Follow these four steps to create exceptional content and drive more traffic to their website.
To no one's surprise, Google still cites links from authority websites as one of the top three factors (the other two being content and RankBrain, Google's AI program that processes search results) that influence your ranking. Attracting traffic to your website without providing interesting content is analogous to driving a car without fuel; it simply won't work.
The task of creating content can be daunting, if not only for the mass of existing content online.
The internet has matured to a point where you can no longer get away with mimicking the plethora of 500-word, how-to articles or the endless top-three lists that flood the internet. No, your content needs a unique angle, and it should offer a fresh perspective.
In fact, Google’s algorithm rewards exceptional content with higher rankings, even if that content does not have many backlinks.
More often than not, the results that rank high, especially for competitive keywords, are ones that users found the most relevant and valuable as it relates to that particular search.
For instance, if you search for "how to improve your sleep" and a mattress company's product page shows up, you will likely click out of it and look for a result that better suits what you were looking for.
Say you end up finding a sleep improvement guide a few results below the mattress page that contains a step-by-step process for improving sleep, and you spend 10 minutes reading it.
Over time, Google will account for the high bounce rate of the mattress page and the low bounce rate of the guide and rank the guide above the mattress page.
So where should you begin when creating content that will shine? To start, reverse engineer what your target audience deems as valuable content. Survey what already exists by performing Google searches for the keywords you want to target and evaluate the first-page results.
Take note of patterns, trends or common themes you observe and ask yourself what makes this piece of content better than other articles. Analyze every aspect of the top-ranking pieces, including formatting, visuals and video. Make sure you set your search to only show results from the past year to focus on recent content that will have more relevance.
In particular, pay close attention to content that has a lot of engagement, in the form of comments or social shares. You want to know what made that content attract lots of hype from the influencers in your industry.
One way to do this is to plug the top results into a content analysis tool like Buzzsumo. You can see the number of shares of each piece and, in addition, you now have a list of targets you can pitch your finished content to.
Here are four general tips you should follow to improve your content.
- Make it longer. At least 1,500 words is a good starting point, but 3,000-plus words is ideal. Content that is concise doesn't retain users like long content, and, like I mentioned above, user engagement is vital for organic rankings.
- Incorporate interesting data. If you have researched a particular area of your industry that has led to newfound insights, include key statistics or data points into your content. In fact, one strategy for creating robust content is to conduct a study for the sole purpose of using it in a future content piece.
- Format and structure properly. Use shorter paragraphs and sentences. Shorter sentences scored 58 percent higher in measured usability compared to web pages jammed with text made up of long sentences. Break up your sections using paragraphs, H1, H2 and H3 tags.
- Visualize. You can create an infographic, but chances are that a similar one already exists, so your infographic better offer something unique or noteworthy. Creating an interesting infographic requires a delicate balance of presenting the right amount of content while maintaining an aesthetic appeal and not overwhelming readers.
To stay ahead of the game, consider creating an interactive map. These have garnered a lot of attention lately, and websites love to link to them.
Finally, when creating your content, ask yourself if you would link to the content on your website. Your gut response to that question will guide you along the way.