Sharing content that is helpful and adds value is very important to your audience, search engines, and your business. Here are some of the most valuable content writing best practices I have learned and use daily.
Do Keyword Research
Research the broad topic that you want to write about to discover how to phrase it for search engines and your audience. When your audience searches for your subject, you want to show up in search results. Using a keyword that they are searching for is critical to showing up.
Keyword research is so important to writing quality content, I wrote an easy step-by-step how-to blog about it. Check it out here: Plan Your Website Content with Keyword Research.
I am serious. If you have not done any keyword research on your topic, you need to do it first!
You may also enjoy my blog Choosing Effective Keywords with SEO.
Write an Inviting Title
The title is the first thing your audience sees in search results so you want it to be eye-catching, clear, and inviting. Remember the keyword you chose earlier? Be sure to include that keyword in your title and as close to the beginning as possible.
Tips for Writing an Inviting Title:
- Google the Keyword and look at the top results. Do many ask a question? Are they list based? (ie 5 Tips for Walking Your Dog) Why look at the top results for title inspiration? This content is obviously popular and shows you what type of content people are looking for. Be sure to pay attention to the section on Google called “People also Ask:” for more inspiration.
- Keep it simple- You must keep in mind how many characters can show up in search results. Google can only show 60-65 characters- this includes words, spaces, and numbers. Make sure your title will read well in search results by keeping it within this length.
- Your title on search results can be different than Your H1 title on the web page or blog. Why do this? If the title you want to use is too long to show up in search results without it cutting off. Be sure to include your keyword if you use a different title in the search.
- Don’t copy another title exactly but take inspiration and then make it your own.
- Use an odd-numbered list. Studies show that an odd-numbered list is more trusted than an even-numbered list. People feel that odd-numbered lists seem to encompass all you need to know whereas an even-numbered list could be rounded out with fluff. It is not true but how the human mind perceives things!
- Capitalize all words with more than 4 letters. Some capitalize all the words in a title-it is a personal choice.
Writing Your Content
The bulk of your content should be based on the keyword or key phrase that you researched. The key phrase is your main idea. This is very important for SEO (search engine optimization) Search engines will not rank your content for that keyword if the keyword is not included in the content. Include your keyword or key phrase in the first few lines of your introduction and then naturally repeat it within the content as appropriate. This reinforces to search engines that your content is about that keyword subject matter.
How Long Should my Content be?
A good piece of website content has anywhere from 300-1000+ words. Break up your text with headers and try to keep each paragraph shorter. Large paragraphs can lose readers. Bulleted lists draw the eye and share important information quickly.
Keyword Surfer is a google extension added to your web browser. It is a quick way to do keyword research and allows me to see the titles of the website content. It shows me how the most popular titles are written and the number of words they have. Are the most popular titles shorter pieces or longer pieces of content? That will give you an idea of how much content you should aim to include in your writing.
Should I Include Graphics or Pictures in My Content?
This is where I again refer back to my Google search with Keyword Surfer. If the most popular content contains an infographic, include one in yours but also add something to the content. (We don’t want to be copycats but take what is popular and make it unique) The same goes for videos or other images. Follow what is popular but add your own twist that adds value.
In a perfect world, every piece of content would include at least one image or infographic but I realize that time is a factor and some do not have the skills to make this happen. If possible it is always good to include an image in your content. It breaks up the text.
Linking to Other Sources
When writing your content you should try to incorporate at least one link to another page on your own website (an internal link) and one link to another website (an external link). These are SEO best practices.
Internal Link Ideas:
- Have you touched on a subject you have blogged about or have another web page for? Link to that.
- In your conclusion, include a call to action that links to your contact page
- Did you mention a service or product in your content? Link to it.
External Link Tips:
- Never link to a competitor- You don’t want to possibly lose business!
- Mention an association or non-profit? Link to them.
- Mention a statistic? Site it by linking to it.
- Quoting someone in your field? Link to their website.
- Did you mention a term that could use more definition but is not part of your expertise? Find a neutral site that explains it and hyperlinks it.
- Did you mention a product or service that you love but don’t sell or offer? Link to it.
- Do not use a hyperlink that simply says: “Click here.” Always write out the word or hyperlink it within the sentence.
Proofread and Correct Mistakes
Step away, take a break, then proofread your content or have someone else proofread it after you. Grammarly is another free extension you can use to help point out spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Take advantage of it. No one wants to read poorly written content.
When you are happy with your content, publish it with confidence! Be sure to share it on all social media platforms and email a link to your subscribers!
No Time for Content Writing? Get Some Help.
Quality content writing takes time especially if you have not done much of it. We realize that business owners may not have that time in their busy schedules. There is no shame in hiring this work out to us. We love content writing jobs at Dogwood! Let us do the hard work for you. Contact us today to learn more.