Every time Google refines its SEO algorithms it’s not trying to be mean. It’s focusing on providing the best experiences for users who are searching for information.
After all, it has competition too.
And over the years, this most-used search engine has moved more and more to define SEO-friendly content as that which is audience-focused, as it crawls around to index and rate oceans of content.
It is looking for top value before it decides to rank any piece of content well and has developed its newest algorithm, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) as a means to better understand what searchers want.
How To Create SEO-Friendly Content
BERT is pretty high-tech, using machine learning and natural language processing, to understand all of the words in a long-tail search, even the differences between such words as “of,” “for,” “on,” etc. within the context of a search term/phrase.
Again, the goal is to serve the user, not the content producer.
Your job, as a content marketer, is to figure out just how this and all of the other more recent algorithms figure into your content.
Without “freaking” over the details of BERT or any of the others, just know this: if you produce content that is fresh, unique, and popular, and you do so while incorporating those long-tailed keyword phrases that are most relevant to your content (and that research shows are most-used), you will rank well.
In short, your job is to give users what they want in the way of value, be that in the form of entertainment, education, or inspiration. And as you do that, you will include those most popular keywords in natural and “non-stuffing” ways.
So, let’s look at what you should be doing in 2020 and beyond, to create SEO-friendly content.
#1 Update Your Audience Personas – Use Big Data
Of course, you developed a buyer persona, probably long ago. And you may have updated it every so often, as your market base has expanded.
For example, your audience may have been millennials. Now, you are also targeting Gen Zer’s too. Have you re-visited your buyer persona recently? If not, do so right now.
And there is so much data out there now, just for the taking.
While using big data was once reserved for “big boys” who could afford to employ data scientists, there are now tools that everyone can use to mine huge amounts of data based upon specific questions you ask about your target customers.
Based upon your business niche, you can get all sorts of demographic data; you can look at their buying behaviors; you can learn the solutions they are seeking; you can know the types of information and entertainment they like, even the tone and style and types of content that will resonate with them.
Check out data collection and analysis tools or data gathering services that you can use. Many of these services will take the time to consult with you and help you develop the right questions to ask as data is gathered. Answers to these questions will drive what you produce and how you produce it.
#2 Set Up a Content Calendar
One of the ways to keep your brand “out there” is to be as frequent as possible with valuable content. And there are two keywords here – frequency and value. You can certainly create content every day if you want, but if it is not valuable, you are wasting time and setting yourself up for penalties from Google.
Based upon your research, you need to create a reasonable content publication calendar that will include a roll-out of pieces on a regular basis, and a selection of topics that will resonate with your audience.
Here is where your research comes into play. If you have asked the right questions and gathered the right data, you will have sound ideas related to topics. You can also check a number of online sources for the most popular topics within your niche.
#3 Google Search Your Chosen Keywords/Phrases
This is literally the best “test” for the popularity of the keywords you ultimately come up with. Conduct a Google search and see what articles and websites pop up.
If that content is very closely related to what you would produce, and if you can make it better with more creative and unique/fresh ideas or approaches, then you probably have a “winner.”
#4 Be the Expert
This takes time and some real effort. No one recognizes you as an expert unless you take some action to become so. This means that you know your niche and that you keep current with everything that is happening within it.
You will need to focus on trending topics and create amazing content related to them.
It also means that you will follow major influencers in your niche, develop relationships with them, participate in discussions they hold, and become “known.”
You will ask to post some of their content on your site or blog; you will submit content to them and request that they publish it on their platforms. Over time, you will make a name for yourself in your niche, and your audience will look to you for solutions.
#5 Create the Best Content Ever
This cannot be emphasized enough. SEO for e-commerce is no longer about selling. It is about engaging consumers, developing relationships, and having them want to come back for more.
Use everything in your toolbox to craft content in a way that engages your audience. And there are so many tools out there to do just this – everything from visuals, media, augmented and virtual reality, to text that is creatively written.
If you struggle with any of these aspects, outsource what you need to.
There are plenty of writing services with creative copywriting departments and media specialists – Trust My Paper, Grab My Essay, Studicus, to name a few – as well as freelancers who will develop AR/VR experiences for your audience and DIY tools, if you feel capable and have the time.
