How to create the best, most useful, content in search results

How to create the best, most useful content in search rankings

How to create the best, most useful content in search rankings

The phrase “good, unique content” has become a bit of a buzz phrase in recent years. So we can’t help but agree with Moz’s Rand Fishkin when he says that “good, unique content” needs to die.

In an episode of Whiteboard Friday posted on May 22nd 2015, Moz founder Fishkin says we should be aiming to produce content which is better than just good. And he’s got an excellent point.

Instead of producing “good, unique content”. Which frankly anyone can do without a huge amount of effort. Businesses should be aiming to produce the best content in the search results when they create something.

 

Before we go any further, here’s what you’re going to learn in this blog post:

  • The qualities of the best piece of content in the search results
  • The benefits of producing the best, most useful content, for your audience
  • How you can create that kind of content – from the planning stage, to writing your headline, to promotion

You can also download this blog post as a PDF to keep handy, or to read later on.

Download your guide to creating the best, most useful content in search results

 

What exactly is the best piece of content in the search results?

Think about the last time you searched for something. What was your experience like? Did you have to visit a few different websites before you found what you were looking for? Were you left with unanswered questions? That’s kind of annoying isn’t it?

Or did you find a standout piece of content that answered all of your questions? That content right there, is what you should be aiming to create.

The best, and most useful content is:

  • Content that provides the reader with everything they need to know about the question or topic it’s covering
  • So strong that the reader doesn’t need to look at another website
  • So good that they consider bookmarking it, sharing it with their friends, or linking to it

 

How do I produce this amazing, incredible piece of content?

The key is to plan, to be aware of what’s already out there, and identify gaps in the existing coverage.

It might take longer for you to produce this kind of content, but the benefits are worth it:

  • Your website gains more visits, and new visitors, which can lead to an increase in sales and leads
  • Improving your search rankings, which can lead to an increase in sales and leads
  • Expanding your reach as a result of shares, and improved search rankings
  • Become seen as an authority and useful resource in your sector
  • Improving your audience’s perception of your business / products / services
  • Showing that you care about helping your potential and existing customers

 

Planning & research

Who is the target audience? What phrases are you targeting?

Before you begin, you need to identify who is the target audience of this piece. Are they people who are new to the subject and might need lots of basic information? Or are they experienced people, who already know a lot about what you’re writing about?

Knowing this will help you understand exactly what the reader needs to know, and the tone of voice you need to use.

You also need to know what search terms or phrases you want to be ranking well for. There are a few ways you can identify this:

  • Think about what you would search for if you were looking for the piece of content you are going to create
  • View your Google Webmaster Tools to look at the kind of words and phrases your audience are already using to reach your website
  • Carry out a few searches and see what kind of results come up
  • Try using the Google Keyword Planner

 

What’s missing from existing content that is ranking well?

If you’re knowledgeable about the topic you’re writing about, you can create good content fairly easily without too much research.

To create a piece of content which is the best in search rankings, you need to know what search phrases you will be targeting, and what content is already ranking well for that phrase.

Spend some time reviewing that content critically, and make a list of any questions it left you with, or would lead your target audience with, and any points that were missed out that you would have included.

You might also be able to identify a better way to get the information across to the reader.

For example, you might feel that sharing the information in the form of a video would be more useful, and easier for your audience to understand.

Also, take the time to review any comments left at the end of those pieces of content. Are people unclear about what is being said? Is there something left unanswered? Or has something been missed out?

 

Writing

Plan a little more

The planning isn’t quite done with yet.

Collate all of your research and thoughts into your working document, and remind yourself again what the purpose of this piece of content is for the reader. You can then begin planning your blog post:

  • What images or videos will you need? Who needs to create those, and when?
  • Do you need to create a downloadable PDF or eBook to go with it?
  • What pages / videos do you need to link out to?
  • What will be your call to action at the end of the piece?

You can now start writing

With all of your research in hand, and a detailed idea about the kind of content you’re going to produce, what it’s going to say, and help readers with, you can begin writing.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep paragraphs short to make it easier for people to read
  • Don’t bombard people with jargon
  • Cut the waffling – make sure every word and sentence is necessary, remove anything that doesn’t add anything
  • Break up sections with sub-headings
  • Use bullet points
  • Add images and videos where necessary
  • Link out to studies, articles, blog posts, videos you reference

 

 

Creating a solid headline

Getting your headline right is incredibly important, as it will be the first thing most people see. It needs to be strong enough to grab their interest in search engines, or on social media, and make them click through.

