Create SEO-Friendly Content in 10 Simple Steps
Updated: Oct 19, 2022
Content on your website is one of the main reasons why anyone comes to your site. Whether that’s the products you’re selling, the images you’re creating, the blogs you’re writing or the services you’re providing.
Whatever the reason, the fact is people love great, original, engaging content, but not all content is created equally in the eyes of our search engine overlords.
Without making that content SEO-friendly, people simply aren’t going to be able to find it, let alone get to the point where they enjoy looking at it. All of the content on your website needs to be optimised for search engines., but how do you do that? We’re glad you asked!
Here we’re going to look at 10 easy ways you can ensure all the content you create is SEO-friendly so you can maximise its potential and get it working for you.
1. KEYWORD RESEARCH
Keyword research is one of the first things you should do, whether you’re building a website or writing content for it. Understanding what your audience is looking for helps enormously, not least because it helps you give them answer to the problem they’re looking to solve. If you don’t know what they’re asking, you’ve got no chance of answering.
Every piece of content you create should target one of your pre-determined primary keywords or phrases. Make that the overriding theme of the piece. You should also aim to include another 5-10 additional keywords, but what is a ‘primary’ keyword? Simply put, a ‘primary’ keyword is the main word (or words) that you want your site to rank for.
The keyword research you have done will (or should) have shown you what words and phrases create a high search volume, against those that offer a low search volume. There’s always a balance to be considered.
High search terms will have more competition, whereas low search terms will have less, but that means there’s more chance of you getting your virtual foot in the door.
If you haven’t done any keyword research, then start by asking yourself two questions when it comes to creating content; “what is your audience looking for?” and “what questions do they ask online?”. Knowing the answer to those questions, or at least having the best guess, will go a long way in knowing what content you need.
If you can answer as many questions as your customers (and potential customers) ask online, this will increase the chances of search engines offering your content as the answer. Of course, your competitors in the same field are probably (almost definitely) asking the same questions, so you need to think a little deeper to rise above them.
After all, if you’re all writing or creating content to answer the same questions, the chances of them clicking on yours are reduced. This is where you need to look a little deeper at keyword difficulty.
There are 4 main attributes to keyword difficulty;
Content of the page,
Search intent (which we’ll come to next),
Domain / website authority.
Each of those factors generates a ‘difficulty score’. Essentially, keyword difficulty boils down to understanding how difficult it is to rank for a specific term in organic (i.e. not paid for) search results.
If you know those words or phrases, the greater the chance you can create content that reaps rewards in terms of SEO.
The lower the difficulty score, the more chance it will rank with search engines, but the higher the difficulty, the less chance you have because there is more competition to fight through.
What you’re ideally aiming for are keywords / phrases that have:
High Search Volume + Low (<80) Keyword Difficulty = Seed Keyword
A seed keyword will be the starting point from which you can grow your keywords into a strategy to continually creates SEO-friendly content.
Finally, if keyword research is a new relatively concept to you, it might be worth taking a look at our Back to Basics post on it which is linked here.
2. UNDERSTAND SEARCH INTENT & IDENTIFY THE RIGHT FORMAT
When people type a search term into Google or any other search engine, there will be an intent to their words. Are they looking for information? Looking for a particular website? Researching the best product on the market or looking to buy a ‘thingymajig’ at the best price? Whatever it is, being able to identify that intent in the right format will be key to creating content that satisfies that need.
Collectively, these 4 search terms form the ‘4 Pillars of Search Intent’. Again, we covered this in more detail in the Back to Basics post on SEO, which you can read here, so we’re not going to go over it again, so feel free to go check that out and come back. We’ll wait ;-)
To help you understand search intent, you can experiment with it yourself. Open up Google (or any other search engine) and start typing queries related to your business into the browser. Put yourself in the mind of your customers; what terms would they be searching for that would ideally bring them to your site or, at least, brings your site up in the search results?
What kind of intent do those terms occupy? Are they informational (a how to… / guide to….)? Are they navigational (quoting your business name directly)? Are they commercial (the best …. / the cheapest ….)? Are they transactional in nature (buy [insert your product or service here] / price of ….)?
Once you know that, look at the top 10 or 15 articles that the search engine you’re using brings up. These will be your competition. What formats are they in and what formats are out there? What are their Call-To-Actions? What are the meta titles and meta-descriptions (more on these later) of the results?
Have a good look around the search engine results page (SERP); what featured snippets appear? There will be a ‘People Also Ask’ section; this is informational intent. The site links will be navigational intent? and if there are any Google Ads or Google Shopping links, these are commercial or transactional intent.
