It’s now an accepted fact that quality content can drive organic growth and build long term search engine ranking.
Blogging and content marketing works, and understandably more and more businesses are looking to get in on the act. However, it’s not as simple as it might sound. If it was, every business would be pulling in first page rankings on the search engines. Blogging takes both time and effort. It’s also a craft, and like any craft it needs to be worked at. You may be the experts in your chosen field, but if you don’t know how to get your message across or how to present your content in a way that both attracts and appeals, then frankly you might be wasting your valuable time.
Quality content has to engage the reader.
If your content can do that, you will be on the way to building long term SEO success. If it doesn’t, you might have to readjust your strategy and approach. Hopefully the following tips will help to make your content more focused and appealing to a wider audience.
Lists, tips and how-to-guides.
If you’re an expert in your field, what you want to do is share your knowledge and passion with others. You might understand your subject, but you have to help your readers understand it too. The best way of achieving this is by providing helpful and useful information. This could be a collection of top tips, how-to-guides, or even simple lists of useful information. All of these will inform the readers and help to build in-bound links.
Lists are also useful for breaking up the body text. Long articles might be excellently written, but they can also be intimidating and put readers off. Using bullet points and subheadings will help to make the information easier to read and easier for the search engines to index. If you can write in plain English and are adept at making a difficult topic easy to understand, then you’re already halfway to creating compelling content.
Stick with what you know.
It can be tempting to try and cover too broad a range of topics in the hope of getting more inbound links. The only problem is that you can sometimes spread yourself too thinly. What readers are looking for is knowledge and authority. This authority and gravitas comes from having a clear speciality. If you stick to this speciality and concentrate on a central theme then you’ll be able to build your readership. It doesn’t really matter how you share this knowledge or whether you do it weekly or monthly: what matters is that you do it consistently. This will show your readers that you’re building a library of content, and not just taking random potshots at all sorts of subjects.
Be prepared to take risks.
That might sound like a contradiction, given that we’ve already made the point that courting controversy can backfire, but it can pay to take risks occasionally. Don’t be afraid to express an opinion in your blog, even if the sentiment isn’t necessarily in keeping with the mainstream. Opinions can add something new to webpages and give articles vitality. Blogging isn’t the same as journalism: you don’t have to be entirely objective. If you’ve got an opinion and can argue your case, then go for it. This can lead to more people linking to your content and joining in the debate in your comments section. Obviously you don’t be deliberately objectionable just for the sake of it. Neither do you want to jump into debates that are outside your particular niche or sphere. But, if it’s appropriate and won’t harm your business, then express your opinion. Opinions can spark debate and discussion.
Keep up to date.
How many times have you seen headlines like ‘SEO is dead’? It grabs your attention certainly, but it’s inaccurate. Google is investing lots of time and energy updating its search algorithms so that it can weed out poor quality content, but SEO is alive and well. Google is constantly changing and updating, and good websites have to do the same too. They have to change and update their approach to optimisation. Gone are the days when you could just spam your website with phrases like ‘cheap home insurance’ to get a first page listing. Times have changed, and it’s the responsibility of the business to change with them and use the latest trends to give you a chance of ranking highly in the current search market.
Local search is a popular and continuing trend, so businesses should claim their Google Places page listing, and add regional key terms to their website content. Don’t forget to use maps to guide people from the online search results to your physical location. Long-tail keywords are also becoming increasingly important. These longer phrases are the ones that fewer people will search for, yet they will bring some highly relevant traffic when they do crop up. Businesses need to keep a close eye on their analytics performance, and work out where their long-tail niches are.