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7 Best Practices for Writing SEO-Friendly Content

Brandon

August 26, 2014
Brandon

If you’re relatively new to the world of marketing, you may have heard the term “SEO content,” but are unaware of what it means, and specifically, what it can mean for your business.

In order to describe the term, it’s best to break it into two:

  • “SEO” refers to search engine optimization, or the process of optimizing a website so that web users can easily find it via search engines like Google and Bing.
  • Content” can mean any information that lives and can be consumed on the web.

So, SEO content is any content created with the goal of attracting search engine traffic – thus making you more attractive to potential customers who do a simple “search” on the web.

However, because search engines continuously change the rules of the game in order to stay competitive, not all information on this subject is consistently accurate. Google alone makes between 500-600 algorithm changes per year, and although most are insignificant, a few are major enough to significantly impact the effectiveness of your business’ SEO efforts.

If you are new to blogging or are looking to improve your website, it is only natural to want to be searchable and improve your page rank, thus drawing users, and hopefully long-time visitors to your site. But, there are over 30 million+ pieces of online content shared daily, and in a competitive landscape, it’s sometimes difficult to stay ahead.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of 7 best practices for writing SEO-friendly content:

  1. Write content that is useful and engagingAlways develop content that is useful and/or entertaining. There are a ton of content creators who put too much emphasis on their SEO and tend to forget that there are actual people on the other end of that computer screen or mobile device. Remember: You are writing for real people, so you want your writing to have relevance to your audience, while also sounding natural and authentic.

    Never sacrifice the user experience in order to meet an SEO goal. Many search engines even reward sites that share relevant and engaging content with their readers.  The more original content you share with your readers, the better visibility you will gain in search results, and the more users who find your content useful, the more share-worthy it becomes.

     

  2. Be compelling and concise.Always be conscious of your reader’s time. Keep your content short and sweet, and make your point quickly. If a person can’t read your article and benefit from it in less than 5 to 10 minutes, chances are they won’t remember what you tried to convey in the first place.

    Breaking up your copy makes for easy reading, so make lists, add bullets, and remember to ask yourself: Would this piece of content hold my attention if I were reading it? If not, it’s almost guaranteed that it won’t interest your readers either.

  3. Choose your keywords, and choose them wisely: Even before you start developing content, you should have already chosen which keywords to use. Include them in your title, in your meta-tags and within the body of your post for the best results. Be careful not to over use them, though. The average reader will be able to tell immediately when your article is heavily bogged down by keywords – it’s not natural and they will quickly become turned off.
  4. Include links within your copyBlogging 101: Always include links and find a way to integrate them as part of your copy. Instead of saying, “Click here to learn more…” and subsequently pasting a long link, attribute hyperlinks to particular words within your content. Adding back links from credible websites that you used for sources is important. Much like in journalism, it builds trust and credibility with your readers about the information you are sharing.

    Also, visitors who come to your page from a search engine expect to see the words they searched for in your copy. For example, if I search “yellow Labrador retrievers,” I would expect the content I’m engaging with to utilize those key words, as well as key words surrounding that topic: “dogs, yellow labs, pets, man’s best friend, etc.”

  5. Don’t forget to optimize your imagesResearchers have found that content accompanied with an image is significantly more compelling and engaging, and that optimizing those images allows for better search engine ranking. To optimize your images, be sure to name your images using relevant keywords. Some websites, like ImageOptimizer.net, can help.
  6. ALWAYS proof read your material before you publishThis is a must for all writers – whether you’re in professional journalism, are a marketing/communications specialist, or you maintain a personal blog, it’s critical to always proof read your work. There is nothing more distracting to a reader than stumbling across a bad spelling mistake or poor grammar. Also, everything looks different on a computer screen or mobile device. Print out a hard copy, review your content, and read it out loud. Oftentimes, the old fashioned way is the best way.
  7. Make Your Content Easily ShareableThe next important step, and perhaps the most important, is to make your content shareable. Keep all the leading social share buttons on your website – and some emerging ones too to show you are staying up-to-date with trending forms of social media.

    Almost every popular social networking site today offers free plugins that are readily available for anyone to install. Search ranking tends to increase when content is shared frequently, so be sure that your content is getting to the audiences you are hoping to reach.