Since I work in the SEO industry, many people have asked me how to write SEO-friendly content. It’s no wonder—the industry talks about how “content is king,” and Google has emphasized content with many of its algorithm changes. Website owners understand that they need to have great content, but search engines aren’t always clear about what factors make your content great and thus make your website rank higher.
I am not an expert content writer, but through my years of experience, I’ve found five tips that help me—and will no doubt help you—write content.
1. Make It Unique
Your content shouldn’t match the content of any other website online. We call this “duplicate content,” and if your website contains duplicate content, your website is less likely to rank because Google doesn’t want to reward website owners who may have plagiarized.
With duplicate content, you’re also telling Google and your users that you are no better than other companies. And if you can’t prove you offer a superior product or service, what’s stopping your customers from going to the competition and Google from ranking other websites higher?
Figure out what differentiates you from the competition and explain those benefits in your content.
2. Include Keywords
In the past, most SEOs optimized content by stuffing in keywords in hopes that the page would rank for those specific searches. Google and other search engines now consider more than keywords, but you still want to use those terms to explain what your page—and your business—is about.
For example, if you are a heating/AC contractor, include phrases like “heating” and “air conditioning” somewhere on the page. If you are a dentist wanting to sell more teeth whitening services, make sure you have terms like “teeth whitening” on your page. You may think this tip goes without saying, but you would be surprised at how many pages miss the mark by not including keywords.
3. Use High-Quality, Relevant Images
Website owners often forget that “content” includes any material that provides value to the client, and that includes images.
When you go to a restaurant, which type of menu do you prefer: one with only text or one with pictures of the entrées so you can see which dish looks more appetizing? You’d want the menu with the pictures, right? Similarly, high-quality images on your website elevate your content, make your company look more appealing, and increase page conversions.
“High-quality” means you have chosen an image that looks clear and loads quickly. Your images should also match your content, such as a picture of a dog for a veterinarian or a picture of dental equipment or smiling families for a dentist.
4. Don’t Forget to EAT—Include Expertise, Authority, and Trust
Google looks for three areas when accessing content. You can remember these areas with the acronym “EAT”:
Expertise. Identify yourself as an expert in your field. You may want to list your credentials or certifications on your website, or write blog posts that put your knowledge on display.
Authority. Show what makes your business an authority on any subject. For example, if you are a local business, discuss the city you service and explain how your service solves the needs of residents in this area.
Trust. Include reviews to show your trustworthiness. You can and should explain why someone should choose your business yourself, but users appreciate the second opinion for positive customer reviews.
By including the right information, you build trust and authority with search engines, so they want to present your business as an answer to their users’ questions.
5. Deliver a Satisfying Amount of Content
I wish I could give you a magic number of words to include on each page you write. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. The appropriate length on content varies between each industry and each individual company. Instead of worrying about the perfect amount of content for search engines, worry about the perfect amount of content for your customers. To achieve that goal, you only have to answer one question:
Have you provided complete value to the user who found your web page?
Each page fulfills a purpose, and a satisfying amount of content fulfills that purpose completely. Your potential customer should have no other questions once he or she finds your page.
For example, on a “Contact Us” page, the user wants to find your address, phone number, or some method of reaching out to your company. You don’t need as much content to fulfill that request. However, with a product description, your users will want to know the benefit of your product, the product speculations, the cost, various sizes/colors you offer, etc. You will need a longer page to explain all of these points.
Great Content Persuades Search Engines and Users
Writing SEO-friendly content isn’t as difficult as you may think. You don’t have to follow a magic formula with the perfect word count and right amount of key terms. You have to include engaging, relevant information that shows why customers should buy from your company. Whatever that means to your business is up to you.
Start with the simple tips above to increase your website’s visibility and traffic with content.