Writing SEO Content That Actually Gets Read
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Dan Lemp 00:00:25.940
Hey, everybody, welcome to Business Life Hacks. Today we’re talking about: how to write content that is going to actually get seen by Google. Because according to a study by AA Trust, more than 90 percent of content gets exactly zero SEO traffic from Google.
So how do you hack the system and produce content that’s going to let you out-position your competitors, and steal their traffic share? So, Josh, we hear that content is king with SEO.
So does that mean that as long as I’m producing content, any short 500, 1000 word articles of whatever comes into my head that that’s going to help my SEO?
Josh Strawczynski 00:01:05.730
Dan, this is a huge topic because there’s so much bad information out there, and so many people banging out tons of really poor SEO content. It’s a huge waste of resources, particularly finite marketing resources. So to answer your question directly: no, of course not.
If you were in a room of people who were all pitching the same idea and you just babbled for a few seconds about something, which is kind of incoherent, no one is going to pay any attention to you.
If you have all the answers, if you’re a walking encyclopedia on the specific topic, then slowly but surely the room is going to turn and they’re going to start listening to you. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about today: how do we create content that is King, which is naturally going to float to the top?
Now, before I get into how we do that and what to do and what not to do. Dan, what do we have to start with? If we’re writing say, a Cornerstone article or any SEO article, how do we know what we’re writing to?
Dan Lemp 135.41
The foundation of any successful SEO content strategy is always keyword research. So to have a really solid keyword plan that is based not just off of the ideas that you want to talk about, but about what your audience is actually going to be interested in. You either need to find a good SEO consultant to make that content plan for you and to do that keyword research.
Or you need to do some really detailed, really, really well thought out keyword research on your own. So in this episode, we’re not going to get into the details about how to do that. But you can listen more about that in the episode that we recorded specifically about keyword research.
But once you have a keyword plan and you know what people are searching for, you need to do some competitor research to make sure that you’re doing a better job than they are of answering those search queries.
So, Josh, how do you do that and why is that important?
Josh Strawczynski 00:03:12.920
This has got to be one of the simplest things ever, and yet no one does it. So no matter what you’re trying to rank for, when you’re writing this content, it’s as simple as Googling that term and seeing what everyone else has written about.
Look at the top 10 listings. What’s the content on their page? Map that out. So if we are a hotel and we’re writing an article about the top 10 hotels, people that write poor SEO content would simply list the top 10 hotels in the list and got done.
But really good content would be looking at all of the articles that have been written for that and related search terms, compiling them into one list and then finding a way to communicate all of that information in a really structured, really digestible format.
So you might have stuff about room quality and break down every hotel based on – room quality. You might also talk about speed of internet. You might speak about the service stuff. But you’re going to do it more thoroughly and more considered and yet more concisely than everybody else.
Dan, how do we go about making content more digestible, more shareable by people?
Dan Lemp 273.89
When people are reading a blog article online, they’re not looking to read The Tale of Two Cities or some piece of Shakespeare. They want something really short and something that’s really visual.
If it’s just three thousand words on a white page, then it’s hard to pay attention to for that whole time because people on the internet have really short attention spans.
So make it visual, add any graphs, any images, any charts (that illustrate your point), or videos that either you or someone else has made on that point that you can embed into the article.
Josh Strawczynski 00:05:06.200
That’s exactly right. That is exactly it. How can we make this super shareable? Just use common sense. Would I send this to someone as like a -“Wow! It’s really interesting”? And when people have sent you stuff, what have you read and digested, and what have you skipped over?
I can speak from my own experience. I have a very intellectual cousin up in Toronto who sends me these very, very long articles on sociology. And whilst I’m sure the content is fantastic, when I’m confronted with 10,000 words and giant block format, I almost always read the start and the finish and skip everything in the middle.
I simply don’t have that time. Were those articles punctuated with graphs and charts and dot points, I would be able to more easily skim through the content, pick out what I want, and if I didn’t want the nuance, go back and read it all thoroughly.
Dan Lemp 00:06:05.230
Josh Strawczynski 00:06:06.740
So, Dan, technically, to give us an edge, once we’ve written all this content, we’ve made it look really nice; what do we need to do (which maybe other blogs aren’t) to give us an edge with Google and a little more reputation, so to speak?
Dan Lemp 00:06:22.280
Yeah. You want to make sure that your article is technically optimised for SEO. Now, Technical SEO is a really, really deep topic and some of it’s complicated and hard to implement. The two things that are really easy to implement and that give you an edge over the competitors: internal linking and linking out to reputable sites.
So internal linking is any time when you link from one of your articles to another one of your articles, or to another page on your site. This is important for two reasons.
One is that it gives signposting. So if you have a hyperlink and the text of that hyperlink says, for example, one thing I said in this episode – ‘find a good SEO consultant’.
If you hyperlink that text to the article, which we have written about how to find a good SEO consultant, then that’s a signpost to Google. You’re pointing a sign at that article saying that that is what that article is about.
It’s like if you’re looking for a McDonald’s and you see five miles back a sign that says McDonald’s five miles that way. And then as you’re driving, you see a sign that says McDonald’s to the right.
