“Content. We hear it time and time again, the seemingly one pill cures all approach to getting your website seen. Unless you have been hiding under a rock over the last decade, you are no doubt aware that quality content is heralded as being one of Google’s primary ranking factors. The seemingly frivolous pursuit of this magical elixir has turned website owners into slaves of content.”
Marketing gurus and influencers have successfully spread the word on mass and convinced us all that content is king, with analogies of quality versus quantity repeatedly emphasised on blog posts and social media channels at regular daily intervals.
Globally, what has been the result of our focus on content creation? Back in 2015, Buzzsumo released a 30-page report on their analysis of over 1 million content shares and links and revealed that 75% of randomly selected articles had zero external links. Considering that link building and content creation are the two most important SEO factors which determine your website’s ranking we found this high rate of failure alarming.
Every day over 1,440 posts occur on the WordPress platform every sixty seconds, (read the Smart Insights report), that’s a little over 2.1 million blog posts published daily.
Based on this insightful information we performed a simple calculation of our own and inserted a few additional metrics like; average blog length and time spent composing these articles, we found that the process of generating content consumed approximately 5,400 human lifespans every year.
If you further consider that blog content is only a fraction of all content created and shared when combining metrics like social shares and video it quickly becomes apparent of the enormity of just how much time we spend creating content.
“As the majority of content we create fails to cultivate any external links, it does little more than represent an enormous waste of human resource.”
Heralded as being such an important ranking factor, why is it that so much of our efforts in content creation seemingly go to waste? The simple truth is that the failure of our content strategy is in the content itself and what is needed is to stop spending our time writing material that does not produce results!
Google makes no secret of the fact that content-rich information that is both unique and authentic is what they are seeking, it is in this area that the majority of content created fails to meet the strict criteria needed to attract natural links and propel your website up the search results.
If you’re finding that your blog articles are failing to connect with your audience on an emotional level then you might want to consider taking a closer look as to why your content has such lacklustre results.
Let’s look at some of the critical areas where most writers go astray.
When we talk about the content, it’s important to differentiate between our website’s primary informational pages such as the home, services and product pages, versus the interest based articles you might find in a company’s blog pages.
The reason why many blog articles fail to meet their objectives is that too many business owners and writers believe that they can shortcut the process, scraping ideas or content from other websites is not creating unique content, Google will not reward your lack of effort. Lacking the commitment to thoroughly research, plan and spend the necessary time and resources on producing content leads to failure. If you fail to be committed, you will not get results; you would be better off either not writing at all or seriously considering hiring a third-party to write the content for you.
When writing content for your websites product and informational pages you should be equally as vigilant as you should composing a compelling blog article, copying and pasting supplier product information into your product pages impacts your websites SEO efforts let alone does little in providing your audience with actionable information and instil customer confidence.
Let’s take a look at the creative steps of a content writing strategy.
Probably one of the most challenging steps of the content creation process for some is deciding on topics to write about, but it doesn’t need to be. Brainstorming is a creative research process. A great place to start if strapped for ideas is to think about the most common questions intriguing your audience within your industry. To get you started, I’ve listed some resources; it’s not intended as an exhaustive list, but rather a way in which you can get your thought process heading in the right and build on it as you go.
There are seemingly countless ways in which you can explore creative ideas for article topics and no doubt some of our readers could add to the above list; we welcome you to do so. Once you have narrowed your selection of possible topics to target, it’s now time to do some thorough research.
The natural and most logical point to start when writing content is targeting topics that you have qualified industry experience. Drawing on your knowledge and talking about your interests is the best way of ensuring that your content is both informative and unique to your website’s audience. To add further value to your article consider quoting or drawing from other industry experts, ensure that if you do this; make sure that you link to these authoritative resources, providing them credit where due. One method I use is to paste my interim article title into Google and see who else has perhaps targeted the subject, see how they addressed the question, think how you could better present your article from a different perspective drawing from your own experiences or knowledge.
After completing your research, it’s time to gather those ideas, concepts, questions and thoughts and start structuring your articles natural flow. The best way to do this is getting started, jot your ideas down in a modular form, deciding on headings and creating bullet pointing lists where necessary, once you have your framework, it’s time to start expanding the content. As you begin to compose your article I find the most productive method is to capture your ideas in written form as quickly as possible without getting snowed under with the details which can result in a loss of direction of your article. Do not try and polish your material as you go, get all your ideas down quickly and when done, return and finesse the content, cleaning up grammatical errors and typos at a later stage.
When you are writing think about the quality of the content you are offering, ask yourself is your content insightful and helpful to your targeted audience? If you believe that your article fails to provide answers to questions you are targeting or seems overly shallow, it’s likely that your audience will too. Creating good content is not just about creating fill, if you aim to generate hollow content, your audience will detect your lack of enthusiasm and your content will not get shared nor will it likely attract inbound links or gain any traction with Google as a result.
Engagement is all about communication, connect with your audience at an emotional level, think carefully about how you communicate your message, break down your thoughts into bite-size pieces that can be quickly absorbed by your audience. Think how you structure your sentences, great writing draws your audience and keeps them compelled to continue reading one paragraph after the next, abstain from using jargon or lingo which may prompt your most educated readers to discontinue reading altogether.
Aim to make your blog and website a valuable resource by aiming for article lengths of around 2,500 words, and while we don’t want to fill our blog with mindless babble, we don’t want to skimp on content either. It is imperative to ensure that your topic meets the needs of your audience, to this end remember that;
When you have completed your article, review, revise and review it again. Read your content out loud, reading your material out loud is an excellent way to analysing your items readability factor, overly long sentences and grammar errors can make your article difficult to understand increasing the possibility that your audience will misinterpret what you are saying or abandon the article altogether due to its complexity. I often read my articles through numerous times before publishing and suggest put your piece through both a spelling and grammar checker, however, don’t rely on these tools 100%.
When you are happy with your article and are sure that it is error-free, it’s time to publish, however, don’t make the common mistake made by so many publishers by not checking the article after posting. Ensure that your article, it’s images and videos load correctly across several browsers and devices and check the validity of those outbound and internal links.
We hope we have been successful in communicating to our audience the importance of not wasting your time writing, but instead focusing on creating purposeful content that is unique, informative and generates reader interest. Creating filler-content that offers no real value to the internet community nor creates viable interest amongst your audience, inevitably damages your reputation and fails to meet Google’s quality guidelines.
When creating content remember;
Inadequate planning of your content strategy and failure to set up measurable goals will lead to your campaign running awry; deadlines will inevitably go astray and fail in meeting your objectives. As content is one of the most significant ranking factors in the Google algorithm, setting time aside in your weekly schedule for your blogging deliverables ensures that your content strategy stays on track and ultimately paves the way to business success.