As an agency, at Jack & Bean, we offer unique content creation services for our clients as part of our suite of SEO services. We write a lot of content, not just for ourselves, but in collaboration with clients who do not or cannot do so themselves. I’m plugging us here because we have done this – a lot. Through both industry research and trial-and-error we have figured out a slew of factors you need to consider whenever you set to writing seo-friendly content.
Understand Your Audience
We have found that focusing on large, unique utility articles such as tutorials, thorough guides and how-tos (like this article) have been most effective at ranking well for both B2B and B2C content writing. Most of the time we barely promote the company’s offerings, if even at all, in successful content pieces. The point rather is to offer a resource that is relevant, useful, and will build credibility and DR, influencing our overall Google ranking. This is because we understand the audiences of our industries we write for, and what they’re actually searching for.
Case studies, examples and authoritative interviews/quotes are also great, but we have largely used them as supplementary material, in addition to number-based research and data with references to add authority. Most of our articles have irrefutable references that make our core points for us.
This simply illustrates how we tailor the content we write to appeal to our (client’s) target audiences. Consider yours carefully and understand that some trial-and-error may be required to find what your audience is interested in. However, you can minimize wasting time writing content your audience doesn’t want with the proper tools, a solid loadout of which are explained in our article about free bottomless content sources. Part of writing successful content is making efficient use of your time.
The first obvious aspect of successful content is simply writing well. This skill is acquired with practice, and you will get better over time by just doing as well as analyzing your successful competitors. However good or bad you are now, you can and will get better. You can almost always come back to older web content and improve it as your skills advance.
How Your Content Looks
The way your content displays on-page also makes a tremendous difference in how it is perceived. You don’t want to just throw thousands of great words on a page. Most visitors will scroll through and browse your page, either looking for something specific or deciding if they want to stay and read your article. Make use of layout variations, quality images, short paragraphs and sentences, headings and subheadings, quotes, lists and other enticing features. One great tool we use for creating visuals is Visme. Again, look to your competition for inspiration. We recommend outlining your topic, consider your structure and images based on how much you can write about each section, write it, and then lastly…
Create an Enticing Headline
Your title is often the only thing people will see when they have the opportunity to click on your article. It needs to snag their attention, and yet contain some variation of your keyword/topic. You are essentially creating accurate clickbait. Be sure to brainstorm at least half a dozen title options and spend some time perfecting it. We recommend waiting until you’ve written your content to craft your title last as sometimes your focus will change as you write, making the title you began with no longer representative of what you wrote about.
What makes your content different than what’s already been said? This is a huge question that must be answered before you begin, or your content will just a clone of other content already published. Don’t just rewrite an existing article. Take a topic, and do one of the following:
- Discuss something that hasn’t been discussed before. This is content gold, but also extremely difficult and your opportunities for this will be rare.
- Find a dramatically new angle on something already discussed. Always aim for this if you can’t achieve brand new subject matter. Be controversial yet defensible.
- Explain an existing topic better. This will likely be your bread and butter, in conjunction with aspects of the previous approach.
You can craft unique content from data your company produces, insights you have because of your industry experience, and even stories from people you have access to, as well as customer experiences and reviews. Unique content stands out and is much easier to promote. Visitors and other authors will be receptive to your unique and improved discussion and backlinks will be more likely to develop as a result.
Utilize the knowledge of those who came before you and are experts in the field you’re writing about. If you can manage to interact with and interview subject matter experts, not only will you have incredible insight and accuracy, but you likely can score a backlink from them to your article!
The big articles you write, “cornerstone” pieces as the online community has come to call them, are the breadwinners. They are the articles the majority of your backlinks will ultimately link into and what will earn most of your SEO authority. However, you likely have content, products and services on other pages relevant to these articles. These cornerstone pieces give you the opportunity to link to other internal pages for increased traffic as well as potentially passing on some SEO credibility.
Be sure to round out your large content pieces by promoting both further reading and your products/services. Your site should be interconnected and once you have a few related pieces written, they should all link to each other where relevant. You want visitors to stay engaged as long as possible. Towards that goal, take care to not overdo it with internal self-promotion and risk annoying your visitors into bouncing. Keep internal links appropriate and relevant.
External links serve several roles. External links are how you promote the content of others altruistically in the form of a backlink. You can also use external links to reference authoritative external sources as a way of establishing credibility, as we have done quite a few times in this very article. Just take care to add rel=”nofollow” to links you don’t want being considered part of your content or that you don’t want to potentially share your SEO profile with. For more on this here is a candid support article from Google themselves on rel=”nofollow” that we have appropriately linked to in that very manner.
Content Post Frequency
The frequency of your content posts does nothing for your Google ranking, and in fact can lead to you cannibalizing your own articles by having them compete with each other for the same keywords. It’s much better to have a few large “cornerstone” articles than many small ones about very closely related topics. You’re also less likely to keep your existing audience engaged if you’re constantly bombarding them with mediocre content updates. Frequency of posting does nothing except water down your efforts. This excludes content irrelevance due to being outdated/old.
Content Depth & Length
Fewer, high-quality articles should also be larger and more in-depth. Better, deeper content coverage leads to more traffic, even if it’s ranked lower than the competition for some specific keywords, as it will rank for more keywords overall. Google likely factors in time visitors spend on page when considering ranking, so the longer you can actively engage them, the better.
Due to this, search volume for a single keyword is a very poor indicator of potential traffic, due to multiple keyword rankings, which means the actual search traffic can be many times higher. Look at the TOTAL SEARCH VOLUME TRAFFIC for the TOP RANKED articles/pages, not just the keyword traffic, when researching keyword topics to include in your content.