A Comprehensive guide on how to develop a content that is search engine and user friendly.
As a result of constant search engine algorithm updates, high-quality content must be an integral element of a company’s website and overall online marketing strategy. A constant stream of good contents website would show search engines that your website is relevant and would potentially give you the topmost place in search results. By good content means it helps a lot of people in a certain niche plus making the content more accessible to search engines. These are the types of contents that shine and will likely stay on top of the search.
Aside from determining the keywords that you should use, your contents should be distinctive, insightful or humorous so your audience will want to share it with other people, which will help you gain traffic as well.
Common types of effective contents are those that are:
• Useful where you would consider a list of statistics, an in-depth resource or guide or a how-to article.
• Funny and personal where you can insert related jokes, stories or situations where people can relate to. Also contents do not only mean “write-ups” as you can also utilize funny videos or graphics to catch their attention
• Lists of things that can become viral which should have a shock value, laugh or the “I want that” reaction.
• Illustrating data or advice in a visual format (or in a form of infographics) from free and/or paid tools that help arrange and visualize data.
On this article, we will be sharing tips and guides on how to produce a content that search engines and users would love. We will look at the factors and what makes a content really stand out for both SE’s and users. Here is the quick preview on the things that we will be tackling as we go along.
Contents for targeted queries
Content Type/Classification development
Always remember that this process takes time and effort to produce a good quality content.
Trend or interest tracking can be done in many different ways. There are lots of social listening tools available to keep track of the interest on a certain topic. This is where the content development usually starts. Tracking down the needs and interest of the people and produce something that might fulfill their needs. To start, here are some of the useful listening tools available:
Google Trends – Google Trends is arguably the most reliable tool to spot the trends and interest in the web. However, it is only limited by Google’s resources and unable to track other search engines’ data. But Google holds the largest share in search engine activity across the globe making Google trends a very useful tool in terms of numbers tracking.
Google Alerts – Google Alerts is a fresh content detection tool that is used to see the latest updates in your preferred industry. In content development, this tool can be used to see what relevant content is worth mentioning to give your target audience a more clear information on the content that you are sharing. It can also be a good tool to use in tracking who’s mentioning your content with or without a link back. Another benefit is you are able to look at the better angles in crafting your content.
CrowdTangle – Wanna know the secret of Facebook and Buzzfeed behind their success in terms of traffic? CrowdTangle is a social listening tool that is used to track trending topics on social media, get updated about the contents based on keywords, and see what your competitors are posting. Quite expensive tool but well worth the money.
Storify – Another social listening tool, Storify can be used for free. Like CrowdTangle, this tool is designed to track trending topics all over the web. It is also one of the best tools in collecting timely contents like news.
Using content and social listening tools is very essential in building an outstanding content that will be useful for users and friendly for search engines. They cut the time spent in manual research and they serve as your eye in spotting high quality and shareable contents on the web.
Contents for Targeted Queries
Why queries? Not keywords? Keywords don’t hold much weight anymore as semantic search now looks at the intent of the users behind the queries and not on the word itself. Before LSI and semantic search took place, Google would look at the queries as separate words and would come up with a results that are relevant to the words used in the query.
Hummingbird came and the game has changed.
When you type in, “My phone is broken, what should I do?” type of query, Google will not look at it as “My|phone|broken|what|should|do|” It will now look at the “CONTEXT” behind the the phrase and will treat the query as a whole. Not separated words. It’s just like when you tell your friend that your phone is broken and he might ask the reason behind it, what are the particular areas on your phone affected, or maybe he may tell you the best phone repair in town, or give you some solutions on how to fix it yourself. That’s how Google treats every query now.
Why is this important? It just only means that when developing contents for users and search engines, you don’t have to repeat the words/keywords/phrases redundantly unless the content itself demands to. Try to craft something that will provide solutions to problems, fulfill the user’s desire to know more, or simply entertain them. By using the tools mentioned on this article, you can clearly see what your target audience demands and will allow you to present something that will make them “AHA!”.
Content Type development
Web content is not limited on “texts” or the simply called “Articles”. There are a lot of content types that you can use not only to diversify the resources but to engage clearly based on the nature of the topic. For example, infographic might work well in stating facts or stats than an ordinary text article. Or a podcast is better than a slideshow if you are going to demonstrate something and will take a long time to discuss.
For this purpose, we will point out the types of the content that will best suit your target audience and the nature of the topic.
Content by Classification
Infographic – One of the best ways to present information and facts is through infographics. It is widely used by digital marketers in presenting numbers, facts, tips, and other types of information that might require visuals. In psychology, most people are annoyed in reading numbers. I even skip a part of the article that states too much numbers. In order to get rid of this, you often see stats, in visuals. The reason behind it is that our eyes love seeing colors. There’s even a study proving that infographics are shared and liked three times than an ordinary content.
