Top 10 SEO Tips for Content Creators

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing, Search

  • Date:

    July 29, 2015

Top 10 SEO Tips for Content Creators

Content Marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t about keyword stuffing anymore. In the old days, a webmaster could cram sites with long lists of popular (and sometimes irrelevant) keywords to gobble up traffic.

Today, strong content is vital for a comprehensive SEO strategy. Any webmaster or SEO expert will tell you that “content is king.” But what does that mean?

Here are my top 10 SEO tips for content creators.

1. Write for your audience first and search engines second. 

Don’t get so consumed by SEO that you forget your end user. Search-friendly content will help drive people to your site, but it won’t keep them there. Increased traffic is only valuable if your visitors stick around long enough to buy your products, make a donation, share your content or otherwise engage with your business or organization. That’s why “bounce rate” – the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing a single page – is one of the most important performance indicators for a site. 

2. Keep it fresh.

Search engines favor recent content; so do people who visit your site more than once. Well-maintained event calendars, up-to-date press rooms and active blogs all earn brownie points from search engines and regular users. It's also a good idea to regularly spot-check content throughout your site and make updates as needed.

3. Capture people (and non-people) with great headlines and page titles.

People have scanned headlines since the first newspaper was printed. The same is true in the digital world, and with so much content available and so many people consuming it on mobile devices, you have a smaller window for capturing your audience's attention. Search engines emphasize headlines, too - but the first thing they read is the page title (this is also what appears on the search results page with your meta description). Keep page titles concise - ideally 60 characters or less - and use clear, keyword-rich language in page titles and headlines.

4. Know how to use keywords.

First, know your topic, and identify a list of top keywords for that topic. Second, marry that list with your own brand story and brand language. Maybe you say "draperies" in print, but "fabric" is a strong keyword. You might want to say "drapery fabric" in your web copy. When you use keywords is important, too; remember that people and search engines have a short attention span, so be sure to use some of those keywords high on the page ("above the fold" for print devotees). Also, don't cheat, because Google will catch you. "Keyword stuffing," or using irrelevant words in your copy to drive traffic, is an old trick. As for the "right" amount of keywords? There isn't a magic number; instead, write page copy that feels natural.

5. Make it a picture book...with words.

People love images. Search engines can't see them. Content should be visually compelling, but many people forget to include brief copy and/or meta tags (also called alt tags) with images to tell search engines what the images, and the pages where those images live, are about.

6. Engage in responsible link-building practices.

By linking to your own content, you provide a way for other sites to link back to your website. By including in-text links to relevant content, you improve your visitors' experience. But don't forget to do a regular check of any links in your content to ensure they're still working - particularly external links. Nobody likes a 404 Not Found error.

7. Avoid roadblocks like PDFs and Flash.

PDFs are not ideal; though search engines can "see" most of the text contained in PDFs, these documents don't provide an optimal user experience, and they remove some flexibilty and opportunities for tracking. Meanwhile, Flash is going the way of the dinosaurs. Most of the content inside Flash is unreadable to search engines that crawl the Web. Bottom line - it's best to avoid Flash, and if you have PDFs, move that content to HTML site pages if possible.

8. Give them a way to contact you.

This should be a given. They found you - now what? At minimum, provide an online contact form. If it makes sense for your business, share a mailing address and phone number. If you're active on social media, let people know. Speaking of which...

9. Don't forget about social media.

Your website is your brand's most important online space, but social media can be a great way to supplement your efforts by increasing your content's exposure and encouraging third-party sharing. Post new content on your social media sites, and link back to your website to generate additional traffic. Include social media share buttons on your native content so visitors can help you spread the word. If people are sharing or talking positively about your brand, these "social signals" will be seen as unofficial endorsements of your content/brand/site and improve your search rankings. Also, social media often shows up in search results. In an agreement with Twitter, Google now shows recent tweets in its search results page when people search for information on a brand.

10. Stay vigilant.

The Web is a fluid space, and writing for the Web is a fluid science. Your initial content might be written, but your work isn't done. Use Google Analytics to keep an eye on your page views and average time spent on a page. Track bounce rates and the amount of time people are spending on your site. In addition, you'll want to do a comprehensive search audit on a regular basis - once a year is ideal - to ensure your site is optimized. 

Creating content for SEO is part science, part art form, but these tips should help you optimize your site. If you have questions, feel free to contact me!

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