Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

SEO Content Writing – How To Produce Great Content That Increases Rank

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.

seo

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’.

Focus Keywords

keyword optimisation

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.

Link Worthy

link worthy content

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.

Content Structure

content structure

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

relevant content

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.

The Linkerati

linkerati

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.

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Author: Tim (296 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 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 Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

abdelrahman July 24, 2009 at 8:57 am

Great article .thanks so much

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Tim July 24, 2009 at 9:24 am

@abdel,

No problem, thanks for dropping in

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Mike McEvoy July 24, 2009 at 11:36 am

I like the way you used graphics in the post.as they really add to the quality and to the ability to communicate effectively. Unfortunately, for me at least, the use of pictures or graphics really seems to increase the time it takes to create a post. Something I need to work on. Excellent post. Thanks.

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Tim July 24, 2009 at 11:53 am

Hi Mike,

It does take a lot more time but I like to include graphics here and there as the post’s seem to get more attention. I know people who spend literally weeks putting posts together but I guess you get out what you put in, in the long run. I like to put a few hours a side every week to brainstorm post ideas, writing simply fits in when it can.

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David July 24, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Great article.

You say that “It has now been proven that using your targeted keywords in outbound links will increase your ranking ability.” How does this work?

My natural intuitive inclination would be to put links in where they help my readers.

However, I have read about link juice and Matt Cutts’ recent statement about nofollow and I am confused about whether it is in my interest to put a link to another site in my articles, even to sites that would be a good additional resource for my readers.

I would be happy to put an outbound link in an article if it did me no harm in terms of ranking (a link for example to a museum site that has an illustration of something I am writing about). I would not want my rank to be adversely affected though simply by having these links.

How does it work?

Also, I understand that people notice bold text more because it says look at me. Do the search engines also ‘notice’ bold text more?

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Tim July 25, 2009 at 2:29 am

Hi David,

With regards to the outbound links I suggest reading “google ranking factors” and “outbound link theory“.

You can also check out opinions on outbound links at SEOmoz Quality/Relevance of Links to External Sites/Pages ,, you will have to scroll down to get to it.

Anchored outbound keywords simply suggest that those keywords are more important to your content, the same is said of bold keywords.

Don’t be scared of linking out, a site that links out is healthy, however don’t over do it on one page, I have a outbound link maximum of 30 links. Nofollowing links stopped that page from passing on PageRank and therefore you retained it to pass around your other pages, now nofollow means that PageRank simply evaporates and you are unable to retain the PageRank for your own site. Remember the PageRank of a page is judged by it’s inbound links and not effected by the outbound links on it. Outbound links only effect the amount of PageRank a page can pass, if that makes sense. So if my home page had 200 PageRank points that would only change if the links pointing to the page changed, however if a page had 10 outbound links it could only pass on 20 PageRank points to each, the more links you have on a page the less PR flows through each one.

Don’t be paranoid about outbound links, this is how the web was designed to work in the first place.

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timethief July 25, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Hello Tim. This post ties in perfectly with my own post so I’ll be backlinking to it.

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Tim July 25, 2009 at 3:45 pm

@TT,

Thats great, links are always welcome:)

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David July 26, 2009 at 10:14 am

Thanks for that, Tim. It seems ‘right’ that outbound links are OK on the principle of what comes around goes around. It’s nice to hear it here, though.

:-)

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Beaman the Interiors Chap August 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm

This is a very helpful post. I’ve generally got the SEO part sorted and do well with search engines. However, I need to work on the linkerati sector in order to boost the importance of my site. Great post and very thorough.

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Tim August 14, 2009 at 1:12 am

@ Beaman,

Thanks for your comment. Attempting to get natural links is not an easy task and there are only certain niches that are able to acquire them. If you have a site about selling shoes there are going to be less people willing to link to you. This is why you must have a blog and use it to write outside the box. Good luck.

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SHAHID jamil August 30, 2010 at 10:41 pm

That’s great content to understand the writing art according to the search engines….
Thanks……….

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Raquel April 7, 2011 at 11:44 am

I loved this articlre. I am a new blogger trying to figure things out and I am learning as I go. All I have is my content but I don’t know anything about SEO so I am learning. As a Communication major I too thank you for your visuals as they make it easier to grasp what you are sharing. Thank you.

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Steve June 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Hey,

I like it when folks comment more than just “nice article” – personally I like to use comments to offer my 2 cents and share my personal views and insights. Kinda annoys me when folks just put any randon nonsense just to get a link back or something.

I usually delete those in favor or having information that my readers can find valuable. I feel that even if there is not clickable link, if you share your experience and expertise, folks with visit your website, even if it yourwebsite.com or something like that.

We all depend on one another for insight and perspective, I love hearing from others what they think about stuff, even if their views are completely different from mine.

so, my 2 cents, always put a little of yourself into what you post online, It helps others get to know you and may help folks look at things differently.

nice website

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Mike August 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I hope that this will start up a discussion even though this page doesn’t seem to have too much activity anymore.

