With the new year comes new plans, resolutions, gym memberships, and self-improvement programmes, and the spirit of doing better and making plans for positive change can be applied to your digital content, too.
While the internet is full of brilliant, insightful and original content, there are still vast swathes of pages, articles, and blog posts that are… less so. And that’s putting it mildly.
In my mind, when Googling away to answer the many questions that flitter through my brain, there’s a big difference in my attitude towards sites that produce carefully considered, original, and genuinely useful content, and those that churn out content that is uninformative, overly “salesy”, or clearly copied and pasted from somewhere else.
So, in the interest of making sure your digital content builds your audience and reputation instead of pushing people away to look for something better elsewhere, here are a few new year’s resolutions for your online content.
Write for people (not search engines)
Of course, we all want to be ahead of the competition, snag that elusive number 1 ranking position on Google for our top keywords, and drive tonnes of high-quality organic traffic, and I would never say don’t optimise the content you write for search engines. However, always write for human beings first.
It might seem like a small thing, but when creating written content I always make sure I don’t even think about keyword placement until it’s fully written. I then go through and sprinkle in my keyword in places where it feels natural. I’ve read far too many blog posts that are quite obviously written around the keywords, and it’s jarring and difficult to read.
Users are more likely to stick with a site that is well written and the SEO is artfully, almost imperceptibly included and what’s more, Google is very much on to this approach and actively penalises sites for keyword-stuffing.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, but starting with the person you’re writing for and working in the keyword placement later is a simple place to start.
Don’t be spammy
Even if you are writing for search engines and not people, search engines now demand better. Core updates to Google in late 2021 caused panic in the Twittersphere, but really it was all about upholding better quality digital content and downgrading content that it deems spammy or using nefarious SEO techniques. Like I said: they’re onto it.
Ever since Google became a vital part of our lives, marketers have been finding shortcuts and sneaky ways to try and outfox the algorithms and boost their site’s rankings. Google’s methods for ranking sites has become a lot more sophisticated since the old days, and things like keyword stuffing are now a speedy way to drop off the bottom of the rankings. Google’s indexing bots are now far cleverer, and analyse the content on your site to greater depths, looking at the meaning of the content on the pages and judging its relevancy to searchers.
When Google updates are gunning for better content, it’s more important than ever to be honest and considered with the content you create.
Know why your content needs to exist
There are few things more likely to make me bounce right off a site than when the content is too forceful with the sales side of things.
Of course, the end goal for most businesses is to sell things, let’s not pretend it’s not. But being subtle about it can be far better in the long run. So, look at your digital content as an opportunity to serve your clients and demonstrate your business’s attitude, tone of voice, and expertise.
Consider the content you’re creating and ask why it needs to exist. Who is it useful to? Who will benefit from it? Is there a gap that this piece of content can fill?
If you can create content that is genuinely useful to people, you’re more likely to be considered trustworthy and knowledgeable. I’m more likely to stay on your site and have a look around.
Of course, little references to your business or products within the content here and there are fine, so long as it’s relevant, and a call to action at the end is perfectly acceptable.
Trust me when I say that I understand the temptation to copy and paste the odd paragraph from elsewhere. But while it might help you speed through your to-do list, it won’t do as much for your brand or business as if you create original content yourself.
Unless you’re working in a very niche area, it’s likely that someone else has written something similar to your planned content pieces already. To provide something truly useful to your customers, it’s important to put your own spin on it. How does your brand approach this topic like no one else? What can you bring that will add real value?
Thinking about this can not only help to create unique and original content but is also an opportunity to demonstrate your company’s USPs via your approach to your content.
The takeaway from all of these resolutions is that there’s no substitute for unique and useful content. Done right, over time you’ll see results in your rankings, traffic, and overall performance.
And if you need a hand, just give the team at Cameo a shout!