Writing quality content should be a key aspect of every SEO strategy. But when is your content considered high-quality? And does high-quality mean the same for your users as it does for Google? In this article, I’ll discuss what quality content is and how you can make sure your content hits the mark. It will require some creative writing skills. But don’t worry, you don’t have to become the next Hemingway. By focusing on the right things, you can create high ranking quality content that your users will happily read.
What is quality content?
That is the million-dollar question. Knowing how to write quality content helps you get more visitors, lower bounce rates, and higher conversions. But who determines the quality of your content? The easy answer is: your users. However, this also makes creating the right content more difficult. Because every user is different and has a different search intent. They have one thing in common, though. Every user knows what they want. Meanwhile, you’re still figuring out what your audience wants to read about!
That’s not how you would expect an article about writing quality content to start, is it? Don’t worry, we’re definitely not done yet! Although the quality of your content is eventually determined by your users, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you end up with well-thought-out, readable, and attractive content. In other words: content that’s eligible to be considered as high-quality by your users and search engines. And yes, this will take some time. But it’s time well spent, trust me. Just remember what I said earlier about what you can attain by writing quality content.
How to create quality content
1. Write for your readers, not yourself
If you have an ecommerce site, you want readers to know about the products or services you offer. If you’re a blogger, you want readers to get to know you and the topics that interest you. However, it is also important to take into consideration what your users actually want to read about. What interests do they have? What events or news do they follow, that you can relate to your business? And what ‘problems’ are they trying to fix that have led them to your site?
The first step in creating high-quality content is to make sure that it contains the information your audience is looking for. To find out what information your users are looking for, you have to conduct proper keyword research. This will help you determine what subjects to write about and what words your audience uses. Keyword research also helps your rankings, as more visitors and lower bounce rates tell Google that your page is a good result to show in their search results.
2. Make your content readable and engaging
If you want to get your message across and make sure that people read your entire blog post or page, make your content easy to read. What does this mean? It means thinking about the structure of your text and the words you use. Too much text without any headings or paragraphs tends to scare people off, so make sure you use them. They give your readers some air while reading. Additionally, try to limit the use of difficult words and be cautious of the length of your sentences. These can make your content harder to understand, which in turn will slow down your reader. And lastly, it’s good to use variation in your text to make it engaging. Use synonyms, and alternate longer sentences with shorter ones.
Another important thing to focus on: Have fun while writing! And be personal in your writing. This helps you write quality content that’s different from your competitor’s, and it helps users get to know you and your brand. Want to know more? In this article, we dive deeper into these tips for writing readable blog posts.
3. Think about search intent and your goal
Let’s start with the basics. What does search intent mean? Search intent is the reason why someone conducts a specific search. It’s the term used to describe their purpose. For example, do they have a question they need answered? Or do they want to buy something online? Someone’s search intent makes a difference in how they consider the quality of your content. If it fits their need at that moment, then they will stay on your page longer. But if they need an answer to a question and the page they land on only tries to sell them products, they’ll be gone before you know it.
It’s important to take search intent into consideration while you’re creating the content for a specific page. That’s why I would advise you to match your goals to the different search intents users might have. Is one of your goals to get more subscriptions to your newsletter? Then you should add that subscription button to pages where users with an informational intent land.
Does a visitor have a transactional intent (meaning: they want to buy something)? Make sure they land on the right page. If someone searches for the term “Product x”, you don’t want them to land on a blog post discussing a topic related to that product. Ideally, you want them to land on a page dedicated to “Product x”. However, a category page when you have multiple variations of “Product x” works too.
Of course, experience tells us it’s not always that black and white. Still, it’s good to consider the search intent your users might have. It will help you determine the focus of your content and what call-to-actions you want to add to a specific page or post. A great way to get started, is by adopting a content design mindset. This mindset helps you produce user-centered content based on real needs. Also, for some input, I would recommend having a look at the search results to create great content.
4. Be trustworthy
When people land on your page, it’s also important to build trust. Especially when they’re not familiar with your site yet. You have to show your audience that you’re trustworthy. How? First, by writing in a clear and user-oriented way. Second, try to stay away from stock photos, as genuine photos create more trust and give your site a personal feel. The same is true for your ‘About us’ page. Try to use actual photos of your team.
Third, add ratings to Google, testimonials to the right pages, and set up HTTPS. This will help your users and Google to understand that your site belongs to an actual business or person, which allows them to happily and safely browse your site. Do you own an ecommerce site? Then have a look at these 7 ways to increase sales by creating trust.
5. Keep your content up to date
Another key element of writing quality content is making sure it’s up to date and relevant. This means you have to update your content from time to time to make sure people are able to find the right information. But why is this so important? Because it shows your users that you’re on top of recent developments and can always provide them with accurate information. In other words: it builds trust and keeps your audience coming back to your site. Keeping your website and blog posts up to date is also important for SEO, as this shows Google that your site is ‘alive’ and relevant. So, make sure you schedule in a time to update your content regularly.
Bonus: Invest time in site structure
The five steps we’ve discussed so far will help you write content that is easy to read and user-centered. Next, I would like to highlight an extra step that is equally important: working on your site structure. This is important because it will help users and search engines find your quality content.
Site structure refers to the way you organize your site’s content. It is a vital part of any solid SEO strategy. When you structure your site well, search engines will be able to index your URLs better. It helps Google determine the importance of your individual pages and which pages are related to each other. Additionally, a good site structure will allow users to find their way around your site more easily. It will help them find your quality content in the search results and on your website. That’s why there’s quite a lot to gain from perfecting your site structure. Read more on how to work on your site structure and the importance of doing so.
A quick recap on quality content
Although well structured and readable content might not instantly take you to the top position in Google, it will definitely have a positive effect on your SEO in the long run. So, before you start publishing post after post (or page after page), it’s worth it to consider a few steps.
Make sure to write for your readers, make your content readable, match search intent with your goals, be trustworthy, keep your content up to date and work on your site structure. The end result: attractive content that your readers will appreciate. This will have a positive effect on your number of visitors, bounce rates and conversions. If you want to find out if there are still areas of content SEO you can improve, you can take this short test. Or take a look at our guide to SEO copywriting for more tips and tricks!
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Marieke van de Rakt is CMO at Yoast. She loves writing about content SEO, speaking at WordCamps and improving Yoast SEO and the Yoast SEO Academy: the online courses platform.
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