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Create content to satisfy audiences and search engines by looking beyond keywords
If you thought you had finally seen the last of the phrase ‘Content is King’, now is the time to take a deep breath, because it’s back. There’s no escaping the fact that content is hugely important in the digital sphere.
In fact, it’s so important that a shiny new search engine optimisation (SEO) sub-industry has emerged: SEO content marketing.
SEO content has picked up a bit of a bad reputation for being packed with keywords but not a lot else, and while this might be a somewhat clichéd representation, it’s worth using its slightly dubious character to make the case for looking beyond keywords when creating high-quality content that audiences want to read and search engines want to recommend.
But, what exactly is high-quality content?
An increasingly subjective term, quality could once be explained using a single, very simple formula:
Great writing + solid keyword research + seamless on-page SEO = high-quality content
But good SEO content is rarely created through such a formulaic approach. We’ve all seen content that’s drier than the Sahara because keywords and on-page SEO overwhelm what could be genuinely great writing if the writer had been given a little bit of creative freedom.
That said however, there is, of course, a balance to be stuck between wildly creative copy and the content we’re all so familiar with.
The right way to approach keyword research
Keywords are still relevant, but it’s important to step back and ensure you aren’t focusing on the terms you think are important without seeking any evidence to qualify your thoughts.
It’s also important to recognise precisely where your target keywords fit into your strategy. Ditch thoughts of keyword density and focus on the fundamentals to ensure that every piece of content you write has a specific purpose.
Organisation is key
Have you ever sat down at the keyboard and poured out a 1,000-word article in a stream of consciousness style that would have benefitted from a good edit before publishing?
Creating an outline before you start writing will help ensure that every piece of content you publish is easy to read and deeply engaging. Content that your audience finds valuable will increase your conversions, which will in turn boost your rankings, because search engines recognise valuable content.
Additional considerations to make
– Stay on-brand
Avoid changing your tone, vocabulary and brand message solely to incorporate a new keyword. You want to meet the expectations of your audience, not confuse them.
– Authenticity and integrity are imperative
If your audience doesn’t believe you, there’s nothing that you can do or say that will convince them to buy your product or invest in your service.
– Write for your audience
Good SEO content reaches far beyond what you think your audience wants to read and delivers the information they really want to know.
– Don’t discount micro-engagement
Long-form content can be a bit dull, which is why it’s important to incorporate small, immediately engaging elements like numbered lists, relevant images and GIFs, which will keep eyes on your content from beginning to end.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to content creation, but writing for real people, structuring for search engines, and providing an engaging experience will always serve you well.