Optimizing your Content for SEO is critically important, but it's really easy to forget to write the copy to cater to a human audience as well. In our last SEO post, we looked at the ways to optimize the title, so naturally, I'll go into body copy next right here.
First of all, you have to understand what SEO Content is:
"Seo Content" is a phrase used often by marketers, and it's broken down into two parts. SEO refers to search engine optimization, a topic that this whole section of the site is concerned about. The process of SEO is to optimize a website that would make it easier for users to find your site in the search results. The second part, "content" means text within the body of a website that can be used by people to gain information, make a decision or to take action.
When put together, SEO Content simply means human consumable content that is arranged in such a way that it has the best chance of attracting search engine traffic. While this might seem simple, there's a host of things that you have to think about when creating the content:
- Content structure and flow - Knowing, or crafting your article or blog post in a way that makes sense.
- Unique high value content - Creating content that gives a lot of value to the reader, and leaves them wanting more information is considered the holy grail of body copy crafting.
- Use and placement of target keywords - Moving over to the SEO part, you'll want to use taget keywords and their variants within your body copy in such a way that the Search Engines identify these specific words or phrases are your target keywords.
- Content Promotion & Sharing - What happens after the content is posted? You'll want to craft the piece in such a way that people feel compelled to share your post on Social Media. It also should be worthy of taking to other site owners that have related content and asking them to link to yours as a reference.
Types of SEO Content Structures
There's many different types of content that can be optimized for search engines:
- Blog Post - Probably are the most used, and some of the easiest to optimize for search engines. Generally speaking, blog posts can engage a reader much more than other types of posts, and as a result, can drive more traffic if the post is good and is used by other blog owners as a reference that they link to (this is called pillar content, and we'll go into this too).
- Product Pages - Some of the best product pages involve more than just a couple of a person's senses. While they might see what your write, also involve the other senses by adding a video so they also can involve their hearing. Creating desire and swaying a user to buy is topmost priority, but what good is it if no one is coming to your site? SEO plays a very big part of a product page. Keyword placement is critical, and knowing what your competition is doing for similar products gives you invaluable information that can help you create the next big seller.
- Articles - It doesn't matter if it's a news article, press release, interview transcript or just a featured piece of content, articles are almost as simple to SEO as blog posts.
- Guides and Tutorials - Some of the best, and highest value content for any site, a guide or tutorial walks the user through steps on how to do something, involving them. These are the types of posts that people come back to over and over, and also, link to as much, if not more than blog posts due to their value.
- Resource Pages - I was introduced to resource pages by Pat Flynn back in 2011 as a page of pillar, high value content that gave people a one stop source for related information on a given topic (usually for the whole website). These pages are rediculously simple to create as you could just list a resource you use and a nice description of the product and service, as well as what it did for you, and the ways you benefited.
There's a host of other types of content that you can optimize for search engines, but these are the main types that someone who is just starting out in their SEO Journey should think about creating.
Define Your SEO Content Strategy
Just sitting down and picking a topic out of thin air rarely works:
Sure, you might get lucky once in a while, but for the most part, a well written peice of SEO content will have at least an hour or two of research and note taking behind it. Unfortunately, you'll burn out and find out you're producing a lot of unread content by just shooting in the dark.
SEO Content Goals
Creating the overarching goals for your website should have already been done, but if not, then you have to think about what the main goal of your site is. Do you want to increase product sales? Do you do affiliate marketing? Is this an information based site? The goals for your site will greatly determine the types of SEO content you want to focus on.
If you're providing information, you may choose to use primarily a tutorial based model, or perhaps a blog. You'll want to really want to give better information than your competitors do, and a more engaging way as well.
If you're advertising products and services, a blog full of reviews, testimonials and use cases may be your ticket to making the sale. Along the same lines if you have an e-commerce shop, running a combination reviews and product descriptions that go beyond your competitors may be your ticket to repeat sales, especially if you're selling the same things as everyone else.
Knowing Your Audience
Knowing what kind of site visitor you normally get is done through use of analytics and perhaps surveys, but for new websites, all you can go on is the assumption of what types of people would normally be interested in what you (and your competitors) have to offer. Putting yourself (or someone you know) in the potential site vistor's mindframe can also help you create the type of content that people will come back for over and over.
If you're catering to stay at home moms, and you're offering household cleaning products, you might consider that many women are sensitive to the stereotyped traditional role of a stay at home mom, and create your content accordingly. You also might write a "parallel" (similar content) article, but focus on stay at home dads too.
If you're reviewing video games, you might want to have a lot of videos and shorter text blocks. Generally, gamers want to just jump in, and they don't read instructions except when stuck. Video games also are a good platform for tutorials and walkthroughs.
How To SEO Content for your Site
Having brought you up to speed, its time to start writing. Assuming that you've done your homework by researching the topic, keywords to target and who the audience will be, you should be in really good shape for writing.
The opening paragraph, also sometimes used as the introduction, should do three things:
- Grab the reader's attention - is pretty important if you want them to stay and read what you have to offer. This can be done in the form of a thought-provoking statement, question or even a fact. "Jane couldn't keep her house clean until she descovered this!" If you're catering to people who are looking for a better way to clean, you'll have their attention.
- Set the Expectation - There's nothing worse than over promising and under delivering. Setting the expectations (also sometimes called "setting the stage") of your readers right from the start won't make them click away or close the browser out of disgust that they wasted their time. Tell them what you're going to cover, as well as what you won't. If there's something that you don't go into, perhaps you can also link to another site's article that does give them the supplementary information they might want to read.
- Show a Benefit - what will your readers gain by reading the rest of the article or blog post? What will they gain by buying the product? It's the "What's In It For Me" syndrome, and everyone has it. Your readers will want assurances that they have something to benefit from if they take the time to read the rest of your article.
Use of Keywords In Your SEO Content
Keywords are vitally important in your first paragraph. For starters, you want your primary keyword as close to the front of the first sentence as possible. Throughout the rest of the paragraph and body copy, you will want to use your primary, secondary and tertiary keywords and their variants as naturally as possible to make the post easy to read for a human, but relevant to the topic for a search engine. While some put a percentage of keyword to content, meaning the keyword needs to show up in content 3-5% for all the copy, I prefer to use them naturally when needed. If you stick to your topic, this isn't hard to do.
Write for Humans First, SEO next
In the general scheme of things, as long as you have your ideas well laid out, you can write the post or article as you normally would for humans. You can then go back and edit the content and make adjustments for SEO. I prefer to do things in this order because if you're more concerned about SEO, your sentences might look more like Yoda written them: "SEO Content is a must." versus "You have to SEO content in order to gain better search engine visability."