The estimated reading time for this post is 14 minutes
Write Great Content
Well written, informative and useful content is far more likely to be read, shared, liked and linked to. FACT!
Long gone are the days of writing posts stuffed with keywords to generate traffic. Historically, websites have posted terrible content, almost illegible for you and I to read with the sole purpose of getting ranked. It’s madness when you think about it and today, the only way, is the right way.
So what is the correct way to write content?
The concept of ‘great content’ is really simple. Think of it this way:
In your business, you have extensive knowledge about what you do, the products you sell, the services you offer and the solutions you provide. Face to face, it’s easy to impart that knowledge and those you impress will choose to use your company, and are likely to tell others about their positive experience.
In the digital world, we have the written word. The humble text on a page but with a difference. There is no hand shake, no smile, no laugh at the correct moment and no ‘human’ interaction to create the bond, only face to face dealings allow.
Writing content is an art-form
I am no ‘Dan Brown’. I don’t tend to read many books but his words come to life when I read his. I recognise my limitation in the use of the English Language, yet find a way to impart my knowledge in a way that you, the reader, can benefit from.
Writing great content is about understanding the purpose of the lesson, before you begin the class. My lesson for this post is to explore different ways to drive traffic to your website, that you may or may not have considered before.
Write Killer Headlines
Research suggests, a great headline can make or break the success of a post. Those who like and share a post on social media, may well choose to do so, based on the title headline alone. Taking time to think about an article headline, ensuring it encapsulates the format of the post, letting users know what they are getting, is paramount.
Numbers make a difference
It is widely recognised using numbers in the headline can make a difference. Headlines which say 5 Ways to become, 10 reasons to, 6 differences in etc instantly gives an indication how long the article might be. You don’t have much time in a day, so it’s important for me to let you know, exactly what you are getting and the headline is the defining factor in many cases, whether you will like, share or read my post!
Sub Headings and Headings
Breaking up your content is important. I myself come across posts with great big chunks of text. It puts me off!
I need bite size chunks of information when I read an article and the best ones keep me hanging on to learn the next bit of information. Careful and considered use of sub-headings and headings with your post, are there to allow you, the reader, to skip through if necessary and identify specific areas of interest within the overall article.
Maintain Good ‘On-Page’ SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s a large subject in itself and has wide implications, however, from a basic level, your websites and your posts need to have 5 basic elements.
- Permalink/Slug/URL (which preferably includes your targeted keywords or words which relate to them at least)
- Page Meta Title (title which appears in the browser, unlike the heading of the page)
- Page Meta Description (short description of the article which appears in the search engine results, under the title)
- Internal & External Links (if linking to another article inside your site, or even an external site, benefits the reader, do it)
- Images & ALT Text (description of the image displayed within the page)
These are the most important elements of on-page SEO and you should check for the existence of any Meta Keywords tags. No point having those, so remove them.
Target Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are essential, alongside your primary keywords. To understand what these are, open another tab and go to google search.
Start typing something like: How to ride
Google displays the ‘long tail’ search query after the ‘how to ride’ text entry within search. In this case, frequent searches which include the text ‘how to ride’ include a bike, horse, motorbike, a horse in Minecraft (lol, my son is one of those) ….
Understanding what people search for is key
Once I know what is commonly searched in google, I can create content around it. My research begins and I can check out the websites which rank for that search query and I can answer my own question:
Can I improve on what’s been written already?
If you searched for something and the website failed to satisfy your thirst for knowledge, what do you do? You move on and check other websites. More often than not, it takes several websites to give you all of the information you need to ‘satisfy your search’.
This is where you begin when it comes to writing new content.
Identify the need, investigate the answers and improve on the delivery.
Write a Guest Blog
There are many who will tell you this is a bad idea. It isn’t if you do it properly and you deploy your content for the purpose of ‘educating others’ and proving your worth, rather than simply ‘earning a link’ back to your website.
