SEO Best Practices for Exceptional Content Creation

Every big brand and successful marketer knows that fresh, high-quality content is the best way to boost search engine rankings. What many competitors don’t understand are the finer details between great content that reaches many and forgettable content that reaches only a few. SEO best practices make all the difference.

If you want to rank in Google, you simply can’t ignore them. Whether you’re writing content or hiring a skilled freelancer to do it for you, you need to follow these practices if you want results.

But first, let’s dive a little deeper into SEO for the uninitiated.

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, is a set of methods, techniques and approaches aimed at improving your website’s organic search engine rankings. At its core, SEO is about improving website rankings and traffic through:

  • Discovering the queries people use to search the web
  • Understanding what those people want when they search for them
  • Addressing those desires with quality content

It’s worth mentioning that organic search results aren’t paid advertisements. Rather, they’re the sites you see ranked on results pages when you type something into Google. They’re how the majority of people search for information and discover brands on the web.

To understand SEO, it helps to first understand how search engines rank web pages.

Google and other search engines use automated software known as crawlers or spiders to scour and index the web. These crawlers start from designated sites and crawl outward, following internal and external links on each page to discover and crawl other pages. In the process, these crawlers create a massive index filled with vast amounts of data about every page on the web.

The search engines use this data to assess the quality of each page across various metrics. They also use sophisticated algorithms to determine the kind of content on each page and how engaging, informative and entertaining it is. In other words, search engines determine how well each page ranks for a given search query.

Why SEO Is So Important

When someone searches for a word or phrase, the search engine references its database and algorithms to provide results that best match the query. Those results include blog posts, news articles, business listings, images, videos and everything else you find on the web.

In other words, search engines connect people with content. This puts content creation front and centre for every brand on the web. Without content, a brand has no voice.

But content without SEO is shouting into the wind.

Creating keyword-optimized content is the key to getting your brand’s voice to the right people. By understanding who your users are and what they want, you’ll create content that answers their questions. And that leads to increased reach and visibility and more customers in the sales funnel.

SEO Best Practices

While Google and other search engines are relatively open about what they expect from high-ranking content, the specifics are closely guarded secrets. Search algorithms are veritable black boxes. And as user behaviour and expectations evolve, so do the algorithms.

Put simply, SEO is an ongoing practice that changes over time. That said, there are timeless best practices that, when followed, help your brand achieve results.

Create Great Content

Making sure your content reaches the proper people is integral to SEO and your larger marketing strategy. But some marketers put their entire focus on these aspects and treat the content itself as an afterthought.

This is a huge mistake.

Without great content from the beginning, you’re amplifying a voice that may not align with your brand. You should treat your content with no less consideration than you do your product design or customer service.

Creating great original content starts with research. You need to understand who your audience is, what they want to know and what kind of messaging resonates with them. Then, you need to create content that aligns accordingly.

Keyword research, in particular, can help guide content strategies. Popular search queries show you what users are looking for on the web, and these are excellent signposts to follow for content creation. But it’s equally important to consider the search intent of these keywords. If you create content that answers the wrong questions, it won’t rank well. And when it does reach people, it’ll fall on deaf ears.

Great content that’s tailored to a specific keyword aims to provide answers, insights and valuable information to the people who search for that keyword. It’s engaging, lively, well-written and on point. Most importantly, the focus of great content is the reader, above all else.

Use Keywords Effectively

In the early days of the web, marketers could cram keywords into their content and the traffic would pour in. There were even formulas for including precise numbers of keywords in headers and body text based on content length.

These days, search algorithms are much more adept at identifying mechanical, keyword-stuffed pages. Forever in the service of web searchers, Google’s ambition is to provide the best possible content to people using its service.

Take, for example, a method still practised by so-called SEO pros: sprinkling exact keyword phrases they want to rank for throughout their texts verbatim. This may well work for some keywords, but search queries usually don’t align well with the written language.

Consider the following sentences:

  • “It’s difficult finding good doctors Seattle, Washington.”
  • “Finding good, affordable doctors in Seattle, Washington, is challenging.”

Believe it or not, you don’t need to include exact phrases to rank for a given keyword. Google’s algorithms are highly sophisticated. They do much more than scan your page for precise matches. They know what your content covers, and they’ll rank it according to its value to readers. Not on how many exact keyword matches it contains.

Put simply, there’s no need to inundate your readers with awkward keyword-stuffed sentences.

Match Search Intents

Instead, focus on writing great content that matches the search intent of the keyword you’re targeting. If you’re creating a blog post about the difficulties of finding good doctors in Seattle, do your homework. Find out what the pain points are for this particular problem and then address them.

Once you know the essence of your content, its target keyword and who you’re writing to, be sure you blend it together naturally. Include the keyword in the headers and throughout the body, but don’t force it. It’s also a good idea to include it in the headers, meta tags and meta descriptions.

Another keyword best practice is to build clear strategies for each page of your site. Every time you create new content, whether a blog post or a landing page, you should optimize it for a keyword you haven’t targeted. Brands with the best SEO results assign specific keywords to each page so they don’t compete with themselves for rankings.

