A lot of webmasters who dismiss SEO as gaming the system usually come out with the broad statement “Just create unique quality content”, hmmm, how true do you think that statement is?
Well to be honest creating quality content is part of SEO, but ask these same webmasters what quality content is and the answers will differ wildly. You see the basic concept of SEO is having a great resource that attracts links but knowing this concept is not enough to increase you rankings on Google, the fact remains you have to know how to do this successfully.
Let’s first look at the chart below which highlights some of the areas that make content ‘great’. Remember this is from an SEO perspective with a view to ranking higher in Google. To rank higher in Google content must attract links, if it does not your going to be sat deep in the index.
If we want to rank our content must be keyword focused putting maximum emphasis on our chosen keywords. The content must be link worthy and structured in a way that is relevant to our audience. Let’s look at these factors a little closer to see what makes ‘great content’.
These elements may seem trivial but when added together they make a big difference.
Headings – These are your h1-h6 tags but in my opinion you should only really worry about the first two. If your title tag includes the exact keyword you are targeting, try to include a new variation in the h1 and h2 tags.
Bold Keywords – If your going to use bold keywords place them at the top of your content for maximum effect.
Title Tag – This is the one that must be optimised. Use your exact keyword in the tag, separating it from other text with hyphens rather than the underscore.
Body Text – Use your targeted keyword variations all over the body text naturally and try to use the exact match as close as possible to the top of the document.
Outbound Links – It has now been proven that using your targeted keywords in outbound links will increase your ranking ability. Don’t over do it and try to incorporate it naturally.
Variations – Don’t get fixated on the exact keyword, look to use many different variations that link to your core subject. Google can now recognise relationships between different word groups so rather than thinking of what matches think “what is relevant”?
ALT Attributes – Even though the strength of this technique can be questioned it is still good practice to use considering the ease of implementation. Focus your main keywords on the first couple of images on a page.
Useful Resource – This could be any sort of “how to” guide relevant to your area, it could also include a list of links pointing to other useful resources around the web. The idea of a resource page is to create something that people are likely to bookmark and return to.
News breaking – If you can be the first to break news in a particular area it is always going to have a good chance of going viral, not only will this give you direct link backs but it will also supply you with links from social bookmarking.
Research – This has been a source of content that has worked really well here at SEOwizz. If there are areas in your industry that have not been fully investigated then, look into it, is it possible to research it and will people be interested in the findings?? A good piece of research will drive thousands of links to your content.
Controversy – This type of content has been used for a long time to spark linkbait, however I recommend using it wisely and be sure you know your subject matter before firing. It can create lot’s of links but at the same time damage your reputation.
Humour – How effective this is will depend solely on your industry, however I find a little humour makes for a more interesting read and seems to grab the readers attention more effectively.
Short Paragraphs – Your content structure needs to make reading it bearable, creating short paragraphs will make the content easier to digest.
Images – Try to break up all that lovely content. Images that explain the content are excellent at engaging the reader. Graphs, charts and even cartoon like images help your reader to understand your message, sometimes without reading the content.
Headings – Again headings are a natural way to break up the content.
Spelling/Grammar – Try your best to keep things as accurate as possible, I’m sure your readers will forgive you a typo here and there but lot’s of mistakes are sure to turn readers off and even question your credibility.
Natural Flow – Giving a natural flow to your topic will help readers follow your writing through to your conclusion. Jumping around makes for difficult reading and most visitors will simply click the good ole back button.
Unique, Relevant Info
Industry News – Keeping on top of industry news is one of the best ways to keep your content relevant, however you can run into problems with keeping it unique…..
Don’t copy content – By this I don’t just mean word for word, I mean don’t simply give a summary, add your own thoughts and opinions and refer to others who may have differing or controversial opinions.
Angles – Just because an authoritive site has published something it does not make it gospel. Are they right? Have they done enough research? Have they created enough credibility? Reach for the journalist in you to create new and opinionated content.
Value Your Opinion – If you have created a site you obviously believe you have some sort knowledge or experience in the area? So why do so many not have the confidence to publish what they believe? Be confident, you have an opinion, put it out there! There are always going to people who disagree but as long as your confident in your knowledge don’t worry about them.
Stay On Topic – If your a social blogger it is not as important to stay on topic, however if you are an authority on an area it is a good idea to keep it relevant. Google is known to categorise sites by theme, what is the general theme running through your site? If it is a miss mash, this may dilute SEO efforts.
I am sure you have heard the term “linkerati” before but if not it simply relates to the online content junkies (like me ) who regularly surf the web for new content with a view to dishing out links to new and refreshing pieces.
This is why you must be involved in social media, you need to know where people in your niche hang out. Only then can you begin to appeal to them. You can also use search trends to find out what the latetest buzz searches are and see if you can tailor your content and subject to one of the latest search spikes. Use Google Trends to check this out.
One of the best ways to appeal to the Linkerati is to simply make friends with them. Get involved in social circles within your niche, throw them a link or two first and your bound to be noticed. DON’T simply spam people with links, try to build relationships first, offer to do some guest blogging, offer advice or even ask for help. Your network will help drive links to your content from all angles.
I know this is a pretty long post but I though it was an important one to address, simply knowing the basic concept “build great content” is not enough to effect your rankings positively, you need to apply some of the above factors to create great SEO focused content.
You are not going to be able to apply all of the above all the time, so don’t get hung up on it, simply apply the above when appropriate, if you have a great idea for a post, jump on it and try to implement as many factors as possible.
Hope you found this helpful.Line Break
Author: Tim (294 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.