Effective SEO writing isn’t a cut and dried process, and many people are still leaning on outdated SEO tips and tricks in the hope that they will continue to work for them. The trouble is that search engine optimisation rules are like the ever-shifting sands of a desert. What techniques used to work can now see your site being penalised by the major search engines instead.
Getting to the top of the search engines is still the number one aim of any competitive website owner, but old-fashioned methods of reaching these heady heights through the use of techniques like keyword stuffing, keyword variants, cloaking content, keyword tags, and domain name keyword stuffing are all but dead in the water.
Are keywords still important for SEO?
Yes, keywords are still necessary for SEO despite their heavy-handed overuse years ago. You still need to use keywords, but you also need to know the critical locations to place keywords for them to be effective. The main thing to focus on here is for you to use your chosen keywords as naturally as possible – their use has to make sense and feel natural to read.
Search engines love helpful content. If your content can solve a searchers issues, then it will rank better than a page that offers no help to its readers. Search engines have gone through some drastic changes over recent years which means they have become much better at picking up language and interpreting intent. This is especially true of Google which seems to remain as the driving force behind us wanting to create good SEO content. Bing is also hot on optimisation skills, so both of these top search engines are actively looking for, and presenting in the first place, the fresh content that helps the searcher to achieve their goals.
If you write a lot of content that doesn’t aim to answer the questions or solve any common issues that your customer base usually has, then you will find it doesn’t rank well in search results. On rare occasions, you may well rank well with a fresh piece of content, but you may well find you don’t hold that position for long because someone else will come along and outrank you that does a better job of solving a searchers problem.
In 2018, matching matters
When creating your SEO content, you must plan to reverse-engineer your piece before you start to write it. It is all about figuring out what your demographic or customer base needs from you. What problem is it that your product or service can solve for them or help them with?
You need to be specific here and match your chosen keywords with your intent to answer a question or solve an issue. Matching matters here, so just because there are a bunch of popular keywords in your niche or sector that you could use in your content unless those keywords are directly related to your product or service, your efforts won’t get you very far.
For example, if you were a beauty therapist promoting your services, you probably wouldn’t use ‘Botox treatments’ as a keyword phrase in your content if you don’t offer them. Years ago you may have gotten away with using that as a hook to entice people in to discover your beauty services, but at the end of the day, you are not offering what people are searching for when they key that phrase into the search engine.
If your prospective customers are typing in keywords with intent, then you need to find out what their intentions are and what they hope to discover. Figure out the searcher’s intent and develop keywords around them that match what your product or service offers. You can then write a page of content that serves that intent and includes natural keywords that are linked to your product or service.
The importance of tags for SEO in 2018
A few years ago people went ‘tag-mad’ with their content! These days you can afford to tag less simply because the search engines have become far more sophisticated. Tags are still relevant, but you need far less of them for SEO purposes.
There are two main tag areas to concern yourself with – the title element and the body content. You may still be able to rank without including keywords in these two areas, but it will be far more effective if you did. Remember that people will still be more inclined to click on a headline in the search results if it contains the keyword they are searching for. However, if you place your keywords in your body content rather than your title, it will still show up in the search results for your chosen keywords, you would need to ensure that your headline was enticing enough to tempt people to click through.
You may also be wondering about filling out your meta description. Although meta descriptions are not used for ranking purposes, they are read by searchers, so it is vital that these read well and make sense. If your meta description carries the keywords or phrases the searcher is looking for, then there is a higher chance that they will click through to read your content.
Linking internally to relevant content is also important because you are providing more help to your searchers and Google loves that. Linking out to very credible authority websites will also carry value with the search engines, so add one or two trustworthy links that can add value to your content too.
The emphasis on your SEO writing is to be as natural and as helpful to your searchers as possible. Get this right, and your website rankings will improve significantly in 2018.
If you would like more help or advice on how to write great SEO articles for your business then please get in touch with us at The Bright Click on 020 3131 2230.