Tag Archives: Content Writing for SEO

Content quality versus content quantity – the debate still goes on

Content writing-quality versus quantity

Content writing-quality versus quantity.

Frankly, I don’t believe there should even be a debate. When it comes to content writing and content publishing (for content marketing) quality always triumphs over quantity.

Ideally, if you have the money, and if you want to improve your organic search engine rankings quickly, quantity and quality go hand-in-hand. When I talk about quantity, I don’t mean blog posts having 4000-5000 words. I mean you publish multiple blog posts in a day, to the tune of 90 blog posts every month.

Publish three blog posts every day and within a couple of months Google begins to crawl and index your website multiple times a day. Your content begins to appear on the SERPs within a few hours, and sometimes, within a few minutes. I have seen this happening on one of my blogs.

The ideal number is, according to a HubSpot study, 11 blog posts every month. B2B and B2C companies that publish good quality blog posts 11 times every month, experience a spike in their targeted traffic.

Relationship between the number of blog posts and search engine traffic

Relationship between the number of blog posts and search engine traffic.

Also, publishing multiple blog posts daily shouldn’t bring your quality down. Your quality is of utmost importance.

But, if you don’t have the budget and the bandwidth, the next best option is completely focusing on quality. I would suggest one blog post every week of around 2500 words.

Make sure that you work with the quality content writer or blog writer. Don’t go for those cheap content writers because you will end up spending more money that way. You will pay them, and then you will pay them in the form of not getting any results.

Why quality and quantity both matter when writing content for your blog?

Google is hungry for new content. Its crawlers are continuously crawling the web to find new and updated content. Its ranking algorithm is designed in such a manner that it gives preference to the latest content.

Regular publishing also gets your content indexed very fast. As I have written above, when I was publishing more than three blog posts every day, my content would get indexed (another blog) multiple times in a day. Sometimes, my blog posts would appear in search results within minutes.

Just as Google is constantly looking for new content, it also expects you to publish quality content. This is because if the search engine does not find quality content for its users, the users will lose interest and may explore other search engines that are better at finding good, well-written content.

Google has developed its search algorithm in such a manner that if people don’t spend much time on your blog or website after finding your link on search results, it negatively affects your rankings.

Also, if someone uses a search query, finds your link, goes to your link and then within a few seconds comes back to Google and carries on with the same search query, Google assumes that the link that the user found does not contain the appropriate information for the related keyword and hence, again, this negatively affect your rankings.

Hence, both quality and quantity have a positive impact (or vice versa) on your search engine rankings. But, if you must make a choice between quality and quantity, always go for quality.

Content writing for humans means better SEO

The image urges you to write content for humans not for machines

Write content for humans not for machines

There is lots of talk about content marketing and content writing for humans. What does this mean? Aren’t we always writing for human beings? We’re not writing for cats and dogs, are we?

There is a reason why content writers and content marketers, and even SEO experts, advise you to focus on humans when writing content: most of the people seem to be writing for search engines because they believe that the most important thing to do is draw traffic from search engines.

Search engine traffic is important. If you don’t get targeted traffic, unless there is another channel that sends tons of traffic to your website, you are not going to get customers and clients. So, it goes without saying that focusing on your SEO is one of the most important marketing responsibilities you have while promoting your business online.

The problem is, improving SEO with content writing can turn into an obsession or an addiction because it gives you a high that in many cases, can be instant – it’s instant gratification. You have just published a blog post or an article and there you have it, it is already showing on the first page of search results. How thrilling.

Search engine ranking algorithms are past that stage when you could trick them into giving you better rankings. “Tricking”, though, doesn’t work these days and most of your content is ranked according to its quality and relevance, a majority of people still believe that SEO can be improved merely by including keywords without paying attention to the quality and relevance of the content being written.

Hence, the need to write content for humans and not for the ranking algorithms.

What is the difference between content writing for humans and for machines?

Again, I’m not saying everyone does that (because there is a higher level of awareness regarding this now) but while trying to improve search engine rankings, people often forget why they are writing. All they are bothered about is, improving their search engine rankings for their preferred keywords and search terms.

