Content has long been a vital part of Internet marketing, but it is now much more important than ever before. The best content will not only boost rankings, but engage your readers. It can be difficult to find the perfect combination, but opting for high quality copy is a good start. The level of content on your website helps search engines determine the value of the site.
Optimize Every Type of Content
When it comes to content, words are not the only thing to consider. Photos and other images are also content, as are videos. Of course, articles and blog posts are the most common type of content referred to in SEO circles. This doesn’t mean that other media isn’t important, though.
The type of content will determine how you use it in your optimization process. Text is fairly simple, since you can use keywords in it. However, you will find that videos and photos are more likely to be shared on social media.
- Text. Text should also include headings and subheadings. These are important to break up the text for human readers and make it easier on the eyes. When you use heading markers (h1, h2, etc.) this is a signal to the search engines that these are important words and a good indication of what your site is about. For this reason, your headings should always include at least one keyword phrase.
- Images. To optimize your photos, add a description and alt text. The alt text will help search engines decide if the picture is something relevant for searchers. You can also use a caption to increase SEO by including your top keyword in it. One additional tip is to optimize the file name of the image to include your keyword as well. Imagine the difference these two file names would make when trying to interpret what an image contains: stock2934902593.jpg and Girl-Riding-A-Bicycle.jpg.
- Video and Audio. Most videos are embedded from YouTube or a similar site. This is actually a useful way to increase exposure and makes it simple for people to share your site and video. Video networking sites are well designed to help people find interesting and useful content. If they like it, your video could increase in views and rank well on its own, with links back to the website.
When it comes to optimizing this type of content, you will need to use the description area of the video. This can be keyword optimized, but don’t overdo it. One rule I like to follow is to put the website URL on the first line of the description field. That line is often the only part of your description that is visible to the viewer without having to click the “read more” button. Having your URL on that line increases the likelihood of getting a click to your site for more information.
Audio is much the same as video, and can become highly popular if broadcast through the appropriate channels such as a podcast.
Use a mix of different media types to grab visitors’ attention. Many people enjoy watching an information packed video more than they like to read an article. Others will prefer to read a tutorial with photos over watching a video. By creating a blend of different types of content, you can appeal to a wider audience.
Quality is High Priority
Anyone who has been online within the past few years has seen a spam site, one where all the content is obviously cheap or generated by spinners. Awkward phrases, poor wording and terrible grammar can wreak havoc on a website. While the copy may cost less, it won’t hold up to the high standards of Google and other search engines.
Your articles and blog posts should be informative and engaging. When a post is entertaining or valuable, it can easily go viral. More and more people will share it and you end up with plenty of links back to your site.
When publishing copy, consider the following:
- Is it useful to your visitors?
- Does it have a call to action?
- Does it solve a problem for your visitor?
The most useful content will fit all three criteria. Whether you write your own copy or hire someone to do it for you, quality is what really counts.
How Long Should Your Content Be?
One of the more common questions is what length is best for website copy. Is an 800 word article likely to get better rankings than a 300 word blog post? The answer is simple, it all depends on the information you are trying to convey.
If every article on your site is exactly the same length, it starts to look rather cookie cutter. Most successful sites use a variety of content lengths. Look at how much information you have to convey and decide what an appropriate length would be. That being said, a minimum of 300 words is best in order to give Google’s robots something to sink their teeth into. While longer content seems to rank better, it is not always appropriate for every niche. More words mean more keywords and this makes it easier for Google to rank your pages appropriately, so consider this when working on your content.
Overall, the amount of promotion and the number of backlinks to your pages is what will determine their ranking. While content length does matter to some extent, a well optimized, 400 word blog post with multiple backlinks will rank better than a rambling 2,000 word article without any optimization.
Since quality matters, it’s usually a good idea to stick to an article that is long enough to cover the information, rather than repeating the same thing over and over. The same goes for videos.
Guest Posting for Extra Credit
Content on your own website is useful, but you can also boost your rankings by providing content on other people’s blogs to get backlinks. Guest posting is a very common content marketing technique and one that works.
Guest posting is relatively simple, once you have a place to publish your work.
- Find quality blogs that are related to your topics. Check to see if the blog already has a guest posting policy. Some will charge a fee to post your article.
- Prepare a few article ideas that would fit with the content on the blogs you are considering.
- Contact the blogs with your article ideas. It’s usually best to create titles for each one.
- When you get a positive response (be prepared for a few negative ones), write the article and submit it. The article should have a link back to your website or a specific page on your site.
Keep in mind that you do not necessarily have to write the guest post yourself. You can hire a freelance writer or content company to handle this aspect of marketing for you. The main thing is to remember to submit only highly relevant, top quality articles. Not only will you increase your chances of having the content accepted, it will also rank better in the search engines.