Content development can be an overwhelming process and concept to grasp. When generating content for your website there are many search engine optimization (SEO) opportunities that can be addressed in the early stages of production. SEO should play a key role in writing for the web, helping to promote and position the content but is often forgotten until the piece is already completed. We have created a simple checklist to help ensure that you and your team are creating effective content for your website that is search engine friendly right off the bat!
- Know Your Target Audience / Buyer Persona
Before even beginning to type the first paragraph of your content piece, you need to know who you are talking to. Content is not effective for SEO or marketing in general unless it is created with the potential customer in mind from the very start.Think about what your ideal customer is like. What does that person look like? How old are they? Are they male or female? What is a common question or problem that they are facing? Depending on the industry, all of these items will help your team develop effective content for your website that is appealing and valuable to your future customers.
- Keyword Research and Distribution
Keywords and phrases are signals that make it easier for users to find your website and content via search engines like Google. When doing keyword research, think backwards. What is a potential customer going to be typing into their search box when looking for your products or services? What problems or questions to they have that lead them to the sale of your products or services? These are the words and phrases that should be focused on when developing content. As you are writing, be sure to integrate these types of words in a natural way; Emphasis on “natural.” When reading your content out loud it should flow smoothly and not sound like you are forcing uses of the keywords and phrases. By developing content for users in mind, the organic benefits will follow.
- Identify Cross-Linking Opportunities
As you are writing, be looking for different cross-linking opportunities. Linking to related content on your current website or to an outside source, will provide added SEO value to the piece you are writing. The pages that you link to should support the original content by backing it up with different statistics or contribute additional information to the reader. Hyperlinking key words and phrases will give the user and search engines a clear understanding of what the link entails. There is no general rule of thumb for how many words to incorporate in a single link, however, the more descriptive the phrase can be, the better!
- Use Images to Enhance Content
Images are your friend! Not only do images create visual appeal for the copy, but they also provide added value to readers. When a relevant image is paired with information, people retain 65% of the information three days later, compared to when there is no image accompanying the text, readers only remember 10% of what they read after a three day period. Keeping your readers engaged and on the page longer will signal to search engines they are finding value in your content.
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget those alt tags! Since robots and search engines can’t interpret images, optimizing them by adding alt text is another great way to improve visibility and enhance user experience for a piece of content that uses photos.
- Create an Effective Call-to-Action
What is the purpose for the piece of content that you are writing? What are the next steps that you want the reader to take? What do you want your readers to be aware of? These are all questions to keep in mind when creating a call-to-action for your content. When trying to convert leads into customers with your content, a call-to-action is a key component. Here are some different ways to develop an effective CTA:
- Give a free trial
- Offer a benefit
- Guide them to another resource
- Evoke curiosity
- Introduce a problem and offer the solution
- Leverage on social belonging
- Use a cliffhanger
- Offer to talk to them
- Check for Readability
When the content is finished reread it a couple times to make sure everything makes sense. Pass along the content for a peer review to ensure that all aspects of the writing are clear, concise and providing value for future readers. Feedback from other team members is a great way to make sure that all key topics are being addressed and that the post is speaking to the right audience. Make sure the writing sounds natural and drives the reader from one point to the next.
By keeping all of these tips in mind from the start of your writing process, you will be sure to develop an effective piece of content for your website, providing benefit to your customers and search engines!