This is where adjacent keywords come in handy. If your goal is to boost another page, creating great content on related topics gives you more reach and visibility. And you can always connect your new page to the page targeting your primary keywords with internal links.

Link and Share Your Content

There are two types of links to keep in mind when creating SEO content: internal links and external links. Internal links connect the pages on your site, whereas external links are those on other websites, such as social media.

While external links are undoubtedly important, don’t underestimate the importance of internal linking. Don’t assume every person reading one of your blog posts will follow up their visit by perusing your products and services. Web browsing is more organic than that. Think about all the rabbit holes you’ve gone down on Wikipedia or YouTube.

As mentioned above, internal links are also crucial for redirecting visitors to the keyword-optimized pages you’re keen on ranking well.

In short, semantically link together blog posts, landing pages, product pages and any other pages as much as possible. Give your visitors ample opportunity to truly browse your site and get to know your brand.

Of course, if you’ve done your job well and created outstanding content, it’s likely to earn its fair share of engagement on social media. But don’t assume social media is separate from your SEO efforts, because they’re intimately related.

Social media platforms are excellent SEO boosters. Content shared across these platforms already has some serious search engine benefits by simply being on them. Moreover, many web users rely on Facebook and Twitter for much of their content discovery. If your brand doesn’t have an active social media presence, now’s a good time to start working on it.

Lastly, if you have a network of colleagues and bloggers who serve similar markets, consider reaching out to them to share with their networks. This gets you in front of the right people, boosts your social signal and builds relevant links back to your site.

Actionable Tips for Improving SEO in Content Creation

SEO best practices necessitate a holistic approach, with content creation at its centre. Only by focusing on every aspect of quality content creation can you expect great SEO results.

That said, some of your efforts carry more weight than others. The following three tips can help guide your content creation and improve your search rankings.

Focus on Keyword Intent and Relevance

This can’t be stressed enough. If you’re incorporating keywords without understanding the search intent behind them, you aren’t doing yourself or your brand any favours. And if you create keyword-targeted content that answers questions people aren’t asking, you’re doing more harm than good.

Understanding intent is tricky, but taking the time to understand what people are searching for with their words helps illuminate things. Early in the keyword researching process, always ask yourself the following:

  • Do I know what kind of information the people searching this keyword are looking for?
  • Does it make sense for my brand to have content that provides this information?

If someone’s looking for dinner, they may not be interested in learning about the science of baking. If they’re looking for quick and easy pizza recipes, they probably aren’t concerned with industrial-grade pizza ovens. Connect your brand to the content to the keyword — in that order.

Stay Current and Give Visitors a Reason To Return

Websites with dynamic, regularly updated content usually rank better than those with the same old information. Take Wikipedia, for example. It’s constantly evolving with new and updated information, and it’s why many search results have a Wikipedia entry in the top five.

If you’ve created some great content and managed to rank well for a few keywords, don’t rest on your laurels. Be proactive and keep making new content that supports and strengthens your core SEO strategy.

Aside from the SEO benefits, making sure your content stays fresh and current keeps your visitors coming back. It increases the chances they’ll rely on your perspectives and knowledge as their go-to source of market information. And that leads to more customer loyalty and builds trust in your brand.

Update Old Content

Incidentally, providing fresh content doesn’t always require a focus on new, new, new. One of the best budget-friendly ways for brands to improve SEO performance is by updating old content.

Search intents change over time. The content you created two years ago may no longer align with its keyword’s intent. It might also reveal opportunities for entirely new keywords. Updating aging content to better align it to the keywords currently in use versus when it was published is quick, easy and very effective.

The best part? You’ve already done most of the work. All you need is a fresh take on the information within, some keyword tweaking and perhaps a few additions to make the information current. Afterwards, you’ll have content that Google sees as both reliable and fresh.

Boost Your Content SEO With Crowd Content

SEO best practices aside, remember this above all: You’re creating content for human beings, not an algorithm. If your blog posts delight, engage, inform and entertain and your site adheres to the best practices outlined above, you’ll rank well. And better still, those results will last longer and be more resilient, even through changes to ranking algorithms. And that’s much more value to you and your brand in the grand scheme of things.

At the end of the day, both Google and your readers will love you for it.

Creating high-quality SEO-optimized content is no easy task. But you don’t have to do it alone. At Crowd Content, we’ve built a wildly successful platform that connects talented freelance writers to brands seeking highly polished SEO content at scale. If you’re ready to engage, entertain and inspire your readers and invigorate your SEO efforts, take a look at how we can help. And don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to find out more.

Posted in SEO
Nizam Uddin

Article by

Nizam is a driven and result-oriented marketing leader with over 11 years of marketing experience. He has a proven track record of delivering results through SEM and SEO and specializes in technical SEO, conversion rate optimization, and on-page tactics. Nizam led an SEM agency division before joining Crowd Content. He also oversaw multiple rebranding and 100+ site migration projects throughout his career and ensured the SEO performance was intact post-migration.

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