SEO involves a small amount of moving around tags, rigorously creating highways for crawlers to look out your pages, and linking authoritative websites to slowly climb up the rankings.
While it’s true that the “if you build it, they will come” approach to web content does not actually drive traffic – because good content doesn’t always bubble to the surface – it’s also true that the limits of your content are the limits of your ranking.
Even with absolutely optimized pages, B grade content most likely won’t rise to a #1 Google ranking. On the other hand, A+ grade content without SEO may start to go stale and acquire mold on the second page of Google.
Put aside your excel sheets, keyword analysis, and improvement guides for just a moment.
Let’s observe the nuts and bolts of SEO-friendly content that has the potential to rank #1.
Add Variety to Your Content
No two searchers are alike. Some individuals need chunks of dense text, whereas others demand loose and colorful explanations.
Some people want videos, images, and audio files, while other people get distracted and bounce away at the sight of such gimmicks.
Depending on the page and the target audience, it might be appropriate to have videos or images in addition to text. Don’t slow your page down with unnecessary files, but do remember that a greater variety of content will allow you to satisfy the intent of a greater number of searchers.
A greater variety of content, combined with polished writing and a healthy depth of content, will help increase your average time on page.
A higher average time on page is a good indicator that you’re creating engaging content and a good user experience. Keeping individuals on your website longer could be a smart factor — and something we will get by adding helpful content varieties per page.
Make Sure Your Writing Is Polished
People read about 20% of the words on a website. Since there’s really no telling which words they’ll read, you can’t just have a few sentences designed to act as winners. They all need to be winners.
Whether you’re rushing to knock out a blog post before dashing off to your next event or receiving articles from a third party, a bit of good editing will help you create SEO-friendly content.
Note: “polished writing” doesn’t represent a single form. Business blogs, comedy websites, and news articles all require different tones, levels, and styles of writing to count as polished in their given fields.
If you’re trying to break into a crowded space, push the boundaries of acceptable content. Add humor, edge, intelligence, confidence, sarcasm, or charisma. Loosen up the writing and let the metaphors sing.
- Add soundbites in-between text for interactive content.
- Shorten up paragraphs and use bullets.
- Use loose and colorful prose.
- Find a unique, engaging voice that mimics the demographic lingo.
Use Long-form & Short-form Content
In the early days of the net, short-form content helped you grab up the market share at 100 words a pop.
You could produce a lot of articles, with few words, and do it quickly, to drive a lot of traffic. With increasingly crowded web spaces and demanding searchers, Google’s algorithms have begun privileging longer and longer content.
If your goal is to satisfy the searcher’s query, and you get to pick between a 250-word article and a 3,000-word article, there’s generally a higher chance that the 3,000-word article contains something in it that satisfies the intent of the searcher.
Yet, sometimes that 250-word article delivers the bullet point answer in a beautiful featured snippet, and those other 2,750 words are no longer needed and definitely not read.
You need to A/B test along with your specific guests to check which type of content they like best — short or long. I also recommend running a content audit to traditionally see what word count length has been the foremost useful in the past.
Know the Difference Between Authority vs. Originality
If you’ve been dishing out SEO-friendly content for a while, you may have noticed a fundamental paradox in both the advice you’ve been given about SEO and the way that Google wants to rank pages.
On the one hand, you’ve been told to value citing sources, authoritative links, expert advice, and claims that are backed up.
On the other hand, you’ve also been told to value original research and content that adds value through new claims. Basically, you need to avoid scraping content and avoid unverified claims.
You need the sources to back up your content, but you need to go beyond the sources to tell a new and compelling story and not just another “How to do X Using Y and Z”.
A few creative links and a compelling story will help your content walk the line between authority and originality.
Think of Mobile Optimization (But Don’t Forget About Desktop)
In the U.S. in 2018, phone traffic outweighed desktop traffic by about 60% to 40%. But, overall web time was flopped, with desktops outweighing phones by the same 60% to 40%.
Mobile traffic is a big business, though keep in mind that mobile searches are generally more specific and targeted than desktop searches. Phone searches are generally more integrated into lifestyles, and things that people are already doing.
If you’ve got content that people will mostly access from a desk, focus on those long-form pieces and keep the shorter informative responses for the mobile users.
Make the Form Match the Content
There is no single winning formation for webpage layout.
When we talk about form, we’re talking about:
- Word count.
- Structure of the content.
- Tone of the piece.
- HTML tags.
- Title and meta tags.
If its a technical article about plumbing or stock trades, get right to the point in the opening paragraph. If you’ve got a comedy listicle, your audience will be a bit more forgiving about slow starts.
Google’s advice to “make pages for users, not search engines” is still some of the best advice you can get.
The best articles don’t just read like a nice essay, they look like a crisp painting, with tags, titles, font, and headlines that create a unified piece.