This post is all about developing web pages to answer searchers questions and attract more customers to your website. If you have read our previous post about Keyword Research, you will already have a good understanding of how your target market is searching and it puts you in a great position when working on the next steps.
In the Keyword Research post, you were provided with the tools and knowledge to discover exactly how your audience is searching for your content. This section will show you why it is so important and how to use the information you have.
1. Instead of creating individual pages for a single keyword, it is recommended that you group similar topics and intent together to make different pages. For example, if a garden centre was selling different flowers online, then it would be wise for them to build separate pages for different types of flower.
2. Have you completed a search for your keywords yet? Make sure you make a note of how the results are presented by the search engine. Some things you should be keeping tabs on are:
- Are the results image/video heavy?
- Are the results short and concise or in a long form of content?
- Are the results presented as a list or paragraphs?
3. Finally, ask yourself the million-pound question… “What value could I offer to searchers to make my website better than my competitors that are currently ranking for a particular keyword?”. We often do this using a spider diagram on a scrap piece of paper to allow the creative juices to flow.
This method will allow you to create content your audience will love. Ensure it is informative, relevant and avoids any low-value tactics.
Avoid these low-value tactics
The content you publish on your website should be written with a sole focus on answering search questions. Do not create content with the aim of ranking highly in search because it will dilute the core purpose and take your attention away from the end goal.
During a previous post we touched on Black Hat SEO and these tactics fall under the same umbrella. If you didn’t get the message before… avoid them at all costs.
As the example above explained, it is sometimes in the best interest of a website owner to have unique pages for different topics. Some website managers have in the past, created a page for every single keyword to successfully rank on page one for all their keywords.
A notably similar method for local businesses was to publish multiple pages of content for each town or region that they believed they could attract customers. These “geo pages” would usually have the same content on them with the location name being the only thing to differentiate between the lot of them.
Tactics like this produced millions of pages of low-quality content across the world wide web and website managers were making a fortune. That was until it was addressed by Google in 2011 with their ‘Panda’ update.
Panda was like nothing ever seen before by digital marketers because its algorithm severely penalised low-quality pages and pushed them to the bottom of results, whilst giving room to websites that produced high quality content. Google continues to build on this process of demoting content that they deem as low-quality.
In recent years they have been very clear that they prefer, and as a result, will rank websites higher that has a comprehensive page on a specific topic instead of multiple weaker pages that are looking to benefit from keyword variation.
As its name suggests, duplicate content is information shared between different domains or between several pages of a single domain.
But what if you have a good reason for copying content on your website? Google is aware that in some cases content should be duplicated. In this instance they advise that use of a ‘rel=canonical’ tag to direct the attention to the original version, wherever it is on the web.
If you choose to fill your web pages up with automatically generated content, then you might as well close your site down and move on to something else. This type of content is a huge red flag and extremely low-quality. Auto-generated content is specifically designed to manipulate search rankings but, in most cases, does the complete opposite. You may have come across this type of content in the past if you have visited a website and none of the sentences make any sense. This is because it is all written by a robot, for a robot.
The advancements in technology means that auto-generated content is getting better and will continue to do so. It might one day be tempting to fill out some of your forgotten web pages with this type of content but be mindful that it goes against Google’s Quality Guidelines and the punishments are severe.
The phrase ‘cloaking’ comes from when a website shows a human visitor something different to what it shows a search engine crawler. As mentioned previously in this course, you should never attempt to hide any text on your website. One popular way to do this is by changing the colour of the text to the same colour as the page background.
There are some rare cases where Google has let this tactic slide because it positively impacted the user experience. This is hard a real nightmare to try and prove to the best advice we can give you is to avoid this completely and stick to white hat SEO techniques.
It is a common myth that if you include your keywords over and over in your content then you will tick a box and Google will catapult you to the top of their search results. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, Google does look for keywords and other related phrases on your web pages, but don’t take your eye off the prize. Your page must add value outside of keyword usage.
A valuable web page will sound like it is written by a human, for a human. A web page that is desperately trying to rank in Google will sound like it was written for a robot. Be natural, be informative and be human.
So, what can you do?
That was a lot of rules to abide by wasn’t it? Well, we just want to make sure that you avoid any of those nasty penalties. This next part is all about what you should be doing.
If you have come here to find out the secrets of ranking on Google, then I’m afraid there are none. A website will rank highly on Google and other search engines because they have determined they are the best answers to a searcher’s questions.
Your web page must provide real value to search queries and be the best page available in Google’s armoury. Here is a simple process for content creation:
1. Search – Use Google to search for your chosen keywords
2. Identify – What pages rank for those keywords
3. Qualify – What qualities do they have that helps them rank
4. Generate – Produce higher quality content
Google, Bing, and other search engines will reward you if you create content that is better than the current web pages out there. They will place you in the top position of search results and you will reap the benefits.
Quality over quantity
When writing content there is no word count that you must hit to automatically reach page one of search results. As you’re writing content you should aim for enough information to satisfy the user. Some queries may be answered in 400 words, others might require a lengthy 2,000 words.
There is no need to ramble on just to reach your desired word count. Answer the query, include your keywords, and avoid all the mistakes mentioned above.
Local SEO content
If your website showcases a local business then it is best practice to show the business name, registered address and contact details, whether that be a phone number or email address.
Utilise the space in your header and footers. Many businesses now use specific contact pages that discloses all relevant contact information. Again though, where you place this information and how prominent it is will depend on what your end goal is. For example, if you want to receive a high number of inbound telephone enquiries then place your contact number in bold text in the header section.
If you are a business that benefits from multiple physical locations, it is a great idea to build unique, high quality pages with optimised content for each of the locations. For example, if you own a chain of ice cream shops in Manchester, Liverpool and London then consider having a page for each one.
Each page should be correctly optimised for that one location. Using the example above, your content should discuss Manchester. Including the location, attractions that are nearby and the contact number with the correct area code. It is also worth including some reviews or testimonials from customers in Manchester.
National v Local SEO
Although we have focused heavily on local SEO, it is important to remember that not all businesses operate at a local level. There are some that want to promote their products or services to a wider ranger of people and perhaps at a national level.
- Local SEO – An example of a business that would benefit from local SEO would be a hairdresser in Swindon that has one physical location. They would target keywords like “ladies hairdressers in Swindon”.
- National SEO – An example of a business that would benefit from national SEO would be Ford Motor Company. They actively promote their products and services to a wide range of current and potential customers across the country. Ford would target keywords like “new cars for sale” or “new car leasing”.
There is a final option and a category that Ford would also fall under, international SEO. An example of Ford targeting an international keyword could be “Family SUV”.
Choosing whether local, national, or international SEO is best for your website depends solely on your target audience. Make sure you know who and where they are before starting your content creation.
That’s it for writing content!