If you have knowledge that you wish to impart on the world, there are two primary options:
- Write an article on your own website and promote it
- Write an article for someone else’s website
The time you invest in writing content for others can pay off, IF, the website you write content for is popular, trusted and relevant. I don’t write articles for the sake of it. I write articles to benefit those who read it. If that earns me some respect and a mention, excellent. My work is done.
Investigate 3rd party websites who accept guest posts
Do a bit of research on the website and find out if it’s worth your while writing for. A low ranked site with a low PR will not do you any good and can harm your reputation. If however, the site is popular, well regarded and relevant to your business, you should embrace any opportunity to write for them.
Securing a guest post on a reputable site can increase website traffic.
Invite others to guest blog on your website
It’s not just one sided. If you feel someone can add value to your readers and offer informative, interesting to read content, this should be explored. They are likely to share it to their audience and ultimately this can lead to extra traffic for your website.
Say NO to spam
Just be sure to monitor and kick out any posts which provide weak content, with the primary aim of earning a link, rather than adding value.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Might seem obvious but it’s commonly overlooked. Yes, lots of website owners are looking at SEO which in the long run, I feel offers much better value for money, however, a well run Pay Per Click (PPC) is a sure fire way to generate immediate traffic.
- Immediate Exposure: (once you create your adverts and pay, you can start generating exposure to your web pages)
- Highly Targeted: (target specific sites, locations and custom demographics)
- Cost Control: (within reason it’s possible to keep a grip of daily spend and cost per click)
- Expensive: (costs can spiral out of control if not managed properly)
- Open to Abuse: (competitors and existing customers can click on paid adverts)
- PPC Dislike: (some users prefer to click on natural listing rather than paid adverts)
As with anything, there are always advantages and disadvantages. I think PPC has it’s place but remember, it’s not just google. Social Media Channels offer PPC and some of the less well known search engines like bing and yahoo for example are worth exploring.
Utilise Social Media
It’s not just a case of posting content to Social Media. That might work for Brand Awareness but yet again, it’s the human interaction which ultimately generates the website traffic you seek.
In order to benefit from traffic via Social Media, you need to be ‘Social’. This is where the problems lie for many business owners.
No spare time to spend on Social Media
A problem for all of us. Of course, your existing business takes preference BUT if you want to expand your reach via Social Media Channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you need to be ‘human’ about it.
Get involved, interact and be sociable
There is no trick here. It’s just common sense when you think about it. You need to actively participate in the community in order to benefit from it.
Join in group discussions with which relate to your business and areas of knowledge and expertise.
Involve yourself, post feedback and comments to make yourself known and if you truly know your stuff, you will surely stand out.
Post content to LinkedIn!
LinkedIn! is more than a social media channel for head hunting staff or finding a new job for yourself. It’s probably the most highly targeted channel for businesses and if you only choose one social media channel to work with, it’s likely this one is the best.
Your objective is to generate traffic. To do that, you need to interact, engage and wait for it, be engaged with others!
Business Owners need help
No one person knows everything and every business owner reaches out for help at some point or another. Your task is to identify what you can bring to the table, how you can showcase your knowledge and expertise to help others.
Helping others will ultimately help you!
I am not talking about giving away your top secrets in business, but allowing yourself to be seen by others to be a useful resource, a helpful person and a someone knowledgeable who can be called on if needed.
How many times have you passed on someones details?
Why do we pass the name of someone onto an enquirer who seeks a service we can’t offer? Simple, it’s because we recognise that person as someone who can do the job. The same goes for all activity on Social Media. The trick is to become recognised as the person, others refer in the event of them being unable to take the work on themselves.
Interview Industry Leaders
If you have taken on board my tips and ideas, hopefully one day, someone will seek YOU for this purpose.
My aim here is to reach out to someone who is recognised by the community as being an expert in their field. That someone, has been through all of this, and established themselves as a formidable source of information and influence online. That person could be your ticket to greater exposure and awareness of your brand but only if you approach it correctly.
