For Creating Search-Friendly Content

1. Know Your Audience and Learn to Think as They Do

crystal ball audience
Since Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update, Google now thinks in questions. In our previous post, Improving Search Rank: A History of Google Updates we mentioned that due to the sheer volume of people using the voice-activated search feature on smart phones, Google has rewarded sites that set content up to supply answers to questions posed by users. These days, as a content creator you need to be able to work the “crystal ball.”  In other words, you can foresee what questions your audience would dream up and can create content satisfying those needs, so that when a user asks a question, your site comes out on top in searches with the ready answer you have already placed in your content. Done skillfully, you will be able to build more credibility and “authority,” not only with your audience, but also with Google. If you feel like your “crystal ball” is a bit lacking in luster, then you should seriously consider surveying your audience. By doing so you can supply the exact content your readers are demanding, boosting their affinity for your brand as well as helping your Google search ranking.

2. Know Your Area of Expertise — And Don’t Be Afraid To Say So

expertise in SEOThe value in authority sites is that they have advanced knowledge and expertise on their subject. When posting, write your articles from the viewpoint that you really know what you are talking about and are educating your audience. Don’t be wishy-washy. Experts know what they’re talking about and create unique content to that effect. And most importantly, Google loves experts, and sites that Google perceives as having “authority” content get ranked higher.  Even if it takes some extra time and research, write content that positions you as an expert and begins to separate you from all the other players in the space — or risk becoming the same as those players — not only in the minds of your readers, but also in Google search. It is extremely important to create brand authority not only in how you position your subject but also in the opinion of your audience after they have consumed your information. You’ll garner more respect and higher rankings.

3. Know Which Keywords Are Important to Your Audience

keyword thumbs upOne of the best exercises as an online brand builder is keeping a running list of not only keywords related to your business, but also words that users may think of to describe your topic as well as things that complement your topic. For example, a user that enjoys ultimate fighting may be interested in Ju Jitsu, or the correct way to tape ankles, or even which are the best supplements for after a workout. Its important understand not only what keywords to rank for, but what complementary keywords are important as well. This goes back to knowing your audience and the importance of survey data, because even keyword research is made easier with knowing whom you are writing to. The added bonus to ranking for complimentary keywords is that the competition to get seen for them is much easier, compared to main keywords.

4. Know Your Authority Sites and How to Use Them

authority sitesWhat sites do people interested in your topic look to as their greatest source of information? Those are sites that your brand needs to use as a source, but also in the future, your content should be good enough to be used by these sites as their source material. This creates inbound and outbound links, which are great for ranking your site. Its important to make sure that these links are always legitimate and used in the best way possible, because just like Santa Clause, Google sees you when you’re sleeping — if load up your site with phony links containing no value to readers, you will be penalized — and trust us, that’s worse than coal in your stocking.

5. Know Your Post Optimization

post optimization Is your post readable? Believe it or not Google can now tell how readable your posts are. Write something too complex that no one can understand, and you won’t rank well. Unless of course that’s how your market thinks, then — in extremely rare cases — you will get ranking traction. Make sure that all of your posts have the right H1, H2 and even Meta Tags. Also, since Panda, Google —just like your fifth grade teacher— cares about the number of words you use. Unless your essay is 300 words or more, not only will you not win the essay contest, Google will not give your post much weight in search rank. Keep up to date with the best ways to optimize posts and keep a running template to make sure that your team is on the same page.