This image gives you an example of how people try to “optimize” their content for better SEO

The image demonstrates text in which someone goes overboard with optimization

Going overboard with optimization

Source.

What does content writing for machines mean?

Content writing for machines means writing simply to improve your SEO. It may or may not work, but here, your primary focus is to weave your text in such a manner that the search engine algorithm finds your text appealing and consequently, ranks it well.

It involves repeating your keywords a couple of times in the title of the web page for the blog post and then copiously using various keywords as simple text as well as hypertext, mostly indiscriminately throughout the body text.

Does it work?

Personally, I’m not sure. Sometimes in the search results, I’ve seen this working, but personally, I have never been able to benefit from it. My content ranks well only when I write well.

It isn’t advisable and it is strongly discouraged by reputed search engine experts, but still, you may find many search results that are of no value but are full of keywords and ranking well.

Why isn’t content writing for machines advisable?

Why do you want search engine traffic? You want people to come to your website or blog. Why do you want that? You want them to do business with you.

Do you think they are going to do business with you just because they are on your website or do you think they need to be convinced?

Have you ever spent money on a website where you cannot make sense of what is written over there or somewhere you don’t feel convinced?

I don’t think so.

Similarly, if you are merely focusing on improving your SEO and in the process, neglecting the quality and the relevance of your content, although you may get traffic from search engines, this traffic is not going to convert.

This is where content writing for humans plays an important part.

What does content writing for humans mean?

When you write content for humans, you focus on the message, you focus on the quality and the relevance of what you are writing rather than obsessing over SEO.

When you are writing for humans, you don’t completely ignore the SEO part, but your primary concern is to make your content engaging and meaningful. You want to provide useful information to your visitors so that they can make up their mind about doing business with you.

You spend your effort on quality. You do lots of research. You pack as much useful information as possible.

Then what about SEO?

If you simply focus on the subject at hand, your search engine rankings are automatically improved.

People are constantly asking questions to search engines (something like, “looking for the best content writer for my business”) and the job of the search engines is to provide the best answers to people.

Search engine ranking algorithms are constantly being improved to achieve that. The mathematicians and computer scientists working on these algorithms don’t want to be tricked into believing that something is good when it is not.

But at the same time, they want their algorithm to be able to recognise text patterns and calculate how important that piece of content is for a keyword.

Balancing between writing content for humans and machines

This can be achieved by writing your content primarily for humans, but at the same time using the language that they use with search engines.

For example, if you are looking for a professional content writer and if I want you to be able to find my link on Google and then come to my link and after reading what I have published, you should consider doing business with me, I should focus on talking about my abilities as a content writer rather than advising you on how to become an author like Shakespeare.

Although, maybe I’m trying to convince you that I’m as good as Shakespeare and hence, you should hire me as your content writer, and there is nothing wrong in presenting my services from that angle, your primary focus is not someone who writes like Shakespeare, but someone who can write professional content for you that can help you grow your business.

The point is, if I want to generate traffic from people who are looking for a content writer, then obviously I should have lots of content talking about content writing, content writer, SEO writer, SEO content, content marketing, and such, because this is how Google figures out that I have lots of content for these terms.

But I shouldn’t obsess over these terms just for the heck of it. I should carefully choose topics that talk about these search terms in a manner that they convince you that I’m a better content writer than someone else.

Why there is a need to constantly write and publish such topics?

Compulsion.

Personally, I feel I have covered whatever I needed to help people decide whether they want to hire me as their content writer or not.

As new content emerges, old content is pushed down. If new content is not published on the website, it begins to lose its search engine rankings no matter how exceptional the content is. Search engines like Google prefer fresh content, and fresh content on an ongoing basis.

Hence, I try to publish new content every week. But, though, I need to publish content regularly, it doesn’t mean I do it with total disinterest just as a chore. I take full interest. I pay special attention to the fact that if you are reading this, you are learning something, you are benefiting from it and you are able to implement my advice on your own content writing if you want.

This is how I maintain a balance between writing content for humans and the machines.

Why quality content writing improves your SEO

Quality content writing improves your SEO

Quality content writing improves your SEO

In this blog post you will learn how quality content writing improves your SEO.

Text is everywhere. All the home automation devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, although powered by voice commands, in the background, work on text.

