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Content for SEO and humans

What is SEO Content?

Are you ready to write some amazing content for your website? Then this is the guide for you. We’ll help you write content that will help bring in the readers and boost your ranking on Google’s result pages. 

Simply put, content for SEO is any kind of content that helps your website rank higher in Google. This could be web copy, product descriptions, blogs, infographics, videos, podcasts – you name it, it’s got SEO content potential. 

Sounds easy enough – but how exactly does it work? Don’t be put off by the pages and pages of rules in Google’s content policy. The more complicated it gets, the simpler the solution; write good quality content that your target audience wants to read. No shortcuts, no sneaky timesavers – sorry!

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t tools you can use to ensure that Google recognises your great content. We’re going to look at two different approaches to writing content for SEO in this article. First, we need to learn how to write content that appeals to people. Then, we need to make sure we optimise that content for the Googlebot. 

How to write SEO Content for people

When you’re browsing the internet, think about the content that you end up reading. Maybe you’re looking for more information about something you’re interested in, or you’d like to become better at one of your hobbies. You click on it because you find it interesting and because it gives you the information you want.

Then you need to think about how long you spend reading that content. Was it exactly what you were looking for, or did you click away immediately? 

Maybe the title was misleading – so you click away. Perhaps it was really difficult to read, with long, wordy sentences and no subtitles – you return to the results page to find something better. It could simply be that the person who wrote the article doesn’t seem to know what they’re talking about – you give up and click away to find something better. 

The aim of content is to target your audience, write content about a subject they’ll love, and present it in a way that will keep them on the page until the very end.

Target audience

Whatever you’re trying to sell, you need to have an in-depth understanding of who your target audience is. Find out their age, their gender, their job, their income, their online behaviour and their interests. What social media platforms do they use? Do they use their laptops or their mobiles more?

This information is gold to the content creator. Using it, we can create your target audience persona – a fictional person who has all the typical characteristics of your average consumer. 

Let’s imagine your target audience persona is Dave. He’s in his mid-30s, owns a home with his partner and doesn’t have any children. He’s into video games and has enough disposable income to afford a decent gaming PC. You find out that he uses his mobile during the day when he’s out and about, but likes to browse the internet on his laptop in the evenings.

Use this information to browse pertinent social media sites to find what he wants to know. Use these as content ideas and relate them to profitable keywords, and you’ll end up creating high-quality, keyword optimised content that provides undeniable value to the reader.

Readability

When we talk about readability, we are talking about presenting our ideas in the simplest and most engaging way possible.

A lot of online content will be read on a mobile, while the reader is walking down the street, or sitting on a bus. Maybe they’ll try and get a couple of paragraphs in before their friend turns up for their coffee date, or glance at a few sentences in the evening as they heat up their dinner. Our reader is being pulled in so many different directions by life that we want to make it as easy as possible for them to consume our content.

That’s why we suggest writing content that a 10-year-old will understand. This isn’t dumbing down to your audience – it’s simply making it more likely that they’ll hear what you have to say

How can we do this?

Present your content in manageable chunks

Keep your sentences short – an average of around 20 words is ideal. But please don’t make every single sentence 20 words long! Make sure you vary your sentence length, otherwise your content will end up sounding robotic and uninspiring.

The same goes for paragraphs. A long chunk of text will invariably put a reader off. And, if you think a paragraph looks slightly too long on a laptop, the issue is magnified massively on a mobile screen.

Once you’ve got varied sentences and good paragraph lengths, the next best way to make your content look easily digestible is by using subheadings. Try and use one at least every 300 words. This will not only make your content look more inviting, it’s also much easier for the reader to scroll through and find the section that’s pertinent to them. 

Avoid the passive voice

The passive voice is a sentence structure that you should avoid – it’s lazy and it takes away urgency and vibrancy from your writing. Let’s compare:

Passive: The book was read by the man. 

Active: The man read the book.

Both phrases make sense, but the passive deviates from the usual sentence structure of English. Rather than Subject (The man) + Verb (read) + Object (the book), in the passive structure the object comes first. 

This has two effects. First, it makes the sentence unnecessarily longer. Second, it makes the sentence less clear. This is because we’re expecting the subject to come first, and when it doesn’t it takes us a microsecond to work out what is going on. 

We want our content to be as easily understandable as possible. So, wherever you can, avoid the passive voice and use its active counterpart. 

Do your research – and prove it

In an age of fake news where anyone can publish their wildest thoughts on the internet in a couple of clicks, it’s vital that you do your research. Where did you get your information from? Can you prove it? 

