This is the fourth year since I first learnt about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It began with a fascination of how search engines came about ranking sites. I wanted to understand why certain sites or blogs featured on the first page of the search results. I was also curious about the search engine user queries, for instance, do user search whole sentences or one word about something they want to learn about?
To find answers, I began to read more about it and I took a couple of courses before I began to try my hands on SEO content creation and subsequently, SEO-editing. I found some really amazing truths which I would condense into one sentence; “don’t ignore search engines when creating audiencentric contents. While writing for your audience, please do not ignore the search engines.”
For success to be recorded in digital marketing, investments in content creation is very key. This is why experts hammer on creation of quality content that is both engaging and informative. As you research and put in the effort needed to write content, factor in search engines because they are the go-between between you and your target audience. You have to strike a balance in the expressions such that your engine understands it well enough to deliver to the right person.
Why is Search Engine Optimization Important?
Many people give up on trying to understand how SEO works because it is very volatile and dynamic. As it evolves to solve the new problems of the contemporary world, it gets more techy and quite complicated. There was a time when a generous litter of certain keywords was the bone of SEO, today, it is a lot different. In fact, if a particular keyword in your content exceeds what is known as the ideal keyword density, you have shot yourself in the leg. Search engines will read and interpret your content as spam.
Smart business owners who would not find the time to devote to keyword research, link building, on-page and off-page SEO efforts often outsource this to experts. What is the essence of investing heavily in content creation and production if you do not ensure it gets to the targeted audience? With the daily increase in the number of internet users, regardless of what you sell, there are buyers online. These buyers use the search engines to do a quick research, compare products and make a decision about which product is better suited for them. While a lot of factors affect their final decisions, if you sell what any particular buyer wants, you sure want to be able to be in the league of preferred products. But that would happen only if your product ever pops up in the first page of the search results.
Visibility for your brand, increasing customer’s trust, reinforcing your brand messages, connecting with your customers, and even making actual sales, boils down to search engine optimization of your sites and digital communications strategy. If you do not take it seriously, you are not going to be getting the best results for your digital marketing efforts.
Four-point Checklist to Determine if Content is Search Engine Optimized
As a business owner, outsourcing content creation is sometimes inevitable especially if you have a small team and a lot to attend to, as per running your business offline. How do you verify that the content you contracted to a freelance content writer is optimized for search engines?
First of all, you need to know that, for the fact that a content or piece promotional writing makes a good read does not exactly mean that it is search engine optimized. Search engines comprehend quite differently and there are certain things they crawl each content to pick in order to make meaning of it for the purpose of putting it right in front of the people who would find it valuable.
The checklist below will help you determine if your content creator delivered on writing for your audience without completely ignoring the search engines
- Use of subheadings
A sectionalized content is easier to read. A reader can get away from it, return and begin from a certain subheading without much stress. Also, internet users are not university professors or researchers who would read your blog posts in between the line. They come to your site with a singular aim. The use of subheadings helps them locate what they seek while they scheme through your post.
- Few lengthy sentences
Oral communication can employ longer sentences without really hampering comprehension but it is not so with written communication. Sentences with several commas and semi-colons can soon get knotty for the reader. Are the sentences short enough to help your readers pick up the information being passed? This affects readability and conversely reduces search engine scores.
- Use of keywords
The keyword must make an appearance in the title and then in the opening paragraph of the content. It shows that the content writer is not about to waste the time of the reader talking about something completely different from what the title hinted that the reader would be learning about. Think about all the bashing cooking blogs get for telling their entire life story before sharing the actual recipe their post is really about. While you score points with search engines if you have people spending more time browsing your site, you have to get straight to the point or risk losing your reader. Also ensure keyword is not littered all over the place. Let an expert guide you on the optimum keyword density.
- Use of links
Links matter! Let no one make you believe otherwise. Including links from other credible websites with valuable information about what your content addresses is very good. However, it is very important to include internal links from other posts on your site to keep the site visitor for a little longer on your website to reduce what is known as the bounce rate. And to also show that every information you pass is linked and each blog post is a brick on a foundation you have laid not just a random something.
SEO writing is ART. For any content to search engine optimized, it has to be accurate, relevant and timely. It has to be original, researched, and be about something that is being talked about in mainstream media. A crisp content that scores points with SE algorithm is not just one without grammatical errors, it has to factor in the four penitent tips listed above and a lot more I will share in a sequel blog post.
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