Everyone wants to know how to get more website traffic.
And in particular, we all want to learn how to get that traffic by ranking on the first page in Google.
Just doing a few searches on “SEO” can lead you to hundreds of thousands of results. The answers might include advice on adding a bunch of keywords, filling out your metadata, and getting more links back to your site. All of this can quickly become overwhelming. You might even feel like your website is becoming a jumble of forced keywords, with lame links that aren’t appealing to anyone, let alone your target market.
So, here’s the deal – when it comes to creating content, let’s first start this conversation by agreeing that our only goal isn’t SEO.
Is SEO important? Absolutely!
We’re going to dive into some of the favorite techniques to make sure your content is working better for you.
Is it the only thing? Absolutely not. If you’re not focused on writing for people, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Your audience is reading it, and people that are buying from you, so don’t forget about them in this process.
Now that we have that established, let’s explore how we can make that content work harder and drive more traffic.
Here are my top 3 ways to ensure your Content works for SEO (and People who Read It)
Fill out your Meta Title and Description, with real sentences
This is often found in the page structure or your SEO plugin. In fact, a quick Google search on “your web builder + metadata” can give you step-by-step instructions on where to find them. These 2 places can be filled with keyword rich content to help drive more search traffic. Sure, there’s some debate on whether Google actually uses these to rank you (the answer is lately leaning towards “no”). But what’s important is, that they can have a MASSIVE impact on whether people actually click on your website as a search result.
This is the content that populates a search result page, and it tells people if your weblink is worth clicking. Or in other words, if it matches what they’re searching for. So if you want to win at the search game, make sure your Meta Titles and Descriptions are filled out on all of your website pages and blogs.
Here’s an example of a content title and the description, written for both, the audience and Google.
The meta description expands on the topic and adds info that will intrigue the reader and inform the search engines.
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Visual and technical aspects matter!
Pull out those long tail keywords for SEO driven content
If you’ve ever ventured into the world of SEO, you’ve absolutely heard about keywords. The main goal of keywords is to utilize those that match someone’s search inside your content. The closer they match, the more likely, and higher, you are going to rank in search. It used to be that you could just throw in a few keywords related to your business vertical and watch your growth happen. However, with the advent of voice search (think Siri and Alexa), the type of keywords people are using to search has shifted.
Here’s an example. If someone is searching for a business coach, they’re not just typing “Business Coach” into that little search bar. They’re typing (or most likely saying) something like, “How to find the best business coach for my consulting business.”
SEO content writing tips for finding long tailed keywords
These long tail keywords (also known as key phrases) can help Google better match its results to the search query. While these keywords may be considered “Unpopular” or “Low Volume” in the traditional sense, they are much easier to rank for, and convert significantly better. This is the ultimate case of quality over quantity. So how can we find these elusive long tail keywords?
One of my favorite ways to find long tail keywords to include in your content is to start typing a search in Google. Google will start to autocomplete suggestions based on the first few words you type in. These are more specific and slightly less popular topics that people are already searching for.
For the above example, when you type ‘ business coach’ in the search bar, Google Suggest includes responses like ‘business coach near me’ ‘business coaching services,’ ‘business coaching programs’ etc.
When you’ve exhausted that, scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out the “People Also Ask” box as well as the “Searches Related To” area. These can provide great insight and ideas into related keywords.
Head (on) over to Google Keyword Planner and start playing around. It’s a great place to throw in a few key words or phrases and get some insight on how popular or useful they’ll be for you.
Check out these 10 free tools people can use to find keywords
Avoid the newbie mistakes!
Give your page some interesting structure
When thinking about writing your content, it’s important to not just think about what you want to write about. You should also focus on how you’re going to lay it out to appeal to both search engines and readers. Here’s the rule of thumb: formatting your content to appeal to readers will automatically increase your reputation with search engines. Google, for example, likes to serve content that people like. So when it comes to content structure, a lot of their rules will stem from ways to make your work as engaging as possible.
Let’s look at some cool ways you can break up those walls of text and make your content more palatable.
Make lists – People love lists, and Google loves lists. They are a great way to guide your reader through your content and give them an idea of what to expect. It aids easy scanning, so someone who may not have time to read the entire thing can still get value quickly. It also gives Google (and Bing) an idea of what kind of answers you’re providing and is super appealing when it shows up as a search result.
Utilize headers and sub headers – Create content breaks. It’s a great way for someone to quickly scan your content, headers and sub-headers are a great way to let both your reader and Google do that. Breaking up your content into sections that are clearly labelled can make it much more attractive to both. Ideally, keep a section of text no longer than 300 words.
Another potential advantage is the fact that ‘listicle content’ has a chance of showing up as a featured snippet on Google, like the example below.
Think outside the words – Right now, people are gravitating towards easy to consume(r) content, and a lot of times that means something other than text. Incorporating video clips, image tutorials, or even sometimes audio clips can really help increase your ranking and your engagement.
Focus on Readability – Use shorter sentences with mostly active voice rather than passive. Again, shorter paras score much better in keeping your reader’s interest (and hence their stay on the website).
Always write for people, but keep your SEO focus!
So, as we can see, structuring your content for SEO really follows the idea of how best to structure your content for your readers. They are first and foremost the people who keep your business running, and should be consistently top of mind.
Amy specializes in content creation strategies and search engine optimization. Her belief in long term, sustainable growth strategies for small businesses has made her consulting business, Hub Digital, and her marketing membership, The Hub, stand out from other marketing companies in the area.
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