Why Not All Content Ranks (and How to Write Content That Does)
Where do you go when you need information on a product or service, are exploring vacation destinations, or are curious to know whether a new restaurant is worth trying? For most people- the answer is online.
In the internet and digital age, ranking well on search engine results is crucial to your business’s success. However, the need for businesses to get noticed online has led to a boom in SEO (search engine optimization) and a corresponding flood of internet content, blogs, how-to guides, and endless listicles. With so much out there, how do you create quality content that ranks?
Creating ranking content in today’s competitive environment is more of a marathon than a sprint as it requires a careful balance of quality, authority, and solving real problems without overwhelming users with too much (and often irrelevant) information. If your current SEO strategy isn’t delivering the desired results, here are a few tips on how to fix that!
Mistakes People Make that Tank Their Content
Just because there’s a lot of content on the web doesn’t mean all of it is of good quality. This isn’t all bad news though, because it provides opportunities for those willing to invest in creating high-quality, engaging, and worthwhile reads to boost their ranking.
So, where are people missing the mark?
Some of the most common content mistakes include:
• Creating content that’s all (keyword) stuff and no substance
• Posting content that fails to capture user intent
• Targeting the wrong keywords (or failing to research keywords at all)
• Not optimizing content for search engines
• Neglecting technical (off-page) SEO tools
If you’ve become a victim of poor-quality content, you will not only not see your SERP ranking climb but could also be pushed further down the line. But there are ways you can make it right.
Creating Content That Ranks
So now that we’ve covered why your content might not be ranking let’s explore what it takes to create content that does.
1. Craft User-Centric Content
Initially, SEO consisted primarily of on-page optimization – content length, HTML tags, and keyword placement. Ranking well in this environment was as simple as stuffing in the right keywords more than the competition.
You will not see results if you’re still writing content like this.
Search engines have evolved significantly since the early 1990s. Today, sophisticated algorithms go beyond simple keywords, using semantic search to recognize the “why” behind a search. There are no shortcuts; to get your content to rank, it must correctly capture user search intent while providing relevant, meaningful information.
How can you determine user intent? While there are infinite ways to phrase a search query, they all typically fall into one of four categories: transactional, navigational, informational, or investigational. There are several ways you can investigate user intent, but one of the most straightforward is to simply google your selected keywords and see what type of results pop up. From there, you can work on creating content that answers real users’ questions.
2. Keyword Research is More Important than Ever
Even though how we use keywords has changed, they remain an essential part of your SEO and content marketing strategy. The key is selecting the right keywords and implementing them correctly.
There are dozens of free and paid tools available online that can help you track popular keywords in your niche and show you which keywords your competitors are ranking well for.
Often, your keyword research will land you groups of keywords or phrases; go through your list and choose the ones that best reflect the content topic you’re considering. Once you have your targets, you can work on creating high-quality, user-focused content. Remember, search engines like Google now place a higher emphasis on user experience than keywords, so while your target search terms are still relevant, they need to be used in a natural-sounding, human-friendly way.
3. Optimize Your Content for Search Engines
While writing specifically for search engines will not yield results, it is still crucial to optimize your content to make it easier for users and search engines to read and understand. One way to do that is by creating engaging, unique, and illustrative title tags and meta descriptions.
Meta Title and Descriptions
Your meta tag is the first thing that users will see pop up on their SERP; entice them to click with something unique and catchy that arcuately portrays the purpose of your content, ensuring to incorporate your keyword (or secondary keyword).
Equally important to your title tag is your meta description. This description often – (but not always) appears underneath the title on SERPs and quickly provides search engines and users a summary of what your content is about. They can also help earn your featured snippets or indented search results, both of which will increase your exposure.
Make your meta description as engaging as possible, being sure to include your main keyword, an accurate overview, and natural language.
H1s, H2s, and H3s
How you structure your content on-page factors heavily influence your SEO. Search engines and users gather lots of key information from your title and subheadings, so make sure they are optimized correctly.
Your title should be attention-grabbing and include your principal keyword. Google will also crawl your H2s and H3s before your content, so optimizing them for search engines is vital. Your headers should be structured hierarchically, H2 contains similar keywords to H1 (title), and H3 continues from your H2. Where possible, try to include your keyword or related keywords in your headings.
Write to Rank
While much more goes into creating high-ranking web content, nothing can replace quality writing and SEO-friendly copy.
As an internationally recognized web design and development company, Nirvana knows what it takes to create and promote winning content. If you want to know more, reach out to us today!