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What would you do if we told you that there was a secret to optimizing your content that could help it rank as well as it possibly could? Chances are you would feel validated, after all you’ve know all along that there was some kind of insiders-only trick to this ranking stuff!
Unfortunately there is no such secret. This is to say that there is no one thing or even a single combination of things that you can do in order to acheive maximum rankings with your content. There are so many variables in play that it is virtually impossible for anyone to say “If you do this, this, and this, you will reach maximum rankings in no time!”
So instead of feel disappointed that there is no easy way reach that mythical peak, look at it from a different perspective:
Shoot for the moon, for even if you miss, you’ll fall among the stars!
Why are you writing, and who are you writing for?
Why are you writing content? If you answered, “For SEO of course!” then you might be missing out on one of the best ways to really get the most out of your content. In most cases (note we did not say all) when someone sets out to write content purely for SEO purposes, a certain kind of content is created. This content is grammatically sound, has everything where it needs to be, keywords dispersed naturally throughout… and it has all of the warmth and enthusiasm of a wet blanket during an Alaskan winter. The idea that this is the way that content should be was born during the heyday of article directory marketing; sometime later it joined up with the myth of keyword density (more specifically that there was a golden percentage out there that meant maximum rankings) and took on a life all of its own. But this is the way that content is supposed to be right? It’s original, it’s unique, and you wrote it by hand as opposed to using some program to spin it up for you…
Put down your mouse, and step away from your keyboard. Look around your workspace and let your mind wander for a moment. Now take a deep breath and come back to your computer, it’s time to do battle on an entirely different frontier!
If you’ve got time to read some great information on content creation, this PDF is for you! – How to Create Compelling Content That Ranks Well in Search Engines – by Brian Clark
Ask yourself again why you are writing content. What was your answer this time?
One of the best reasons to write content is to fill a void with useful information that people can benefit from. If you are a bakery and you find that there isn’t a lot of information available online about making the perfect key lime cupcake, why not see if you can fill that void? If you can write an article or create content for a web page that helps people learn how to make these cupcakes you are working to fill a void and put information out there online for people to use and enjoy!
Video: Are You Talking to Me? Tough Love Tuesday
These people are the answer to the second part of the question; they are who you are writing for. Not too long ago it was standard practice to write for search engines, and people often got lost along the way because the content that they found while searching the web was not what they were looking for at all. This general dissatisfaction is part of what led to Google’s recent major algorithm updates. In an effort to bring their search results back down to Earth Google pulled the rug out from under the feet of a lot of the written-for-search-engines content, leaving the people who write this content scratching their heads and wondering where they went wrong!
More on the benefits of writing for human readers versus solely for search engines:
- Should We Write For Human Benefit or For Search Engine Optimization? - by Efoghor Joseph Ezie
- The Simple Formula for Search Engine Optimized Content – by Andy Jenkins
- How to Optimize Your Content for Search Engines AND Human Readers – by Apto Hosting
It turns out that there is far more to achieving maximum rankings with your content than just getting to appear in search results!
What are you selling and how are you selling it?
If you have a business of any kind, you’re probably already familiar with the idea of a USP (unique Selling Proposition). Believe it or not, this concept can be applied to your content too!
What about your content is:
- related to your business
Next, ask yourself how you can use your answers to make your content even better. Recognizing a need and filling it is only half of the battle; the remainder comes from filling that need in a way that satisfies both supplier (you) and consumer (your audience).
Is a USP really relevant to content writing? You bet! But don’t take our word for it, check out these posts by top bloggers:
- Your Unique Selling Proposition Makes Writing Content Easier – by Jackie Lee
- Unique Selling Proposition: What’s Yours? – by Gregory Ciotti
- 4 Essentials to Consider Before Starting Your Next Blog – by Nivin
How you “sell” your content is going to have a large impact on how well that content is able to rise up and acheive maximum rankings. For the purposes of this post, “selling” your content does not mean providing your content to someone else in exchange for a payment, but instead means how you are promoting your content, and how you are marketing it and presenting it to your audience.
- Style - Is your content written as something purely informative? Is it a tutorial or how-to instruction piece? Is it engaging and entertaining? Is it a combination of the above?
- Value - What kind of value does it provide to the reader? Does it teach them something? Does it make them think? Does it make them laugh and share it with their friends?
- Underlying message - What is the goal of your content? Are you trying to establish yourself as an authority in your market? Is your goal to make a name for yourself in general?
And last but not least:
Would the content is question influence someone to agree with your way of thinking?
It is not as simple as asking whether or not your content would encourage someone to buy something from you as this might not be your only goal. Perhaps you are writing a moving piece of content in favor of your favorite charity… of course you want your readers to donate to the charity in this case! From here it is up to you how you take your content to the next level and give it the push it needs to arrive on the scene of maximum rankings.
Infographic: The 21 Types of Content We All Crave
These are some excellent ideas to keep in mind when writing your content. Just think of how much more interesting and useful something will be to a reader if it is something they have been looking for all along?
At this point we delve into the technical stuff and depart for a moment from the philosophical musings we’ve been enjoying up until now.
Though they don’t carry as much weight as they used to, you still need to make sure that your content is properly formatted with HTML tags in the proper places. Give your content a title and wrap this in an H1 tag. Make sure you have a sub-heading or two, and wrap those in H2 tags. If you need to further break things down you can go all the way to an H6 tag, but most people are able to stop at H4 and still acheive very good results. At a certain point all of the headings and subheadings can confuse and frustrate a reader which is not what you want! To further encourage easy reading and understanding of your content, add any lists of information, questions, etc as a list; you can use numbers or traditional bullet points, whichever you prefer.
Get your un-optimzation on!
“Hold the phone!” you might say, “You’ve just spent a whole post telling me how to optimize my content, and now you’re telling me to un-optimize it? You’re nuts!”
Without rejecting that thought outright, we’re going to redirect a bit as we explain what was meant by “un-optimize” just now.
You’ve spent a lot of time creating the best piece of content you possibly can; it’s got everything! From the perfect topic to great delivery and a closing argument that’s really going to win people over to your way of thinking… now all it needs is to be broken back down it its most basic elements and analyzed one more time before it goes live to the public.
- Step 1: Run it through a keyword analyzer
Run your content through a keyword analyzer (we’ve mentioned a few at the end of this post you can try) and see what the most commonly occurring keywords are.
- Step 2: Determine the rank of your keywords
Is the keyword you wanted to rank for the most commonly occurring one in your content? If not, see how the keyword that did appear the most ranks in comparison to your original target.
- Step 3: De-optimize your content for any ‘extra’ keywords
It might seem counter-intuitive, but you need to go through your content and ‘de-optimize’ it for keywords other than those you are trying to rank for. We don’t mean go through and strip them all out, not by a long shot. Instead try replacing these ‘extras’ with similar words and phrases, or perhaps include the keyword you would like to rank for one or two more times.
Special Section: Keyword / Content Analysis Tools:
And the best part? Each of these tools is entirely web-based, so there’s no need to download anything!
Was that so bad?
Optimizing your content for maximum rankings doesn’t have to be an ordeal, and sometimes it can actually be fun!