ScratchSleeves Case Study
Baby steps to giant leaps in SEO success and sales...Continue Reading
SEO is one of the most lucrative yet tricky arts to digital marketing.
It’s something that even experts can struggle to fully understand, due to the fluid nature of how search engines like Google define their results in terms of accuracy and quality.
Like we say here at Aqueous Digital, search never sleeps.
With Google essentially being the online metro through which people find their way across the internet, you can’t afford to ignore your Search Engine Optimisation. But how do you produce SEO content that will bring in the organic traffic that you want?
Writing SEO content involves a concept that might seem like a paradox to some. Although you’re writing content that you want Google to appreciate, you’re not writing for Google; instead you’re writing for its users, the humans that conduct two trillion searches every year.
That means SEO content writing is in some ways a peculiar form of writing. It’s a form of marketing with technical criteria that must be met to rank well and be appreciated by search engines, but it’s also all about quality and wholly embraces the art form of good writing.
With that in mind, the writing must be high-quality and written for the human. It has to make sense and have structure. If you’re writing about SEO in Manchester, for instance, you can’t contort your use of language just so that the word ‘Manchester’ appears on every single line. That might actually serve to push your writing in the opposite direction. It would likely be penalised by Google, and instances of ‘keyword stuffing’ such as that is entering the realm of tactics referred to as black hat SEO.
For SEO content to be recognised and appreciated by Google, it has to answer a need beyond simply being a piece of marketing. Good content can serve a number of purposes:
Your business may do something incredible and vital to society, but its highly technical nature might make it hard for the layperson to grasp. This is the perfect excuse to furnish your website with some well-written content that answers the questions your customers might have. It imparts free value to them while presenting a chance to rank highly on Google under searches that people perform in the hunt for a company just like yours.
Some products don’t reach their full potential until they’re in the hands of people who know what to do with them. For instance, a company selling high-quality art supplies may find that potential customers aren’t quite getting to the buying stage, because they don’t know what they would do with such a product if they were to actually buy it. Inspirational content can answer this need, once again imparting value to your customers, but also providing essential cornerstones that can become a part of the customer journey. And numbered lists rank very nicely thanks to their ease of readability and the organised nature of the writing.
Your content doesn’t have to be selling anything if you don’t want or need it to. It might be that you simply keep your blog fresh with humorous interviews with members of your team, funny news articles, or tongue-in-cheek parodying of more serious types of content but with your own unique tone of voice keeping things light-hearted. This kind of content can drive organic traffic very well, particularly if readers find it good enough to share and link back to.
Many searches are done with the goal of finding a source of information. This could be the result of someone learning of a concept or product for the first time and looking to know more about it. Uncomplicated, informative SEO copy will hopefully not only guide them to your page, but cement your brand in their mind and start the process of acquiring them as a customer.
One of the core aspects of writing for SEO is use of keywords. These are words or phrases that have been identified through keyword research, i.e. researching the kinds of questions and search queries that will lead people to your content in the first place.
There are plenty of tools, both paid and free, for keyword research, but it also helps to brush up on your closest competitors and take note of what they are doing – particularly if they’re ranking highly for it.
Once the appropriate keywords have been identified, they should be used in a piece of relevant content. This should be done consciously and sparingly, however. Google won’t like you using them too much, and the act of deliberately spamming them has a name – keyword stuffing. Note that keyword stuffing falls under the umbrella of aforementioned black hat SEO, and it likely won’t end well.
It is also not ideal to try and lump all of your keywords together into a single piece. One core keyword and a couple of variations around that keyword are sufficient. If for example, you are a builder that also offers plumbing and roofing services, it’s best to avoid focusing on all three services on the same page. Ideally you should split the services over three pages. However, on the plumbing page, you might include plumbing repairs, plumbing installations, and all general plumbing work, but you should avoid writing about other keyword subjects such as for example central heating. This is best placed on a dedicated page of its own.
Trying to accommodate too many keywords is sure to impact the quality of your writing and give your content an unnatural timbre that savvy internet users will see through quickly.
Besides, why use 12 keywords in one piece of content when you could write four pieces of content with three each? But bear in mind, it’s not all about keywords. Google’s algorithms read and understand the overall topic of a page. This is semantic SEO, and it’s more important to bear in mind that keywords alone.
Speaking of semantics, it pays to think about the terms that people are searching. Quite often, users perform searches using descriptive words or phrases in lieu of the exact name of an object, place, or piece of media. Anticipating the things that real people will search helps you wrap your language around that.
When your high-quality writing meets on-page SEO, that’s when you get your SEO writing. There are other aspects to SEO, such as considering a page’s metadata, URL, and multimedia content – but for the writer, these are aspects that can be considered later, and are often the role of somebody else with a more technical focus on SEO.
When talking about the best ‘type’ of content for SEO, it’s ideal not to just think about form. Numbered lists and ‘Top 10’ articles rank nicely, but the best type of content is quite simply content that is topically relevant and unique.
How does that work? Surely if you copy something else that ranks well, your content will also rank well?
It could possibly help, but it certainly won’t make you any friends if you develop a reputation for it. And while Google isn’t currently known to directly punish duplicate content, the search engine does its best to deliver the most relevant results to a user when faced with duplicated content. This is why it’s best to be unique, so that your offerings can be considered ‘as well as’, rather than left behind ‘instead of’.
Relying on keywords may not carry SEO content writing far enough on its own. This is especially true if those keywords are particularly competitive and already ranking well under some big names. Google recognises fresh, unique content and rewards it accordingly.
By ‘unique’, we mean offering something new that makes your own content stand out among the crowd. A new perspective on a topic, or an in-depth guide on a level that nobody else is currently offering. Perhaps your site has a cleaner and more organised UX design, which Google will appreciate thanks to those of its algorithms that gather ‘interaction data’ such as dwell time.
The best type of SEO content is, quite simply, good content:
Sure. There’s no qualification or certification that you need to perform your own SEO. Whether it will be as effective as it could be with the insight of an experienced professional, however, is another matter.
The problem with DIY SEO is that SEO is in many ways a long-term game. It can take a while for things to ‘settle’ with Google, for your pages to rank and for you to start seeing results. This is normal even for the most efficient and well-done SEO. After all, you don’t just want short-term gains. You want sustainable, organic growth.
When you’re doing your own SEO, how can you be sure that you’ll get those results? It can be incredibly difficult to work things out through trial and error, since you might be waiting months only to find out that nothing’s really changed and you haven’t got the results you wanted. Is it worth tweaking things again, waiting another handful of months to see if it worked this time?
Experienced SEO professionals already know the rationale behind their work. They know which boxes to tick. That way, you can rest assured that the results will start coming in for when they’re forecast, and you’ll get to reap the benefits of SEO sooner.
Trust us – you want to leave SEO to the professionals. They want to help your business succeed.
Watch this short video of our MD, Jonathan discussing the importance of content in SEO:
We are a family-run digital marketing agency that has years of experience working with SEO, both on a national level and locally in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside.
Our award-winning services are backed by our ethos of trust, loyalty, and collaboration. We take the time to understand your needs and take your goals on board, fostering a relationship that’s productive from Day 1.
If you are based in Manchester and need help with your SEO content writing, then we would love to be your trusted partner. To find out more about how we produce great SEO content for your brand, contact us today. We offer a free website audit and consultation to start you off on your journey to the top of Google.