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Mnemonics implies that two of three fundamental principles of memory are association and imagination. This post may be re-wording some things that people know, but I personally find it’s always easier to recall quirky pointers when working, rather than trawling my brain for dull information.
I’m quite a fan of Family Guy, I’ve no shame in admitting it. I also quite like search, although it’s not always as amusing and sometimes less socially acceptable to say so.
So, in a moment of madness, and I realise that I might be pushing things a little bit here, I’ve taken the time to slam the two together and tried to use a few episode titles to demonstrate how to produce great SEO-ready content.
The actual episodes might be different from the points I’m making, but hopefully the association will stick between the two. So, whenever you’re watching Peter Griffin’s antics on TV, you’ll suddenly begin thinking of SERPs...
It still never ceases to surprise me how many people think that the only sign of good SEO presence is appearing at the top of page one on Google. I’d say that this isn’t really true, nor is it a ideal benchmarking of your activity. Instead, you should be looking at all sorts of different KPI’s, depending on your overall objectives.
The practice of natural search activity is to gain greater visibility, and consequently traffic, amongst users. However, you need to remember that you’re writing content that users will read, not the search engines.
Any copy you produce, whether on a website, blog or otherwise, needs to be interesting and appropriate for your intended demographic of visitor. Also, in writing for a particular audience, you’re more likely to be producing the kind of content that they’re searching for. Well-written, relevant content shouldn’t be compromised by trying to claw your way up the first page of results.
Unfortunately, not everyone can write well, but some people still think that they can. (I’m probably guilty of this). Consequently, there may well be untapped potential in your organisation to produce some truly kick-ass content that will help drive traffic and increase search visibility.
Obviously, it’s good practice in general to try and discover where strengths and weaknesses of your staff lie in general, and by unearthing people talents you could improve your overall business performance. This translates across to specific disciplines, including SEO. As better content is produced more regularly, your search performance is also likely to get better.
Using tried and tested content techniques that work and that aren’t black-hat will prevent you (or your clients) from going crazy with frustration. If you avoid the methods, you’ll trip up or worse, be blacklisted by the engines. It’s not worth trying to get away with using keyword stuffing or doorway pages – and similar principles apply to direct content.
The best methods to stick to include:
- Identifying keywords and phrases and consciously incorporating them naturally into any text. Don’t force awkward grammar or content.
- Using the various tools that are available to check how well you rank for relevant terms and what users are searching for.
- Use bold or italic text where relevant, as search spiders generally give this more attention to that standard formatting.
- Effectively using headlines, sub-headings and URL-titles: make sure your main keywords are prominent.
A fairly simple point for any digital activity, especially producing SEO-ready content: Don’t do crazy stuff and lose sight of your objectives.
Producing blog content about topical issues may be great for speed-ranking yourself, but it might not be relevant to your organisation. In this sense, it probably won’t even hold any SEO longevity either.
This isn’t to say don’t produce ambitious content, and video and images are all fair game when it comes to SEO, but just don’t let your content lose sight of what your organisation is trying to achieve overall, search rankings and beyond.
If you want serious Google juice, you’re looking for inbound links. These are extremely important and these will only happen naturally if you produce high-quality material, as people will want to link to it. This emphasises the importance of good copywriting and the resources that need to be put into producing compelling copy on a long-term basis.
If you can’t produce good content yourself, find someone who can, as outlined in the “Wasted Talent” section above. Quality is key to ensuring that people link and share or bookmark you through the likes of social media, in turn likely bringing a boost to traffic and SEO rankings.
Equally, don’t overlook the need link out within your online content. This shouldn’t particularly devalue your content... in fact, it can often add credibility. Just don’t overdo things, as this will decrease any levels of importance that’s given by search engines.
It’s pretty simple: you need to keep educating yourself about how to deliver great SEO-ready content. No matter how skilled you are or the track record you’ve got, the search landscape is constantly shifting and the algorithms of the search engines are changing all the time. By not keeping yourself informed, you’ll likely find that you’ll be overpowered by competitors.
You also need to learn about what your demographic is searching for, what kind of content appeals to them best and how they like to be able to read or share it, so get researching! These, amongst other factors, will impact the way you create any online material.
It can take a while before you may see any positive SEO gain from your content, so don’t lose heart and keep at it. Give yourself realistic targets or expectations and keep hammering away at regularly delivering new, exciting stuff.
Shout about yourself. SEO PR can be a powerful thing, but it’s only as powerful as the content delivering it.
I’m not going to rehash what’s been said about how important SEO is to PR and vice versa, but I will repeat the fact that they are important.
As outlined in a previous post by Kevin Gibbons:
When PR and SEO aren’t working hand in glove, it’s a real blow to the potential success of projects such as a blog. SEO staff won’t necessarily have as much creative force as a PR team, while few press officers and marketers will possess an in depth understanding of optimising their content.
Once again, working together will hugely strengthen [any] performance. The SEO team can make sure PR’s writing doesn’t get lost in the crowded online marketplace, while PR can deliberately create content around underperforming keywords.
With that in mind, make sure any online PR content is optimised for SEO and that the two disciplines compliment each other. It’s an important 101 element of producing great, searchable material.
What other pointers did I miss in creating great SEO-ready content? What's the best episode of Family Guy? Can it be brought back tediously to digital marketing? Leave your comments below!