Videos are highly effective to engage audiences, and, again, there are a huge number of tools that are easy to use.
Create your own great script or outsource it.
The point is this: If you want lots of shares, backlinks, and thus traffic, your content must not just provide high value.
It must be delivered in a way that blows others “out of the water.”
Take a look at Dollar Shave Club’s initial explainer video on its website. In less than 90 seconds, the audience’s pain point was identified and the solution provided. And it was done in such an entertaining way, the video went viral almost immediately, causing the company to run out of the product (that video, by the way, cost a total of $2500 and the “actor” was the owner, with a great script).
SEO friendly content at its finest.
#6 Use a Multi-Channel Approach
It’s known as omnipresence, and it’s a key way to create SEO-friendly content that will be seen by a much wider audience. While you certainly can’t be everywhere, you can do the research and find where your audience hangs out online.
Pick 3 channels. Then take your amazing content and tweak it for each channel.
The idea here is to create as much buzz about your brand as possible. The more buzz, the more shares, and backlinks.
And the more notice will Google take.
Neightan White, a blogger and contributing writer for Supreme Dissertations puts it this way: “We know our audience well. And we also know that they frequent Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
This is where we go with our content outreach. We spend a lot of time tweaking the same topic to fit each platform we use, and we reap the results with high levels of traffic.”
#7 How to Write SEO-Friendly Blog Posts
Many of the previous 6 strategies will help you enhance SEO for e-commerce on any platform. But your blog posts are an important venue for content once visitors arrive at your website.
But there are other things to do as well:
- you can drive your audiences to your blog posts when you cannot otherwise publish an entire piece on other platforms.
- You can promote them with backlinks when you engage in discussions elsewhere.
- You can provide “teasers” to your posts on social media.
- You can provide links to them in your emails.
- And you can even provide inter-connecting links within posts to other related posts.
Your blog should be the repository of the bulk of your content, even that which is published elsewhere. And so, it is important to understand how to write SEO-friendly blog posts.
Here are some specific tips in addition to the strategies listed above:
- Spend a lot of time crafting your headline/title. Journalists get this. They know that the headline is what first draws attention to an article. There’s a reason why Upworthy creates 25 headlines for every piece of content. It forces the team to think outside the box and, when they finally come up with a headline, they know it will be an attention-grabber.
- Dump the walls of text. No one has time for them, and just seeing all the text will turn people off. Instead, use short paragraphs with bold headings, bullet points, and break it up with some great visuals, including photos, screenshots, infographics, and video. The idea is to make your post “snackable.” Readers can scan through and focus in on a sub-topic or two that will be of interest and that they may want to share.
- Choose the main keyword phrase from your research and place it 3-4 times within the text, including in the title, in the introduction, and in a few other places throughout the article. Have some secondary keyword phrases that you also know are popular. This is a key element in how to write SEO-friendly blog posts. Google will find these and already know that they are popular search terms.
- Consider themes for a series of blog posts, if the larger topic allows. This will keep readers coming back for more, and you can promote them as they are created.
- Don’t be selling. SEO for e-commerce today means that you are addressing the needs and pain points of your audience and providing solutions. Focus on value, not on selling. If you want to entice your targets with special sales and discounts, save those for your other website pages, your emails, and, occasionally, your social media content.
- Use humor; entertain; and inspire while you are also educating and showing your expertise.
- Use CTA’s wisely – offer a sign-up for your emails or to download an ebook. This will keep you in communication with potential customers.
- Always provide sharing buttons, and always provide opportunities for questions and discussion at the end. And ask for input and feedback in that discussion thread.
Is That All?
Probably not. 2020 and 2021 will bring new trends in creating SEO-friendly content, and your competition never rests. You cannot either.
Stay on top of what types of content and what topics are resonating with your audience – it’s an ongoing job.
Bio: Bridgette Hernandez is a Master in Anthropology who is interested in writing and is planning to publish her own book in the near future. She works with professional writing companies such as BestEssayEducation and WowGrade as a writer.
Rankers Readers, leave a comment to connect with Bridgette for her to answer any questions you may have.