I don’t know about you, but I strongly believe that each New Year is a new opportunity to do something amazing. And I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions (they’re too easy to break – we all know it).
I’m talking about a fresh, clean slate. About that moment when you sit down with your planner and come up with ways to outdo yourself yet again.
For me, a big part of this process involves coming up with even better SEO content for both Idunn, the digital marketing agency that I run, and our clients. New topics, new formats and sometimes even new approaches can make a world of difference in organic traffic, lead generation and conversions.
After talking to some of our clients and analyzing the results we brought them last year, we decided two things. Firstly, most of them want to double down on their content efforts this year. Secondly, we all feel like it’s time to add something fresh.
This doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. It just means that we want to offer our clients and our clients’ clients something original, unique and valuable. In a nutshell, something that they will read, share and love.
Without further ado, these are the types of content that I and my SEO copywriters will be focusing on in 2018:
4 types of content to wow both search engines and customers
First thing’s first: if you’ve read any of my previous articles on SiteProNews, you know there’s one thing I’m quite obsessed with – quality. The type of content matters only as long as you don’t cut corners when it comes to quality. If you plan to be involved in content creation half-heartedly, your readers will know. And they won’t come back.
1. In-depth, authority blog posts
Too much of the Internet is made up or are re-hashed topics and recycled ideas. If you truly want your readers to devour everything you write, come back for more and, better yet, buy what you’re selling, then you need to move away from this approach.
Come up with content topics that are truly unique. Answer questions no one else ever has (especially not your competitors).
I’ll share an inside secret with you: my best authority content ideas come from Idunn’s clients. It’s the easiest and most efficient way to deliver exactly what my potential clients need.
Here’s why: my existing clients are the ideal buyer persona (the one that already bought). Their questions and uncertainties about content, social media or digital marketing in general are those shared by my entire target audience.
So I listen to them carefully. I answer their questions in an email or during a conference call. Then I think about them even more. Some of them end up being answered thoroughly on our blog.
And guess what?
The blog topics inspired by questions from our clients are those that get the most traffic and social shares.
2. Long form blog posts
There is no better way to get the ranking you want in SERPs than to go long form.
Back in 2013, we thought that 300 to 600-word blog posts were great. Why? Because we also thought that the reader didn’t have the time and the willingness to read more online.
Oh, how the times have changed!
We now know that readers want exhaustive pieces of content on topics that matter to them. How did we deal with eye soreness and lack of time, you ask?
Well, quite easily: we now break down texts in short paragraphs (even one sentence is OK), bullet points, listicles and more. We also make sure that our phrases are shorter and avoid fluff.
However, what does a long form blog post really mean?
You’ll find tons of opinions online. Some say a long form blog post can have as little as 1200 words. Others go as long as 4000+ words. In my experience, blog posts of 2000+ words get the best results with both readers and search engines.
Speaking of which, we already established what readers like about long form content. But I still owe you an explanation about why they are good for SEO.
You see, the more you write on a topic, the more chances of inserting your keywords naturally you get. And I’m not talking about keyword stuffing. That’s so 2010!
I’m talking about LSI keywords and truly going in-depth about your topic. When you write a lot (and when you do it well, of course!), Google ranks you higher because it believes your opus is the best way to answer any question a user might have on any given topic.
Lastly, I know I’ve said this before, but I feel it needs repeating: long form content is great, but it shouldn’t be forced. Remember what I said above about avoiding fluff?
Readers got smarter and they can easily spot it now. Fluff makes your text dull and, consequently, it makes readers close your page. In other words: if you have to write a lot to cover your topic exhaustively, do it. Go above 2000 words. Heck, go above 5000 if you must.
But don’t do it just because you read somewhere that you have to have long form content. Alternating between lengths in your blog posts is no crime. Quite the opposite – it inspires sincerity and establishes you as a thought leader.
3. Opinion pieces
In the point on authority content I said originality lays at the foundation of sharable, readable content. I know how hard it can be to come up with brand-new topics.
Luckily, you don’t have to do that all the time.
Let me be clear: I’m not encouraging plagiarism or copying the ideas of others.
I’m merely saying that opinion pieces are a great way to provide your readers with new, interesting angles. Let’s say you read an article about pre-sale home renovation. The article says you should always start by replacing the floors. But you disagree. In your experience as a real estate agent, you know that home sellers can get a better bang for their buck with smaller, cheaper renovations like painting the outside of the house and the doors.
Do write that.
Don’t avoid the topic just because someone else did it before you. You have a unique voice that your clients want to hear.
Opinion pieces can cover anything from politics to societal development or the latest trends in your industry. If you don’t want to get awfully controversial, I suggest you stick with the latter. Also, no matter what enraged you and caused you to start writing a rebuttal or an opinion piece, be sure you’re not downright offensive or insulting to other people or companies. [No, not even if they are your competitors – it will make you look petty and small].
4. How-to articles
How-to articles make the best evergreen pieces of content. If you provide people with guides on how to solve a burning problem, you will have gained their fidelity forever.
It all circles back to user intent and proper keyword research.
Let me be clear: most people shy away from long-tail keywords because they have a low search volume. In my experience, that is the worst mistake you can make.
Not only is it easier to optimize for long-tail keywords, it’s also better. You may be getting less traffic, but it will be highly targeted traffic.
I’m assuming that you are selling something and not writing content just for kicks, right?
In that case, long-tail keywords are your best friends. I wrote more about this and about how long-tail keywords helped our clients here. Neil Patel also wrote an article about generating traffic through this tactic; you can find it here.
Wrapping things up
Yes, content marketing works (wonders). If you don’t believe me, believe the stats – I gathered 10 of them in this article, but there are plenty more that prove the same things: when done right, content marketing can be a gift that keeps on giving. Better yet: it requires a minimal investment.
But (there’s always a “but”) all this happens only “when done right”.
Do not fall for promises of $10 articles that will help you rank higher than Wikipedia on any topic. That will never happen.
In content marketing, as in any field, what you pay is what you get.