What is SEO Content?
SEO Content Definitions First:
What is SEO? Moz defines Search Engine Optimization as follows:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
What is Content? “Content is the presentation of information for a purpose to an audience through a channel in a form.”
Now that we have defined the components of SEO Content let me give you an analogy.
Search Engine Optimization Content is like great photography.
Photography requires technical skill for the use of a camera and the artist’s eye to point that camera in the right direction.
The same with SEO Content. The SEO is the technical part, like the camera. The Content is the art.
The art is the written word.
SEO content is the art of writing quality content that has been developed for the best UX (user experience) and properly structured for search engines.
Search Engine Optimization is a technical process. In the past SEO practitioners used manipulation to give their clients better results.
Keyword stuffing or PBN (private blog networks) often rewarded the tricksters. In effect beating the Search Engines and giving their websites better results.
The Search Engines, Google, Bing etc. have since caught on and now penalized websites who try to shortcut their system.
The foundation of search still rewards good or White Hat SEO practices. SEO is still the most important technical tool for optimization.
It is still the basis for search rankings, but it is more difficult to outwit the search engine algorithms now.
When we combine SEO and Content we get the whole picture.
This is the combination of the technical and artistic aspects.
SEO content must be written based on the subject.
I know that sounds basic, but if you have ever read a headline, read the article and been disappointed because the headline appeared deceptive, then you understand the basics of SEO content.
The art must be consistent with the tech. The Content must be consistent with the SEO.
The SEO technical aspects can distract a reader from the message in the content.
If that is the case, then user experience can suffer.
We need our optimization to work with our content so readers can find us, and when they do, are pleased with what they find.
Do these two opposing skill sets create conflicting imperatives? I don’t think so. Or at least they don’t have to.
Informative or convincing writing can be combined with relevant search terms that do not detract from the reader’s experience.
The SEO terms must be used prominently but not so frequently as to make the writing sound wrong.
It all must sound natural. The key search terms need to be a normal part of the information, not oddly placed words that stand out and distract the reader.
The question we are faced with is how to meld these two potentially opposing forces.
Start with the Purpose for Your Audience
It’s all well and good to have a list of SEO keywords and access to a talented writer, but there is more to it than that.
Begin from the end. Determine the objective first. Make a clear statement of the purpose of the post before going any farther.
Make that purpose clear to your writer, or remind yourself if you are doing the writing. The result will be work that requires less revisions.
Response or Branding
A response post has a strong and immediate call to action at the end and often at the beginning, too. A branding post is about credibility and a longer-term approach to marketing.
SEO content works in either case, but a response post will be more aggressively seeking action and thus likely use the search term more often and possibly more prominently.
Write at the optimum reader level
Jargon and acronyms can be fine in an industry specific post. You don’t need to go too far outside of an industry to find the terms no longer apply.
Make sure any TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) are explained in the text or the UX (user experience) can be negatively impacted.
Be accurate and correct
In this world of fake news and horrific spelling and grammar everywhere, be accurate and correct. Fact check everything. Spell check everything.
Get another set of eyes on everything. My pet peeve is “discrete” and “discreet”. It’s not like they mean anything similar, but I have repeatedly seen them each used where the other should be used.
Okay, “discrete” is used instead of “discreet”. Now you know more about me.
Make natural use of keywords
This should not be an issue for your copywriter. Keywords should fit naturally in the post. Stuffing extra keywords makes the writing sound awkward. Reading aloud can help you to detect awkward phrasing and grammatical errors.
There are also some technical aspects to SEO content that we need to consider. If the tech doesn’t work right, nothing works right.
–Make sure any content works well on phones and other mobile devices. Chances are it will be seen most frequently that way.
The CTA (Call to Action) needs to be easy to just tap on a phone. The images need to be centered. Make it look good and work well for mobile users.
Fast Loading Pages
– Nate Dame says 3 seconds or less for page loading or we lose our readers. This is accomplished with efficient programming.
404 and 301 pages
–These are the pages that come up when something is wrong. They should be set up to send visitors to another working page of your site. Don’t assume everything will always work perfectly. Use the 404 and 301 pages to redirect readers and keep them on your site.
Or no www.
– Don’t use both. It confuses the search engines. Never confuse the search engines. They will just throw out your results if they see duplicates on the page or of the total site. Easy fix, don’t duplicate anything.
New content gets indexed more quickly and is registered higher on the search engine results page (SERP). New content from trusted sources is rated even higher.
To get results with SEO content we must be sure we are creating fresh high-quality content. Google refers to new content as “cookies right out of the oven”.
It’s ironic because this blog post is from 2011 with Google talking about how they rate the timeliness of search data.
- Just recycling the same information with a new date is not fresh new content. I read a financial blog where the author seemed to have just changed dates every year to make it look like new content.
Not only would this confuse the SEO technical end because of the duplicate content, it confused me as a reader. Links had expired and references to dates in the articles were just old.
Refresh the topics if you want to post about it again. Get a total rewrite, don’t just change the dates.
- Check other websites in your niche to see what content they are publishing right now.
Your unique perspective on the same topics will appeal to your readers and the new content moves you up the page.
- Google describes the criteria as “recent, regularly recurring or frequent updates” to determine freshness.
Use that information best you can to decide on your keywords and SEO content topics.
- Content over 1,500 words tend to get optimized better. The assumption being that it is hard to be thorough in less than 1,500 words on most topics.
Our experience leads us to believe that long-form content, over 2,000 words does even better.
It is important to be thorough, without creating posts that are so long that you lose readers. Bullet points, short paragraphs, images and the use of bold helps, but fascinating content helps the most.
Write what your readers want to read and take however many words it takes to say that.
The whole point of SEO Content is to make your website content accessible to your readers. Search engines can not find the information they are looking for if it is not optimized.
It is your job to meld the two opposing skill sets of SEO and content marketing to make that happen.
The results are SEO optimized Content. Your readers will appreciate the results and Google will reward you with the higher ranking in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).