content SEO” and the Heading 2 (H2) tag below says, “A Holistic Approach to SEO.” Even this section features a different type of heading, with a Heading 3 (H3) tag reading, “Using Headers.”
These headers act as principal factors in helping readers quickly diagnose what each section is about. Do not use more than one H1 tag in any single blog post. Keep the H1 tag as the main heading of what the blog is about and instead use H2 and H3 tags for further subheadings.
Keep Things Short and Sweet
Long paragraphs and blocks of text will scare your reader away. Similarly, long and wordy sentences will do the same. Get to the point, cut out the fluff, and do be aware of your paragraphs. If a sentence doesn’t quite fit, move it to another paragraph or better yet, revise the sentence.
Another great way to improve the reader experience is to add bullet points or numbered lists into your post. You can convert any section with a list into a bullet point section. Readers love bullet points because not only are they easy to read, they serve to give their eyes a break. Some reasons that bullet points are helpful for readers are to:
- Break up long blocks of writing
- Catch the reader’s attention
- Provide easily digestible content
- Make it easier for readers to skim the page
Don’t write in passive voice. An active voice grabs hold of the reader’s attention and makes your writing more dynamic. Active voice remains the most effective way to write because it’s simple and easy to grasp for most readers. Remember, your readers are looking for something easy to read, not a college dissertation so don’t make things harder than they need to be.
Content writing is important, but it represents but a small factor in your business’s overall marketing strategy. Be sure to check out some of our courses at KnowledgeCity that focus on Marketing Strategies and Strategic Brand Management for further information. Try out KnowledgeCity for yourself with this free trial!