Do you know what’s worse than no SEO?
And I’m not even talking about black hat SEO. By now, I’m sure that most marketers have sworn it off.
Unfortunately, bad SEO done with good (read: white hat) intentions can also have devastating effects on your website.
Search has changed dramatically in the past few years. We now have:
- Voice search at an all-time high
- The mobile-first update
- The Hummingbird update that made context-based optimization crucial
If you’re still writing SEO content like it’s 2010, no wonder you haven’t been getting results. Take a look below at the most common mistakes you may be making and how to fix them:
1. You have no SEO content strategy
You’ve heard somewhere that content gets you results and you’ve started writing. That’s almost great. Content does get results, but not if you write whatever crosses your mind whenever you feel like it or when you have the time for it.
SEO content needs planning. You need to know exactly what you will be publishing a month from now and why.
What to do instead
The perfect SEO strategy lies at the intersection of:
- Your products or services
- What your potential customers are searching for online
That sweet spot is where you can provide the most value, be the most helpful to your audience and attract visitors you can turn into customers. Start writing about what you know and create authority content that truly solves your audience’s problems.
However, make sure you have a roadmap in mind and that the content you create can be easily connected to your products or services.
Take this piece, for example. Idunn, the digital marketing agency I run, offers SEO content writing services. So it’s only natural I’d write a piece about how to do it best. It’s tied to our services and it provides real value to people who may become our clients aka people who are interested in SEO.
2. You optimize for a single keyword
Remember what I said about the Hummingbird update and contextual optimization above? Well, it leads back to topic optimization instead of keyword optimization.
You see, in the old age of SEO, you would find a keyword (following the instructions at point 1) and optimize for it. You might even make the mistake of overusing it (keyword stuffing) and thus get penalized.
For example, let’s say you have to write a blog post about “New York divorce lawyer”. You would use this exact keyword in your title, first and last paragraph and as often as possible in the rest of the text.
If you really wanted to make sure that your business got the most online traffic from those looking for a divorce lawyer in NY, then you’d proceed to write more articles using keywords like “best divorce lawyer in New York”, “how to find a divorce lawyer in New York”, “how much does a New York divorce lawyer cost” and so on.
Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s an obsolete approach. Writing tens of blog posts around the same topic will definitely get you outranked by those marketers who optimize around topics, not keyword.
What to do instead
Start by typing “divorce lawyer New York” in the Google search bar. Then scroll down to the end of the results page. You’ll get suggestions of related searches.
Don’t use each of them in a different article. Use all of them in the same article to support your main keyword.
If you really want to be thorough, use an LSI keyword finder tool to get more keywords that bring your contextual optimization to a whole new level.
This simple trick shows you exactly what your target audience is interested in. Answer all their questions in a thorough, in-depth content piece and you will outrank your competitors.
3. You still post short content
300- or 500-word articles used to be cool. In fact, they were ideal for squeezing in all those related keywords, one per article.
But audiences across industries want in-depth content. And in-depth content rarely means short content.
Today, an article that’s less than 1000 words long won’t do too much for your SEO. No, not even if you post hundreds of them.
What to do instead
Simply put: write longer articles.
A wealth of studies and research reports show that long form content performs best. For the Idunn clients, as well as for our own strategy, we discovered that 2000+ words per article (even 3000+) perform best.
Better yet, long form content has the best chance of becoming evergreen content, the kind that doesn’t “expire” after a month or so, the kind that people always revert back to.
This kind of content explores every aspect of an issue. It gives readers no reason to bounce back to search results, because all the information is already there. It keeps them hooked to the page. As you may know, a low bounce rate and a long time spent on page are two of the metrics Google uses to rank websites higher.
Last, but not least, long form content gives you the chance to use all your keyword variations and LSI keywords naturally.
However, you shouldn’t write long form articles just because you read it somewhere online. Write because you have something to say on the matter.
Don’t add fluff. Only add relevant information that’s not boring or repetitive. In other words: write naturally and conversationally; write the same way you would speak to a friend.
4. You don’t have a consistent publishing schedule
Can you say (without checking!) when you posted a new article last? What about when you will post again?
One blog post every now and again won’t do much good. Sure, you may get to the third or even second page of Google. But that’s not really where you want to be, is it?
Google loves fresh content regularly.
Your readers and potential customers also love a frequently updated content base.
What to do instead
Create a blogging schedule and stick to it. Yes, it’s that simple.
Sure, 16+ blog posts per month may seem like an overkill. And, if you’re not in a highly competitive industry, it is. You may get by with fewer posts.
But one thing is clear. Don’t overburden yourself and bite more than you can chew. Even one blog post per week is enough if that’s all that you can handle without compromising quality.
Finally, you can always outsource writing in order to make sure your publishing schedule is kept.
Before you cuss at Google for making all these changes, remember one thing: they are simply trying to offer their users a better experience. Which is exactly what you are trying to do, right?
Treat Google like a friend with extra information. Given the amount of data they handle and their immense financial power and manpower, they are likely to know more than you even about your own customers. So do yourself a favor and listen to their guidelines. They’re not out to get you!
If you’re looking for SEO content that both Google and your customers love, my team of expert writers and I are just a click away. Let’s talk about the right kind of content for your website!