If you run an online business, you’ll probably already have some understanding of the importance of search engine optimization, commonly known as SEO. It’s no exaggeration to say that the success of your search engine optimization efforts could make or break your business. That’s why it’s so important you get it right.
In this post, we’re going to provide you with five tips to help you get one aspect of your SEO campaign, your SEO content, on point. Very simply, SEO content is any content that you create with the goal of attracting search engine traffic. It could take the form of an article, an infographic, a white paper or some other form of content that can be indexed by search engines like Google.
Get it right, and SEO content can bring lots of relevant traffic to your website. Get it wrong, and you’ll be spending time and money producing content that will appear so far down the search engine result pages, that realistically, it will never be clicked.
Here are our top tips to help you create clickable SEO content that will put your business on the map.
1. Identify a gap in the existing content
Realistically, with well over 1 billion websites on the internet, you’re never going to find a topic that’s relevant to your audience that hasn’t been covered yet. However, look hard enough and you will find new angles or niches that could be of real value to your audience. Understanding your target market, their pain points, the challenges they face and the questions they want to be answered is crucial. No one knows your customers as well as do you, so talk to them, ask them questions and let them guide your content creation process.
2. Dedicate a few minutes to keyword research
Once you have an idea for a piece of content, spend five minutes running a few keyword ideas through Google’s keyword planner. Keyword research is the key to getting your content found on the search engines. You could write the most relevant, authoritative and unique piece of content, but it doesn’t include the terms online browsers are using, it’s never going to get the attention it deserves.
When searching for keywords, we recommend choosing less competitive terms that will be easier to rank for. They may attract less search volume but that lower level of competition should give your content visibility much more quickly. The more specific the keyword you choose, the more qualified the search traffic your content attracts is likely to be.
3. Write a catchy title and meta description
People’s decisions about which piece of content they click on are based on three factors: its ranking, its title and the meta description. The content ranked first, second and third on the search engine results pages receive by far and away the greatest amount of clicks. However, having a click-worthy title and an enticing meta description is also hugely important.
For SEO purposes, your title and meta description should contain the keyword you want to target. But as well as writing for Google’s robots, you also need to attract the reader. To do that you should:
- Keep within the character limits – You have a maximum of 60 characters for your title and 156 for your meta description. Anything over those limits will not be shown.
- Make it clear – The title and meta description will only be scanned by the reader, so make it immediately clear what the content is about.
- Pose a question – Phrasing your title as a question that readers also want an answer to is an effective way to secure those clicks. Just make sure you answer the question in your content or you’ll lose the readers’ trust.
- Elicit emotion – If all the other ingredients are there then eliciting some emotion, whether it’s excitement, hope or humour, is the icing on the cake. That can help to differentiate your content from the other results on the page.
4. Align the intent of your keyword with your content
Once you’ve chosen the keyword you intend to use, it’s worth taking a moment to think about the intent that keyword implies. Put yourself in the searcher’s position. If you typed that same keyword into Google, what sort of information would you be hoping to find?
- Are they ready to make a purchase?
- Do they want more information about potential solutions to a problem?
- Are they at the very start of finding out what the product or service you offer is?
Creating content that pushes a reader towards a purchase when it’s clear from the search term that they’re still in the research stage is counterproductive. Instead, you should provide the information the searcher is looking for and include links to other content you’ve produced that will guide them naturally along the buyer’s journey. The searcher will thank you for it, and so will Google in the form of solid rankings.
5. Analyse what’s working well and repeat
There’s no point spending all this time creating clickable SEO content if you don’t learn any lessons from it. Every piece of content you produce is a treasure trove of information. Checking your site’s analytics regularly and paying special attention to metrics such as page views, engagement and time on the page will help you understand what’s working and what’s not. You can then repeat or build on the successful content and work to improve or steer clear of content that isn’t performing so well.
Don’t expect instant results
Like any search engine optimisation technique, even if you create the most clickable SEO content out there, it will take time to see results. If it’s instant rankings you’re looking for, nothing can compete with the immediacy of pay-per-click advertising. However, if you are prepared to wait six months or even more for results, SEO content is the cost-effective, long-term solution that will reap rewards.
Nathan is the co-founder of To Your Heart’s Content, a team of slicker-than-your-average freelance copywriters who perform SEO copywriting services for businesses and agencies that understand the power of good copy, done properly.