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The notion of ‘high quality content’ is right at the core of successful SEO practices, but all too often it’s an idea that’s bandied around without a real understanding of what it means. The principles themselves are relatively simple – it’s fulfilling them properly that poses the challenge.
Content that works well for SEO tends to depend on two main factors: the relevance and quality of your material (is it well written by respected authors? Is it interesting, engaging and comprehensive?), and your site’s authority, which is determined by the number of links that redirect users to your site, and how reliable those links are.
Delivering on these fronts requires a careful combination of key factors, and demands a tricky balance of imagination, creativity, focus, relevance and authority. Here’s the recipe.
It’s the obvious place to start, but too many businesses begin SEO campaigns without establishing what they’re aiming for, or why. Before anything is produced, make sure your content has a clearly defined purpose: are you looking to reinforce relevancy, perhaps? Or earn links? You want the road ahead to be easy, and clearly marked. If you’re to competently cover basics like implementing Schema, structuring your site, indexing and URL management, it’s crucial that you collaborate with a technical expert. Powerful copywriting is important, but it’ll lose a lot of its impact if it’s not paired with a technician’s skills right from the beginning.
Plug into the Matrix
Decent SEO content that comes from reputable sources and provides useful, entertaining information will attract links and coverage from equally reputable and high quality online outlets. In this respect, it makes sense to combine your PR/Outreach and SEO strategies: working to develop content that itself breaks news stories or engages with current affairs will mean your site earns links from the kind of pages that boost rankings considerably. Unique angles on global events, insightful and original treatments of hot topics, comments from experts and exclusive statistics or research figures may be well within your reach, and will gain you the right kind of attention from sites with high domain authority.
Form-ulate new ideas
Shake up your formatting. Your content should be available in a varied range of media to keep readers entertained and engaged. A healthy mix of formats such as blog posts, interactive tools, visual galleries and long-form articles will inspire a creative approach to the content itself and meet the full spectrum of your audience’s needs. List formats of the kind that feature on Buzzfeed are noticeably popular at the moment – keep an eye on what’s trending for certain topics and ensure that the formats you select suit and enhance the subject of the content.
Stay on topic
It’s critical that your content is explicitly relevant to the subject in hand. If you have a page about giraffes, it won’t matter how many links you have – you’ll never rank for queries related to antique furniture. The role of relevancy in SEO content limits the power of links as a ranking factor, but itself impacts the value of a link. Carefully select your keywords to ensure they’re accurate associations, create additional content that has strong ties to your brand or company, and link out to relevant sites that are genuinely and significantly informative.
Write it like you mean it
Good copywriting is frequently underestimated, but it’s as key to successful SEO content as each of its counterpart factors. Text that is poorly written, grammatically incorrect, dull, badly structured or typo-ridden will cost your brand its credibility and shake off readers at an alarming speed. Instead, it should deliver a compelling articulation of valuable information, targeting specific keywords to allow search engines to understand the content relevancy to rank in the SERPs. Copy plays a major role in an audience’s first encounter with a brand, so serious thought should go into designing a tone of voice that reflects the character of your business. Gone are the days where we could get away with writing for Googlebots alone.
The tricks of the SEO content trade can sometimes seem like a dizzying cocktail of common sense, insider know-how and technical ability; but it’s hard to go wrong if you commit to delivering on the fundamentals. Derive your content from people who write well and know what they’re talking about. Use your imagination. Consult the experts when things get complicated. And most importantly, always serve the needs of your audience. The rest will take care of itself.