Videos – Videos can be expensive, cheap or even free depending on the demand of the topic. Nevertheless, this is one of the most powerful types of content that drive a significant amount of traffic to a website. This can be used in tutorials, live stream, how to’s, documentations, or even facts presentation. However, the condition still lies that if you want to come up with a good video content, do not expect it to be free or cheap. Producing a good, and engaging video can be tiring, expensive, and resourceful. Worth the effort though if done right.
Slideshow – Slideshows are used in the same purpose as the inforgraphics or video. However, this requires a lot of creativity to make your audience click up to the last slide. It requires a lot of call to action especially if your presentation includes 100 slides or up. Here’s an example of a good slideshow content from Ross Hudgens.
Meme – Yes a Meme can be used in content development! Memes are everywhere on the internet and you don’t actually need a super relevant image to fit it on the content. Just a bunch of short text will do. However, overusing memes can degrade the value of the content and users might find it unprofessional. Good thing about memes is that you don’t need to have a good graphic design skills. It can also be spread easily through social media sharing.
Podcast – Podcasts are still popular these days and are easy to make. One of the easiest ways to make a podcast is to find some of your existing articles or contents and convert it to podcast. People still listen to this type of content especially those who don’t have enough time to read articles. It is also a good way of diversifying your content for re-purposing.
E-book – This is one of the best ways to gather emails and build your audience in content marketing. E-books already made their way to internet marketing and grows as one of the best information resources on the web. E-book can be in different format, the most common is PDF. And this type of content usually offer green information that lasts for a long time. Though the process of producing a good E-book is time consuming, it’s still worth doing because large portion of internet users love E-books.
Plugins – Can we classify plugins as contents? I would say yes. Though it is rarely used as part of overall digital marketing, plugins can be a good type of content because you can easily offer them to users and help them with their website management. One good example is the Yoast SEO Plugins. When you visited their website, you can find nothing purposeful than E-books and the Plugins. But the website build its brand using their plugins.
Content by Type
Case Study – Case study is not necessarily about numbers and facts. It can also be in the form of story telling by disclosing the things that work and don’t work for you based on your experience. And it is one most powerful types of contents that drive a significant number of traffic, link backs, and social shares.
Interview – Every industry has big players. And if you are able to get one to be interviewed, that would be a big point for your content marketing. However, not everyone is able to get the leaders for an interview. As an alternative, you can find someone that has a pretty good knowledge in your industry and try to invite them for a short talk and document everything that he/she would say.
Lists – A list is one of the easiest yet powerful types of contents that you can offer. You can just pick your preferred topic, pick the meat and list them down and you’re done. The longer the list, the better the content will be. Here’s a good example of a list content. These types of contents drive a good amount of traffic from long tail keywords. It can also help in conversion optimization.
How-to’s and Guides – One of the most popular and common types of contents on the web, How-to types of web contents are well fitted to match users’ query since lots them often start in “how to” when doing search queries. And just like the list content, it also has a good potential in ranking for long tail keywords. Even in this blog, we write a lot of how to contents because it’s the easiest way to tell our audience that these contents are meant to help you.
Product Reviews – Product reviews is one good way to establish a brand’s authority and leadership. Remember that in every industry, there are lots of unique products and services. Making a product review is done by just using the the product or service and share your experience from it. Make sure to mention the brand and share it in your network.
Opinion Post – Mostly this is done in the form of video or article. This type of content is designed to counter a person’s opinion over the subject matter. But be careful in stating your opinions and make sure that it is backed up by in-depth research and strong data. Through opinion posts, you are creating something that is worth talking and sharing, you are also creating an atmosphere where people can state their opinion over a certain topic, that in the end – delivers a good amount of traffic and link backs to your content. Here’s a good example of opinion content from Red Phil Philosophy.
Evergreen Contents – Evergreen contents are the ones that stand valuable for a long time. How to’s and lists are some types of evergreen contents that offer value that never gets old to users. One good example is this article. Years from now, this article will still be a valuable source of information to those who want to know more about optimizing contents for users and search engines. This also drives a good amount of traffic, links, and social shares depending on the quality.
(READ: Useful Ways to Improve Your Content Development Process)
Welcome to the meat of the topic
Content optimization is very critical in developing a content for both search engines and users. It will not only give a signal to search engines that you have a worthy piece of content, it will also provide a great user experience to your audience. When it comes to the optimization process, there are things that still work and we will be pointing out those things along the process.
Title – The most important and critical part of the content is the title. In pre-semantic search era, title with the exact keywords always win the ranking game. Now that we are playing around the semantic search, keywords no longer hold much weight in optimizing the title tag. It should be straightforward and relevant to the content. No need to stress yourself in finding the best keywords for your title.
Header Tags – Basically, your title will be the main header of the page in the HTML hierarchy. Search engines love contents that use different header tags because it indicates that a content is well-structured. Again, keywords is a plus but not highly needed. In my case, I use one H1 for every article, and then use H2 tags for all sub-titles. Remember that you can use as many H2 depending on the demand of the content.