And then you turn right and then you see a sign that says McDonald’s right this way. And then lo and behold, you get to the end. And that’s McDonald’s. Google is doing the same thing. They’re looking for the articles about ‘how to find a good SEO consultant’.
And so if you’re giving them more signposts, then it’s more likely that they’re going to write that article. The other reason why it’s important is because it shares link juice.
So if one of your articles ranks for SEO, rather than keeping all of the SEO power to itself, if that article links to another article, it actually shares that authority that you’ve built with one of your articles with the rest of your content.
So rather than each of your articles just being an island to itself, you’re creating a whole big landmass of content that is bigger and more powerful.
Josh Strawczynski 00:08:28.250
An archipelago of content. I like it. We’re painting some pictures to that idea. So let’s talk about linking to reputable sites as well, because this is something that people skip all the time. They think I’m trying to be the hero on this topic and they don’t reference reputable sites.
This is exactly the same! I love this metaphor of: how many times have you walked past a Burger Shack or something and they have written on the front, insert ‘the city’s best burgers’, ‘best taco’s, whatever it is. It’s like this baseless claim that says ‘we are the best’. If you were to walk past that, you would probably give it all of the two seconds of thought that it deserves.
But if let’s say, Los Angeles had a burger competition and it was written up in the newspaper that the winner of the competition is Big Verde’s Burgers – that has a lot more value. That’s very reputable because the newspaper has authority behind us.
There’s actually been a competition which has established who’s the best. And so instead of just randomly putting on your website: ‘we are the best’, try putting on your website, ‘we are the best’ and link to the source. But in this case, the newspaper that’s reputable, that carries a lot of SEO weight.
Now, it doesn’t need to be about you. Your article might quote a statistic. And if you link to the official, whatever your country’s Bureau of Statistics is, only a reputable article would reference, just like you would in a university assignment to the official source. So make sure you’re always doing that, is sending a really strong linking signal to Google – hey, what we’re talking about is credible.
Finally, you’ve done all the hard work. You’ve researched what you going to write about. You’ve researched the competition. You’ve written this amazing article, which, by the way, needs to be as long as it needs to be. It could be one word; it could be a million words. It needs to be as long as it needs to be the most thorough content out there.
You’ve done the internal linking. You’ve done the external linking. Dan, is that the end of it? Is this everything we need to do now?
Dan Lemp 00:10:36.520
No, because with Google, you actually have a big advantage if your article is already getting traffic and people are engaging with it. So instead of just focusing on SEO, find other ways to publicise your content, to get more people reading it so that Google knows that that is an authoritative topic.
So, Josh, what are your favorite ways to publicise your SEO content?
Josh Strawczynski 00:11:00.400
So I’m a progressive SEO; in a lot of ways I think that social signals (and by that I mean – people sharing it on their social media) is a lot more powerful than a lot of people give it credit for.
To that end, one of my favorite hacks is to use third party quotes and insights. So these are people that specifically give their opinion for the article and then get them to share it on their social media, which most of the time they will do because they were excited to have been referenced.
We use HARO (help a reporter out). It’s a free system for getting quotes and it’s really easy. We also are big fans of using paid advertising Google ads to see that those articles get shared.
So, if you’re trying to rank, for example, before the top ten hotels in Los Angeles, pay for a few people to come to the site, if it’s good enough, then it’s going to get shared on social media and shared through blogs and other references.
And finally, Dan what’s the easiest way of all to publicise your content?
Dan Lemp 00:12:07.930
Easiest way of all, post it to your social media. Every time we post an article on the JMarketing blog I post it on my LinkedIn; get some people going through to it. If you post it on your Facebook, if you have a Facebook group, get the audience that you already have to go through to it or through your email list.
Josh Strawczynski 00:12:27.540
That’s exactly right. And this is no bad publicity for what you are doing is you getting a few people on the site, Google seeing engagement. And of course, the amount of time people spend on your blog or on any given page is a social signal.
It’s a signal to Google that: hey, this is reputable. They just come on, bounce off again: oh, it’s a bad sign. So if you’re warming it up with people have already like your content, they’re going to stay. They’re going to send the strong signals.
So from this podcast, you’ve got the framework now to really hack your SEO content writing and write stuff which is truly valuable. What I want to leave you with is the challenge to yourself to never be satisfied.
Look at articles and say, how could this be better? Give it to people and ask them for feedback on it. Try to write better than anyone else in the industry, and be willing in a few months time to come back and update that article if things have changed.
It’s a big commitment, but it will pay dividends if you really put the hours in.
Dan Lemp 00:13:34.300
Absolutely. Getting your content ranking on SEO just provides ongoing benefits, free traffic to your site. You don’t have to pay for every click and it’s usually the most profitable source of traffic for your business. So it’s super key.
All right. Thanks, everybody, for listening. Hopefully, that was some really valuable information.
If you have any other questions or if you just liked the content, then shoot us an email at – dan(@)jmarketing.agency or josh(@)jmarketing.agency.
Josh, thanks so much for coming by.
Josh Strawczynski 00:14:05.520
Fantastic episode, Dan. Thanks very much.