This is awesome content! Only joking. My job would become significantly simpler if everyone believed that this was awesome content just because I said so.
For years and years there has been a debate about whether you should write content for Google or for people.
Yes, if you optimise your content for search engines, like Google, Bing and Yahoo, then you are more likely to rank, which will help drive traffic to your website or blog.
Google isn’t human! (Although they are coming close these days with much more sophisticated analytical capabilities). Search engines won’t buy your product or service, or engage with you. Humans do. If you leave people out of the equation when writing your content what real value does your business gain?
So, my answer, to the debate is write for both.
But the real question is how?
How do you write content that works for two completely different audiences?
Below are my handy tips of how to write awesome content that works for both search engines and human beings.
Top Tips on how to Write for Google
1) Research your keywords
One of the first things I did when I started to think about this blog post is conduct a little bit of keyword research. What keyword phrases do I want to try and make my blog post rank for?
If you want to write content for search engines then you always have to incorporate this as one of the first steps. You might think this sounds really complicated and time-consuming, but you will be amazed about what you can achieve in 5 – 10 minutes.
You don’t need to have fancy tools. Here are a few quick ways you can do your own keyword research:
- Search on Google – have a look at what other similar blog posts are targeting. If you start to type in the search bar you will get some popular searches appear as suggestions in the drop down.
- LSI Graph – perfect for finding related keywords, remember it is important to not spam your content with the same keyword phrase over and over again (I explain LSI keywords in more detail below).
- KWFinder is great for finding keywords and shows the search volumes too. Also helps with long tail key phrases with low competition.
These are just three examples of quick and simple way anyone (from beginner to expert) can identify keywords perfect for your content.
Coming back to LSI Keywords…
I am about to break one of my own rules which I discuss later in my blog post, but there isn’t a non-jargon way to say this. Make sure you think about Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords.
LSI keywords are essentially keywords that relate to the theme that you are targeting in your content. For example, if you are targeting the word “Apple” and the content is about the best types of apple to use for making an Apple Pie, then you will want to use LSI keywords like fruit, taste, flavour, baking, and pie in the article.
Once you have identified your keywords, one of the most important rules is to BE NATURAL. Don’t try to fill your content with repetitive keywords.
Google is clever it will pick up on this!
Make sure you write naturally, the way you would write. And just keep those keywords in mind whilst writing.
2) Yoast SEO for WordPress
Yoast has got to be one of my favourite plugins you could possibly install on your WordPress website.
If you haven’t got this plugin already, either download it yourself, or get your web developer do it for you.
Yoast do give you a premium, paid for option of the plugin. But all the essential and best tools are part of the free version.
What will Yoast help you do, and how will it help you write for search engines?
- Control your title tags and meta descriptions – when writing any content whether it be a page or blog post it is important you write your own title tag and meta description (otherwise Google will do this for you)
- Set your target keyword – tell Yoast what keyword you want to target most on search engines (the paid version will allow you to choose more keywords)
- When is your keyword used – the page analysis tools will show when the keyword is used in addition to how search engine friendly your content actually is (sounds perfect if you want to write content for Google, Bing and the others)
- Verify your site on Search Console and more – if you haven’t already verified search console then the Yoast plugin can help you do this.
3) Content Length
John Mueller from Google was quoted in 2014 saying:
“There’s no minimum length, and there’s no minimum number of articles a day that you have to post, nor even a minimum number of pages on a website. In most cases quality is better than quantity. Our algorithms explicitly try to find and recommend websites that provide content that’s of high quality, unique, and compelling to users. Don’t fill your site with low-quality content, instead work on making sure that your site is the absolute best of its kind”
Every website and every piece of content is different, so what John said is absolutely right, quality is the key when it comes to writing for Google. However it would be unadvisable to write less than 250 words on a page as the code to content ratio would raise a flag to Google.
When deciding on the length of your piece of content, ask yourself: have I covered everything of value? Have I written a quality piece of content? Will this be useful for your visitors? Is it just a rehash of existing content with no new ideas?
4) Internal and External Links
Over the last few years people have been put off link building, as high volume, low value links were penalised by Google. But quality links still continue to have their place in SEO.
Just to quickly clarify an Internal Link is one pointing to the same site domain. And an External Link is one pointing out of your site to another domain.
Using internal links help you to determine the structure of your website more, helps to aid navigation through your website, and also distributes page authority throughout your website.
Make sure that if you do internal linking, link to content of value and it is relevant to your current content. For example with my current blog post I am going to ensure I link to our Content Marketing page (✔).
When it comes to external links you do want to be a bit more careful. When you link to other sites you are giving that site some value.
If linking to an external website ensure the site is quality and is going to add value to your readers.
Remember: don’t go crazy with your links!
At the end of the day, you want people to read and absorb your content and not be directed off to another website, which means they miss all the value that is left to read on your website. Always make external links open a new page so that the tab for your website is still open.
5) Keyword density
I have already mentioned that you DO NOT want to be spammy with your keywords. That is one of the worst ways to write content for Google. This is also known as ‘keyword stuffing’, in years gone by it was a technique that worked for SEOs but it doesn’t anymore.
