Why Quality Content is Not Enough for SEO
Content and Search Engine Optimisation work together. It’s not possible to succeed focusing only on one or the other.
Going back to the past, when high quality content wasn’t the norm, many website owners and marketers used shady methods to trick search engines. Called Black Hat SEO, this practice involved the use of irrelevant keywords for extra page hits, keyword stuffing, hidden keywords and texts, and many more.
Now, with Google’s algorithm updates, the phrase ‘Content is King’ now evolved to ‘Quality Content is King’. Your website won’t go very far without carefully-strung and riveting content. With that established, what about the other aspect? How does SEO fit into the picture?
Melding Content and SEO, the how and the why:
Correct Keyword Placement
How Google exactly ranks pages is still a mystery, but experts agree that 1) It looks at over 200 ranking factors and 2) keyword placement is one of them.
Here are some takeaways from the list:
- Keyword Appears in Top Level Domain
- Keyword in Subdomain Name
- Keyword in Title Tag
- Keyword in Description Tag
- Keyword in URL
- Keyword Density
There are many more, which establishes the importance of the amount of key phrases are in a web page, and their specific placement.
Watch out for: Keyword stuffing
Google will penalize your website if you publish content like this:
We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aside from that, Google’s Rank Brain Algorithm also evaluates the information value of your content. Search engines know that identifying keywords is not enough, so it looks at the context of your site and checks how it relates to the search. This process is called ‘Semantic Search’. It improves search accuracy by understanding the intent and contextual meaning of terms. The results are more relevant and targeted.
Visual elements -- photos, illustrations, infographics, etc -- not only break boring walls of text, but also help in storytelling. Let’s face it, only a handful of visitors read to the end of an article. The vast majority simply skim and scan. Having any type of visual imagery inserted in between paragraphs help in slowing readers down from frantic scrolling. It also piques interest!
“Content with images gets 94% more views than content sans images. It doesn’t matter what industry, topic, niche, or specialty, images matter.” -Neil Patel
Here are the basic rules for adding imagery:
- Place an image at the start of an article
- For every 350 words, make sure to add an image
- Add images at regular intervals
- Visual content should have a style that identifies with your brand
- Put alt tag in all images. An alt tag is used by search engines to index an image.
Watch out for: Copyrighted Images
A blogger shared her experience using a photo she found on Google. She believed that posting a disclaimer was enough. But a few weeks later, she got contacted by the photographer who owns the photo and asked for compensation. Lawyers got involved and she had to pay a significant amount of money.
Social Media Integration
Social media can greatly boost your website’s traffic. Make it easier for your visitors to share every piece by having social share and follow buttons handy on every page. Experts recommend placing these buttons at the top, bottom, or along the side of the page.
“When you integrate social proof to your website you’re providing your visitors the opportunity to trust you more. With 79% of consumers trusting social proof as much as personal recommendations, it’s important you integrate the proper social widgets on your website to increase sales and website conversions,” according to Hootsuite.
Link building is an old SEO trick that is still very effective. Basically, external links, as well as links within your own website, increase the authority of your website and subsequently improves your ranking.
Search engines use links to crawl the web. They will crawl the links between the individual pages on your website, and they will crawl the links between entire websites, according to Moz.com. Without links, you have low chances of being discovered and indexed.
Before you go and stuff your page with links, read below the basics of link building:
- Relevance - The websites that you link to should be relevant to what you are selling or promoting. It doesn’t make sense to link to a car repair website if you are running a beauty salon site.
- Authority - You want to link to websites that are already trusted by readers and by Google. In technical terms, these are websites with good page or domain authority. These can be sites run by subject matter experts, news organisations, university and governmental agencies, etc.
- Diversity - Get a wide variety of links to put on your site -- reviews, directories, articles that featured your site, quotes from experts, etc. Both your readers and Google like these.
Watch out for: Link stuffing
Google has actively penalized the rankings of websites who overuse link building techniques. Keep links to a minimum and keep the quality of these links high.
Writing for SEO purposes and writing for reader engagement don’t have to be two separate things. With the right skills, your writing can be creative, and at the same time packed with the right SEO fuel needed to rank up.
The experts at Bambrick Media can help you optimise your website’s content and SEO. We have led successful digital marketing campaigns for over 500 individual businesses in our 15 years of trade. Talk to us about your next campaign today.
- The Essential 2015 Digital Marketing Checklist
- How Google Trends Will Change Your World
- Why Your Customers Are Pulling Their Hair Out: Website Load Times
- Google Speaks Like the Rest of Us: The Future of Search
- This Week's Google Penguin Update: What It Brings and How it Affects Businesses