How to Create Search Engine Optimized Content
Google has ushered in the era of big content by assigning increasing importance to it from a search perspective. But it placed one large stipulation on content creation. It has to be “good” to be worthwhile.
What is "Good" Content?
Google depends on your audience for this answer. If they are sharing your content, clicking on it, interacting with it, and showing you appreciation for it across the social spheres, Google is taking notice and factoring that into its ranking. Here are a few tips to making your content more SEO-friendly.
How Do I know I Create Good Content?
Know Your Audience
You cannot expect your audience to connect to your content, nor can you produce quality content from Google’s perspective, without knowing who your audience is. “My ideal customer” is not specific enough of a definition. Drill down to things like age, gender, income, schooling, preferences, etc. Only when you know your target connection, can you begin effectively creating content for that person.
Think of Keywords
The practice of keyword stuffing, adding the same word over and over in your content because you’d like to place highly for it, is dead. You must now create good content using your keywords as subtle flavoring not coating your content with them.
When you think of keywords and your business, there will be some that come to you immediately. For instance, an OB/GYN may use “city obstetrics” (the city being the specific town in which she operates her practice). However, placing for those keywords will be costly and she’ll be competing with very large, established clinics and hospitals. In addition she may want to look at long-tail phrases that people would search under such as “pregnancy care after 40” or “infertility treatments after miscarriages.” If she specializes in these things, they could be very lucrative and less competitive. Use Google’s keyword planner tool to help you find some that relate to your business.
People don’t search for keywords or answers. They search using questions. Brainstorm questions your ideal customer asks about your product or industry. Create content based on this. Ask your employees for the questions they hear most. Create content about these too. Type in questions into Google’s search box (or your search engine of choice) and see what comes up in its auto-fill in. Scan the results. Create content that fits.
Do More of What's Working
If you notice a particular kind of content is being shared often by your audience, do more of it. Try experimenting with a variety of media types. Google loves pictures and videos too but take care to tag them for maximum SEO.
Do More But Not the Same
Google is like a really smart teacher who knows when you’ve copied your work from somewhere else and you will pay just as dearly, even if the person you are copying from is your own site.
Search engines like fresh content, new content.
It’s hard when you’ve created a masterpiece not to want to use it again but Google will penalize your site if you duplicate content. This counts for content you’ve written as a guest blog poster somewhere else and reposted on your site verbatim.
Reword. Rewrite. Don’t Duplicate.
The key to creating SEO-friendly content is to concentrate on the likelihood of interaction you’ll derive from it. Google has no way of knowing if your audience is ultimately buying from you, but it does know how it is relating to your content.
From a search perspective conversions are less important than shares; so if you’re being helpful and creating a top resource for your industry or niche, and your content is shared, you will see your organic rankings improve and your sales will follow.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at frankjkenny.com and Memberclicks.
She's a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.