Content is crucial to your website’s search engine performance, and this is straight from Search Quality Senior Strategist Andrey Lipattsev at Google. He revealed in a video interview that the top-two ranking factors Google assess are content and links – find the full Q&A here. It’s important to note that he didn’t specify which is number one, but content is in the top two and so you should definitely be giving yours some TLC.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start because we’re about to go through a quickfire SEO content checklist to help you optimise your content.
Like any marketing campaign or strategy you need to do your market research before doing anything, and when it comes to search engines, that involves user intent and keyword research. Once you know why your target audience is searching and the search terms they are using, you can start to build a content strategy to answer their queries and satisfy their search intent.
The three SEO aspects you need to cover to evaluate your content strategy are:
You should always remember that although you are trying to please search engines, ultimately people are who you should be writing copy for. When creating content, always think of users first, and then the search engines. A quick checklist of what your copy should be is below:
Furthermore, the aspects which will make your content engaging are:
Although there’s no indication grammar and punctuation are ranking factors, both are user experience issues. When it comes to content, there’s nothing more that sticks out than a typo.
Furthermore, you should use statistics and facts to back up comments that you make that aren’t generally held truths. Not only does it convey you’re clued up on the topic, it conveys authority and also shows Google that you are linking to high-quality, relevant information.
Therefore, for this step you want to check the following points.
No SEO content checklist would be complete without the mention of keywords as they are important for signalling to Google what your content is about. Gone are the days where keyword stuffing is a good ranking tactic as Google has become adept at spotting it – and will penalise you if you’re found doing it. For guidelines on what keyword stuffing looks like, click here.
Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough now to recognise synonyms and so they’re better at matching a users search query with a website’s content. Therefore, keywords aren’t completely useless, you just need to make sure that you use them more strategically. Below is a checklist for where, how and what not to do with your keywords.
Normally, technical SEO applies to an entire website but there are some activities you can do to help boost the performance of individual pieces of content on search engines. Although they aren’t crucial for you to carry out, they can help your content rank and will certainly not be bad to do – every little helps.
The importance of content cannot be understated in the current search-engine climate and if a senior SEO strategist at Google is saying it’s a top-two ranking factor, what more clarification do you need? Don’t be overwhelmed by the importance of content though, as the checklist above will have you ready to optimise your content.
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