Search engine rankings are based on the textual content on your website or blog.

Even cryptic information residing in the deep artificial intelligence lives and breathes in the form of text.

What I’m saying is, content writing isn’t going anywhere despite big push towards video and imagery.

Read this detailed article from The Atlantic on how many major publications were pushed to the brink of collapse (including Facebook) when they fired their writers in favor of videographers.

Yes, every form of content has its importance but ultimately, everything boils down to writing.

Try publishing just videos or just images on your website and blog, and see what happens to your SEO.

Quality content writing and SEO are interlinked.

Vis-à-vis SEO, what does quality content writing mean?

What does quality content writing mean in terms of SEO?

What does quality content writing mean in terms of SEO?

The quality attribute is multifaceted when it comes to writing for the web, especially to improve your SEO.

I’m using the example of search engine optimization because this is the focal issue of this particular blog post, otherwise, I never advise you to solely aim for SEO. Aim for quality content and SEO is automatically taken care of.

Quality here means it solves your purpose. What is your purpose?

Get more business, of course.

But, there are many stages in between – from someone realizing that he or she needs what you have and then that someone not just finding you, but deciding to do business with you. Many stages.

These are the stages when most of the business is lost.

The job of quality content is to convince people into believing you and then deciding to pay you for what you are offering.

For that, you need to improve your conversion rate.

Your conversion rate can only be improved when you are able to convince people.

Since you cannot convince 100% visitors who come to your website, you have to somehow figure out the maximum number of visitors you can convince into doing business with you.

Suppose, 5%.

This means, if 100 visitors come to your website, 5 of them become your customers or clients.

With the same conversion rate, if you want to get 50 customers or clients, you need to get 1000 visitors.

How do you get these 1000 visitors? You have 3 options:

  1. Improve your SEO for your targeted keywords
  2. Become active on social media
  3. Use paid advertising

If you want to use paid advertising, it must be in your scheme of things.

But if you don’t want to use paid advertising and you would like to go for a more sustainable mode of generating targeted traffic to your website, you will improve your SEO and you will become more active on social media, and for both these activities, you need quality content.

The quality of your content writing began to matter first on social media – nobody would care for you if you didn’t provide value – and then even Google began to change its algorithm to rank only quality content.

So, it isn’t important what you write and what you publish, what’s important is, how people react to it.

If they don’t react to it properly, even the search engines ignore it.

Quality content writing improves your SEO – explained

Your SEO these days solely depends on how valuable, purposeful and relevant your content is.

Why?

Why must people find your content when they look for a certain keyword or search term?

You may say that they must find you so that you get a chance to promote your products or services to them, once they are on your website or blog.

Fair enough. Even I want that.

But what about those people who are searching? What do you give them?

Now, if you didn’t face much competition, you could easily say that if someone is looking for a web designer, he or she should come to your website because you provide web design services.

In my case, if someone is looking for a professional content writer, he or she should come to my website because I provide professional content writing services.

There are thousands of web designers. Also there are thousands of content writers.

People who appear for “web designer” and “content writer” on the first top 10 search engine results, have definitely done something to appear there.

They must have gotten scores of quality back links.

They must be quite active on social media to elicit lots of positive response from their followers.

The must have lots of quality content on their websites so that their bounce rate is very low (a high bounce rate is bad for your SEO).

They must have been in the game for quite some time – the age of their domains must be very old.

People searching for products, services and information have no personal interest in finding your website or blog.

Even Google doesn’t have any personal stake in your website. The search engine solely depends on the algorithm and it’s the algorithm that decides the rankings of your individual links.

Now, this algorithm is constantly evolving.

For a machine, no matter how evolved artificial intelligence gets, it is very difficult to gauge the true value of a piece of content.

This is why Google heavily relies on the reaction of people.

I’m writing this blog post on “why quality content writing improves your SEO”.

Based on my existing rankings Google may rank this blog post in whichever manner.

Then it begins to gather data about how people interact with this piece of content on the Google search engine itself, and also on other websites and social media platforms.

People retweet my tweet with this link – good, Google notches up my rankings perceptibly or imperceptibly.

People like my update carrying this link on Facebook and they also leave comments and they may even share my update. Another boost to my rankings.

