Some might be surprised that I’m choosing to cover on-page content as the second step toward successful SEO. To most people, SEO has always been the work of guys who do magical things behind the scenes that only Google’s spiders can see.
In fact, too many conversations I have about SEO start with a client saying something like, “I have a bunch of keywords picked out. Can your developers put these into the site code so that we’ll rank for them in search?” This is usually then followed by a list of keywords that don’t appear anywhere in their content.
The key to SEO
Yes, when people view this they will understand that the technical aspect of SEO is still very important (and I’m going to cover it in my next post), but Google has been telling us for years that putting good content – content people are interested in and want to read – is the key to effective SEO.
Here at Parthenon, we’re always happy to hear statements like that. We take pride in providing quality content to our clients because we believe it’s the best way to create meaningful relationships with their audiences. But for all the talk about good content, some people were still successful in achieving high page rank despite the low-quality content on their sites. That was until Google released its Panda update, which cracked down on content farms and shoddy content producers.
Now, more than ever, content is key to a website that attracts visitors and ranks high in search.
So how do you know if your content is good?
Moz (my pick for best SEO site around) describes winning content as uniquely valuable. I can’t think of a better way to word it, so I won’t try.
Broken down, you should be able to answer yes to the following questions:
1. Is your content unique?
This one isn’t too complicated. Use words that don’t appear on other sites or pages. Don’t steal words from someone else. Search engines like to know that you’re a human who created a website for other humans. So write content that only you can write. And once you do that, I’m confident it’s more likely to also fulfill our second requirement.
2. Is your content valuable?
If you’re a service provider, people are likely visiting your site for information about what you do. Remember, you’re an expert in your business; your customers are not. Use your website to deliver the useful information you’ve gathered through years of experience.
I tell clients to get into their customers’ heads. Give people a reason to come back to your site or share it with their friends, and they will. The key is figuring out how you can be of use and writing content that fills that need.
There are tricks to improving your page and site authority, some of which I’ll outline in my next blog. But the most important things are to
- Write content for people
- Break your text into readable chunks
- Use words your customers understand
- Create bulleted lists to break up long paragraphs
- And add related pictures to help tell your story
Above all, be human.
You’ll notice that nowhere am I telling you how many times to put a keyword or phrase in your page copy. That’s because people don’t want to read nonsensical sentences in text that’s been over-optimized for SEO. Write content that your customers want to read and Google will treat you well.