“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” — Ricky Bobby
One of Will Farrell’s more iconic lines from “Talladega Nights” is often an SEO nightmare come true.
Page 1 is always the goal for your website when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It makes your business visible to a wider audience, which opens up your prospects for converting an audience member to a customer.
A study from SEO firm Sistrix found that top-ranking organic search results yield of click-through rate (CTR) of 28.5%. Websites that ranked second in organic search results had a CTR of only 15.7%. It’s plain to see that the top ranking on the first page of a search is where you want your business to be.
Digital marketers have a love/hate relationship with SEO. When you’ve “cracked the code” and have high-ranking pages, you love the tools, the processes, the results… the world just looks better from there.
However, when you’re staring at a dashboard full of keyword search results and trying to make a decision about which keyword(s) will rank highest and how to build them into your content… the walls start to close in and your mind reels with all the spectacular ways your content could fail to rank.
Fear not! We’ve got 5 practical tips to help you create content that keeps your website top of mind, and at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
- Write for the humans, not the spiders. Google uses web crawlers, called spiders, to “crawl” through your website looking for ranking factors like keywords, usability, authoritative sources, and backlinks.To earn those backlinks, your content has to be something humans, not spiders, want to read, share, comment on, and otherwise engage with. No one wants to link to your content if it isn’t interesting or relevant. Never underestimate the power of writing for your audience, rather than for a computer algorithm.
- Provide intentional content. Always use a consumer-persona when developing your content. Knowing your ideal consumer and writing for them is a great way to ensure your content propels your SEO goals.If you know your consumer is likely to be information-seeking, then write How-To content; write FAQs; write Top 5 lists; include short-form video; invite subject-matter experts to write guest posts on your blog.If you know your consumer is looking to make a purchase, and you’ve got what they want, make sure your product and service pages are optimized with the purchase-search keywords your audience is using.
Use keyword-rich headers and subheaders to boost your SEO, and help your users move through your content easily. Beware of the penalties (and the horrible readability) of keyword stuffing in your content. Be strategic and thoughtful of the human reader as well as the search engine.
- Promote yourself. Seems obvious, yet many digital marketers overlook this opportunity. Link to other content within your own website.The first advantage is that it gives site visitors an easy way to navigate deeper into your sight and develop a more complete picture of who you really are, which builds trust with them. They stay on your site longer, increasing conversion and decreasing bounce rates.The second advantage is that it helps search engines build an accurate sitemap of your website, which helps them provide more accurate search results to users.
- Get a thesaurus (or bookmark one on the web). Using synonyms or words that are similar to the keywords you’re trying to rank for are valuable SEO writing tactics. When a search engine is crawling your website and “reads” words that aren’t necessarily keywords, but are related, it adds to the authenticity of your site. Authenticity will help your site rank higher on SERPs.
- Make the most of your images. This may not seem like an SEO writing tip, but it really is. Using images to break up blocks of text helps the reader be more engaged with the content, and it ranks higher with web crawlers. Pages full of heavy grey text are boring for humans and computers alike.The real advantage to those images, though, is the opportunity to add keywords by using ALT text with your images. The ALT text is displayed if the image won’t load properly or for users with screen readers. It gives you an opportunity to use additional words to provide imagery and include keywords – just be careful to avoid keyword stuffing.
Our Top 5 Tips for SEO writing will help you get started creating optimized content for your website. You’ll find Page 1 is more within reach than you thought.
However, SEO is not for the faint of heart. It requires continual monitoring, message testing, evaluation, and revising. Creating updated content is time-consuming. Reaching Page 1 is only the first step; staying there is the ultimate goal.
As a full-service digital marketing firm, ASC Creative combines SEO analytics experts and content creators to reduce your workload and boost your SEO with one simple call. Let us help you increase your website visibility.