You’re looking for potential indicators that will help you understand the search intent for your potential customers and the right format in which to provide that information to your visitors. Speaking of meta titles…..
3. OPTIMISE YOUR META TITLES
You may not know the term, but you will almost certainly know what they are. Meta title tags are one of the major factors that search engines use to understand what your page is about. They are also often the first impression people have of your page, usually before they even click on it.
You will have seen thousands of meta title tags when surfing the internet. They are what is displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as that clickable headline for any given result.
They are important for both usability, SEO and any social sharing that takes place. As such, it needs to be an accurate, engaging and concise (50-60 words) description of what the page is about in terms of content.
The title you choose needs to be unique to the page, work with search intent (see the previous point), contain targeted keywords and motivate someone to click on it. That’s a lot to accomplish in such a short piece of text, which is why it needs to be optimised.
Don’t just copy a paragraph from your piece and hope for the best. Take some time to construct something that will really stand out. If you can include a CTA, even better!
A meta description (aka a meta description attribute or tag) is an HTML element that describes and summarises the contents of your webpage for users and the search engines crawling your site.
When someone searches for ‘something’, the search engines generate something called SERPs; Search Engine Results Pages (unless it’s a Googlewhack, then it’s just a SERP).
These pages list the relevant results of the search and hopefully, if that 'something' they searched is relevant to your business, you’ll be one of those listed in the SERP and hopefully, they click on your link and end up on your website.
There’s a greater chance they look at your site in the results if the meta-description hasn’t been automatically generated and looks like it was created by a human. Like you.
Each page will need its own meta-description and each one should describe the specific page it’s related to. No copying and pasting.
Each one should be short, only about 140-160 characters in total. It needs to capture their attention quickly. They don’t even have to be written in sentences; if the price, manufacturer, or material is more relevant, use those instead.
It should also have targeted keywords (remember them from earlier?). Ideally, you’re targeting an ‘emotion’ in those clicking, whether that’s interest, intrigue or curiosity. Where possible, include a CTA (Call to Action) in there too.
5. CATCHY H1 HEADINGS
In the great scheme of SEO things, the Heading 1 (H1) tags may not be as important as they used to be (or people think they are), but H1 headers are still important because they introduce your content to your audience.
The main title, or main header tag, technically doesn’t even have to be a H1, but it’s important to understand how a H1 (or even H2 or H3) fits into the user experience of the page and your website as a whole.
What is important is making sure that you create catchy titles from them that are unique. Take the H1 title of this blog for example, “Create SEO-Friendly Content in 10 Simple Steps”. It’s clear, it tells you exactly what you will be getting from the article and, we like to think, it’s catchy.
We could have easily called it ‘SEO-Optimising Your Content on Your Website So That You See The Improvement in Search Rankings By Reading The 10 Things We Have Learned From Our Time As An Organisation Specialising in SEO Which Also Might Work For You“. Still accurate, sure, but far too long so doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and probably isn’t going to inspire any excitement in its readership.
Your heading needs to be unique, but also should describe what’s discussed in the body of the text. People read the title first, so something that catches their attention is a must. You can consider ’guide’ titles that include “How To…”, “Why…” and “What…” and / or combine them with number lists like “Top 10…”, “The 5 Best….” or “x Things….”.
If you’re thinking people are sick (or bored) of these kind of lists, statistics say the opposite. In fact guides and number lists drive 2x more traffic compared to those without. Speaking of headings….
6. STRUCTURE YOUR CONTENT
All great content share a couple of attributes; they are all easy to scan and, more importantly, well-structured.
People are spoiled for choice when it comes to online content, so you need to make yours something special to attract people to it. In other words, your content needs to be optimised.
Being able to structure your content is vital, not only reads well, but looks attractive. If people just see a mass of unstructured text, chances are they’ll click away without even reading it, so you need to consider how your content looks, not just the substance of it. Thankfully, this is easy to do.
When writing, use headings to divide up content. The main title will be a Heading 1 (H1), but H2 (sub-headings) and H3 (sub-sub heading) tags will be useful too. This is simply a way of letting web pages know what the headings are for SEO purposes through HTML tags. They actually go down to H6, each one being another way of structuring your text.
When writing content, try to write in short sentences, dividing long sentences up where necessary. This helps make it easy to scan over for readers looking for salient points. Use paragraphs to keep thematic writing together; 1 paragraph should equal 1 idea.
