This how-to has been put together to help you improve your organic traffic through Google search results, by telling you how you should be writing your blog content for Google.
To put it bluntly, you shouldn’t.
You always need to be writing for your audience. Google isn’t engaging with your content, they’re not a potential reader or customer – Google’s just an algorithm built to return the best result to a person searching for information. So if you currently believe SEO is all about keywords, mentioning them a certain amount of times on a page, making sure all your links point to it with your main phrase, setting up separate posts/pages for slightly different iterations of the same topic – you’re going to need to rethink it. But the rewards if you do include: improved user engagement; increased signup rate; and, consequently, better rankings in the search results.
The most important thing to get right when content writing is the topic research, and there are some key questions you should be asking yourself to help you get started.
- Have I already written about this before?
The most important question to ask yourself. Have you already covered this? Why do you need to write about it again? Repurposing old content is a great way to freshen up posts that no longer get much traction or traffic, and can save yourself a lot of time and effort.
- Will your audience want to read it?
If the content isn’t written for your target audience, existing users won’t engage with it, and new traffic you bring in with that post will likely leave after they’ve finished reading it.
- Can you solve a problem?
People using Google are searching for answers. Answer those questions – this is an easy way to generate helpful content for your audience, demonstrating to both them and Google your expertise in this area.
- Does it make them want to read more from your blog, or do they leave once they’ve got what they’ve come for?
A lot of site owners think more traffic == more money, but the quality of the traffic isn’t usually talked about until they realise their audience is higher than ever yet they’re making no money. If you write a well written, high ranking article reviewing a 4 slice toaster – but your site is really a travel blog – the odds of the new users sticking around are slim to none. While this is an extreme example, it’s important to keep in mind as you should always be aiming to increase the traffic flow through your website, encouraging more pages per visit and a lower bounce rate.
- What is the search intent?
Take a keyword or phrase you want to rank for and ask yourself what the reason behind that search is. Are they just beginning to research a topic, or are they already well versed with the subject? Search for the phrase yourself, and see if the results reflect your intent – if not, your users will likely need to “qualify” their searches by adding more detail to get better-tailored results. Writing your content while keeping this qualification in mind will help avoid generic fluff – content like “Learning why content writing is important for SEO and for bloggers is vital because to write high ranking content you need to be a good content writer”. This doesn’t read well, it doesn’t help anyone, and even if it were to help me rank for “content writing”, is that a term I want to rank for? The intent behind that search could be educational, which fits the goal of this site, but the intent could also be looking for services, to hire someone.
Repurpose Old Content
If your site has been around for a while, odds are you have content that’s now outdated or just doesn’t bring in new traffic. Using Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see the performance of the post, how much traffic the post gets as well as how users interact with the website if they arrive through that content. Firstly, check to see if any old posts are still getting organic traffic, and review them – if the information they provide is out of date but still helpful, refreshing them and adding internal links to new content that might have been published since will improve the user retention on that article.
If old content isn’t still bringing in new traffic, it might be poor quality and should be dropped from the website, or it may have just been timely content that isn’t relevant now. “Top 10 Photography Accessories of 2015” might be an example of this – content that’s not necessarily poor quality, but just isn’t up-to-date. The recommended approach to take for posts like this is to write a fresh post for the new year, and then revisit this older content and update it with a short summary about the new article alongside a link. Updating the canonical URL of the old post to point to the new one will also tell Google which article we’d prefer to be presented to users in the search results.
Solve A Problem
Google is by far the most valuable content research tool available, and the best thing about it is that it’s free. Take a phrase you’d like to rank for and give it a Google. As an example, I’ll be using “content writing”. The results you’re presented with are Google’s best guess at giving you what you’re after and are great for your own research. For example, when I search for this, I get a bunch of job ads related to becoming a content writer professionally and basic information about what a content writer is and does. Thanks to this simple & quick test, I can tell that “content writing” is not a phrase I’d like to rank for – even if the audience I’m aiming to reach does search for that phrase, they’re coming at it with an educational intent and will likely qualify their search when they realise the top results aren’t well tailored to that spin on it.
So, how do you find those qualifiers, the additional steps that users are taking to get better results? Easy – Google gives it to you, right there on the same page.
If the phrase you want traffic from also has this “People Also Ask” rich panel, answer those questions with a blog post or two and you’ve got yourself good quality content for a highly trafficked phrase that will help to build your Expertise and Authority on the subject.
Do these questions not come up, or like mine, not reflect the intent of your content? Not to worry – Google’s here to help once again.
“How to start content writing” seems like a great place for me to start, as it’s definitely closer to the educational intent that I’m aiming to target. Clicking one of these results may give you more People Also Ask questions as well, providing, even more, prompts for your authoritative content piece. Try it out for your own keywords and see what questions you need to answer in order to get in front of your audience.
Part two of this content writing tutorial will be coming along in the next couple of months (I’m a little slow) – if you’ve got any questions or specific areas you’d like explored, feel free to let us know through our BloggersSEO Facebook Support Group – if you’re not already a member, send through a request and we’ll get you approved ASAP.