We’ve heard the famous phrase many times – Content is king! This claim resists the test of time, despite all the Google updates we had to survive, the AI boom, and countless changes that keep shaking the SEO multiverse. The role of quality content stays strong, unphased, like an unwavering pillar in a SERP tempest.
However, the way we approach content strategy is different now than it was only a couple of years ago. Factors like E-E-A-T and search intent have been changing our approach to content and its optimization, and Google encourages us to continue if we want to stay relevant.
This is not to say that keywords don’t play a crucial part in the optimization process anymore, far from it! Strong keyword research skills are still a must for creating a successful content strategy, but now there’s more to the puzzle.
There are additional SEO practices that you should keep in mind when coming up with ways to optimize your content and elevate its quality. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some suggestions for you.
It All Starts with Intent
This first SEO practice is related to keywords, but it’s also important to consider when you’re thinking of the different formats of your content. Understanding the search intent behind your primary keywords is very important because Google can decide exactly what content and websites align with the intent of the keyword and rank them at the very top.
There are four types of keyword intent: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional. Each serves a particular purpose – to inform, to find, to help find something to buy, and to actually buy something.
What does this mean for you? If you’re writing a big blog with loads of info based around a commercial keyword, chances are Google won’t care much for it and will instead focus on websites that use the same keyword but offer customers options to get the desired product or service.
Not understanding keyword intent is like trying to put a square peg into a round hole, it just doesn’t fit. A detailed roadmapped SEO plan can help you better understand search intent, the needs of your customers, and how you can use both to create a foolproof content strategy.
Format Is Important
The first rule of quality content is – Write for human beings, not search engines. This seems pretty intuitive, but can easily become a challenge because we do write for other humans, but search engines have their demands as well.
Formatting your content in a way that’s easy and engaging to read is a tested and true SEO practice.
Format your content in a way that’s easy to navigate and scan, like you’d like all content to be when you’re in a hurry and looking for a piece of information. This includes:
- Optimize your headings. Make sure that your main heading has your primary keyword at the very beginning if possible. All your subheadings should clearly convey the topics of the upcoming sections so that Google knows what questions your content answers.
- Unique meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are the first thing Google will check to understand what your content is about. Write unique meta descriptions for every piece of content you create, make sure it’s succinct, and includes your primary keyword.
- Clean, short, and snappy paragraphs. Because around 60% of searches are done on mobile, you want to make sure that your content (and website) is optimized to be consumed in that way. Write short paragraphs with plenty of photos and interactive elements on the page that will help break the text and make it easier to scan.
Quality Content as the Foundation
Search engines, like Google, prioritize content that provides value to users. This means creating content that addresses their needs, answers their questions, and offers meaningful insights. Quality content establishes your authority in your field, encourages user engagement, and promotes natural link-building.
In-depth, comprehensive content tends to perform better in search results. Instead of surface-level overviews, aim to provide comprehensive guides, tutorials, or deep dives into topics. Additionally, originality matters—create content that adds a unique perspective or insight to your field.
Pay Attention to Your Linking Practices
One of the markers of the quality and optimization of your content is its interlinking structure. Internal links are there to better explain to Google what your content is about and how it relates to other content on your website.
In order to have a strong interlinking structure, consider connecting different pieces of your original content with each other in a way that will create topic clusters.
This will allow your users to move from one piece of content to another, staying longer on your website and proving to search engines that your website is worthy of high ranking because it gives them everything they need.
Choose fitting anchor text for your internal links for that extra clarity that Google prefers and your mission is accomplished.
You should also pay attention to outbound links aka to links that you put into your content that are not on your website. Outbound links should be relevant to the topic and should link your content to authoritative, trustworthy sources that can provide more context on certain questions you don’t cover on your website.
User Experience and Engagement
User experience and engagement are the pillars that elevate digital interactions from mundane to memorable. By focusing on seamless navigation, compelling content, interactive elements, and personalization, businesses can create digital experiences that resonate, build trust, and foster lasting relationships.
The fusion of a well-designed user experience and engaging content is a recipe for digital success, making your platform a go-to destination for users seeking value, connection, and satisfaction.
Engaging content, such as videos, infographics, and interactive elements, keeps users on your page longer, reducing bounce rates and signaling to search engines that your content is valuable.
Boosting the UX
No matter how awesome your content is, if your website doesn’t provide a good user experience (UX), no one’s ever going to see it, which means Google won’t care for it either.
The first and biggest factor that affects UX is your website’s loading speed. We’re used to getting information in a matter of split seconds at this point, and if your website takes more than two seconds to open, its bounce rate will suffer.
Always keep an eye on your site’s speed because it will change over time as you add more elements to it, so have a strategy at the ready so that you can optimize it on the regular.
Visual components also play a big part in UX, and you want to make sure they’re on point. Whether you use photos, infographics, branding elements, or all of the above, they should be in the right resolution and format and should have optimized alt texts to go with them. That will ensure they look good across devices, load quickly, and further boost your UX.
There are definitely many strong SEO practices that you can test and adapt to your website’s needs, but these few should take priority. Once you get a hold of them, you can slowly expand your purview and cover other sides like technical SEO and off-page SEO, or if you’ve got a strong team, you can tackle it all simultaneously for faster and more streamlined results.