Sometimes when we are talking to our clients the message we are telling them goes something like, “look it doesn’t matter how much on page SEO I do, if you don’t post some content for us to work with it’s really hard to get you to grow traffic and rankings”. Sadly, the response is often – I don’t have time. Huh? You don’t have time to grow your business?!
Heck, yes, we are all busy, and writing good content is not always easy, but it really is becoming more and more the factor that separates high ranking sites from the also ran’s. How much content you need is obviously relative to what business you are in, who you are competing against and how much business you expect your site to generate, but adding quality content is never going to hurt!
If say you are starting out a new business and offering financial services or products, then you are competing against some of the biggest and best funded sites in the world. Building an audience of followers based on your writing is one of the few areas you can really expect to be playing on par with the giants! Link building, site size, local offices, overall marketing budget are all going to be a David versus Goliath situation. If you remember that story, it was a case of David being smart and doing the unexpected not going in mano-o-mano . Writing good content can be your secret weapon too, your proverbial sling!
So how can you consistently and effectively create content that your audience wants to read? Well, here are some tips based on what we at Guaranteed SEO do, and find to be effective.
To start, you need to have something to say about something of interest. This comes from having expertise or knowledge (probably about your products and services) and knowing what excites, frustrates, confuses and amuses people about what it is you are going to write about. This is perhaps not an absolute requirement, some great posts I have read have been from frustrated users not experts, but it certainly helps if you are writing about something you know about, and have an idea about how to gain the interest of your readers.
It’s no doubt a little easier if your topic is fun and exciting such as say skiing, or travel, or scuba diving, but you would be amazed at how many people are trying to find good information on home renovation, quilting, how to fix a blocked drain, how to use social media, or even humorous accounts of how not to do something (also about how to fix a blocked drain :-)) !
Write for people and they will respond by reading your post, sharing it, liking it, commenting on it, reading other posts etc. When they do this, the SEO robots will notice your material and reward your content. Sure, being found counts – as I discuss further down this post- , but it’s useless if your conversion rate is zero because no one sticks around to read what you said. keep in mind that you need to be realistic, for most posts only a few percent of the people taking a look, or that it gets in front of, will interact with you, but this will build if you keep at it and keep refining what you say and how you say it.
While the days of trying to please the robots first are over, try to stay focused on a topic or theme, because if the search engine robots are unable to categorize your material or worse mis-categorize it then it’s harder for them to help people find your content, and the people that do find it might not actually be the right audience.
Lots of people are busy writing posts that are 300-500 words because at some point in the past that was the standard suggested by some unknown or long forgotten authority. The fact is that is your content is well written and interesting people will happily read more. In fact the average length for top ten ranked pages is over 2000 words. Think about your own behavior. I’ll bet you share more longer and informative articles with friends and colleges than you do short superficial ones. You want to provide something that is interesting, useful, comprehensive and authoritative.
Take the space to do the job right, no more, no less! Go deep and try and leave your readers with some clear actionable tips that they can use. Nothing gets your content shared like having someone think “great idea, I bet “X” would love this”. This does not mean write 10,000 word posts! It means cover a topic well and provide content that is of use to your readers as efficiently as possible.
For many of us, writing starts out being fun, because we have lots we want to say. But let’s be honest, for most of us it’s not easy to produce consistently good content and figure out what to say week after week. Perhaps counter intuitively, writing more helps. The more often you write, the bigger your writing muscles get (the mental ones not your fingers!), the more you develop your own unique voice and style, and the easier it gets.
You will form good writing habits. Not every piece of content will be a master piece so don’t get all perfectionist and stress over each word. Writing content for your site or sites is a long term commitment and like anything, some work will be great, some not so good. Enjoy the positive feedback when it comes, accept the negative as a chance to improve. Keep writing! It get’s easier and your writing gets better! If it really doesn’t then find someone else to write and stick to supplying topics and ideas. Every great author needs a muse.
This may seem obvious, but like many things, you may be guilty of overlooking the obvious on occasion. Keep in mind that you are not restricted to questions that are posted in response to previous blogs or posts. Questions come from all over and may be from any source that is relevant to your blog, your audience, or simply that you think is worth sharing a response to.
If you own a bakery, then people coming in and asking you about gluten-free products might be a great source for a blog post. If you are a travel agent then, questions you are asked on a phone call by a nervous client might be worth working into a post. If your business is a dental office, then questions that allay the concerns of nervous patients, or that answer or even correct misinformation are all good.
Keep in mind that you may get questions or feedback in the form of comments or e-mails concerning a particular post. Be sure to respond in a positive and constructive manner. Even if you don’t win that reader over, you will be seen by others as at least trying to be helpful.
It is still surprising to me how much work goes into making content and then how little into distributing it. I guess this is the writing version of “I built a great product, now people will magically find me and buy it!”. I am not saying that has never happened. Heck, people do win lotteries, but I never have, and most of us never do, so this leaves the hard work of making sure that what we write is posted in many different places. To do so, first off, make sure it is easy to share – does your page have social media buttons on it – and not just for Facebook or Twitter. There are lots of great alternative social media sites out there that can drive real business opportunities for you as you can see in some of our recent blog posts.
Depending on your topic there may be specialty sites that you can post on. If you are a business then sites such as Facebook and Twitter are pretty much de rigor but don’t overlook LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and some other sites we recently wrote about. Take a bit of time to learn how to best post the content and if appropriate consider promoting it to reach a wider audience.
If you want your content to help drive your search engine rankings (and why would you not???) then set up a Google + account and post your material there too! Increasingly search engines are looking at social media signals and social site interaction as an indicator of how interesting and relevant your material is.
You took the time to write something interesting, take the time to post it and don’t simply leave it orphaned on your webpage or blog for someone to find.
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