A Comprehensive Guide to Create Engaging Search Engine Optimized Content For Writers and Content Producers
Let’s start with a content plan
This is where we can conceptualize our story ideas for the next round of production. How do we determine what to create for our almighty readers? What kind of people are we faced and what topics would they be interested in? These are not easy questions to answer without some genuine thinking and digging, but they are essential to us creating content that will capture and retain our audience’s attention on the web. We’ll cover more on this topic in another article.
If Content is King Then Quality is Crown
One consistent factor that search engines look at when they rank our pages is quality of our content which has a lot to do with whether what we publish is sticky or not. Do users click on our search results when they search with a keyword? Among those who click through our links and open up the story, how many stay on our site because they are pleased with what they find and how many bounce of immediately? Impressions, click-through rates, session duration, and bounce rate are essential denominators that search engine would use to evaluate individual website search performances. While different search engines use different algorithms, the ultimate factor that all search engines would fall back on is user satisfaction as indicated by the stats mentioned previously. What would guarantee user satisfaction among search engine users? Look no further than the quality of the pages that they have clicked opened.
Speaking of quality, some people may get caught up and start to wonder if it has anything to do with their writing abilities and academic competence on the topic. Of course, in order for any piece to be considered well-written, the content producer has to be good at the writing process. However, that is not all that we are talking about. Good quality content in terms of search engine optimization usually share the following attributes: High Relevance, Freshness and Timeliness, Engaging/Compelling Storytelling, Interesting Facts/Findings, Utility, and High Readability.
Without further ado, let’s briefly go over these elements:
This is determined by those who land on our pages via searching with a specific search phrase. If a visitor lands on our post reviewing the best tankless water heaters on the market when he/she used the search phrase “tankless water heater review,” then it’s likely that the user would consider our piece of content to be relevant and be interested in staying to read more. On the other hand, if the user had googled “tankless water heater for sale,” and they ended up on our post that reviews water heaters, he/she might not find the content relevant and would leave relatively soon, increasing our page’s bounce rate.
A low-level of content relevance to what our visitors are interested in will drive them away, and thus lowering our chances to expose our content to them. This is where knowledge about our target audience can help us understand what is important and relevant to their interests. With this knowledge, we can make educated guesses on what search terms they may use to learn about certain topics and how we can make sure that they find that content on our site and that they find the content relevant.
Those who have been taught the elements that make up newsworthiness in journalism or pr classes know how important timeliness is to our readers. People like trendy news and hot topics. They are curious about what is going on right now and want to be among the groups that know what’s up. By covering topics related with current news, we’re often benefited from the side traffic that are branched out from major news events. What are people interested in learning about at the moment? We don’t have to go off to the street and wait for the next big hit to take place. Simply be ready to jump on the band wagon when something big occurs and join in the buzz. Say something different, insightful, useful, or entertaining. There we have it.
Reading a long and jargon-filled article about something that nobody truly understands? Ain’t nobody got time for that. We’re living in an increasingly fast-paced society where reading becomes less of a necessity for the younger generations to come. Many studies have raised the point that our attention span is getting smaller and smaller as multimedia stimulus flood our everyday lives. This is where things get tricky for us content publishers. How do we draw the attention of our audience and keep them entertain even if our choice of topic might be a boring one to begin with? Keep in mind that most people don’t hold enough passion for energy-saving outdoor sprinklers to want to read through pages of product analysis to find a good one. They want to know something useful, and they want it delivered in a concise, engaging, and entertaining way. High standards huh? There’s a good reason I am not a fulltime writer :P.
New and Interesting Facts & Findings
Yet again, another big draw for people to stop and click on a link – something new that they did not already know. What would catch their attentions even more is when the topic reveals something that none of their peers have yet discovered. If they learn about this new thing, there is a chance that they become the cool, knowledgeable overseers within their social circles. Either that or they will benefit from learning something new and take on a different approach towards mundane activities that would make their lives easier and better. This is a solid motive for anyone to take a pause and read into something new if you’d ask me. What do you think?
Even if our topics are boring and not trendy with no hopes of becoming miss/mister popular in the community, they still stand a chance in the battle for our readers’ attention. That is, if our readers are looking for something particularly useful. They have a specific need that needs to be fulfilled, and they are convinced that your post is what will help them out. If you have read the items listed above carefully, you would have noticed that the attributes offer utility to the users in one way or another. That’s right, even if a reader is simply scanning through your post out of boredom there is a function being fulfilled – to help the person waste time away. The trick lies in identifying what our most buck-banging audience would want to get out of our next piece of content and gear that piece around it. This ties into relevance, formatting, writing techniques, etc. Don’t forget, the sky is yours!
You don’t want to create a masterpiece music album and find out that your audience is deaf. Why? There is no way for the audience to enjoy and appreciate your content that you have put a lot of mind into no matter how high the quality is if the information of your pieces aren’t accessible. I am not the only one who has this concern about accessibility of information, as search engines also take precautions in how easy it is for visitors to consume your content based on their abilities to intake and process information. Some search engines would even go so far as to weigh your articles against readability standards like the Flesch Reading Ease to decide if your content is easy to read enough for the public or not. The main motive behind such an evaluation, that I assume of course, is to secure user satisfaction.
Why Quality of Your Content Is Important to Search Engines
No, Google, Bing, or Yahoo aren’t your mommies or school teachers constantly monitoring you to make sure that you are doing a good job at school. They care about your work’s quality because they are competing on market shares with other search service providers. That’s right, it’s self-serving motives, and rightly so. By creating quality content, you’re making the search engine developers and marketers’ jobs easier. As you please your visitors who coincidentally are also the search engines’ end users, you are doing the places like Google services. Generally speaking, you and your creations will be appreciated and encouraged with rewards of better rankings.
On Page SEO – Don’t Forget the Gift Wrap!
While all the previously named elements have a lot to do with writing, on page SEO has less and close to nothing to do with the actual content that you’re producing. This is the part where your marketing team would throw their arms in the air and say, hey your story looks great, but don’t forget to also add this and that before you publish it so we get noticed on the web.
Think of your blog post or news story as a gift that you have just created with beautiful talents and creativity. What do you gotta do before handing that gift to a friend or loved one? That’s right, you’ve got to wrap the present. On page SEO is like the gift wrap that you carefully pick out and put on the present to make it look good and stand out among other competing gifts. Quit lying to yourself by saying that you don’t care if your gift gets opened first because it looks so good. We all want our gifts to stand out in the batch, and we will talk a lot more about how to make our “presents” more appealing to search engines and our readers in the next articles.