October 23, 2015
As a marketer, you are probably fully aware of the fact that quality, consistent content is your ticket to success — in any field of activity.
As long as you own a product that could satisfy the needs and demands of a particular market, you can count on original, personalized copy to individualize it and make it seem more desirable in the eyes of potential buyers.
You should no longer question the importance of professional Web content, considering 12 billion online searches are being conducted each month in the U.S. People are hungry for relevant, interesting, and accurate information and it’s your job to satisfy their appetite by serving ideal portions of “robust content.”
The content that gets labeled as robust is information-rich, engaging and consistent by definition. Let’s look at this a little.
Thin Content Was Never Your Friend to Begin with
As individuals who are overly concerned with their physical appearance, we sometimes use the term “robust” as a euphemism for “chubby” and the word “thin” to describe the exact opposite: a person who has been blessed with an athletic, sculptural, eye-pleasing body.
Does this mean that being thin is always a good thing? Not exactly.
When Google calls your content thin, you shouldn’t take it as a compliment, especially now, when its new Phantom Update is forcing everyone to meet higher content quality standards. This new algorithmic revision is targeting and hitting businesses that craft, distribute and promote weak content.
This new update seems to be a serious threat, considering that it made 22 percent of Hubpages’ traffic vanish into thin air. If you want to avoid this risk factor, now would be the best time to add value to your content by perfecting its form and enriching its substance.
7 Ways to Add Some Meat to the Bones of Your Content
You don’t have to be a SEO expert to realize that Google isn’t the biggest fan of 100-word posts high in keyword density.
As a matter of fact, search engines have a zero tolerance for doorway pages, affiliate pages featuring content with very little or no value, redundant or duplicate posts and poorly written materials.
In case you have been (unsuccessfully) trying to take the easy way out by relying on one of these types of content, consider ditching this approach and creating a good workout enabling your writing to finally flex its muscles. Here are seven ways to achieve this goal.
1. Explore More Generous Topics of Great Interest
First of all, choose to ignore dull, overly done topics that give you very few opportunities to share your innovative ideas with the world. Instead, express your creativity and craft a truly memorable story. Even when you have to re-spin or recycle old materials, choose to presents your facts from a completely different perspective. Don’t hesitate to reinvent yourself through your content; this is a winning strategy that could help you generate diversity and capture the attention of a new segment of prospects. As Matt Secrist from Search Engine Journal points out, high-interest topics represent the real meat of proper content creation and the best subjects will always constitute the perfect foundation for a popular article or blog post.
2. Achieve an Ideal Balance Between Form and Function
Rich content will constantly reflect the perfect balance between shape and substance. Think about it this way: proofreading, correct formatting, grammar and spelling and word count represent the key elements that contribute to the attractiveness of your Web content. The word count of a blog post can range from 500 to 2,000 words, depending on its topic, audience and specific purpose. However, when it comes to crafting longer posts, don’t forget to use bullet points and headers to organize your ideas in an ideal manner and improve the readability of your content piece. You should also keep in mind that sometimes, less is more. For example, product descriptions should be concise and short to help consumers grasp the features and benefits of a particular item without having to scan and assimilate huge chunks of more or less useful information. Last but not least, always edit your pieces before hitting the publish button. This will help you avoid the embarrassment and potential brand damage associated with spelling errors, punctuation and grammar mistakes, fluff and run-on sentences.
3. Re-examine and Improve Your Workflow
You can’t always blame your case of writer’s block for your thin content. Maybe you occasionally resort to weak content pieces simply because you don’t have time to create consistent ones. Eight hours of work per day should give you enough time to churn out multiple articles and/or blog posts, but somehow you always get the feeling that the clock is ticking way too fast at the office and deadlines threaten to catch you unprepared. This happens for a reason: you have poor organizational skills. To eliminate this problem, you need to upgrade your workflow. Start by working closely with your team members to create an editorial calendar that will guide your content strategy in the right direction. Next, remove all your inefficiencies and redirect your saved time toward the process of creating more consistent content. Get your staff members to change their bad workflow-related habits.
A simpler task-focused workflow can improve your productivity and reduce e-mail load by up to 75 percent. Don’t hesitate to make adjustments related to schedule, client communication and content writing policies. Change is good, especially when the modifications that you choose to implement are geared toward a more cohesive team and richer content.
4. Focus on Relevant Keywords
In 2015, one thing’s certain: keywords will never go out of fashion. At this point, they still represent the backbone of any healthy, robust content piece created to earn the respect and appreciation of both human readers and search engines.
The good news is that the right set of keywords can help you stay on the same page with your visitors, explore their interests to increase the appeal and effectiveness of your content piece, and add new depths to your written material. It gets better: proper keyword research will give you the insight that you need to create robust Web content for/during the holiday season, when shopping becomes a real, pressing necessity. Summer is all about light, stay-cool clothes, vacation planning and fun outdoor activities, while winter is the time of the year when we start Googling electric heating experts, ski resorts and the best holiday cookies for Santa. Marketers are fully aware of these changes and they are constantly striving to identify and use the best set of keywords matching the new seasonal shopping trends.
They count on Google Trends to spot the most active keywords and utilize a wide range of tools (SEMrush, Keyword Planner Tool and Alexa, to name a few) to identify the search phrases that help their competitors draw more traffic to their websites. Use the same tools to discover the set of keywords that could boost your brand’s visibility and build your rich content around it.
5. Seduce Your Readers with Visually Appealing Content
Aside from being rich and well-researched, robust content is also diverse and visually appealing. These days, articles and blog posts based solely on chunks of text won’t get you very far. Internet-savvy users have higher expectations and they tend to favor companies that turn to engaging, multimedia content to promote their brands in the most effective manner. An article entitled The Role of Multimedia Content in Determining the Virality of Social Media Information, written by Leonardo Bruni, Paolo Giacomazzi and Chiara Francalani reveals that quality multimedia content determines the influence and virality of the social media information that we wrap and deliver on a daily basis. Let’s face it: your readers will always fall in love at a first sight with clever videos, high-resolution pictures that are relevant to your topic and infographics enabling them to identify and assimilate the substance of your article with ease. Unbounce reveals that infographic search volumes have increased by up to 800 percent over the past two years. These numbers indicate that infographics and other magnificent marketing tools let you upgrade your content the easy way, by making it more palatable, eye-pleasing and user-friendly.
6. Plan Everything in Advance and Stay Organized
Quality content seldom goes hand-in-hand with procrastination and last-minute decisions. This is precisely why you should work a bit harder to stay organized and stick to an editorial calendar. These days, you can count on a wide array of tools created to help you address and eliminate just about any impediment that may block your content creation efforts, including lack of inspiration (try Ubersuggest, Topsy or Hubspot Blog Topic Generator) and poor organizational skills.
7. Rely on Your Consistency to Build Credibility and Trust
Once you manage to change your bad habits and find the formula enabling you to craft healthy, rich, user-oriented content, stick to it to make your point and prove your consistency. If your content manages to fill an educational or informational need, triggers instant feedback from readers and gets shared to death on social media platforms, all these signs indicate that your writing is currently complying with the new quality standards set in place by Google.
Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia's blog.