Content helps persuade and motivate customers; it also has the benefit of letting search engines know what you're about.
Unfortunately, many people write copy that is too focused on keywords while forgetting about the user experience.
With Google making changes at every turn, it's imperative that you focus on writing quality content that is valuable to your customers; it should be both valuable and act as link bait.
And, in this post, I'm going to show you how to write content that both Google and your readers will love.
Natural Sounding Content
You've likely heard the term "keyword stuffing." This once popular strategy involved including a certain keyword density in your website copy. Anywhere from 2% to 7% was considered beneficial. Search engine algorithms have become savvier and are now able to interpret the meaning of pages beyond the number of times a keyword is repeated.
Over the years, Google has implemented algorithm changes which penalize websites that try to game search results and this includes unnatural text like keyword stuffing. A better alternative to keyword stuffing is to use keyword variations.
- Google now accounts for synonyms such as online marketing vs. internet marketing. The words "online" and "internet" yield similar search results when found near the word "marketing." Keyword variations like "law firm in Toronto" and "Toronto law firm" are also interchangeable in the eyes of Google.
When writing content, it's important to keep in mind Google's mantra: relevance. Every time Google provides you with a quick answer, they further solidify themselves as your search engine of choice.
That's where evergreen content comes in. Evergreen content differs from content such as news-jacking. Where a news-jacked post may garner more traffic over the short-term, evergreen content is focused on long-term (search-based) traffic. A piece of evergreen content will be just as relevant 2 years from now as it is today.
Sites like eHow and About.com have built empires based on evergreen content. Their articles consistently garner traffic that produce ad click-throughs.
Let's face it; we're not all a bunch of PhDs. Google realizes this as well. Do you remember learning that most major newspapers write for an 8th grade level? It's not a stretch for Google to think the same way.
If top performing search results were verbose and hard to understand, the user experience for most would be low. With this in mind, write shorter sentences and use words with fewer syllables. One way to gauge the reading level of a piece of content is to run it through the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. Shoot for an 8th grade level; often times, it will be difficult to achieve.
Top 3 Takeaways:
- Don't stuff your content. Instead make pages with tightly focused content and use keyword synonyms and keyword variations instead.
- Write evergreen content. Try and answer user questions. Write answers for questions people will always ask.
- Keep readability in mind. Don't try to show off your vocabulary; focus on writing clear and concise copy that is straight to the point.
I hope I've given you a few ideas on how to write optimized, yet useful web content. Remember that Google wants to give users the best and most relevant search results. Each piece of content on your website should be geared towards providing the best experience for the reader.