|Nope, Content Is Still King: Strategies for Successful Content Optimization|
|Written by Brian Harnish|
|Tuesday, 15 January 2013 14:02|
There are plenty of forms of SEO that can make a website successful. However, whether or not they work depends on industry, competition level, the likelihood of people converting into paying customers, and the quality of your website.
Of course, the combination of these appealing factors is what will help win over your potential clients in the long run.
Content has, however, always been a very strong method towards the successful SEO of a website. But, as of late, there has been a dynamic shift in the kind of content that people want to read and consume.
It’s Not Just About Length, But Quality Too.
There are recommendations out there about articles that focus on length, but also quality is an important part of improving your content output. Is your spelling and grammar top notch? Or is your post riddled with errors?
Quality of information is also important. Audience research is important, too – finding out what the people you are targeting are interested in. Once you have done this, you are ready to start composing your content.
Length, length, length and more length...
Longer form content tends to be content that is higher in quality and most people typically want to share this kind of content. It has an even greater chance of going viral as a result.
But, just because content is long doesn’t mean it’s of high quality. You can have a 2500 word article and yet the article can say nothing, while a 500 word article on the same topic can provide more value.
It’s all in how you communicate through your content and the platform through which you plan to do this.
In certain industry verticals, a 500-word piece with a couple images may suffice. In other verticals, 4500 word technical articles with plenty of illustrations and video will be more appropriate, showing case studies and additional information that will help the reader accomplish the primary goal of the article.
An Overview of the Important SEO Elements of Great Content
There are several elements that go into optimizing great content that include several SEO factors. What are they and how can you make sure you provide the highest quality?
These are absolutely important. Without a great, interesting, and descriptive title, it is impossible to pique any interest in a piece of content. Most people look at the title to see what the content is about before viewing it.
If the title doesn’t provide the hook, most people will simply go to the next article that has a more interesting title. This is something you have to work at to improve.
Of course, the part of any page that a user sees in the Google search results is the Meta Description. Including a well-written, unique Meta description is important for visitors who see your site in the search engines.
It is important to make Meta descriptions on each page unique, because Google pays attention to that. Google Webmaster Tools has a tool that shows you all the duplicate Meta descriptions that exist on your site (if you have them). It is absolutely worth the effort to ensure that Meta descriptions on each page are unique.
Even Matt Cutts himself says that the Meta description tag is worth paying attention to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBTBEfd7z_Y
Headings, H1s, H2s, H3s
Headings are also important. They separate paragraphs and help make your content easier to read. In addition, these may help rankings in Google when they are crafted properly. Utilize target keyword phrases in a descriptive (but not spammy) way throughout H2s and H3 headings in order to help communicate relevance. This can help with rankings.
You know the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words? This is absolutely true. Adding relevant pictures into your content to help tell the story is a great way to add value and spice up the appearance of your content. It is also recommended to use alt text as a descriptive element on images.
Use keyword phrases in a descriptive way to describe the image but to also help provide a boost in relevance. Remember, that by default Google doesn’t see images without alt text. It is just a blank space from the spider’s point of view.
But be careful! You also don’t want to spam your alt text with hundreds of keywords. This is sure to get you on Google’s bad side. And, one other thing – it’s always referred to as image alt text. However, some have gotten into the bad habit of calling them alt tags. In reality, it’s the alternate text attribute of the image tag. There is no such thing as an alt tag. Ok I’m done with that small side rant!
Video is another fabulous way to tell the story. If you’re doing a video blog post, and the video is long enough, provide a complete transcription of the video below it as the blog post. This helps with those people who just want to scan and can’t always view video (such as those who are at work), and also provides a significant content boost for that page when done right.
Also, don’t forget about internal linking! Link keyword phrases within your content to the internal page that is relevant to that link. Be careful about context and that the link is actually relevant. In addition, the link should also help people find additional information that is relevant to the article.
Include Keyword Phrases In Your Content
No, folks – SEO is not dead. SPAMMY SEO, however, is as dead as a doornail.
It’s certainly important and beneficial to include keywords in your content. But, you also have to be careful. Context and relevance are key. If the keyword belongs in the paragraph and is relevant, include it. But, also write it in such a way that reads naturally rather than content that reads like it was written for a search engine spider.
The key is to write for both your readers and the search engine spiders themselves. Trying to focus on keyword density, however, is barking up the wrong tree. It’s a myth and over focusing on keyword density can lead to the devaluing of your pages raising a red flag to Google that your site is quite possibly trying to spam its index.
A short mention of devaluation here is important because there is a difference between the devaluation of a page and being penalized for using spammy techniques.
When pursuing these techniques, it is always important to be mindful of quality. The quality of your content is what is going to win.
This brings to mind an interesting equation: Q + Q = T(squared), or, Quality + Quantity = Traffic(squared). Of course, the important thing is to plan your content strategy around your market vertical, what it will accept as quality content, the quantity of content you can publish without being considered spam, and how to build a solid publishing plan that will bring in that traffic. Have fun!
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