Remember, you are helping YOUR audience, NOT yourself
Unless it’s a friend or family member, influential people on social media are not in the business of helping you to generate traffic for the sake of it! Their role in this process is to help the wider audience and bring awareness to themselves. If you give them a way to help the masses and this helps both of you in the process, it’s a good thing.
Seek Referral Traffic
Rather than spending countless hours performing outreach, hoping to get site owners to link back to you (which is tedious work), instead create great content which just begs to be linked to naturally.
Remember, your objective when writing content is to provide those who visit your website with useful information and a well written article will serve you well, if linked from a popular 3rd party website.
Check and Optimise your Link Structure
The strength of your link is not entirely determined by the quality and quantity of external sites linking back to you – it is also affected by your internal link structure.
When you create posts and pages on your website, make sure you exploit every opportunity to link to key content in your website.
Ultimately, improving your users experience (UX) and giving them easy access to information throughout your site, will improve your overall SEO and ultimately traffic throughput.
Make sure you are Mobile Friendly
If you aren’t by now, you are missing out on important traffic. It is vital to deliver your website effectively on all devices and if you haven’t already, test your website on a mobile device now. Do you need to scroll right to left and zoom in to see text? If you do, you need some help
Make sure your website is FAST!
No excuse to miss this nowadays, but so many do. Looking at some of my customer website analytics, I see a major swing towards mobiles. No longer is the desktop and laptop primary and instead, the smart phone reigns. This is something Google have moved on recently, launching ‘Mobile First’ indexing, meaning your website is now ranked based on it’s mobile performance before desktop.
Find our how fast your website is by visiting GT Metrix. This will give you an idea how your site performs and what needs to be done to get it running as fast as possible.
Interact & Comment
How do you shine in the real world? In a meeting, do you sit quietly and let others speak, or do you step in and demonstrate your knowledge. Only through participation, can you really let the world know your worth.
Spend some time looking at forums, groups and even posts from competitors and suppliers within your industry. Read what they have to say and offer some input, comment on well written articles or correct inaccuracies.
Reddit, Reddit, Reddit 🙂
Spend some time reviewing this before getting involved. They are seasoned pro’s on here and won’t take kindly to self promotion. You need to be subtle and be helpful. This is the theme of my post. In order to serve yourself, first serve others! If you haven’t heard of reddit, do some investigation into it.
Reddit is the most influential social news aggregators in the world. It drives headlines, traffic, and new ideas further and more rapidly than any social network.
Using Reddit to promote your content marketing & SEO efforts is going to take either a lot of time or some money – neither of which many marketers have.
To reiterate – if you don’t have time or money to market on Reddit well – please do not promote there. Be cool and respectful.
Video – It’s a visual world out there
OK, you might not have the ideas for a video and maybe the interest to become the next YouTube sensation, but, if you can embrace this, it’s a great way to go. Setting up and posting videos to your own channel is a great way to move forward.
Without followers, you will be a party all on your own. Spend time thinking about what you want to say, research if anyone else is saying it and if not, fill the gap. If there are others doing it, can you improve on it. If so move on, if not, keep researching.
If YOU have ever needed the answer to something and you have found the answer in a great video, consider how you can deliver the same helpful answer to those seeking for a person or business just like you. This is the trick.
Research your competition
Someone beating you in the natural search engine listings? Don’t cry over it, get busy working out why. Do some competitive analysis to work out why they are ranking so well. You can use online tools to do it, or use a free tool like Screaming Frog but often, it will take a professional to help you realise the data.
Look at the competitions content, who links to it and how much social activity surrounds it. How many pages on their site point to it and with which keywords? Consider the on-page content and how it’s constructed in order to identify weaknesses in your own page content and website structure.
Understand how visitors interact with your site, which pages they read the most, how long they stay, whether they return and what area they are from, all help to work out how you tweak your website to improve conversions.
If you don’t have analytics running, get it sorted. Make sure you have set filters to exclude your own IP from the website and you enable demographics. Configure goals to support any paid and SEO campaigns you might be running to measure success.
Need some help with your business?
Get in touch with Louise Lee.