Things you need to consider when writing a strong headline:

  • Length – if your headline is much longer than 70 characters it will get cut off in search results
  • Where the most important words are – sometimes a headline longer than 70 characters is necessary, so make sure the first part grabs their attention.
  • Does it evoke positive or negative emotions? Is that the emotion you were going for?
  • Does it accurately tell people what they will find out if they click through?
  • Ensure it includes some of your key words / phrases you want to rank for
  • Is it interesting?
  • Does it make you want to click through?

You don’t have to try and figure all of this out on your own though. CoSchedule have a great, free tool called Headline Analyzer, which scores your headlines based on length, sentiment, the headline type, and more.

We also recommend using Upworthy’s method of writing at least 25 headlines for each post, because it forces you to really think hard, and dedicate the time needed to write a solid headline.

If you use that method with the Headline Analyzer, you’re well on your way to understanding what a strong headline should be, and improving your own headline-writing skills. (Every day is a school day!)

 

 

Ask someone to proofread it

Leaving your piece and coming back to it later is a great way to spot any mistakes, or things you’ve missed out, but you can’t beat asking someone else to check it. Especially if you can find someone similar to your target audience, as they may raise points your audience would raise.

 

Provide a good user experience

When people arrive at a website, they have certain expectations, so make sure that both your website, and your blog post meet those expectations.

This means:

  • Your website needs to be mobile-friendly
  • Your website needs to load quickly
  • Your blog post should be formatted well, with images and sub-headings to break up big chunks of copy
  • Your website should be easy to navigate
  • You need a strong call to action if you want the reader to do something after reading your content

 

Promote it

After you’ve poured so much time and effort into your fantastic piece of content, you need to promote it. You need to find your target audience and tell them where they can find this content that is going to help them.

Exactly where and how you promote it will largely depend on your target audience, but here are a few options:

  • Email marketing
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

If you need help with finding out which social networks your audience use, read How To Create A Social Media Strategy That Works.

A trap many businesses fall into when promoting their own content is not promoting it enough. We’re not saying spam your audience with 50 updates about it a day, but remember that there are a lot of reasons why someone might not see your content the first time you promote it:

  • They didn’t scroll down far enough and never see it
  • It gets lost amongst all of the other updates
  • They fall into the big chunk of your audience who Facebook won’t show your updates do without paying
  • They do see it, tell themselves they’ll read it later, but forget about it

Don’t be shy when it comes to promoting your own content. The 80/20 method is recommended, where 20% of your updates are self-promotion, while 80% is having conversations, and sharing other people’s content.

 

Summary

 

Creating truly high-quality content is not a magic SEO bullet, but it can help you perform well for key words and key phrases you want to target. There are still other SEO things you should be taking seriously, such as your website’s load speed, usability, dodgy backlinks you built six years ago, etc.

The most important thing is to realise and understand that you’re writing content for a specific set of people, rather than a search engine.

Even if you are blogging primarily to improve your search results, you need to put your audience first and consider what questions and concerns they have, and how you can help them. If you put your audience first and create content which is genuinely helpful for them, your success in search rankings will follow.

Download your guide to creating the best, most useful content in search results

Struggling with blogging for your business? Call us on 01543 495 752 to find out how we can help you get the best out of your blog, or manage it for you.

 

Six tips to improve your website copy and help generate leads and sales

six tips to improve your website copy and help generate leads and sales

six tips to improve your website copy and help generate leads and sales

Words can go a long way towards convincing someone to become a customer, or even put them off.

Many of us research something online before buying it and if we don’t read what we want to read, we’ll look elsewhere.

Good website copy which focuses on how you and your products or services can solve a problem for your customer can help your website generate leads and sales.

Here are six tips to help you improve your websites copy.

 

What’s in it for them?

Too many websites make the mistake of making their copy all about them and not about how they can help their clients or customers.

When you’re writing your websites content you should be thinking about the benefits you can provide your customers with and make sure that’s the main focus of your copy, rather than how wonderful your business is.

