The Key to SEO friendly content
We usually abandon a website in around 10-20 seconds. That’s around 30-60 words per minute for the average reader. But, if we stay on for more than 30 seconds we’re much more likely to hang around to see what the site is selling. But how does that relate to SEO?
Quality content is vital to hooking readers – and for keeping them scrolling on your site. Once they’re on your site, not only are you more likely to see higher conversion rates, you’re also likely to see a rise in your web searches ranking.
Users (and possibly search engine bots) will immediately judge your site based on:
- Bad grammar, punctuation and spelling
- Shallow, derivative content
- Whether your website applies to their needs
Linking & Engagement
The first step to upping your SEO is to avoid creating content which encourages people to leave your site.
This means creating clean, easy-to-read content which captures and holds a reader’s interest.
Google notices when users click on your website, then immediately bail to look at the next one down in the search results. When that happens it doesn’t look good for you. Good information is critical to user engagement, but bad writing will encourage users to go elsewhere before they even realise you have what they need.
Writing is the window to your value proposition, and if that window is dirty, then users will keep moving on. If readers are bailing on your site because of bad writing, they won’t link to your site, leaving you an island in an interconnected world.
How to Engage Your Readers – Hooking Visitors Through Quality Content
Within the first 10 seconds of your text, you must communicate your value proposition in a clear, concise and convincing way. This makes your first few sentences invaluable. Poor writing will fall flat, ineffectively communicating your value proposition, but good writing will open a door into the reader’s attention. If you can’t summarize your hook, look for an analogy or a fact which can.
Quality Writing Hooks
A personal experience which illustrates your topic is a good hook because people connect easily with analogies. They establish a truth with your readers (assuming you’re not lying) – your truth. You can easily colour the story with your emotions, your trials, and your ultimate triumph – or failure, depending on your angle.
Surveys & Statistics
Numbers seem to jump off the screen as we read, making them excellent devices to hook readers. If you begin your writing with a few compelling statistics, your reader will wonder why these numbers are the case, and will even question the credibility of the stats, as they should. But remember, statistics are easily checked, and if the reader finds your numbers aren’t true, or come with a fountain of asterisks, you’ll lose their good will.
3 Tips for Writing Quality SEO Content
You’ve got your reader to continue past that ten second mark. That’s a feat in and of itself, but in the immortal words of Han Solo, ‘Don’t get cocky, kid.” Users are more likely to continue now, but if you give them writing that is frustrating to read, they’ll likely head over to the next website. If you doubt your writing abilities, or just don’t have the time, it’s a good idea to hire a reputable writer.
If you’d rather write yourself, here’s some basic writing tips which will allow your readers to focus on what you want to say– not on the physical text:
1. Write in an Active Voice
Passive voice is frustrating to read, even if your audience is unaware you’re using it. When writers use passive voice it feels like they’re beating around the bush, and not getting their point across in an effective way. As a reader, you’ll feel like slapping the writer, and saying, “Get to the point!” If you’re worried about passive voice, ask yourself, “Is someone doing something?” (active) or, “Is something being done to someone?” (passive).
Here’s an example:
Passive voice – “The bug was eaten by the salamander.”
Active voice – “The salamander ate the bug.”
2. Write Shorter Sentences
Because our attention spans are such wanderers, the shorter and sweeter your writing, the more information your audience will retain. Try breaking up long sentences and say what you want to say in fewer words.
Here’s an example:
Long sentence – “The salamander is able to regrow limbs they’ve lost like their arms, legs, and tail, in just a few days.”
Short Sentences – “The salamander is able to regrow lost limbs. Their arms, legs, and tail will grow back in just a few days.”
3. Use Transition Sentences
In order to create a natural flow to your writing, you need transition phrases to help guide your reader to where you’re heading and encourage them along through the article. To craft a good transition sentence, take a little of what you said before, and mix it with what you are going to say after> to prepare your reader for the next step in the journey.
Here’s an example:
What not to do – “The salamander ate the bug. The salamander is able to regrow lost limbs.”
How did we get to salamanders regrowing their limbs?
Transition Phrase – “The salamander ate the bug. But, when predators try to eat the salamander, sometimes it’s a different outcome. That’s because the salamander is able to regrow lost limbs.”
1. Format for Easy Reading and Break Up Large Paragraphs
You have a hook, and text that won’t make the reader want to jump ship. Now, to avoid overwhelming your readers, you want your writing to look appealing and be easily digestible. This is achieved simply by breaking up long paragraphs, as well as formatting with items like:
- Bullet points
- Bolding certain words
These changes will make your article look less like an intimidating wall of text which will be quicker to skim and easier for your reader to understand.
2. Keep Your Word-Count Above 300 Words
For SEO purposes, the number of words you should aim for is at least 800, but the more the better (within reason, of course). A higher number of words means your chances of ranking better will keep climbing. But don’t use extra words just to pad your articles, as this will ultimately work against your search engine optimization.
3. Use Keywords Correctly
The best spots to sprinkle in keywords are in your topic heading(s), as well as in the first paragraph of your post (the first 100 or so words are prime). Use keywords as naturally as you can within the text and make sure you don’t overdo it by keyword stuffing, as this is a form of spam, and very frowned upon.
Quality SEO Content Creates Long Term Results
Quality writing is vital to SEO, and if you’re willing to do the work, you’ll get the engagement you’re looking for. In fact, 72% of marketers say content creation is the most effective tactic for SEO. The great news is good writing is good writing today, tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future.
And this means you’re investing in the future of your company.