We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king” too many times to count, and that’s because it’s true....
Content Writing and Marketing Tips
Balancing What Readers Want With Good SEO
Good content won't win on the web by itself. Even the most valuable and insightful article can struggle to gain traction if you don't think carefully about it from a search engine optimization standpoint. Most website traffic today originates from searches rather than shares—so if you want to get noticed, you need to make sure you cater to the elements of effective SEO.
SEO today is a more complex beast than ever before. The effectiveness of keyword stuffing is long dead, and in many cases, less is more in content optimization. A soulless piece of heavily search-optimized content might earn an initial click, but it won't take long for a user to see it has nothing of substance to offer to reward them for their time.
Let's explore a few content writing and marketing tips that can help you strike the right balance between SEO and reader engagement.
Good SEO and Good Content Aren't Mutually Exclusive
Determining what your audience wants to read is an important step, but that information is often more variable than SEO best practices. While an effective strategy should focus on building good content first and factoring in the right keywords along the way, these strategies are two sides of the same coin.
To win in both arenas, you need to target keywords that real people will use when they want to learn something or take action.
By some counts, Google uses over 200 different factors in its algorithm to rank content. No number of content writing and marketing tips can help you ace every category. In fact, no one can function in a creative capacity while thinking so technically about their own content. Let SEO inform content structure and targeting, but don't let it paralyze you.
Use Keyword Research to Build a Foundation
There are dozens of keyword-finding tools out there, from advanced paid solutions to the tried-and-true reliability of Google Search Console. Build the foundation of your content using smart keyword selections that tie into your campaign goals. Use these keywords as a springboard for developing ideas that you can grow into full articles.
Search volume can tell you a lot about what users think, so consider user intent with depth as you select keywords. This process makes it simpler to produce results that both strike at key user desires and tick boxes for the algorithm.
Answer Questions Relevant to Your Readers
Answering questions is one of the best ways to offer value to readers while making the algorithm happy. More than 14% of Google queries come in the form of a question, and it is easy to come up with many possible user questions. Based either on keyword research or your own company's experience with customers, produce content that answers common questions and addresses key pain points.
As a bonus, question-based headlines that include the right keywords can capitalize on the growing popularity of voice searching. With nearly 45% of US web users using voice-based search, it's an essential group to target.
Use Your Analytics
Data doesn't lie—so what is it trying to tell you? Your analytics will tell you not just where and how your content ranks but how users generally respond to the content. Do they stay on-site and check out other content, or do they bounce quickly after they land?
You might have very effective SEO that's grabbing readers, but your content structure is still too dense or uninformative to serve users well. Or it could be the opposite—you’re not seeing much traffic, but what you do capture comes from motivated and engaged users. See where you can make improvements and learn about what your audience responds to the most by keeping a close eye on your analytics.
The Difference You Can Make With Content Optimized for Search and Users
The balance of strong SEO and good content is slightly different for every business: there's always a need to tweak the formula to get it right. When you recognize that you need to focus on both elements to be effective, you put your brand in a much stronger position to succeed online. As you absorb new content writing and marketing tips, don’t lose sight of the need to balance search engine outcomes and the interests of real users.