Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has always been about great content. For nearly two decades now, Bill Gate’s statement ‘content is king’ has reigned true, with the key to effective SEO being about great content that’s rich, informative, useful and educational.
It’s now a fact that without a strong foundation in place (a good content strategy), search engine rankings really don’t matter that much. Sure, there’s a lot more to SEO than just writing great content, but what truly drives its success is this content that emotionally connects with your readers.
In SEO and online marketing, you have two very specific audiences – humans (potential buyers and readers) and major search engines like Google. You’re writing and fighting for both armies and without a composed mix of the two, your online marketing strategy and your credibility can fall apart in a heartbeat. So how do you attract positive attention from both audiences?
1. Know Your Audience
Before putting pen to paper or a content strategy in place, you need to know who you’re writing for. Unless you have a clear indication of who your readers are, how can you possibly write great content that’s specifically tailored to their interests and values? It’s one of the best and most crucial SEO copywriting tips because it’s near impossible to write content that ranks well if it’s doesn’t appeal to your audience and consumer.
Once you have a profile of your audience – talk their language. Give them clear and concise answers to their questions, adapt a tone that’s conversational and use words that resonate with them. Use your content to build a relationship with your audience and as your readership grows, search engines will pick up on it too.
2. Write for Humans First, Optimise for SEO Second
Every single piece of content you create and upload is a chance to connect with your readers and rank naturally in the search engine results. And whilst the importance of optimising your content for SEO is definitely there, writing for real people should be top priority. Period.
According to Neil Patel, one of the top influences on the web, you need to go beyond simply writing content. “Your content needs to accomplish two goals: first, appeal to the end user (customers, clients, prospects and readers) and second, solve a particular problem.
Without compelling content, your readers will not be sold. Sure, effective SEO tactics may get people to your website but what’s the use if the content isn’t up-to-date, relevant or interesting to them? Are they going to keep coming back to your website? Probably not.
Google has said on many occasions that they prefer content that’s natural, as opposed to the obvious keyword stuffing SEO business. Which goes without saying – don’t abuse keywords. Search visibility isn’t about keyword repetition so if they aren’t appearing naturally where you would like them, rethink your content strategy. No real person wants to read content with obvious keyword stuffing so focus the flesh and bone of you content on the audience and help the robots find it next through the use of relevant keywords, Meta descriptions and title tags.
3. Engage Your Readers with Useful Content, and the Robots will Follow
Reader engagement is one of the most important tools when it comes to online marketing and SEO. Without content that entices an audience to come back for more, interest is quickly lost. By shifting your focus to creating content that’s useful, interesting and educational, you begin to build stronger relationships with your audience and build a higher credibility as a writer.
The value of this is quite simply irreplaceable. If you keep your content fresh, your readers will keep coming back and as a result, the search engine robots will follow and find it too. People and content always come first so sell your work to them first. Thus, it’s essential you know what content ‘sells’. What will interest your readers? What gaps in the industry can you fill? Humans love a good story, so if you can weave your brand and information into an interesting blog post – do it! Find what makes your audience tick and cater to it.
4. Dazzle with Multimedia
As important as content is to the success of your SEO strategy though, it’s not all just about the text. Content in the form of text can only do so much, real humans need colour and visual interaction too. It fuels the creative part of our brains and helps readers to process the information; not to mention, it creates a little visual excitement too.
Images, video marketing, Infographics, diagrams and interactive slides are a fantastic way to boost engagement, conversion rates and sales. It increases your bounce rate, the time users are spending on your site and puts you positively in line with Google’s two user interaction ranking factors.
But to make sure you’re appealing to both search engines and real people, it’s important that you use relevant alt text and image titles in your graphics too. Major search engines like Google cannot ‘read’ images, so alt text is vital in order for them to crawl it effectively. You can use your main keywords in both alt text and image titles, but keep the relevant and meaningful. Keyword stuffing in images is still keyword stuffing too, so don’t go overboard with it.
5. Create Relevant and Useful Internal Links
When it comes to SEO copywriting, internal links are your best friend. Like keyword stuffing though, you need to make sure links are useful and relevant, without overcrowding your articles and content. Creating internal links helps to boost the crawlability of your site by search engines by providing them with an easy-to-read internal link structure. From a reader’s perspective, they’re also able to ‘guide’ your audience around the site improving their experience and adding significant value.
The same as internal links can be a positive boost for your content, linking out to reputable and trusted sources is extremely valuable. By providing your readers with more support on key points within the article, your audience is kept better satisfied and search engines will reward you.
Catering for both search engines and ‘real’ people doesn’t need to be a challenge. By putting your readers in the forefront of your mind and optimising for search engines second, your content will appeal to both sides of the fence – naturally.