 

Keep it succinct

Everyone’s busy and we don’t always have time to read pages upon pages of copy, so it’s important to write succinct copy and remove any unnecessary or uninteresting parts.

As well as keeping it succinct you need to keep it jargon free to avoid confusing visitors.

Don’t be surprised if it takes you much longer to write succinct copy, it’s an issue that’s plagued plenty of writers including experienced ones.

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” – Mark Twain

 

Formatting

Following the above point, most people skim read copy rather than reading every single word.

While it might frustrate you to know people aren’t reading every single word of the copy you spent hours crafting, there are a few things you can do to make it easier for them to skim.

–         Keep paragraphs short.

–         Break the page up using sub-headers.

–         Use bullet points.

–         Make sure the font, size and colour of the text is easy to read and shows up against your background.

 

Tone of voice

When writing copy make sure it aligns with the tone of voice used on any product packaging, your social media and any marketing materials such as leaflets, brochures and emails.

 

Calls to action

Does your website tell your visitors what you want them to do next? Does it tell them to take a look at your offers, download your brochure or whatever it is you want them to do?

Calls to action are a must and need to be succinct, clear and stand out on the page to help guide visitors through your website and hopefully down the sales funnel.

 

Search engine optimisation

We left this point until last because it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t be writing for search engines. They’re very useful but you should be writing with your audience in mind first.

Search engines are becoming smarter, allowing people to search using natural language and still find high quality relevant results.

If you write your copy with your target audience in mind it’s likely you will naturally include plenty of keywords and keyphrases that they would use when searching.

Once you’ve written your copy, read it through and look at whether any additional keywords can be added in.

Don’t be tempted to ram your copy with keywords and phrases because it won’t read right and search engines may decide to punish your website for ‘keyword stuffing’.

 

Writing great copy, whether it’s for your website or a leaflet, takes time but if it impresses visitors and turns them into leads, sales or even loyal customers it’s worth it.

 

If your website isn’t providing you with leads or sales get in touch with us to find what we can do to help your website benefit your business. Call us on 01543 495 752 or fill in our contact form.

If you want to read more from our website series of blogs, just click here to see what other resources are available.

Four Tips For Writing Pawesome Product Descriptions

four tips for writing awesome product descriptions

four tips for writing awesome product descriptions

Bonjour Humans,

I spent last night surfing the internets for a new iBone cover (Chops chewed the last one). And I couldn’t help feel frustrated at the amount of poor product descriptions.

Being the friendly Marketing Dog I am. I thought I’d give you folks some hints and tips to help you write the best and most pawesome product copy you can!

To explain my points I’m going to use an example product throughout. This is the Holy Grail for most dog owners, a dog proof bin.

 

Get Found – Keywords

To help your products perform well in both search engines and in your websites search function, you need to include keywords in the product title and description.

Let’s imagine this dog-proof bin comes in three colours; silver, black and white.

The colours and the words ‘dog proof’ and ‘bin’ need to be included in both the product title and description. For example, if someone is browsing your website and your product title just says ‘Black Bin’, they won’t know that it’s a dog proof bin, which means you’ve just lost a sale.

It’s very important to include keywords but don’t be tempted to go overboard use too many. This is called keyword stuffing; search engines don’t like it and will punish your search rankings for it, and in some extreme cases they will banish you from the listings all together and send you to your bed with your tail between your legs and no treat after dinner.

 

So What? – List Benefits

Even if it seems really obvious, and most of the time it will do, list your products benefits. The whole time someone is reading your product description and pondering a purchase, there’s a little voice in their head going; ‘So what? If I part with x amount of my hard earned money, how will this product help me or solve a problem for me?’

People are being careful with their money and they want to know that they aren’t wasting it by buying your product and that it will help them.

Let’s think about the dog proof bin, the benefits are obvious, but let’s list them;

  • It holds rubbish
  • Your dog can’t get into the rubbish
  • This means your don’t won’t injure themselves or make themselves ill after raiding the rubbish
  • You won’t have to spend your evening picking the rubbish up off the kitchen floor

Humans are being careful with their money and want to know that your product will help them and won’t be a waste of money.

Thankfully the only money issues us dogs have is, whether that 50p we swallowed is going to cause us problems.

