Building A Site Google Loves: Writing Great Content — Part 1
ORLANDO, FLORIDA — It seems like the importance of great content is touted everywhere, but there seems to be much less information about what constitutes great content. How do you know if your content measures up, and more importantly, if what you are writing is what will make your website one that Google loves?
“We have a great team of professional SEO copywriters who create the content that contributes to the ranking results clients like to see,” says Ali Husayni. “A couple of our writers are going to share their process for making that writing a reality and some of the characteristics great content will have.”
To Write For The Search Engine or For The Reader?
That is the first and most important question. The first thing to understand about content generation is the reason for doing it, and—spoiler alert—that reason should not be just to get better rankings in search engine results.
“Writing the press release or article only with search engines in mind may very well help you improve your site’s ranking, but if it doesn’t generate new business, who cares?” says Lorrie Walker, the editor-in-chief at Master Google and the owner of a public relations firm in Tampa, Fla.
According to her the main purpose for writing website content, articles and press releases is to provide useful information for people who are seeking the kinds of services and products that the business provides.
“When I need a service, I want to find the best, most knowledgeable subject matter expert to provide that service for me,” Walker says. “If it’s someone local, I’m probably going to ask my friends and see if anyone has recommendations. But I’m also going to look at business’ websites and do my research. The more information you can provide about who you are and what you do, the better.”
Why Good Isn’t Good Enough
But jotting down some basic information about a company, a brief description of services and peppering in some keywords to SEO is not going to be enough to get top results in this era of the Internet.
“There are too many people producing content, many of them producing good content, to put up basic information on a website and expect to stand out,” Husayni says. “It takes a lot of work, but the opportunity is there for people who are willing to invest the time and energy.”
Three Characteristics Of Great Content
Walker says that when a company has written copy that is interesting, original and well-written, they have great content.
Website content must be relevant to what people are searching for on the topic and be helpful in some way by providing the information they wanted, answering the question or solving the problem. The only way to do this is to know the audience to write for and what they find interesting.
“Content should speak to them in a language they understand,” says Lanette Strong, an SEO copywriter. “They should leave the page with an accurate answer to the question they were searching for.”
That means if a company is trying to reach a layperson audience, they need to cut down on technical language and explain any terminology that a beginner in the subject would not readily understand within the context of the page.
“It’s not that we are dumbing down articles, it’s that we are helping readers get the information they were looking for without having to visit another site to get more clarification,” Strong explains.
Figuring Out What To Write About
The definition of interesting is ‘to arouse curiosity or interest and hold or catch the attention.’ That means companies need to look for topics that their readers might want to read about or would provide information they need. If a heating and cooling company is building a website to grow their residential customer base, they would want to focus on topics pertinent to homeowners like cutting energy costs, the latest equipment rebates or the benefits of upgrading to energy efficient systems. A company that is trying to get more commercial clientele or work with contractors would focus on different topics.
Strong says that researching what competitors are doing and staying abreast of current news is helpful when looking for topic ideas. Just make sure you can relate the topic to your company and put a fresh spin on it, she cautions, and Walker agrees.
“I think a good way of determining what to write about is to listen to your customers or clients or patients. What questions do you frequently get asked? Write about those topics,” says Walker.
Walker says that companies can also write about what sets them apart from their competitors, about business anniversaries or other milestones, including: awards or recognition from the community, new products or services and new employees and conferences employees attended or spoke at.
Half the battle of writing about a business or company is coming up with relevant topics and creating a well-defined goal for the press releases and articles. Stay tuned to read about out the next steps for creating great SEO content: sound writing mechanics, knowing how to use keywords effectively and giving Google what it wants from content while staying away from what can get a website penalized or banned.