By doing this you’ll garner more trust from your audience – but only if you do it right. Don’t link out to a conspiracy theorist’s grammatically-dubious blog. Instead, find reputable information from professionals and use this to inform your content. Newly-published surveys or academic studies are a great place to start. 

Not only will your content be better for it, it’ll also mean that it is more likely to be shared and readers will be more receptive to your company as a whole. 

Be original, be better

It’s hard to be completely original on the internet. If you’ve got a content idea, someone has probably written something about it already. But, that doesn’t mean you should give up! Google your target keyword and take a critical look at the content you’ll be competing with. What are they missing? What questions have they forgotten to answer? How can you do better?

One good way of ensuring that your content is superior is to make it longer. If their article is 1,000 words, then yours should be 1,500. To do this, you’ll have to go more in-depth than they did by doing more research and creating a more comprehensive piece of content. 

This means that when someone has to choose between the two similar pieces of content, they’ll immediately lean towards the longer one, as it is more likely to answer their question. You win!

How to optimise SEO content for Googlebots

So, you’ve got your beautifully-crafted content that is easily readable, well researched and perfectly honed to match your target audience’s needs. Now what? In fact, all those steps you took to make your content better for humans actually makes it better more attractive to Googlebots as well.  

On top of that, here are some quick tips and tricks you can use to help your content climb up the rankings.

Keyword research

Ah yes, keyword research. You’ll be able to learn more about keyword research in our of other blog, so let’s focus on how to ensure your keyword is right for your content. The first – and most important – question is whether your keyword reflects what your user will be searching for.

User intent

Pop your proposed keyword into Google and see what comes up. It might present you with blogs and articles, which shows that your keyword is informational. This means the user is looking for more information on a topic and it’s perfect for you to write content about. 

Example: Do dogs need boots in winter?

If it comes up with ecommerce sites, or websites where you can buy something directly, then your keyword is transactional. Users have already decided they want the product or service and are looking to buy it. You might want to rethink your keyword. 

Example: Dog boots 

Avoid keyword cannibalisation

This is quite a complicated subject. To put it as simply as possible; don’t write two blogs about the same subject. There are two ways to avoid this. 

If you’re a luxury shoe retailer, make sure that you don’t use “luxury shoes” as the keyword for all of your blogs. Instead, make the keyword for each piece of content more specific. For example, write one blog on luxury high-heels and another on luxury brogues.

Or, use both blog ideas to create one, longer, more in-depth blog. A guide to luxury shoes, for example.

Demonstrate E-A-T

Whatever sector your company is in, you want to position yourself as the expert. Google rates your site using the acronym: EAT (expertise, authority, and trust).

If you don’t have these three things, then Google will penalise your site and rank it lower. To ensure your content has all three of these requirements, you can use expert authorship.

This is when you get a professional to put their name on content. In one swift blow, you’ve got Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness! For example, if you sell skincare products, then having your blog authored by a registered dermatologist will make the Googlebots (and your readers) hold your content in higher esteem.

 

 

Title tag and meta descriptions

The title tag and meta description are what you’ll see on Google when your website appears.

Meta title

Your title tag should be between 30-60 characters. You should always include your target keyword and ideally have it at the beginning – and don’t forget to include your company name as well! It’s good practice to use capitals as well. Example:

How to Write Content for SEO | upUgo

Meta description

Your meta description should be between 70-150 characters and be designed to get people to click on your site. Make it engaging and snappy – but don’t give too much away!

If you make it too long, Google will cut it off so the user won’t be able to read the whole sentence – and it looks messy. Make sure to include the keyword here as well, but don’t just copy the meta title or it’ll sound repetitive. Example

Have you been writing content for your website without optimising it for SEO? Find out how to write fantastic content for SEO in our blog.

Internal links

Your content should provide value to the reader, but it should also provide value to you. Make sure you include internal links, which are links to different pages within your website. This could be other blog pages, product pages or just your homepage. This shows the Googlebots that your content is relevant to the rest of the site. 

Try and include an internal link in the first paragraph of your content – this passes through authority to your site straight away. 

External links

External links are those that link out to other websites on the internet. Don’t overdo it – you want to be picky. You should only link out to websites that are both authoritative and relevant to your business. 

Also, choose your anchor text (the text you click on to follow the link) wisely. Adding the link to a generic phrase like “click here” adds zero value to you and makes the Googlebot roll its tiny eyes. 

Good anchor text is short and snappy, highly relevant to the page you’re linking to, and not overly keyword-heavy. Take this anchor text to our great blog on how to optimise your images for SEO.

So, that’s a quick run-down of how to ensure that the content you create for your website is well-optimised for SEO purposes. Why not browse our SEO hub to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to boost your SERP results?

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