SEO is something we hear about all the time. As a content writer I get asked to “make the SEO good” when I’m writing blog posts or website content for clients. Apart from the dubious grammatical quality of that request, it’s as vague a demand as it is ever-changing.
Google likes to keep everyone guessing with its algorithms, and many think that Google’s goalpost moving is unfair. But it’s not. They’re not playing fast and loose with the rules, they’re not trying to catch us all out.
They’re making the internet better.
How? They’re making things interesting. They’re putting value (for readers) above everything else. In short, they’re ensuring that when you type your random, 6-7 word question into the Google search bar, the search results that pop up are the most relevant, interesting and valuable search results out there. They’re making sure that you don’t have to keep going back and refining your search. They’re trying to anticipate your needs and give you what you want on the first go.
So what does this have to do with upping your audience? It’s not just about playing by Google’s rules. You know, playing the game to get what you want. When you’re writing for your website (whether it’s the actual website content or the blog content), think about providing the most detailed, useful content you can for your readers. That’s what Google wants. You’ve got to provide what your clients want to read, and deliver it in the way they want to read it. In this post we’re going to talk about the key issues you should think about and how they impact your search engine rankings. And by impacting (in a positive way) your search engine rankings, it has the knock-on affect of reaching more readers.
And if you reach more people, you’ve got a bigger audience.
Gone are the days when it was about packing your posts and your website content with keywords. Keywords still have their place, but Google is much, much smarter than that now. Google can figure out if you’re talking about an amazing crime novel without having to include the words “amazing crime novel” fourteen thousand times in the space of a single blog post.
What should you be thinking of when you’re writing for the web?
- Optimisation for mobile: We consume most of our content on mobile devices now. If a website isn’t optimised for mobile, we’re just not interested. A well optimised mobile site will increase SEO impact by over 85%….that’s a huge difference and one to keep in mind when you’re creating your website content.
- Perceived value of content and originality of content. This means providing really useful, descriptive content. Think long form pages, informative, original blog content and case studies. (SEO impact = 80%). You can further improve upon this by providing some interviews and infographics within your blog posts. Videos are also a great way of maximising the user experience of the content. Always bear in mind what your readers are getting from reading your content.
- Original images – users like to see different images – not ones that they see elsewhere online. We’ll all be aware of the same stock images floating around. They can get a bit boring – your readers want to see something different. Of course they need to be relevant to your content, but something a bit left field will rank much better than the staid image of a boardroom when you’re talking about business issues.
- Length of content within the site. The long form style of modern websites works well here – so will producing longer blog posts on an ongoing basis, as longer articles perform much better on search engine results. Why? Because longer articles provide more words and images, which gives Google more to rank. Because of this, they’ll get more traffic and improve audience experience. The days of short, snappy 300 word blog posts chock-full of keywords and air are gone. Weeny is for wimps. Think robust, readable and rammed with content. To further improve the content’s attractiveness and readability, break up your blog posts with larger, bold sections. This improves its readability and goes some way to compensate for page drop off.
- Post-click party. Keeping all of the above in mind, you want to ensure that visitors are staying on your site. By making the site and the content as interesting and valuable (to the user) as possible, you ensure that traffic stays high and that they stay put. You’ve got to have one eye on their “post-click” activity, i.e. ask yourself, “will they find all the answers they need on my site?” OR ” Will they have to go back to Google and click on other links?“
Hopefully this post will help you see that SEO isn’t something to be scared of – in fact, now it’s pretty much on the same page as you. It wants to provide readers with the most relevant, interesting and valuable content it can. This is your goal too – so think of SEO as your ally in upping your audience.
If you missed Part 1 in the Upping Your Audience series, which was all about guest blogging, you can get it here. Click on the links within the post to download your guest blogging guide – enjoy!
I’m doing a two-part series on SEO and Google Analytics for translators with eCPD in November. Here are the links if you want to check them out: