Though it’s been around for decades, the Internet has only recently become available to billions of people–as recent as a few years ago. In 2014, worldwide Internet users totaled $2.4 billion. Fast forward to a mere 5 years later to March 2020, and the number has increased to 4.5 billion. On top of that, people are using the Internet in more ways than ever, with social media gaining 300 million new users every year.
Given the sharp rise in Internet usage over the last few years, it’s no surprise that the amount of information being shared has also drastically increased. One IBM study found that 90% of the data on the Internet today was created in the last four years. Much of this data exists in the form of content, whether in blogs or social media posts, news articles, or on YouTube.
With more online content being created at a faster rate, the quality of such content has become more important than ever. In the vast sea of information that is the World Wide Web, standing out above the crowd requires exceptionally high-quality content. But what exactly constitutes “high-quality content”? When it comes to search engine optimization, the answer is multi-faceted.
SEO content can be defined as content that is geared towards increasing search engine rankings or traffic. This includes service and product pages, blogs and articles, videos, images, and more. One of the fundamental practices in SEO is to optimize this content so as to maximize its ranking potential and increase traffic to the website where it is being hosted. While content management for SEO could be an entire blog series in of itself, keyword research is a basic starting point.
Keyword research is the process of researching what words and phrases are being used in search engines for a particular topic, website, product, or service–pretty much anything that someone might look up on the Internet. It is often the starting point for an SEO campaign, as keywords are essentially the foundation upon which all other SEO is built. With keyword research, you’ll have a better understanding of what your target audience is searching for and what content you should be creating to cater to their queries.
To that end, keyword research is especially useful when developing content strategies and editorial calendars. Knowing what people are searching for and when they search for it can help content managers devise a publishing schedule, so that certain content is posted when its respective keywords are at peak search volume.
Once you’ve determined the optimal keywords for a particular web page or blog post, the next step is to effectively incorporate them into the copy. The keyword(s) should be included in the page title, main heading (H1), and within the first paragraph or two. After that, keyword utilization becomes much more strategic, as simply stuffing your copy with multiple uses of the same keyword will not only do nothing for your rankings, but will also give it a spammy and unnatural tone.
When it comes to word length, there is considerable debate in the SEO community regarding what is optimal. While blog posts of 600 – 750 words used to be considered adequate, many SEO experts now believe that Google gives preferential treatment to longer posts of 1,000 to 1,500 words or more. A 1,500 word blog that isn’t too wordy and doesn’t lose the interest of the reader is a challenge, and often requires a more experienced writer. However, it’s better to have a post that’s a little short than no post at all.
Although content is just one cog in the giant machine that is SEO, it’s a big one. Writing effective content for SEO is a challenge that takes time and practice, and not every piece of content is going to rank well, even if it should. A potential solution to this and one of the single most important things content creators can do is to continue churning out as much quality content as possible. The more pieces of content Google has to work with, the more chances there are that one or more of them will rank well.
When creating SEO content, always remember to write for your audience’s eyes, not those of Google or any other search engine. The copy should be informative, easy to read and understand, and most of all, relevant to what the page or post is actually about. While this is by no means a comprehensive list of effective SEO writing tips, it should be enough to get you started.