Meta Description – Meta Description plays a big role in inducing organic click-throughs. Let me clarify this: Meta Description doesn’t hold much weight in rankings – close to nothing in fact. BUT it doesn’t mean we should stop optimizing it. Like I said, it helps in getting CT’s in the SERP. Some SEO leave this section because they want search engines to fetch some part of the content naturally. It’s okay. But if you want to take control of the whole content, Adding and optimizing Meta description should be done.
Grammar – Both SE’s and users hate articles with wrong grammar. So better check if you are making an article for some grammar errors and fix them right away.
Images and ALT Attribute – Use relevant, clear, and compressed images in a content to make it more engaging. ALT Attribute for images are very important because it tells search engines about its relevancy to the content as a whole. It is also a factor in ranking for image search. Proper use of ALT attribute and file name of the picture can have a good impact in rankings.
Optimize URL – Straightforward, clean, and relevant URLs are the easiest to crawl for the search engines. Make sure your URL does not include special characters because that might slow the search engines from crawling the whole content. You can include keywords as well, but with the semantics, Google and other search engines can determine the relevancy of the content based on the title and description. So don’t stress yourself in stuffing the URL with keywords.
Internal Linking – Internal links increase the usability of a website or blog by linking a post to another. There are two main benefits of internal linking – Improve user experience and providing relevant data for the visitors and search engine spiders. Other benefits include passing of link juice and decreasing bounce rate. Internal linking is very effective especially for websites having hundreds or thousands of pages because it can pull out contents that are buried for a long time. This WordPress Plugin can help you in internal linking.
Categories and Tags – When compiling your contents, you need to have proper categories and tags. This is mainly for the purpose of giving your readers a good user experience. For easy optimization, you can use your Yoast SEO Plugin if you are running a WordPress blog. Remember to restrict search engines from crawling and indexing the “tags” or taxonomy pages to avoid duplicate issues.
Linking out to Relevant Resources – Linking out to other relevant pages outside your blog often give users the better experience. That basically means you are offering them a resource that has something to do with what they are reading. Just make sure to make the link out no follow to avoid giving out so much page value.
Call to Action – Adding a call to action to your content doesn’t only mean getting emails. You can simply put call to actions to help users on what to do next. You may want them to read another content, or share it through their social media channels. Try to add something that will lead them to interact within the website.
Added Knowledge: Keep the intent of your content clear and in line with the behavior of the user in your chosen niche.
No matter how good the content is, the value still remains dead if people will not see it. Sure search engines will find it worthy and might rank high in SERP, but it will take some time before the content climbs up to rankings. Before that happens, you might want to do some syndication and let people know that you are offering a piece of web content that offers valuable infos. Here are some of the content promotion process that you can implement:
Social Media – According to the latest statistics, there are approximately 2.1 billion social media users around the world, 1.4 billion are Facebook users. That number alone is enough for us to engage in social media in promoting our contents.
Influencer Reach Out – If you cited some resources outside your website, you can email the blog owners and let them know that you link to one of their published works. That way, the chance of getting a mention or share will be higher.
Comment to blogs that share the same content – That those duplicated ones. But those blogs that discuss the same topic. Just make sure to drop a constructive comment and let them know that you have the same content. Another thing is you can tell them that you are going to share or link to their posts. That way, you may grab their attention and your content might be seen and share by them.
Re-purpose your content and submit them to relevant websites – If you have an article that is 3000 words long, you can either turn it to a slider or video for other purposes. You are still promoting the same content, just in different form or classification.
Community Submission – BlogEngage, BizSugar, Digg, and StumbleUpon are some of the most popular community submission websites that drive valuable traffic. You can submit your newly uploaded content for traffic and link backs.
Content Syndication Services – If you have enough budget, you can opt in to content syndication services. Outbrain is one of the most popular and arguably one of the fastest ways to generate huge amount of traffic to your website.
Discussion Participation – Quora, HARO, and Reddit are some of the most popular discussion websites where you can possible showcase your outstanding content. You can go straightaway in participating after registration. Just don’t spam.
Press Release Services – This is quite expensive most of the time worth the money. If you don’t have time to promote your content, let the PR services do the job. Chances are high that your content might be picked up by some of the most reputable websites in your industry. PRweb is one of the best when it comes to press release services.
Not only do relevant contents give you the opportunity to be on top of search engines but it also helps you gain trust from your potential customers. If readers find your content relevant in a way that it is entertaining, educational or both, they would most likely engage in a conversation to you since your contents would catch their attention; hence relevant contents would give you an opportunity to engage with your potential clients. This would give you the benefit of looking more knowledgeable in the eyes of your leads as well as helpful since you make time to converse with them. Moreover, you would be seen as a trusted advisor that your customers would always go to when they need a good read or help with their endeavours. Hence, producing a relevant content would benefit you in two ways: being on top of search engines while burying your competitors and gaining the trust of both your existing and potential customers.