Writing Optimised Content: A Beginner’s Guide
If you’re a good writer, you know that it’s your responsibility to produce work that engages the audience, convinces them of the client’s offering and ultimately creates a tie that makes loyalists out of consumers. If you’re a great writer, you know that you also need to optimise your content to ensure it ranks in the search engine results page for your target keywords, and is written in such a way that builds online trust, authority and credibility. This can be a challenge if you’ve never written for SEO before, and there sure is a lot to learn. That’s why in this blog, we take a look at some of the basics of content optimisation, and how you can start to create better content in the eyes of Google and other search engines. This is by no means extensive, but will provide you with some initial insight into what you can implement immediately.
What Is Content Optimisation? Organic Search, Ranking Factors & More…
It’s a simple fact that content is one of Google’s strongest ranking factors, and that it takes great content to draw your audience in, provide them with beneficial information and take them down the buyer journey through to conversion. But gone are the days when a 300 word blog or over-optimisation cuts it – especially in an ever-expanding world where competitors appear every day, and you have far more established businesses to contend with. It takes a long-form piece of work that has been properly researched to rank in the SERPs, comprising of both internal and external links, the right keywords and alt-tags for images, not to mention meta titles and descriptions. This is all part of content optimisation, and how you drive traffic to your website.
Content optimisation is important because, without it, you’re unlikely to be found by your audience. If you aren’t incorporating the correct keywords and search queries into your content, then it means you’re creating content without intent – it’s not addressing the needs of your audience. The main reasons you should optimise content includes:
- To rank for the terms and phrases your audience are searching for in relation to your brand, product or service.
- Earn links via other brands and companies that value your content.
- To educate your audience and showcase your expertise.
- Boost lead generation and conversions through convincing content that hits the mark.
There are many ways to optimise your content and what follows are examples of this.
Optimised Content Tactics For Beginners
How do you appeal to your target audience? Creating content that’s based on their search queries is a good start, especially when these search queries and keywords have a high average monthly search volume. Tools such as Ahrefs, SERanking, Keyword Planner and Keyword Explorer can help provide all of the relevant keywords you need to form the foundation of your content strategy.
For example, let’s say you own a bathroom business and you want to create targeted blog posts around this. A quick Ahrefs search using the ‘Keyword Explorer’ tool for the term ‘bathroom’ brings up the following suggestions – among others:
- How much is a new bathroom? (2600 average monthly searches)
- How to tile a bathroom? (1600)
- How to clean bathroom tiles? (1300)
- Bathroom ideas (135,000)
- How to change bathroom taps (450)
Blog posts could be created around these very topics, while promoting your installation and fitting functions, and the benefits of choosing your brand.
Ontology & Contextuality
Writing around keywords is a great starting point for optimised content, but adding in contextual and ontological terms is what takes your content to the next level.
- Contextuality – The basis for a topic, event or situation – ie, why a customer may choose your product or service (problems to solve/brand benefits/reasons to believe).
- Ontology – All the related words, terms and phrases that pertain to an idea, topic or subject – ie, the different terms customers may use to search for your product or service online, or speak about it to their family, friends, coworkers and other people they know.
Here at Embryo, we have an advanced tool that can analyse the top ranking website pages, blog posts and articles for any term possible and provides us with relevant and relatable terms. Taking ‘bathrooms’ as our focus word again, a selection of recommended phrases include:
- Dream bathroom
- Family bathroom
- Contemporary designs
- Stylish bathroom
- Range of products
- Modern bathroom suites
- Popular bathroom trends
- Bathroom colour scheme
By integrating these terms into your content, you can write in a way that shows understanding of the sector, and the content they’d like to see.
Search-Friendly URL Structures, Title Tags & H Tags
A 2020 Backlinko study found that shorter URLs tend to rank far better than longer ones, and that incorporating relevant terms into it helps too. A good URL structure helps the audience understand what the content is about, and why they should click on it. Consider the following two made up examples:
You’d almost certainly click on the first link as it states quite clearly what the guide is about. The second one could concern anything.
Optimised Title Tag
A title tag shows search engines the title of your webpage, blog post or article. According to Moz, it should be between 50-60 characters long and written like so: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name.
You can test your title tag using these tools:
Just to point out that the title tag is not the same as the title of your article or the web page. This is known as the H1 tag.
Headers or H Tags
An H1 tag indicates your content’s heading, and helps search engines understand what content is on that page, blog post or article.
For example, the H1 tag of this blog post is: Writing Optimised Content: A Beginner’s Guide
An H1 tag should always include your target keyword too.
Other types of H tags include H2 and H3:
- H2: The H2 tag is the next level heading, after the H1 tag, and usually appears as the main section headers of the article or webpage. For example, in this blog: Optimised Content Tactics For Beginners
- H3: Tend to be sub-sections below H2s to break up long sections.
Linking Practices & Meta Titles & Descriptions
Internal and external linking is important within content creation because:
- It helps Google (and other search engines) understand the structure of your website.
- By linking to more authoritative websites, it will have a greater impact on your SERP results.
- It builds up trust and credibility for your website.
What Is The Difference Between Internal & External Links?
- Internal link – Links to content from the same website (e.g. a blog linking to a service page or contact us page from the same website).
- External link – Links to content from another website.
Meta Titles & Descriptions
The meta description is the short snippet of text that appears in search engines underneath the title tag when a term or phrase is searched. Moz suggests that they should be between 155-160 characters and sufficiently descriptive of the webpage they seek to drive traffic too. A good way to think about your meta description is likening it to ad copy – it should encourage people to click on your listing and visit your website.
Beyond the above for content optimisation, there is adding alt-tags to images, page speed optimisation and considering a mobile-first approach, along with creating long-form content that engages the reader, provides useful information and builds trust in your brand. To learn more about content optimisation, content marketing and the other services we have available here at Embryo – which include SEO, Paid Social and Digital PR, we encourage you to get in touch with us today on 0161 327 2635.