Everything changes. In the “old days,” SEO was a simple matter. Just fill all of your content with keywords, whether they “fit” or not, and hope that, by sheer numbers of keywords, you would show up toward the top of a Google search. Search terms were single words, and often what would show up on a search results page, did not relate to what a searcher was really looking for.
Google got smarter, in response to user demand and better technology. And it began to develop algorithms that were meant to separate the “wheat from the chaff.” Keyword stuffing became a punishable “offense.”
Since Google’s early attempts to “clean up” SEO, many more algorithms have been developed. Each one has refined its ability to comb through content, to determine which is worthy, and to rank that superior content much higher in search results. SEO copywriting now has to follow new “rules” if it is to be considered valuable by Google bots.
So, What are These New Rules?
Writing for SEO begins with researching as much as can be known about Google’s new algorithms, and there are sources for this. You will glean important information about what and how you should craft your content to be indexed and ranked well. Here are what the experts have to say about SEO writing today.
- Create Unique and Valuable Content
Forget the keywords and the long-tail keyword phrases for the time being, and focus on the kind of content you are creating. How valuable is it to your readers? How do you know that it is valuable? Are you realizing lots of discussions, questions, sharing, and backlinks to your content? This is your gauge of its value. And it is also Google’s gauge of its value. When you craft unique and engaging content, readers will respond, and that is something Google wants to see. Its bots do crawl through your content and assess its value, so the focus on content is critical.
- Those Keywords
We are all well past the point of single keyword stuffing. But we are not past the point of still using critical keyword search terms that are most popular with our target audience and that we are able to use naturally within our content. The operative word here is “naturally.”
Here is how you find those keyword phrases.
- Use any one or more of the most popular and effective keyword research tools that are available to anyone
- Search content that your competitors have created. Pick out the keyword phrases that they have used and conduct your own Google search with them.
- Come up with your own keywords and test them via a Google search
Long-tail keywords are now preferred. Over time, Google has made strong attempts to serve its users better. Single keywords were most inefficient and often did not give searchers what they were actually looking for. And so, it did its own research to learn how to make searches more efficient. The result was long-tail keyword phrases that allow people to put in more detail. This has vastly improved search results, but it also means that content creators must incorporate such phrases too.
Sandra Barclay, a marketing director for Studicus, puts it this way: “Several years ago, we used simple keywords, no longer than two words each. Now, our content includes much longer phrases, based on the specifics our potential clients are looking for – instead of just ‘editing,’ a keyword we used long ago, we now have phrases such as ‘editing a college English essay’ or ‘literature review for biology dissertation.’ Our rankings are much higher and we get clients who know that we can provide the help they want.”
Google does look at the backlinks that come into your content, whether that is your website or blog. And it is a good thing to have a good number of them. Specifically, backlinks are those links to your content that have come from other places. For example, you may publish a post on social media that is a “teaser” for a blog post you have written. In that post, you provide a link to that content. When a follower clicks on that link and comes to your blog post, that is a backlink.
You can also solicit backlinks through collaborative agreements with other businesses that are related to your niche. Here are two things you can do:
- Publish each other’s content on sites or blogs. Both of you include links to your own content. These are considered quality links because the two businesses are related. If you sell lawn and garden equipment and supplies, for example, and you are receiving backlinks from a company that sells exterior paints and stains, then you are related. If, however, you are receiving backlinks from a business that sells fashion accessories, that backlink is irrelevant. And, indeed, you will be punished for such backlinks.
- Use influencers. This is a more complex and lengthy process but one that can bring big rewards. First, you have to find influencers in your niche. These need not be celebrities. These need to be people who are considered experts in your niche who have a significant following among your target audience. You need to follow these influencers on social media, participate in discussions, and get your brand known by the influencer.
Over time, you can develop a more personal relationship. You can send over a great piece of content; you can provide a free sample of your product or service and ask for review and comment. There are many respected influencers, but they do not provide their expertise and influence for free. You will need to make plans to include influencer marketing in your budget. The goal here is to get quality backlinks through that influencer. Google likes such backlinks.
- User Behavior When Accessing Your Content
One of the critical aspects of indexing and ranking by Google is the behavior of users when they access your content. The longer they stay, the higher your ranking.
What does this tell you? It tells you that your content must be highly engaging and must motivate people to stay and read/view it. Google tracks user behavior on your content – the longer users stay, the better you do.
So, how do you get users to stay? You construct your content to provide value and you use a number of content types – short amounts of text, broken up by headings and bullet points, photos, infographics, and other types of media, including videos. In fact, videos are probably the most popular medium right now. If you are feeling really adventurous, incorporate augmented or virtual reality experiences – watch the length of time skyrocket.
Your text must be written in the style of a journalist if you intend to keep viewers reading it. If you are struggling to engage with your words, then get some help. There are a number of creative writers out there. You can check out writing services like Trust My Paper or Grab My Essay – writing services that have reputable and successful creative copywriting departments. There are also freelancers on sites such as Upwork and Freelancer.com.
This is a Good Start These four things – they really will improve your SEO content rankings. Look carefully at them and see how you can maximize these strategies and give Google reasons to love you.