There’s a lot of noise to compete against when writing on the internet. Anyone can write something, post it, and call it an article — in the information age, the definition of an article has become a very blurred line. The line between good and bad, however, is much more defined — and arguably, more important.
Good content is relatively easy to create. Most people don’t realize it, but everybody has interesting things to say. Good technique is harder — it can seem abstract and nuanced, and it’s often the thing that makes or breaks an article.
Write Engaging Content
You should write engaging content. Period.
If you’re trying to get by with low-quality content and “trick” search engines, you will surely fail.
Your post should be a complete manual for that keyword. You should learn how to engage your audience in a way that works for them. Try asking your readers questions and answering them. Understand what they want to read, and then write that.
If you are unable to write engaging content, people will not spend much time on your blog, your bounce rate will increase, and your rankings will plummet.
Did you know that, if you copy content from another site on the Web and post it on a webpage, the page may not even turn up in the search results? Google sometimes treats pages with identical content as versions of one and the same page, determines which one of them appears to be the most trustworthy and filters out the rest of the pages from its search results.
So, if you’re striving for higher rankings, the content on your page must be as unique as possible.
In general, the more often you update your content, the better. Fresh content is especially important for Web 2.0 sites, news portals, etc. Besides, many SEO professionals say that, in the future, the query deserves freshness (QDF) mechanism in Google’s algorithm will be triggered more and more often, so, fresh content will become even more important.
Write longer posts.
Long posts have a higher chance of ranking well in SERPs, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, more content on a page means there’s plenty of information, which both readers and search engines like. Readers appreciate the valuable information, while search engines have a lot of clues as to what your content is about and can therefore display your content in SERPs correctly.
Longer articles are usually well-researched, with ample data to back them up. Readers tend to trust this type of content and are more likely to go back to your blog.
Lengthier blog posts also benefit you in terms of your SEO efforts, because there are more elements you can optimize for your keyword. You’ll have more headings, more images, more opportunities to link internally or externally, and simply more text to mention your keywords.
However, writing this type of content presents a challenge; you need to keep your audience reading. You’ll need to master writing in an engaging way that sustains your readers’ attention all the way to the end of the post. I’ve talked about the basics of how to write content for your blog previously, and there are plenty of resources online to help you do that.
As a general rule, aim for a length of 1,200 to 1,500 words per blog post. You can go a bit shorter or longer, depending on your topic.
If you’re going shorter, make sure it’s not less than 500 words. Go as long as you want, but remember that the attention span of your readers isn’t infinite. It’s probably better to divide a 6,000-word post into four 1,500-word posts.
With some niches (e.g., DIY, makeup tutorial, fashion, content length is less important than high-quality images and step-by-step instructions, you can maybe get away with 500 to 1,000 words. But your image SEO should make up for that, and the text remaining should be high-quality as well.
Word Count Per Post
Posts that don’t have a lot of words typically don’t perform well on search engines. That’s because they’re usually seen as being “less informative”.
Ofcourse there are exceptions, but for a general information-based blog, creating posts with at least 500 words is pretty standard.
It’s always better to be well-researched and overly informative than it is to not provide enough information. This is especially true if you’re targeting highly competitive keywords.
Suggestion: Analyze other posts for your target keyword and see how many words they have.
While there is no “official” count, longer posts tend to rank better because there is typically more information there. For instance, this post is over 2,000 words.
Content Density (thin content)
The overall content density of your site is also important. Google’s Panda update series targeted websites with ‘thin content’, among other things. Well, looks like owners of minimalist sites now have something to ponder.
The use of Visual Content
The search engines also look at whether you’re using any visual aids, such as images or videos on your website. It’s not a crucial on-page SEO factor, but still can win you a tiny fraction of Google’s affection, since it serves to indicate that your site is more likely to provide a decent user experience.
Create A Positive User Experience.
Search engines constantly work to improve the results that they serve up to their users. The more relevant results they present, the more users they get.
If you want search engines to find your content relevant, you should be thinking of the user experience as well and whether you’re providing a positive one for them.
The thing is, search engines can’t exactly ask each and every visitor to a website how their experience was. So how do search engines know that users are having a great or not-so-great experience in your website?
To interpret your content and determine if it’s relevant to users, search engines rely on metadata to get information on how visitors interact with your website and pages. This gives them insight into the quality of your pages as well as the overall quality of your blog.
We’ve discussed some of this metadata above, such as your page speed and site structure. Aside from these, search engines also look at the behavioral patterns of users on your site. These include how often your users click on the link to your article and then back again to the SERP, time spent on your page, and how many other pages on your website they click.
You certainly can’t control your users, but you can control how your website is structured and how it looks so that users would want to stay on your site longer. Here are some tips to entice users to stay longer on your blog.
Establish a visual hierarchy. Draw your users’ eyes to the important parts on your page. The most important elements of your page (i.e., your content) should be at the center, and the lesser elements should be relegated to the sidebar and the footer.
Create a visual hierarchy within your content as well. Use headings and subheadings to organize your content, and have them in a larger or different font from the main text. Also, use text formatting (e.g., boldface, italics, underline) to stress significant words and phrases in the text.
Use a sticky navigation menu. A so-called “sticky” navigation menu stays on top of the browser even when you scroll down a page. Having a navigation menu like this makes it easier for your visitors to go elsewhere on your site without having to scroll all the way up again.
Make your forms easy to fill out. Your users might want to comment or join your mailing list. Simplify the process by making the fields as few as possible.
Never underestimate the role of great visual design. Great visual design doesn’t only mean that your site is nice to look at; it should also be functional in that it shouldn’t distract from your content.
Use professional-looking, easy-to-read fonts. If you’re using colors other than black, white, or gray, make sure the background color complements the foreground color nicely while contrasting elements stand out. Do some research about what your target audience will likely be visually attracted to.
Remember: Your visitors are only one click away from hundreds of other results. Try to make them stay on your blog.
Tell people an interesting story.
People love stories. It’s one of the basic truths of humanity — we always respond to a compelling story. Keep this knowledge in your toolbox!
One of the best ways to draw a reader into an article is to bring it to life with human interest. Capture their attention with a recounting of an event, the setting of a stage, the unfolding of a plot.
Stories are a brilliant way to open articles. They’re equally brilliant ways to illustrate a point. They don’t have to be excessive and garish to be effective. Tell me in your article about a specific tool you recommend using, and then tell me a story about how you used it yourself and what it did for you. Short, simple, to the point, but suddenly your article is human.
Avoid dry writing. In the content-oversaturated age of the internet, nobody’s going to read something bland.
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