When people find my link in search results they come to this blog post and read it.

The more time people spend on this link, the more Google gets convinced that this link solves the purpose of the search query that was used to find this link. Hence, improve its rankings.

If most of the people no longer search for the same query after accessing my link, Google assumes that my link solves the purpose of the query and further improves its rankings.

The cycle goes on and my link keeps moving up.

Now, why would people react positively to this particular link?

They are not emotionally attached to me or my website. Most of them don’t even know me. They couldn’t care less about my SEO.

The only reason they retweet or share my link is because they like it and they like it only because I provide quality content to them. This can only be achieved through quality content writing.

Again, why would people spend more time on this link?

Because they have a reason to go on reading the matter. They find the content useful. This brings down the bounce rate of this link or blog post.

They have no personal interest in lingering on the blog post without reason. The only reason is, they are getting what they were looking for.

Best possible scenario: they don’t go back to Google with the same search query. They don’t check out other links for the same search query.

This indicates to Google that the link solves the purpose of the search query and the user no longer has to check out other links.

These things can only happen if you provide quality content, relevant content, content that is engaging, useful and solves the purpose.

If you focus on providing value to your visitors, you don’t have to worry about your search engine rankings because search engine rankings these days depend less on how you use your keywords, and more on how people react to your content.

Their reactions decide your SEO.

So, when writing content, simply focus on getting positive, constructive reaction from your visitors. The rest is taken care of on its own.

How to write content for the Google RankBrain System

Content writing for Google RankBrain

Content writing for Google RankBrain

For a couple of years now Google has been using its RankBrain system to rank your content.

RankBrain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that helps the Google algorithm in ranking various links and websites.

Although it hasn’t totally taken over the Hummingbird algorithm (the current ranking algorithm that Google uses) many SEO experts are claiming that the Google ranking algorithm derives almost 30% of its influence from RankBrain.

What exactly is Google RankBrain?

What is Google RankBrain?

What is Google RankBrain?

It’s an artificial intelligence system, and just like any contemporary artificial intelligence, it learns itself. It sometimes writes and modifies the ranking algorithm on its own.

The overall ranking process at Google is handled by the Hummingbird algorithm. RankBrain is a component of that algorithm that contributes towards assigning ranks to different links according to their relevance to the searcher’s intent.

Just like RankBrain, there are multiple components in the Hummingbird algorithm that analyze content.

Panda, Penguin and Payday components are used to fight spam. Pigeon is used to improve local search results.

Then, there is a Top Heavy component of the Hummingbird algorithm that assigns negative marking to ad-heavy pages.

To reward you for your mobile-friendly pages, the ranking algorithm uses the Mobile Friendly component.

Copyright infringement is taken care of by the Pirate component (source).

Whereas conventional SEO is based on the type of keywords you have used when writing your content and the quality of backlinks, RankBrain calculates the relevance of your content according to its own interpretation, according to what it thinks should be ranked rather than according to how the web page of the blog post has been “optimized”.

You must have read it at multiple places – even I have mentioned it multiple times on my blog – that when you are writing content, focus on the “intent” of the searcher instead of simply creating content based on your keywords.

The intent is what matters to RankBrain.

Unlike conventional ranking methods, RankBrain doesn’t rank web pages according to predefined formula.

It modifies the rank according to the interpretive need of the user.

It practically thinks like the human brain. It interprets meaning and gives you the best search result according to your particular need.

For example, if someone searches for “what are the best shows this week on Amazon Prime?” RankBrain will show the latest results no matter how well an article or blog post you wrote on the topic last month and how many people have linked to it.

Even if in terms of SEO practices your link should show up on page 10 or page 20 of the search results, if it is fresh and fresh content needs to be shown, your link will appear on the first page, even at the top.

So, how do you write content according to the Google RankBrain system?

How to write content for Google RankBrain

How to write content for Google RankBrain

To be frank, there is no particular way you can optimize your content for the RankBrain system.

As mentioned above, RankBrain doesn’t rank your content according to some predetermined parameters.

But it doesn’t mean you cannot benefit from RankBrain.

Content writing for RankBrain is very matter of fact: does your content solve a purpose? If it does, it will enjoy good search engine rankings.

