Content is one, if not the most important, facet of a website. Search engines use this to understand and rank your website, users look for content that will be able to satisfy their search query. Aside from the pieces of content inside your homepage and other important pages, your blog posts hold a considerable degree of importance as well. But it’s not as simple as just “writing” about niche-related subjects. So what should you do before you write your blog posts?
Ask questions. Questions that are not only related to the topic you’re writing about, but also about the technicality and optimization of your blog post. If you want to succeed in the search market, you have to consider these factors. Writing about anything that the users is important, but it won’t be successful if your piece of content isn’t visible in the search engines. With that said, here are the questions you should ask yourself before and while you write your blog posts for SEO and your audience:
Keywords are one of the most integral factors of optimizing your content and your website, targeting a specific keywords signals the search engines that they should consider ranking your content for that specific keyword. However, we all know that keyword spamming and unnaturally placed keywords are problematic at best. So, ask yourself this:
- What keyword/s do I want to target?
- Does my keyword’s placement in the content look natural?
- Have I placed my keywords accordingly so it doesn’t look spammy?
Even if keywords are important for your search rankings, you don’t need to overdo it. Properly integrating it inside your content is enough for search engines to understand that you’re trying to target that specific keyword.
Content is made to be read. If your users don’t enjoy reading your content, then you’ve just wasted their time and yours. Losing potential customers and leads can be very hurtful for your business – even much so if they left your website because of unappealing content. Ask yourselves these questions regarding readability before you write your blog post:
- Can a high school student understand the flow of the content just by reading the introduction?
- Are the first few paragraphs enticing enough to lead the readers to finish the whole piece?
- Would you read the article/post if you were the one that searched the keyword?
Simple enough. Empathize with your target audience and determine if the piece of content you wrote would be appealing enough if you were the one looking for it. If you’re having trouble putting yourself in your audience’s shoes, ask people around you if they would objectively read your piece if they were the ones searching for the specific keywords you’re targeting.
Aside from the users, readability is also important for search engines. Natural Language Processing is one of the methods Google uses to understand the millions of pieces of content found on the web. Knowing how search engines understand your content will help you curate better content for them AND the users since, in essence, you’re simplifying the overall content.
Author’s Note: Here’s a great, detailed piece on what Natural Language Processing (NLP) is.
Let’s face it. Most of the content we can find on the web are just written for the purpose of just publishing content. There’s no substance in most of them, no useful information contained, and it doesn’t help us in the slightest. Don’t be like the rest. Information is important for BOTH search engines and users. Always make sure that whatever article/post you’re making is unlike the rest of the articles that are talking about the same topic. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when you’re writing:
- Does the article provide new information to the readers?
- Does the article provide useful information to the readers?
- Does the article highlight products/services that can help the readers if possible?
- Is the article related to your nature of business and to your target audience’s interests?
Information is what the users are looking for and it’s what the search engines want to give them. Make sure that you’re one of the few that can help the users with their queries and you’re sure to reap the rewards.
We used these guide questions to one of our clients in the past month and here’s the result:
We started the use of these guide questions for this particular client last August. There doesn’t seem to be any difference in the graph, is there? However, the graph isn’t the most important metric we were looking at. It’s this one:
Avg. Time on Page had an incredible 241% increase during the month of August. Of course, applying the guide questions isn’t the only reason. It could be seasonal, by chance, or it just really worked. What’s important is we’re having the audience stay in our pages longer and we could use that to adjust our ads and CTAs to be better visible inside the content. If you have the habit of putting your CTAs at the bottom of your content, increasing Avg. Time on Page is really important since it signals that the users are taking their time on your page and are hopefully scrolling down until they see your CTA.
I tried to veer away from technical aspects such as meta tags, link building, featured snippet optimization, etc. This is just advice purely for your writing endeavors since content isn’t just about publishing whatever words and sentences you might have in your mind. Usefulness, readability, and keywords. Three simple things to take your writing prowess up a notch. If you have any questions or clarifications, comment them down below!