But what is a good Keyword Density for your content?
Keyword density is the percentage of times your target keyword or phrase appears on your page in comparison with the total number of words on a page.
I am sorry to say this, but there is no ideal keyword density.
Even though there isn’t an ideal number of times to include a phrase or keyword in your content, just remember not to overkill it. If you write naturally around your subject you will get it right.
6) Writing Meta Data
As mentioned above Yoast is the tool which will allow you to customise a title tag and meta description for your content.
But here are some of my tips on how to write a quality title tag and meta description.
Title tag tips:
- Include keywords you want to rank for
- Ensure those keywords are at the front of the title tag
- Include your brand name
- Ensure you write it for humans – conversationally, rather than comma separated keywords.
- Keep the length between 50 and 60 characters
- Ensure all your title tags are unique (avoid those duplicate issues)
- Do not keyword stuff (just like your content)
- Ensure the main heading for your content (your H1) is different to your title tag
Meta description tips:
- Again, keep it unique – we don’t want duplicate meta descriptions on your site
- Include a call to action (CTA) – write meta descriptions in an active voice with a CTA that is going to encourage people to click
- Make it relevant – the meta data should be a short and sweet description of what people can find in your content
- Keep it between 100 and 300 characters
- Include your target keyword
7) Header Tags
Header tags are part of the HTML coding for the pages of your website. Yes, I know that sounds scary, but if you use a CMS, like WordPress, then they are really easy to implement.
Header tags start at H1 and go all the way to H6.
Implementing header tags helps search engines under the structure of the page better.
The main heading for your page should always be the H1 and every page on your website should have a H1.
You do not have to use all of the tags. It is very rare that I ever implement below H3.
How to Write Content for Humans
Are you still with me? Great, let’s move on to my tips on writing amazing content for humans, you guys!
1) Who is your audience?
Before you start writing your website content, first think about who you are writing for.
Writing for B2B is going to be completely different to B2C.
Are you writing to a technical audience, or are the people reading your content beginners?
Are they potential customers, or peers?
What job title are your readers, on average, likely to hold. Your messaging will change from targeting a CEO to someone more junior.
What industry are you targeting? The way you write for accountants will be different to the way you write for a hairdresser.
There are a lot of different variables, and to ensure your content relates to your audience, you need to understand them.
That way you can write in a way that engages with that particular audience.
2) Content Length
Even though there is no set length for content from a search engine perspective. How much value is your reader going to gain from a 50-word page?
The important factor again is QUALITY.
Don’t write for the sake of writing. But when someone visits your website it may be for research, advice, or could be to buy a product or service.
You need to ensure that you have enough content to satisfy your audience, don’t leave gaps or they will be forced to look elsewhere for answers.
This blog post for example, is longer than I would normally write, but for good reason. It is an educative and informative blog post, covering a huge topic. The aim is to ensure that when you stop reading you can apply my tips and write awesome content of your own.
The one downside of long content is that it can get very boring, very quickly. Hence the importance of structure, language and imagery.
3) Jargon and Calls to Action
At All Things Web® we want to ensure our customers understand the value we bring to their business, which is why, as much as possible, we avoid jargon. And if we have to use it, we explain it.
Jargon can be one of the most off-putting things about reading content (especially for a business like ours). Yes, you want to appear knowledgeable. But for the most part, your readers are not going to be experts in your field.
In addition to what you should limit or avoid. No piece of content is complete without great calls to action.
What do you want your readers to do? Buy your product, enquire about your service, book on to an event, subscribe to your newsletter. The options are endless.
But without these calls to action, your content is missing a trick if you are not encouraging the readers to take a further action.
4) Headings and Subheadings
The structure of your content is very important when comes to writing. So, let’s start by thinking about Headings and Subheadings.
Headings, subheadings and bullet points break up your content into bite-sized chunks, which allow easier reading of the text.
Everyone is guilty of skim reading. If you use appropriate, attention grabbing headings and subheadings you decrease the chance of skim reading as those headings grab the readers attention.
Use strong, simple, stand-out headings to lead your readers through your content, and help them to easily identify sections they want to read.
5) Short sentences and paragraphs
Unless the content you are writing is something like a whitepaper, then short sentences and paragraphs should always be your go to.
People will actively and subconsciously avoid large chunks of text. We are all busy people, we want to get to the point quickly.
6) Imagery and Video
If you want to improve the engagement of your content with people, make sure you think about the visual content you use alongside it.
People are very visual, you have heard the phrase “a picture speaks a thousand words”, well it’s not wrong.
Including imagery and video within your content can improve engagement and readability.
Images and video, grab people’s attention more than just text. Try to think of ways you can visually explain what you are writing. Whether that be photos, graphics, diagrams, infographics, video, gifs, etc.
Think It Would Be Easier to Leave Content Writing to the Professionals?
Hopefully you now feel confident enough to go away and write awesome content that is going to work for both Google and Humans.
However, if after reading my blog you actually think this seems like far too much work, and would rather leave it with the professionals, find out how we can help you with your content marketing.
From website content generation and blogging, to content reviews. We can help you soar online with effective content marketing. For a free, no-obligation chat: 01793 766040.