Everyone wants to appear on Google and rank high online for the content they write. Google is the number one search engine used in the world, it’s the best way for your company to get found by prospective clients. Your content is created to both inform users about your services, as well as inform search engines, so you can appear online for the products you offer. There are several tricks you can use when writing content to appeal to both readers and search engines. This post will help you take a more strategic approach to your content marketing by incorporating keyword research and buyer intent, to help you to start ranking online.
What is Content Marketing?
In its simplest form, content marketing is a means of communicating the values and services of your business to interested clients. It should be a strategic approach for distributing useful, educational information to both attract and keep prospective clients. Content marketing builds trust with your audience and it helps them make informed decisions.
Quality content can be reused and repurposed for posts on social media, email send-outs, and even video marketing. Content is also a large factor in SEO and ranking online. Google uses the content on your website to determine the keywords your business ranks for. Good content is the fastest way to get found online and start ranking for the services you offer. Learn more about the details of content marketing on our blog.
How to Write “Good” Content for your Readers
Good content will help to inform your readers, improve your position in organic search and retain interested leads. So what makes content good?
Good content doesn’t necessarily mean perfect paragraphs or grammar. Good content is readable content. It’s content that the average reader can understand and process. Content writing is about taking higher-level concepts and translating them in a way people will understand. Most readers actually read at a 7th-grade level. This is why it is important to use platforms like Hemingway to check your writing and make sure that it’s easy for others to understand.
A lot of content writing is also about trying to keep readers interested and on the page. This is why it’s perfectly fine to stray from traditional paragraph structure, break up the content as much as possible, add images and use bold or italic words and even questions in your writing. This keeps people engaged, and on the page.
Good content seeks to inform the reader, it is helpful to provide related links in your content to both internal and external sources, so your reader can continue their research and make informed decisions.
Good Content for Readers:
- Informative & easy to understand
- Well researched
You can measure and track to see if your content is appealing to readers. In Google Analytics, look at how long they spend on the page. If they leave your post as soon as they arrive, you may want to make the page more appealing to retain your audience. You can also use heat mapping tools such as Hotjar to see if readers make it to the end of your content and click the links or buttons you laid out for them. Now let’s look into what makes good content from Google’s point of view.
How to Write Content that Appeals to Google
It’s important to write your content for human readers first, but when it comes to ranking online, you must optimize all of your writing for SEO. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your content easy to read for Google's crawlers. Google actually also has real people reading your pages as well; but this is more for content in the health, wellness and medical fields, where accurate information is essential for readers.
Google takes over 200 ranking factors into account when it’s crawling your content. Some of these factors are more important than others and all of the factors are loosely based on a users’ experience on your pages.
SEO and Google Crawlers
Google's crawlers don’t read as we do, they read in HTML code. When you are writing your content, your titles, headers, images, linked text and body paragraphs all tell Google what your topic is about. Once they are published, there is an HTML version of your post online. That is why it is very important to optimize your content for SEO.
A crawler will see that you have a title, H1, H2, H3 tags (loaded with your keywords.) It will see keywords that are in bold in your body paragraph and it will see the ALT text on images. If you want to check to see what Google sees, click into the HTML version of your blog post. Check to see the title tags and headers all align with what you want Google to see. Here’s a helpful article that goes into detail on how to write SEO optimized content.
Length of Content
The length of your content is also very important. Google prefers long-form content (upwards of 2000 words) Google basically loves content that has been Wikipediafied.
This means it’s looking for long content broken up into various sub-sections, with images and plenty of interlinking. Whereas humans get bored easily and will navigate away from a page if it looks too long.
Neil Patel does the best job of writing for both humans and search engine bots. Take a look through his blog posts and you’ll see, the text is long, but it’s spaced out, it’s easy for readers to scan and it’s filled with plenty of photos and questions to keep your attention. This is the type of content that blends both Google’s needs with the needs of your readers.
Lastly, it is essential to wait and measure how your content performs online over time. Track its performance and make changes along the way. You should also promote your content via social media and blogger outreach.
Buyer Intent & Keyword Research
Content marketing focuses entirely on the organic side of ranking online and it is largely based on keywords. The key to writing content that will rank high online is writing based on the keywords that you want to rank for. You find your keywords through different tools such as Google Keyword Planner (in Google Ads) and Google Search Console. There are also helpful plugins such as Keywords Everywhere. (See Guideline*)
When you are first starting the process of keyword research, it is important to think of your buyer personas. What is someone going to search on Google when they are looking for your services? What key phrases/language will they use? Think of your demographic, their location, their needs.
The simplest way to start your keyword research is to take stock of what you already have. Perform a website audit and determine a list of keywords and topics that are already being used.
You can check in Ahrefs to start tracking how well the website is ranking for each keyword. You can also check in Google Keyword Planner to determine how much traffic each keyword gets per month.
It's best to look for keywords with high impressions and low to medium levels of competition. Longer tail keywords that are more specific to your business can help to get you more visibility in the area you want to rank in. Note: if you don’t have access to a client’s Google Ads profile, there are many free tools available to find related keywords. One is Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest.
Let’s dive into the details of keyword research for ranking online.
*Guide: How to do Keyword Research - Step by Step*
- Go through the current website & collect your main keywords
- Write them down in a spreadsheet
- When you have your brand, company, products, industry, and service keywords covered, categorize them in a way that makes sense to you.
- Determine your target area & audience as well as the target country.
- Use Google Keyword Planner (GKP) and select ‘find new keywords’.
- Turn on Keywords Everywhere extension in Chrome and select target ‘country’
- Category by category from your spreadsheet, add into Google Keyword Planner and record the average monthly searches.
- Look for additional keywords in GKP to add that have a high average search volume.
- After forming a comprehensive list, label the keywords as either - bad, ok, good or excellent based on the average monthly searches for your target area. Keep in mind the keyword
s your business already uses. Is it worth changing or do they have enough searches?
- Ideally, you would add all these keywords into a keyword tracking tool (e.g. SEMRush or Ahrefs) to benchmark your website's current performance and then try to improve over time with new content or modified old content.
- The first thing to do regarding content is to go through your current site and edit any changes to current page titles, SEO titles, SEO descriptions, headings, and text-based on your keyword research findings.
Once you have a clear idea of the keywords you currently rank for, and the words you want to rank for, it’s time to plan your content strategy.
- Take the best keywords and use them to create your content strategy.
- Do some more exploring around new terms that come out of these keywords.
- You should be able to create content or articles to rank for these keywords.
- Develop a content calendar and schedule when you should create and publish the content.
When you have a clear calendar of content topics that are based on your keywords, it’s time to start writing. Your content calendar will keep you consistent and on track with your writing, so you have a clear posting schedule.
- Once you have prioritized which content to create, begin writing your content based on your content calendar.
- Do research on what posts are currently ranking for that keyword and how you can improve your writing to rank and compete.
- Use a plugin such as Yoast to be sure your content is also optimized for SEO.
- Try to base content on ONE keyword to start with.
Your keywords are the biggest factor in ranking high online. If you are interested in learning more about the specifics of keyword research, we have created a helpful article called “How to do Keyword Research 101” that covers the topic in detail.
Learn More About Content Marketing at ElementIQ
At ElementIQ we specialize in growing small to medium-sized businesses. Our team of SEO, SEM and content marketing specialists know how to create content that is tailored to your business, which will get seen online. Publishing consistent content keeps your audience engaged, and interested. Google will also crawl new content so you can start ranking for new keywords. Click to learn more about our content marketing services, or contact us today to discover all of the marketing services we offer at ElementIQ.