 

Know Your Target Audience – Know What They Want

You’re all good business owners and marketers, so you know exactly what kind of person your customer is and what kind of information they want to know.

There will be certain questions your product description will need to answer for your customer. Such as;

  • Will it arrive fully assembled, part assembled or in bits?
  • If I need to do some assembly what tools will I need?
  • How big is it so I can figure out where to put it in my kitchen?
  • What size liners will I need?

This of course will vary depending on what your product is, but take time to think carefully about what questions your product description needs to answer.

Knowing your target audience also means you can gauge what kind of tone of voice you can use. With something like a dog proof bin, you can get away with a bit of humour and a few puns, but only if all of the information is there.

 

Formatting

Formatting is important, people don’t want to read huge paragraphs of text, so short and succinct sentences and paragraphs are important.

When listing your products advantages, you may have a lot to bark about, so listing them as bullet points will make it easier for people to digest. Figuratively of course, eating a website would be more impressive than raiding a bin.

Keep an ear out for The Marketing Dogs tips for pawesome product listings which will be on the blog next week.

 

Contact Us

If your e-commerce website isn’t performing as well as you’d like, or you need help with your product descriptions, get on the dog and bone and talk to my lovely humans, The Marketing People. You can call them on 01543 495 752, or drop them an email on contact@themarketingpeople.com. Don’t write to them though, I’ll only eat your letter.

 

If you want to read more from our website series of blogs, just click here to see what other resources are available.

10 Tips To Help You Create High Quality, SEO Friendly Content.

10 tips to help you create high quality content

10 tips to help you create high quality content

Creating high quality content is vital to keep attracting readers and bringing them back, which in turn will help your SEO efforts.

Last week we wrote a blog post about why high quality content is so important to SEO, this week we’re going to help you create that high quality content by sharing 10 must remember tips with you.

 

 

Attention grabbing title.

Convince people to read your blog post with an intriguing or interesting title which they can’t say no to, such as “How to create a great email marketing campaign”.
Help your blog post rank higher by including keywords in the title

 

Keywords;

Use keywords throughout your blog post and title, the most important ones should be used in your title and opening paragraph.

Don’t over use keywords as it won’t read right and search engines may pick up on it and punish you for ‘keyword stuffing’, which is the art of ramming so many keywords into a sentence it doesn’t make sense.

 

Interesting and relevant;

People are reading your blog post to gain some knowledge or information, something useful that they can take away and apply, so make sure you provide them with that.

Writing content for the sake of putting a blog post out is no good; ensure that you have a great topic which people will want to read about.

 

Call to action;

If you’re trying to encourage people to download your latest ebook or take advantage of your hat sale, just say it! Include a strong call to action and a link to where you want them to go and tell them what you want them to do.

 

Personality and engagement;

No one wants to read a boring blog post, so allow your personality to shine through; make it interesting and engage readers by relating to everyday situations, make a joke or two and get readers thinking.

This will make your post much more interesting to read and might make your information easier to remember.

 

Don’t beat around the bush;

You’re readers are just as busy as you are so be concise; straight to the point and fill your blog post full of helpful and interesting content.

 

Break it up;

If your blog post is going to be lengthy, bullet points and sub headers are your best friends. Break the post up into easy to manage chunks for your readers so they aren’t too overwhelmed by a huge wall of text.

 

Links;

If you’ve written about the same or a similar topic before, include a link back to it. This will benefit your reader and you as search engines will look more favourably upon on a blog post which has links that are relevant.

 

Tags;

Most blogging platforms will allow you to apply tags to your post, which enable it to get found easier. Your tags can be keywords or key phrases you’ve used in your article.

 

Get it checked;

Before your post goes live ask a friend or a co-worker to check it over first to ensure it makes sense and there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

After your blog post has gone live, remember to share it with friends and followers on social media or via email.

 

You can find more useful advice on how to maintain the best SEO in our blogs. Or if you need a helping hand to get you started, or run it for you, we can help. Call us today on 01543 495752 to see what we could do for your SEO.

Why High Quality Content is King of SEO

why high quality content is king of seo

why high quality content is king of seo

There is no magic formula when it comes to SEO but one of the best ways to improve your rankings and attract readers and inbound links is creating high quality content.