The age-old wisdom that your content should provide the needed information to your human visitors still stands as in fact, such systems are developed by Google and other search engines to make sure that content creators create content that is relevant to people rather than machines.

When content is specifically created for machines it is open to manipulation. This is why Google has incorporated multiple algorithmic components to make sure that people don’t try to game the system.

How to make sure you enjoy good rankings in the times of artificial intelligence?

Search engine companies like Google aren’t creating sophisticated algorithms to stop your content from ranking well. They’re creating the sophisticated algorithms to make sure that content that deserves to rank well, does rank well.

So, instead of worrying about getting good ranks, focus on the quality, the relevance and the purposefulness of your content.

Do keywords matter when you are trying to optimize your content for the Google RankBrain system?

Not necessarily, but it doesn’t mean you stop neglecting them.

What are keywords after all? They are part of the language that you use to write your content.

Take for example this blog post. I’m writing about RankBrain, so I’m referring to it repeatedly, not purposely, but contextually. I’m not trying hard to use it repeatedly. It’s just happening.

Another focus of this post is content writing. I’m trying to explain to you how to write content that can convince the RankBrain ranking system.

Obviously these two terms are going to occur in my writing more than once, even multiple times. This tells Google that the foci of my blog post are RankBrain and content writing. There is nothing wrong in that.

But don’t just focus on your primary keywords. Use LSI keywords. Use semantic keywords. Even use the trending keywords if they are related to your topic.

Keywords matter when you’re writing content, but just make sure that they are there naturally and not stuffed. Quality, is what matters the most.

Focus on a better user behavior vis-à-vis your content writing if you want to make RankBrain happy

Since RankBrain avoids depending on conventional SEO benchmarks, it depends more on user behavior vis-à-vis your content. It observes the following while ranking your content:

What is your bounce rate?:

How many people stick to your website after finding your links on Google?

Do they immediately leave your link and come back to Google or do they linger on your website because they find useful information on it?

If your bounce rate is low RankBrain likes your content and improves its rankings.

How many people interact with your content?:

If your content is useful people engage with it.

They link to your content. They share your content with their followers and friends on social media and social networking websites. They even sometimes re-purpose your content.

The more people interact with your con tent, the better rankings it gets through RankBrain.

How in-depth is your content?:

The days of highly narrow content pieces are gone.

Remember when people used to create dedicated web pages and blog posts for every keyword combination for the same phrase? It is no longer acceptable.

You need to cover all your keyword combinations through a single web page or blog post, and this means, writing in-depth content pieces.

When you’re writing on a topic, cover practically every aspect of the topic within a single blog post or web page.

Is your content writing conversational?:

Conversational content writing is important because a greater number of people are using voice search and when people use voice search, they normally use a conversational tone.

Write shorter sentences. Avoid writing very complicated paragraphs. Try to capture just one thought in a single paragraph.

All in all, the more human friendly content you write, the better it is suitable for Google RankBrain.

What is the importance of keywords in SEO content writing?

Importance of keywords in SEO content writing

What is SEO content writing and how critical it is that you know how to incorporate your primary, secondary and long tail keywords into your overall writing process?

SEO content writing means writing in such a manner that it’s very easy for search engine crawlers to access your content and make sense of it.

Why is it important that the search engine algorithms should be able to make sense of your content writing?

It is because if they cannot make sense of your content, they won’t be able to rank it for the appropriate keywords.

When you are writing SEO content you keep in mind the phrases, the search terms and the keywords people may use, to be able to find your website or one of its links, and then you create content using those phrases, search terms and keywords.

SEO content writing in no way means mindlessly using your keywords. These days, the quality and the relevance of your content is as important, and sometimes even more important, than your ability to use your keywords.

The importance of keywords in SEO content writing

Ever since the advent of search engines and it became important to get good search engine rankings, the importance of keywords to improve your SEO always invites heated discussions.

Content marketing and SEO have been combined. SEO content marketing has evolved into a branch in itself.

There was a time when keywords were important. Okay, they are still important, but there are also a zillion of other factors that are important for your SEO.

Keywords importance

Those factors are beyond the scope of this post because here I’m just focusing on the importance of keywords in SEO content writing.

