Saturday, May 11, 2019

How to Create Compelling Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines

How to Create Compelling Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines
Once upon a time, there was something called SEO copywriting.
These SEO copywriters seemed to have magical word skills that allowed them to place just the right keywords in just the right places, in just the right amounts, and even in the densities that were just right for miraculous top rankings. And that’s all you needed . . . or at least that’s what was advertised.
There’s no doubt that the location and frequency of keywords is still important. Search engines work by keying in on the word patterns people are looking for and returning relevant content. But that’s not all there is to it.
Here’s the deal . . . much of what determines the ranking position of any particular page is due to factors that are independent from the words on the page, in the form of links from other sites, social sharing, and other signals. Getting those links and other signals naturally has become the hardest part of SEO, which is why we’ve seen the mainstream emergence of content marketing as a way to attract links with compelling content.
Put simply: If your content isn’t good enough to attract good, natural links and social sharing, it doesn’t matter how “optimized” the words on the page are.
That’s why a good SEO copywriter is now primarily a smart online content creator who has a knack for tuning in to the needs and desires of the prospective audience. And because links and social sharing are so important, those needs and desires have to be nailed well before that content will show up prominently in the search engines.
The same emotional forces that prompt people to buy can also cause other people to link from blogs, and bookmark, like, plus one, and retweet from social media platforms. The context is different, as are the nuances, but it’s still a matter of providing compelling benefits in the form of content.
“Ask yourself what creates value for your users,” sayeth Google.
Their brainy engineers continue to diligently create smarter search algorithms, while people-powered social media sharing delivers links and traffic as a reward for compelling content. To sum it up: a good copywriter needs to have a flair for writing content that’s inviting to share and to link to. She needs to have top-notch skills to optimize the page, so search engines know what it’s about and who might want to read it. And she needs to know how to write copy that converts readers to buyers.
That copywriter will become a vital (and well-compensated) member of any serious marketing effort.
So, if it’s all about what happens off the page, does the “SEO” in SEO copywriting still matter?
Absolutely, and here’s why.
Wait … Isn’t SEO Dead?
That depends on what you call “SEO.”
Is it buying links to thin keyword-stuffed pages?
Is it low-quality content enhanced by inorganic link building?
Is it building a content “farm” based on brute site authority and weak value?

If so, then yes, SEO is pretty dead, or at least on life support. And the Panda and Penguin updates to the Google algorithm are not the end of the story … the engineers at Google will continue to do everything they can to stick a stake in the heart of this type of search engine “optimization.”
But that’s not what I call “optimizing” for search engines, because eventually the search engines will sniff you out and wipe out your rankings. On the other hand, some of the brightest minds in SEO have been taking a content and socially-driven approach since before Twitter and Facebook were around, and Panda and Penguin have not caused those folks (including Copyblogger) one bit of distress.
The kind of SEO that actually works from a long-term perspective is alive and well:
Creating high-value content that achieves business objectives as if search engines didn’t exist.
Using the power of social media to gain exposure for that content, which results in natural links and other signals of quality and relevance.
Focusing on enhancing the natural authority of websites, pages, and individual writers, which creates industry influence and trust with Google.
Doing smart on-page optimization (SEO copywriting) using the language the audience uses when searching and socializing, so Google sees you as the most relevant option.

And guess what? Google absolutely encourages this approach, because it makes their algorithm smarter and their search results better.
Again, it’s not just about search results. Smart content marketers derive benefit from audience-focused content and by social media exposure and sharing. This enables you to build a profitable audience that is an asset even if your search engine rankings did somehow disappear.
But if you do content + social correctly, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of better search rankings. Here’s why.
Search Engines Send the Most Valuable Traffic
Targeted search traffic is still the holy grail of achieving your business objectives (you know, like sales), as opposed to scoring random traffic. Social media traffic is crucial, but mostly in the sense that it allows you to develop more valuable long-term traffic sources like opt-in email subscribers and high search rankings.

The average order value (AOV) of website traffic from search in Q2 2012 was $90.40, … more than 40% higher than traffic from social networks ($64.19), according to an August report from Monetate.1
The reason why is simple … it comes down to intent. Marketers have known since way before the Internet that the frame of mind of the prospect makes all the difference (which is why expensive advertising is used to try to influence that frame).
Online, people who are searching for something specific are in a very different, and more valuable, frame of mind than when they are socializing on Facebook.
To use a nearly obsolete example, think of your state of mind when you used to reach for the Yellow Pages. Now think of your state of mind when your favorite TV show is interrupted by a commercial. Next, extrapolate that to being pitched by a stranger while chatting with a friend at a cocktail party.

A new Forrester report titled “The Purchase Path of Online Buyers In 2012 shows that fewer than 1% of transactions could be traced back to social links.
In other words, compared with social traffic, searchers are the most motivated people who hit a website. This is important.
If they’re looking for a product or service, there’s a good chance they’re looking to buy it. If they’re searching for information and your site provides it, you’ve got a great chance of converting that drive-by traffic into long-term attention (an email subscriber) with your content.
Content paired with social media is not primarily a conversion-to-customer path, but instead an exercise in audience-building. And if you follow that path successfully, you’re able to add long-term, high-value search engine rankings, which in turn continue to grow the audience in a highly-targeted way over time.
In that sense, smart content optimization is more important than ever.
And of course if you’re a professional web writer — whether freelance or with an agency — this discussion is purely academic. Go ahead and tell your client not to care about Google traffic, and let me know how that goes.

So let’s look at how it works in the next post.


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