In addition, highlight key words or important phrases by emboldening them or putting them in italics. Even change the font or style if necessary, anything that creates something visually interesting and appealing.
Also, where relevant, incorporate lists through bullet points. Again, this all makes text look more interesting a first glance which indirectly helps your SEO.
Of course, blogs vary in quality, topic and length. People will often write single posts around the 500-750 word count, but there’s a world beyond that. Longreads, as they are known, go the extra mile in terms of content. In fact, they go quite a few miles extra.
Longreads typically run to 3000+ words. These are great when you want to tackle a topic in much more detail.
If that sounds like a lot more work, it is, but bear in mind that long-reads tend to get 3x more traffic, 3½x more backlinks and 4x more shares, all of which help your SEO efforts.
7. OPTIMISE VISUAL CONTENT
If your site is more visual in terms of content, whether that means pages full of infographics, videos, images, checklists or templates, then there are specific things you need to do to help make them more SEO-friendly.
Visual content is a great way to rank highly in search results simply because people love to share something visually attractive, especially on social media. They look more attractive when showing up in timelines, but it doesn’t stop there.
More shares increase the number of backlinks, which subsequently increases trustworthiness with Google (and other engines) which in turn, ultimately leads to a higher ranking. The domino effect in action.
To create the optimal SEO environment make sure that all your images are optimised in terms of file size, not least so it loads quickly.
Also, make sure the names are unique and readable. A file name that’s just a string of numbers and letters won’t help anyone.
Don’t forget about their alt tags either. Make them unique and descriptive which tells the search engine what the image shows; if it’s a logo, have ‘logo’ in the file name. It’s also a good idea to make it relevant to the content topic and include as much relevant detail as possible in those all-important tags.
8. READABLE URL
For every page on your website, make sure that the URL is readable. Many platforms create this automatically, but not always and not if you write the blog first, save it, THEN come up with a title, so make sure what is displayed is descriptive, easy to read and includes those all-important target keywords.
Having a URL that’s just a jumble of randomly generated numbers and letters won’t help your SEO at all.
If your title is longer than one word, which it probably will be, try to use hyphens (-) between the words, rather than underscores (_). Also, keep it lowercase (which will help make it more readable) and keep it as short as you can. As it will reflect the title, if you do insist on a lengthy title, you can always manually shorten it to keep it snappy.
9. INTERLINKING ADJUSTMENTS
Getting someone, anyone, to find your content, read it and engage with it shouldn’t be taken lightly, but once they’ve enjoyed one post, then what? Ideally, we want them to read another, then another and then all of the content!
We’re sure you have a wealth of great content on your site already, so once you’ve got them reading one, link to other great content they might like. This is called interlinking, but wait!
Before you go linking here, there and everywhere, the first thing to do is conduct an audit of what you have already. Take a look it at all and ask yourself two questions; (1) which business relation topics does your content cover and which ones does it not? and (2) which articles are relevant and worth referring too?
From here, it will become clear that some content will act as ‘hub’ or ‘pillar’ pages; starting points that links to other content within the same theme, so make a list of them.
If we were to do it for our own business, we might look for some core SEO posts. From there, then look for other blogs that are related to SEO and link them together. Once you have identified these thematic ‘clusters’, go through them and link to relevant articles. You can do this with simple hypertext links or relevant anchor texts.
Whatever the topic, you will begin to identify that your content will (or should) begin to echo the ‘Buyer’s Journey’' of ‘awareness’, ‘consideration’ and ‘decision’. As such, any ‘awareness’ articles should link to ‘consideration’ articles, and they should, in turn, link to ‘decision’ content to create a seamless transition of beautifully connected SEO-friendly content.
10. OPTIMISE FOR MOBILE
With mobile devices now accounting for the majority of web traffic, rather than desktop machines, ensuring your content is optimised for mobile is a must.
Google also ranks mobile-friendly sites more favourably than those that aren’t, and actually penalises sites that aren’t mobile responsive, so it is essential that your sites, and the pages within it, are designed and optimised accordingly. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to too arduous.
Keeping your layout and navigation simple for users to understand so they can find and access the information they want quickly is a key factor. You’ll also need to analyse the speed your site loads to keep it looking good.
There are a number of issues you might have to contend with including site speed, mobile optimisation, HTML validation, etc. but there are a number of tools out there to help you with this.
We hope you got some value from this post and has helped you understand some of the ways you can improve your own content in terms of SEO. If so, feel free to share it with your network.
If there’s something we’ve missed, let us know in the comments below to share it with our community.
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