Outbound links and pagerank seem to be going to the wayside with the introduction of Google +. Does anyone have any theories on how this will effect SEO on the whole? Any response would be awesome!

This post on articles and how they should be written was excellent and helps me in training my staff on how to write content for our sites. Great job Tim. Thanks for the backlink while I’m at it.

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Tim August 19, 2011 at 1:35 am

Hi Mike,

We do a lot of testing around different ranking factors and Google plus does feel like it could have a significant impact, however as yet we haven’t seen any concrete results with links still playing the major role. Having said that we have noticed google plus sending quite a bit of traffic directly from profiles, I personally had an article go semi viral around 2 weeks ago and the traffic from Google plus was treble that of any other social platform.

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Mike August 19, 2011 at 5:51 am

Thanks for the response Tim. Do you have any case studies anywhere on how to begin testing google plus and that power that you experienced? I have been reading a ton about it but really not sure how to begin testing. It sort of scares me to be quite honest. Seems like Orwell’s concept of bigbro in its infancy. It makes me happy because if this changes the game, the cream willl rise to the top. It will be hard to game the system. Anyhow, I’m not asking you exactly how you did it, BUT if you would be able to share a nugget of info… that would be awesome I will pay it back OR forward at some point in time.
Cheers,
Mike

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Tim August 22, 2011 at 12:20 am

HI Mike,

Unfortunately the tests haven’t been very extensive at the moment, we pushed 100 +1′s to a particular page we wanted to rank but it had zero impact. Having said that we have seen it drive traffic to certain sites, especially tech ones. I think it will eventually integrate with the algorithm but in my opinion Google need to find a way of sifting the spam :) Would be far too easy to manipulate if it was a number game. :)

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jakeSEO August 23, 2011 at 11:30 am

Any suggestions on how to write like this for keywords that are different yet have the same meaning. Example, “drug rehab” and “drug rehabilitation.” They both have the same meaning yet are unique? Do you write a page for each and include something new based around that keyword? How do you do this without repeating yourself? in two seperate SEO optimized pages? FYI those two keywords have many more with the same meaning yet unique keyword (addiction treatment, rehab, drug treatment, drug rehab center ect….) Any suggestions will help greatly.

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Tim August 24, 2011 at 2:09 am

I personally try to target as many ‘related’ keywords as possible on one page, all the above suggestions I would create a page and incorporate them all naturally into the content, then build links targeting multiple variations of anchor text.

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Donald Kelly October 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Wow, really useful information. I learned a lot. Thank you.

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Adele December 16, 2011 at 5:08 am

Thanks for the article; it has easy to read, useful information.

One suggestion, though: Please use the apostrophe correctly – “lot’s” means “lot is”, otherwise it is just “lots”. Same for “your” and “you’re” – it was highly distracting throughout the article. As you said, a few typo’s can be overlooked, but consistent misuse causes irritation.

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Tim December 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

Fair point Adele, will try better next time

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Liquid energy March 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Great article. I appreciate how you broke down writing in a way that’s easy to read and understand. I have read a lot of articles on the subject and most confuse me to no end.

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Abhishek Khandelwal April 27, 2012 at 1:02 am

Hi Tim,

The article looks very comprehensive and you have covered almost everything on how the content should be structured, subheadings, images, bullets etc are some of the key aspects backed by comprehensive research.

Content is and will always be the prime driver of rankings and traffic on the website. If a website focus on creating quality content, I dont think they will have to worry much about the changes that search engine makes on a regular basis…

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Gobinda Roy July 20, 2012 at 9:11 am

Great Article !

Thanks a lot !

Regards ,
Gobinda

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Gobinda Roy July 20, 2012 at 9:13 am

Great post !!

Thanks ,
Gobinda

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Blake Rogers August 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Great article. Good content equals good results and you have that down well!

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Sukesh August 12, 2012 at 3:53 am

Thanks for providing nice info about creating unique content now i easily create content for topic Forex trading

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Fedobe September 7, 2012 at 2:16 am

Awesome Post! I would say this is one of my most favorite post.

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Saiful December 1, 2012 at 3:13 am

Almost your article is helpful but I’m asking you please with your new experience.

Thanks in advance.

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Melanie December 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm

We have a Forum built in our website, but the title for all the articles showing are the same. Would that effect our page ranking?
Would site built by php & mysql have any disadvantage compared to a html site due to it’s dynamic content?
I like your forum, can we get a quote of have one like this on our website?

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Marina Lejos January 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm

In your opinion, should be used as bold and italics?

Thanks! Great job!

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My blog site is in the exact same niche as yours and
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Tim January 28, 2013 at 4:22 am

no problem

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Sunny Soleil April 4, 2013 at 7:32 am

Thank you so much. As someone who was deported from the States with zilch and looking for writing work, it really means a LOT to me to find some learning online that doesn’t cost me money. May God bless you [or whatever you believe in!] for being so generous… I love all this ‘open source’ stuff that is around.. a sign of our times.. thank you again!

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