Writing content for SEO and real customers

Writing content for your website is a continual balancing act, between what will interest your target market and what will give you prominence in search results. Search engine optimisation is always going to be a top priority, but it is wasted effort if you optimise your content too far and it does not appeal to your prospective customer, once they actually land on your website. Here are my top tips to get your content right.

1. Think like a customer not just a search engine

It is important to do your keyword research, when looking at creating new content.   If you can identify the keywords you want to target and then work out which ones are searched for most, then you know which content to prioritise.   I am a big fan of the MOZ keyword explorer.  However, always think about the human behind your search terms.  Thinking about their motivation will help you work out what type of content to write.

What is the purpose of their search? 

Are they:

  • Trying to find a solution to a problem
  • Looking to buy something
  • Doing research on a subject that relates to what you do

If you start looking at their motivation, you then balance that against your own business goals.    Obviously the ultimate goal is to get more customers.   However, if you help them do their research, or find out more about a subject, you can then entice them towards your services and products, rather than alienating them by too sales focused content right off the bat.

2. Make every word count

Blog posts are a great way of showing the passion and human side of your business.     Here you can showcase yourself as an expert.   Vary the length of you content.   Google likes at least 300 words, before it identifies content as being particularly relevant to your chosen keywords.   A few longer pieces of content, that go a little more in-depth,  will often help you be taken more seriously.  Google calls this long form content, meaning meaning 2000+ words of high-quality content.   This is great when used for a case study or a in-depth article.  This type of piece is a lot more daunting to write, so choose something where you have something worth talking about at that length. Don’t  pad your content with unnecessary waffle.  Do some research and make sure that extra content is interesting and relevant.

3. Use analytics so your best guess is based on good data

As you add new content to your website be sure that you are keeping a close eye on your website analytics.  You want to be sure all that hard work is paying off.   Analytics will also give you a evidence to back up your initial best guess, of what will work for your target audience.   As time goes on your content will become stronger and your best guess will no-longer be without solid data to back it up.

4. Edit your work but don't become obsessed with making it perfect

We all make the odd typo and it is important that your content is as error free as you can make it.  However, we can get so obsessed with the editing, that content does not get published at all.   Spend some time to ensure the quality of your writing, but ultimately get it in front of your audience and move on.

5. Market the new material

You are going to have to put some effort in getting your content noticed.  Just because it is online, will not guarantee anyone will find it.  Use social media to promote your content.  You will have to brush up on your PR skills to get it in front of the right audience.    Don’t bombard your social media all the time with the same content.  Vary your tweets and post titles and experiment with the wording and imagery, to see what captures peoples attention most effectively.

Most importantly treat your audience with respect, don’t over sell all the time.   Build those relationships and your will slowly see your audience and ultimately your sales and customers grow.