Small businesses strive to define themselves in a marketplace filled with competitors. Having a credible website and stellar products and services are the pillars for any business, but in order to succeed, high rankings in search engine queries are essential. But with millions of search results available, how does a small business rise to the top? We’ll tell you: creating content with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind. Optimizing your content, through your website and other distribution channels, enhances your business’s position in search results. When you develop content in this way, it drives customer action and increases revenue.
Follow these 6 SEO writing best practices and watch your rankings surge:
1. Set goals
Before you create any content, clearly define what you are hoping to achieve. Are you looking for better positioning in search results? Do you want to beat a competitor in a key word ranking? Or is it something else completely? Once you set a goal, assign measurable metrics. Your goal should stimulate action from your users, not just generate more traffic to your website. Lastly, determine which channel(s) best fit this content as that will inform where you are driving the change in user action and how to do so.
2. Utilize the Strategic Cheeseburger
Mark Smiciklas’ Strategic Cheeseburger is a great visual that addresses the five considerations for content marketing strategy. Basically, you need to remember your audience, content theme, voice and tone, content format, and distribution channels. When all components are in sync with your goals, your content will push engagement and social sharing, which improve SEO rankings.
3. Determine your keywords
You may have desired keywords in mind based on your goals, from which you can create content, or your content may dictate your keywords. The simplest way to settle on your keywords is to summarize your message into 2-3 words. Some trial and error is required when searching for optimal keywords, so feel free to tweak as you try different words and understand their results. A few useful resources for finding keyword data are Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner and competitive searches. Most importantly, your keywords should be trending, topical, and in line with your brand voice.
4. Craft a killer headline
Your content is nothing without an intriguing and persuasive headline. In fact, only 2 out of 10 people who read a headline continue on to read an article. Consider the 4 U’s Formula when forming your next headline:
- Urgent – Why does the user need to read it now? Words such as “now”, “finally”, and “avoid” create urgency and propel users to read further.
- Unique – What does this article give the reader that they can’t find elsewhere? Distinctive words help headlines stand out against the plethora of content available.
- Useful – Does it speak to what the readers want to know? People want to read things that pertain to them and serve a purpose.
- Ultra-specific – Does it speak to a reader’s specific need in the way that they want it? Again, when a user knows what she’s getting before reading an article, she’s more likely to read it.
5. Optimize content
Search engines find information based on keywords and phrases, so include them strategically. Use them where appropriate and as it makes sense; your text doesn’t need to be chock full of keywords in order to have a higher SEO ranking. Consider the layout of the content. Dense text paragraphs are cumbersome and lose reader’s attention. Feel free to break up the text with headlines, subheadings, and bold fonts. Lastly, think beyond the text. Could a video, infographic, or GIF get your point across? Don’t shy away from incorporating different types of content.
If your customers can’t find your business, then what’s the point of creating great content? Tagging improves visibility and organizes content on your website. This makes it simple for search engines to digest your content and appropriately place your business within search results. The more fine-tuned your tags are, the more accurately your business will appear in query results.
We hope this was a useful article for your overall business strategy. Do you have other SEO writing best practices? If so, we’d love to hear them.
About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.