It’s important to keep in mind that you are writing for people and not the search engines. Search engines are just the way people will discover your content.

Thankfully for anyone who wants to find anything useful on the internet, search engines are incredibly intelligent. And are aware of what is natural content and what is spam content rammed with keywords and sentences that barely make sense.

 

Why people love great content.

Its common sense really. People love reading helpful and interesting content. So if your content answers a question for them or provides them with useful and usable information, they’ll be willing to share it with their friends or like minded people.

This in turn sends more visitors to your website and could create inbound links.

 

Why search engines love great content.

Search engines love content that’s written for people and not for search engines. They’ll know if you’re writing content solely for them.

For example, if you own a pet grooming salon and write a blog post about the importance of regularly grooming pets. But you try to fit the keyword ‘pet grooming’ into each sentence five times it won’t make sense to a person. Search engines will pick up on this and see that you are ‘keyword stuffing’ and will punish your website’s ranking in search results.

If you sit down and write your blog post without thinking too much about keywords, the chances are you will add all the keywords you wanted to anyway. Then it won’t look unnatural. Any keywords you missed out can then be added in after your original draft.

If your content attracts inbound links search engines will pick up on this and see your blog post as useful. As worth reading and worth sharing which will have a positive effect on SEO.

On a side note, search engines like website’s which are updated regularly. So if your blog is part of your website each time you post a new blog post, search engines will think the website is being updated.

 

Why content is better than link building.

It’s helpful to have your website or blog listed in big directories. Such as Dmoz and Yell as they will help you get found. Getting an inbound link from a guest blog post you wrote or from someone praising your work will also help you out.

If you’re spending hours creating listings on barely used directories on the tenth page of Google’s search results. It’s going to have very little affect, if any at all.

A great piece of content which gets shared a handful of times is better than a link on an unknown directory. Which may never send anyone back to your website.

 

How often should I blog?

HubSpot carried out some research where they found that businesses which blogged 16-20 times a month received over two times more traffic that those who blogged four times or less during the same time period.

While it would be nice to have the time to blog five times a week, it’s not always possible.

Here at The Marketing People we recommend blogging once or twice a week. Then if you have the time and the stories, then blog more.

Having the stories is vital. There’s no point in putting out one really high quality blog post and then four rubbish ones just because you were trying to blog five times during the week.

 

 

Writing copy can be hard at the best of times, so feel free to browse the rest of our blogging category for inspiration on what to write about, and how to write about it.

If you’re struggling for the time or resources to blog but know it’s something you and your business should be doing, get in touch with us to find out how we could manage your blog for you. Call us on 01543 495 752 and have a chat with us about what we can do or email us at contact@themarketingpeople.com.

The SEO Advantages of blogging – Part 2

the seo advantages of blogging part 2

the seo advantages of blogging part 2

Last Thursday we wrote about the direct benefit of a blog from an SEO point of view, so we’re now going to talk about the indirect SEO advantages of blogging.

Indirect benefits – These rely on some form of interaction from a reader.

Good content will keep people coming back to both your blog and the website, which will encourage them to use your company.

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘content is king’ before, while that’s certainly true, putting one good post out every three months probably isn’t going to help you all that much. The amount of new posts you create is also important, no pressure.

Hubspot carried out a study, which found businesses with blogs that posts five times during a seven day period, would receive 6.9 times more organic traffic than a business which didn’t blog at all, so the amount of posts really is important.

Linking to useful content on other websites can also increase your page ranking.
For example, if you decide to link to an article you consider really helpful, a search engine will ‘think’ you’re being helpful and will boost your page rankings.

The same goes for a website linking back to your website, a search engine will perceive your website as useful because people want to share it, again boosting your page rankings.

The person whose website you link to may decide to return the favour and link back to you, sending some of their readers your way.

We hope our two part post on the SEO advantages has been useful.
If you have any questions or queries, don’t hesitate to drop us a comment.

Do you or your company blog? Do you blog solely for SEO purposes? Let us know.

If you’re wondering what on earth SEO is, check out our SEO Jargon Buster.

 

You can find more useful advice on how to maintain the best SEO in our blogs. Or if you need a helping hand to get you started, or run it for you, we can help. Call us today on 01543 495752 to see what we could do for your SEO.