Read 10 fundamental qualities of effective SEO content writing.

With so many changes occurring in Google’s ranking algorithms, do keywords still matter?

To understand this, you need to understand what are keywords.

Keywords may sound important and even intimidating when you feel that they can have a big impact on your search engine rankings and then these search engine rankings can have a big impact on your business, but they are not as intimidating as they seem.

Keywords are basically the search terms people use so that they can find your business (not particularly your business but something of that sort).

These keywords can have just a single word, a couple of words, a small phrase, a complete sentence, or a question.

Would you like to get better rankings for “where can I find handmade table napkins” or “handmade table napkins”?

The person using the first search term actually wants to find handmade table napkins.

The person using the second search term may be looking for handmade table napkins, but he or she may also be looking for just some sort of information on handmade table napkins.

You may target both the search terms but for you, if you are selling handmade table napkins, the first search term is more important.

So, how do you target the search term, or the keyword or, the longtail keyword “where can I find handmade table napkins”?

This is called optimization.

This is where the importance of keywords in SEO content writing arises.

To get targeted traffic you have to use the right language. In the above example, “where can I find” and “handmade table napkins” are very important parts of your main keyword if you are selling handmade table napkins.

Your text must suggest that your web page will tell the search engine user that yours is the place where he or she can find handmade table napkins.

Your keywords are like the building blocks. They help you stay focused when you are writing content, especially content that needs to rank higher on search engines.

Consider the above example again. You know what keyword to be found for.

So, when you are writing SEO content for this particular search term you know that you don’t want to write about the technique of making handmade table napkins or what are the benefits of using handmade table napkins.

Although you can touch upon these issues, your primary concern is telling the search engine users that they can find handmade table napkins on your website when they want to know where they can find them.

Should you over-obsess over your keywords?

Keywords are important but let them not dominate the way you write your content.

Focus on providing the right answers to the right questions.

When you provide the right answers, you are automatically using the keywords or the search terms being used by your prospective customers and clients.

I want to draw people to my website who are looking for a content writer or a content writing service.

So, if I write and publish content about “need a content writer”, or “looking for a content writer” there is a small chance that I will be focusing on “how to become a better content writer”.

This is because I’m not selling educational material on how to become a better content writer; I’m selling my content writing services.

Even such small changes can make a big difference.

How can you avoid such costly mistakes?

You can avoid such costly mistakes, again, by focusing on the questions and search terms people may use when searching for your services, rather than obsessing over your keywords.

Remember that your prospective customers and clients may use a totally different language for your business than what you use.

Yes, it is important to prepare a list of your target keywords and search terms, but once you have created the list, focus more on solving problems rather than covering all the keywords.

I always suggest my clients that when they focus on solving problems they automatically cover their important keywords.

How to use keywords when doing SEO content writing

keywords and SEO content writing

Keywords are important in SEO content writing. The search engine algorithms look for your keywords at certain locations of your web page or blog post.

Although these laws are not written in stone, SEO experts and experienced content marketers suggest that you use your keywords

  • In the beginning of your web page or blog post title
  • Within the first 100 words of the body text
  • Once every 200 words
  • Within H1, H2 and H3 tags at least once
  • In the last paragraph

As I have written above, your rankings may depend on many external factors, so you don’t necessarily need to adhere to these guidelines regarding where to put your keywords while doing SEO content writing, these are better practices to follow.

If you are targeting a longer phrase, it isn’t necessary that you always have to use the complete phrase. Use the complete phrase, if it is possible, within the title and then a couple of times within the body text.

After that, you can use the various parts of the phrase, creatively, in different ways.

For example, if I want to optimize for “SEO content writing services” I can use the exact phrase in the title and a few times within the body text and then at various places I can use individual words “SEO”, “content writing” and “services”.

There is always a danger of over-optimizing so always be careful of overusing your keywords.

Overusing your keywords can be more damaging than not using them at all.

The importance of keywords in SEO content writing is going to prevail for many more years not because there is no other way but to rely on this, the so-called “outdated strategy”, it’s just that, using them makes perfect sense. This is how you speak. The keywords are a part of your language. They are always going to be important.