SEO Content Creation – Part 2: Making Your Content SEO-Friendly

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image of user reading content online

In Part 1, we looked at the first stage of SEO content creation: Keyword research. 

After choosing your keyword, you need to write a good article/blog around this word or term. 

Easy, right?

Well, that depends. There are a few factors which you should consider:

 – The keyword’s difficulty 
 – Your (or your team’s) writing skills
 – How your content is structured

 The first point is discussed in part 1. The second point is very general, but should be worth considering. If you really don’t have anyone who is experienced and/or good at writing content, then consider hiring a freelancer to write good content for you. 

The third point, however, is something anyone can learn to do. 

We all have ADHD online!

To better understand what your content should look like, think of the difference between how a book, a newspaper, and a magazine are structured. 

Unlike a newspaper, a book is designed to have hours spent on it, and so how its text is formatted reflects that. When the reader picks it up, they usually know approximate effort/time required.

Image showing concentration spans and media formats

 

The format of different types of media reflects their optimisation for reader’s attention

Magazines and tabloids on the other hand, are fighting for readers attention. Their content is varied, so they use striking headlines and images, as well as other tactics (quotes, stylish formatting, etc.), to keep readers turning their pages. 

Websites are much more similar to magazines than books. 

However, unlike magazines, websites’ content doesn’t just compete with other stories in the same magazine: they have to compete with social media and other Google results, too. 

This means, like magazines, you need to make your content:

  • Provide the information the reader is looking for 
  • Clear
  • Entertaining
  • Original

You also need to make use of:

  • Short, concise sentences and paragraphs
  • Pictures (photos, infographics, etc)
  • General different formatting
  • Different text formatting (bolditalics, underlined, etc.)
  • Eye-catching headlines
  • Links to other pages on your website

How to adapt your content for SEO

To begin adapting your content for SEO, you need to start imagining your users as hyperactive individuals with short concentration spans

This is not a criticism of users, it’s just a fact – we pretty much all browse online like this! 

Studies back this up, and interestingly it appears that when tracked, many (but not all) users’ eye movement generally follows an F-shape pattern

 

Nielsen Normal Groups analysis of eye-tracking when reading online content

Tip 1: concise sentences, short paragraphs and bridges

The most important step is to write well. Whether you are in the medical, entertainment, fitness, or any other industry, you need to know its vocabulary and understand your audience.

After this, The first step to remember is to keep your sentences and paragraphs concise. 

Let’s create a simple example to illustrate this:

The Smolov Jnr weight programme is a great way to get stronger over a short period of time. It involves lifting progressively heavier weights 4x each week for three weeks. By the end of the programme you should be able to add up to 10kg to your 1RM on your bench or even more to your squat!

Now let’s look at what a difference simply using paragraphs makes:

The Smolov Jnr weight programme is a great way to get stronger over a short period of time. 

It involves lifting progressively heavier weights 4x each week for three weeks. 

By the end of the programme your you should be able to add up to 10kg to your 1RM on your bench or even more to your squat! 

However, we can go further by making the writing more concise and using a few bridges to link the content:

Have you heard of the Smolov Jnr weight programme?

It’s a great way to get much stronger, quickly! 

You lift gradually heavier weights 4x a week for 3 weeks. 

Once you’ve finished it, you will have added up to 10kg to your 1RM!

That’s on your bench. It could be even more for your squat.

As you can see, I am appealing to users’ hyperactivity and low concentration threshold. 

Tip 2: Make use of bold, italics, underlining, parenthesis, ellipsis, etc.

Bolditalics, underlining, (parenthesis/brackets), and ellipsis are great ways to further ‘break up’ the text (i.e., to make it even easier to scan). 

Let’s look at how the above example paragraph could be changed with them:

Have you heard of the Smolov Jnr weight programme?

It’s a great way to get much stronger, quickly! 

You lift gradually heavier weights 4x a week (for 3 weeks)

Once you’ve finished it, you will have added up to 10kg to your 1RM!

That’s on your bench. It could be even more for your squat…

As you can (hopefully) see, the text is now even easier to scan. Readers can more quickly identify key information and their own place in the text (especially useful if they should be interrupted by receiving a social media or other notification distracting them mid-read…)

Tip 3: Use images

There are two main reasons why images are useful for improving your blog’s readability: 

1. They break up the text
2. They show up in image searches

The first point is simply a variation of the theme above: our hyperactive readers will appreciate the new stimulus and break from reading that images offer. 

What kinds of images are useful? Relevant ones and infographics.

Avoid mundane and irrelevant (or barely relevant) stock images where possible. The reason is twofold: firstly, it’ll bore your readers. Secondly, it won’t be of use to your site/articles’ SEO rating. 

Infographics are particularly useful for this latter point. Someone reading your article might just be looking for an image that summarises the topic you are discussing. If they are, then chances are they arrived at your article via Google’s ‘images’ tab. 

Infographics don’t need to be complicated. Even presenting the simplest data in infographic form could be useful. Of course, complicated data presented in a simple infographic is also useful. 

If you can’t make infographics yourself (using tools such as Venngage), then consider using a freelance website (such as Fiverr) or simply googling for freelancers.  

Tip 4: Use links!

There are two types of links you should insert into every article: internal and external links. 

Internal links take the user to other pages or posts on your page. This keep users on your site for longer, which tells Google you are providing the user with what they need (information!)

External links act like references in an academic essay. They show Google you know your subject well and can back up your claims. 

You should aim to have approximately 3 or 4 of each kind of link (so 6 – 8 in total per post). 

Of course, the quality of your links is very important. There is no use linking to a poor-quality page just for the sake of having a link, and you should regularly run scans to check that none of your links are broken (Google hates broken links because they ruin user experience). 

Note: we will look more at backlinks (a related subject) in the next part of this series. 

Tip 5: Other formatting issues

It is important to remember that other more general formatting issues are important. 

For example, the colour coordination between your background and text: does one clash or compliment the other?

 

Proper formatting can break up content and keep readers’ on your page for longer

Another point to consider is how posts look on mobile. Nowadays, more and more users are reading online or on tablets. According to Statistica, half of all users are now mobile users, and this trend looks to be growing. 

There should be an option on your website editor that allows you to view and edit how it looks on mobile and tablet. 

You should also ensure that at the end of your content there is something to entice the user to stay on your website. Once simple technique is to include the headline, by-line and and first paragraph from another post. This will entice some readers to want to find out more and click through to the link you provide. 

Conclusion

As you can see, SEO content creation is simple and easy to implement. 

We all know that that multiple forces compete for users’ attention online, so you must make your content as clear, concise and attractive as possible. 

Never forget you are writing for impatient people who are ready to cease reading the very moment they become bored! 

If you are going to spend a career building up knowledge, and hours writing a blog, the small extra effort it takes to SEO-optimise it is more than worth it. 

A few SEO-optimised articles will be more effective than a lot of non-optimised ones!

Implementing the above steps will bring your post and website more traffic. It will increase users dwell time, reduce your website’s bounce rate, and make the content more likely to be shared on social media. 

All of the above factors will lead to more shares, backlinks, and general SEO points

Remember, assuming that the high quality of your writing and information is a given, the above tips will make the difference between you ranking your page and not ranking it. 

Online, a little bit more effort goes a long way!

Part 3 I will look at more advanced techniques that will help you go after even more competitive keywords. 

What is the skyscraper technique? The skyscraper technique was created and made famous by famous SEO guru Brian Dean. It involves looking at the top-ranking results for the term you are trying to rank for and improving on them (a bit like building on a skyscraper, hence the name). It is an ingenious, effective and easy to implement technique that I will take you through now.

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