Balancing SEO and Quality Content
Intro: What Is Quality Content and How SEO Plays a Role
The oft-quoted “Content is King” has long been a tenet of marketing strategy, and still is. However, how do you craft content to effectively reach this regal status? The answer lies at the intersection of quality and SEO optimization. No matter what type of content you’re developing – product copy, blog articles, about page description, lead magnets – providing relevant, valuable, and engaging content is a foundational step for success. Build upon that with strategic optimizations of the content that align with the intent of user’s searches and you’ll also be well-positioned in the search engine. Read on for general guidance and tactical recommendations of how to achieve this within your own content.
How To Build Quality Content
Building quality content on your website is crucial to creating a strategic SEO strategy. However, understanding what resonates with your target audience may change your strategy over time, so in the meantime, stick to these three simple steps when you first start building out content to set yourself up for success:
- Develop brand voice guidelines and stay consistent with them. Establishing brand voice, style and value guidelines is an important step in creating unique, quality content. Sticking to these guidelines throughout your content strategy will help you stand out amongst your competitors and build brand awareness for your website.
- Keep your audience’s interest in mind when writing your content. If you have a good idea of who your target audience is and what they’re interested in reading, ensure you tailor your content to them. The quality of your content is ultimately determined by your audience, so conduct keyword research prior to developing your content strategy to better understand what topics and keywords users are searching for and implement them into your strategy.
- Ensure your headline and first paragraph are compelling. In order for readers to be interested in your content and prevent a high bounce rate, you need to grab their attention within the first 50 words of your content. Utilize your brand voice guidelines to do this to ensure you’re staying consistent with your verbiage.
Quality Content: Do’s and Don’ts
Quality content is when SEO tactics and customer-focused content consolidate. It’s the perfect marriage of analytical and creative and can result in increased search rankings and increased organic traffic. Google defines quality content as focusing on the user rather than the algorithm itself. When it comes to creating quality content, there are must-have features you’ll want to include in your content as well as some things you’ll want to avoid.
Quality content do’s:
- Follow E-A-T guidelines: EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
- Use keyword research to find topics your target audience is interested in
- Make sure your content is primarily for users, not the search engine
- Make sure your content is truthful and not deceiving: If your metadata describes content focussed on how to wash curly hair, make sure the bulk of the article is focused on how to wash curly hair.
Quality Content Don’ts:
- Avoid duplicate content – duplicating content or taking content from another site will be flagged
- Avoid keyword stuffing – make sure the content sounds natural and organic
- Don’t add content just to add content – make sure the content is intentional and helps the user
- Refrain from including any sneaky redirects
Ultimately, don’t try to fool Google. Search engines can decipher between quality content that’s intended for customers and content that is jam-packed with outdated tactics.
Modern SEO Best Practices
Search engine optimization is constantly evolving and marketers should expect that Google will continue to roll out algorithm changes. It’s your job to account for these changes, reassess and refine. Now, that being said, it can often still feel daunting to keep up with the latest best practices. However, we’ve consolidated some modern SEO best practices to help keep your content strategy strong.
- Create a meaningful FAQ page. This is key for prioritizing the user experience by answering questions in a concise manner that’s easy for the user to digest and understand. Plus, you’ll get bonus points from Google for showing customers that you care.
- Make sure to organize your content by topic. And again, it all circles back to the user experience. This is another way to create a seamless experience for users to get to the information they’re looking for quickly. It’s important to note that as your website architecture changes, you’ll want to update how your content is organized as well.
- Focus on building relationships and providing value with link building. Link building is an incredibly effective SEO tactic that takes time. However, the immediate focus for link-building success goes back to the basics: building meaningful relationships. You’ll want to be selective and develop relationships with domains that support your audience. During this process, make sure to take advantage of Google Search Console to guide who you reach out to.
As with all SEO strategies, it’s important to recognize that building authority doesn’t happen overnight and Google will continue to change in ways that you can’t predict. But, as long as you continue to prioritize the user experience, you’ll be rewarded.
How to create quality content
As you can see, creating quality content is a multifaceted process… But a very important one! Our list of dos and don’ts will help keep even the most confused on the right track. But if you’re still unsure, put yourself in the shoes of the user and consider whether you’re just writing for rankings or if you’re truly writing to provide an answer to someone’s question. If you choose the latter, you’ll always come out on top!