Website owners want to rank on Google more than any other search engine. But, Google doesn’t often give solid clues about how to write SEO content. Recently they published an article about how they evaluate content.
When your content has good ranking on Google, you’ll have a better chance of getting more traffic. Besides that, since content is such a big part of the overall ranking algorithm, that type of information is gold if you want to improve your ranking on Google.
The last time Google published guidelines for content, it was 2011. You may have lost track of that information, or never saw it in the first place. The information they published in August of 2019 seems to refine the earlier advice and gives you more ways to evaluate your content.
How to Write SEO Content for Google
Everyone knows that Google wants authors to make their first priority satisfying readers. Any tricks you might use that will over-optimize your content will certainly backfire. But, the question many of us have is how Google defines good content.
In their latest article, they focus on the questions you should ask yourself when you review your content before you publish it. They identified four areas where you need to focus your attention.
1. Does Your Content Have Substance and Quality?
Make sure your content:
- is original information, reporting, research or analysis: You may not have the ability to do your own research, but you can include your own perspective and include things you’ve learned from your own experience.
- is a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic: If you dash off a blog post that addresses only part of a topic, you’re not helping the visitor or yourself; make sure that your title doesn’t promise more than the content delivers.
- provides insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious: You’ll be using other resources to gather information, but make sure you draw your own conclusions on how that information applies to your target market.
- avoids simply copying or rewriting content from other sources and provides substantial additional value and originality: Some authors think that if they copy content from an authoritative source and link to it, their job is done. Use resources to reinforce what you’re saying, provide additional detail, or prove statistics. Don’t use resource content to replace your own perspective.
- has a descriptive headline and/or page title that gives a helpful summary of the content: Google wants to provide the best answer to a searcher’s question. Write a title that explains what your content will cover.
- has a headline and/or page title that avoids being exaggerating or shocking in nature: Some “experts” will tell you to write crazy titles to attract clicks. But, if your visitors click right back to the search results because the content doesn’t match the title, Google won’t be impressed.
- is something you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend: Write clearly and concisely, and make your content truly useful to your visitors.
- is something you’d expect to see in, or referenced by, a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book: If you wouldn’t be proud to have everyone you know to see your content, it’s just not good enough.
2. Are You Writing in Your Area of Expertise?
Make sure your content:
presents information in a way that establishes trust, including clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page: Google likes outbound links to authority sources. Don’t hesitate to give credit to places where you’ve found statistics or information that supports your content. If you’re using WordPress, adding an author bio is simple with plugins like Simple Author Box. See an example at the end of this post.
- is published on a website that gives the impression of being trusted or widely recognized as an authority on its topic: For your own name and website, becoming an authority takes time. Displaying links to your online profiles can help readers learn more about you.
- displays enthusiasm and an in-depth knowledge of the topic: Write about topics that relate to your core expertise. If you want to provide other related types of information, look for a real expert to write a guest post.
- is free from easily-verified factual errors: Don’t wing it. Confirm your facts and link to authority websites to provide a proof source.
- generates trust for issues relating to your money or your life: Would you follow your own advice if it would impact your money or your life?
3. Is Your Content Produced and Presented Professionally?
Make sure your content:
- is free from spelling or stylistic issues: There’s no excuse for these issues in your writing, given all of the tools that are available to avoid them. Stylistic issues include things like using a lot of passive voice in your writing, writing very long sentences, or using inappropriate slang or jargon.
- is produced well and doesn’t appear sloppy: Have you ever tried to read content that consists of very long paragraphs with no headlines to break it up? Use short paragraphs and headlines to make your content easy to read.
- isn’t mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites: Services that provide the same content to all of their customers don’t impress Google. It might seem like you can produce content without actually doing anything, but it’s not helping your rankings or your readers.
- isn’t displayed along with an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content: You may want to use ads to monetize your blog, but if the ads become a distraction, Google will know.
- displays well on mobile devices: Making your website completely mobile-friendly will eliminate any concerns about serving your readers using a mobile device. Use the Google test to make sure your site qualifies.
4. Is Your Content Better than Other Content Ranking on the Web?
Make sure your content:
- provides substantial value when compared to other pages in search results: Do a search for the keyword phrase your content targets. Make sure your content is competitive or better than the other pages in the search results.
- serves the genuine interests of visitors to the site: Authors who write to rank well in search engines won’t fool Google. Make sure you cover topics that your readers want to know more about.
How to Write SEO Content: Next Steps
If you want to know how to write SEO content, listening to Google’s latest guidelines is an excellent place to start. In addition, you need to pay attention to optimizing your content. Do the keyword research that will tell you what phrases people are actually searching for. Ranking for a search term that no one uses isn’t worth your time.
You also need to follow good SEO techniques, such as using the target keyword in your page title and content to help the search engines spot the topic you’re covering. If you’re using WordPress, a plugin like Yoast SEO will give you the information you need to optimize your content effectively.
For many, creating the right content for a website isn’t a good use of their time. You may find it takes too much time, or you don’t have the interest or skills to do it well. If that happens to you, contact me for professional assistance.
Since 2004, when Kathleen Allardyce established Getting It Write, Inc, she has used her background in consulting, marketing and sales to help clients develop and implement successful digital and content marketing strategies. She provides down to earth insight based on personal experience and a realistic approach to business challenges.