Newbie Hour: Content Writing from the Bottom Up
Before I start this blog, I’d like to take a line or two to introduce myself: Hi, I’m Juliana, and I’m 1SEO.com Digital Agency’s newest content writer! I took the plunge into the field of SEO/content writing because it was the perfect blending of my fascination with Google and Google algorithms (“HOW DO THEY KNOW?”) and love of writing and research. 1SEO Digital Agency has given me the chance to experience this fascinating and fast-paced world for myself, and to see the wheels and cogs behind the mysterious entity that is Google and other internet search engines. Plus their office is awesome. Don’t you want my job?
As a neophyte to the industry, I’m in the unique position of being able to describe what’s so “different” about content writing for Search Engine Optimization and how to use that information to create the most optimal content possible, as well as the things that struck me as surprising or, occasionally, counterintuitive about writing for SEO. Hopefully you can use these bits and pieces of internet wisdom to join me in learning how to best optimize content to get the right people visiting your site.
Keywords (does not equal sign) Ranking
Okay, wait. Not exactly. Using optimized keywords in your content, we know for sure, is going to direct a search engine to your site. But not how you might think, and not how I thought. The days of cramming a million “related” keywords into a short amount of text is no longer a way to cheat the system and trick a search engine into directing people to your site (thankfully, as my job as a writer would be much more boring if it were). Think of Google as the consumer and content like advertisements; back in the day, advertising was all about who had the biggest billboard or the most TV spots, magazine ads and brand recognition. Now, consumers want more. Make us laugh, make us cry, make us feel like your brand makes a product specifically for people like us. But don’t make it feel like advertising. It’s the same way with search engines; through Panda, Penguin and other updates to the Google algorithm, Google is now giving ranking preference to what I think is best described as “heartfelt” content. Which brings me to my next point…
With Content, It’s All about That Bass
The more your content can say about the topic at hand and the more creatively it can say it, the better. “Thin content,” or content that’s either plagiarized or full of keywords and copy with little substance to it, has caused huge downswings in ranking for domains guilty of cramming their pages with it. This is in large part due to a combination of Panda standards alongside a mysterious Google Algorithm change known as The Quality Update, which just occurred this May. Plus, thin content is depressing; we’ve all clicked on a “content farm” before, hoping for some juicy info and getting strangely formatted paragraphs of fluff and confusing links. It’s like expecting to eat an Italian hoagie with the works and getting a saltine on a plate. Google is user-oriented, which is to say they prioritize their users and what keeps them satisfied beyond any other driving force. If users aren’t happy with the content they’re receiving, Google won’t like it either. Which means…
The secret is…
What your mother always told you is true: just be yourself. In this case, literally – don’t leave your content up to a bot or “scrape” content from other sources on the web. Sure, it’s an investment of money and time to write or hire someone to write creative, engaging, informative content with SEO-approved keywords researched by experts, but guess what? It works. Well-researched, unique content with careful application of the right keywords and its own voice is a powerful force towards improving your rankings – in fact, it’s the most powerful force. Google is an incredible tool, and as it grows, it only gets more experienced at rooting out who is the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their particular field of expertise… because that’s what any user wants when they visit the search engine. I’m finding that the best way to show Google you’re legit through content is to consider what you’d like to come across when searching for a subject that’s important to you. Try to write something you’d stick around a site to read; that’s how I approach the content I write for our clients. The length of time users spend on a page (meaning they like what they see) is calculated into Google’s ranking algorithms, so creating quality content that keeps searchers on your page will actually help bring more people there.
While this brief guide barely scrapes the surface of all I’ve learned since I started content writing for 1SEO.com Digital Agency, I hope it provides a good jumping-off point for writing quality content for your own site. Working with an SEO company that has mastered the craft of growing your online visibility through creative, engaging content is one of the best investments you can make for your business’ future.