When copy moves to content, we’re/I’m being told, constantly, that it’s far more complicated than writing long-form copy offline.
In a way – considering the use of keyword research tools, such as SEM Rush, and the results they produce – it is more complicated.
But, in many ways it’s not that tricky, and some of the terms used are simply obscure ways of describing something blindingly obvious (when considering how Google works and how people search for things).
Let’s say you’re writing content about badgers. You want people to find your content easily: you want it to appear further up a search engine results page (SERP… again, often trotted out as an obscure acronym).
Keyword(s): this is simply the primary and secondary words you want your content to rank for, by liberally sprinkling them throughout your content e.g ‘badgers’ and ‘setts’. You have to put them in places that make sense, as Google looks for organic, well-written content. You also have to use them at a density of no more than 5%, or 5 words in every 100, otherwise your content runs the risk of being read as spam.
Keyword phrase(s):this is an extension of using your keyword(s) e.g phrases such as ‘badgers in the wild’, ‘badgers’ nocturnal habits’, or ‘badgers’ natural habitats’.
Again, this builds a picture, for Google, of what your content is all about and how relevant it is to the subject matter.
Meta-title:your page absolutely has to have one. This is the title you give the page and the very first thing that shows up in a Google search. It has to be something quick and simple, and contain your keyword(s) e.g ‘Badgers in UK woodlands’ or ‘Badgers and their habitats’ Bear in mind that your meta-title can only be 55 characters long at the most.
Meta-description:the 2 – 3 line blurb that appears underneath your Meta-title on Google. It has to include your keyword(s) in the first line and be no more than 250 characters, for example: Find out how badgers, the UK’s largest land predator, survive in the wild – learning about their natural habitats, what they eat and the setts they build, to live in.
H1 Header: The heading/title of the first paragraph on the page, which has to contain the keyword e.g Badgers and their habitats.
H2 Header: The heading/title of the second paragraph on the page, which has to contain the keyword, but can be more subtle e.g How badgers survive in the wild. LSI Keywords:this horrendous, unnecessarily complicated term stands for Latent Semantic Index Keywords. Just consider the ‘semantic’ bit. All it means is that you have to use words related to your subject matter, throughout the content e.g setts, woodland, habitat, farmland, nocturnal. This will help Google to recognise what you’re talking about and improve your ranking on results pages. If, for example, you were talking about nursing courses, you’d also mention hospitals, wards and patients.
Making pages ‘sticky’: Really simple – make sure that your target audience understands what your content is about (and it’s what they came looking for) in their first 2 – 3 seconds on the page.
Bounce rate: the number of visitors to your site who quickly leave after viewing one page. A high bounce rate isn’t good – a sign that your content is too long, boring, or off topic.
Bucket Brigades: phrases you use to encourage visitors to read on, such as; ‘how to…’, ‘find out more about…’, ‘next steps’.
Image tags: Google can’t see images, but it can read any text attached to them. Give each image a title e.g ‘wild badger’, and an alt tag e.g ‘badger foraging for food’.
Internal links: linking to another page on the same website that’s relevant to what you’re writing about, using a hyperlink. This helps to create an internal structure for your site. You can also link to your organisation’s social media pages.
On-page SEO:all of the methods described above.
Off-page SEO: things like social media marketing, link building (with other sites), guest blogging.
Google is looking for natural, organic content – content that sounds like it was written by humans for other humans. Google also looks at how long people spend on each page/a website, and how easy it is to navigate that website.
You can throw all of the obscure terms at content writing, but it’s copywriting with bells and whistles on: it’s using your noggin to write in a way Google understands, in the way people search, and making your content relevant to the target audience once they land on your page/site.