Content always matters the most. No matter how long or short your piece is, it all still comes down to the message your readers would receive. However, how could the readers –or rather, how could you even get readers if they couldn’t find your article?
With the Internet updating all sorts of content by the minute, it becomes easy for your article to get lost in the search results. And studies have shown that most Internet users do not browse past its first page.
So what’s an online writer to do?
Make sure to rank high for a keyword or phrase search input through search engine optimization (SEO), an approach to writing and content development to improve a website’s visibility to major search engines such as Google and broaden your content’s reach.
Keywords refer to the words or phrases Internet users are most likely to use when they look up a topic. Add keywords or phrases to the headline or subheads, the opening sentence, and any other high-profile element of the article.
Meta tags, meanwhile, provide a short description of the content in an HTML format. Though these do not appear on the page itself, meta tags are visible to search engines and so help in ranking a page. However, not all meta tags are useful. (But that is a story for another day!)
Here are some more tips by Ardent on how to write better SEO content:
Know your target audience
Decide on your target readers and the tone you would have to use. Writing for a much younger audience requires a lighter piece, while business English is used for international trade or business.
Also, be sure to engage your readers. This is where your skills as a writer start to come in. Try opening with a question or tidbit to surprise or make the reader wonder. Use statistics or direct quotes. Explore a new angle (and stick to it) of a rather overused topic. But remember, avoid being too technical. In most cases, simple words and constructions are still the best way to go.
And though this is SEO writing, do not stress yourself out by writing for search engines. Focus first on writing the first draft and add the keywords later.
Hook readers with a great headline
Some studies show headlines with numbers are a big draw. You can also never go wrong with the classics, such as:
• How to …,
• Everything You Need to Know About …,
• The World’s Best (or Worst)
Be sure also to use the active voice more than the passive.
The longer, the better
Internet users have short attention spans –that much is proven true time and time again.
But studies also show that longer articles rank better in search results because these provide richer content and more information.
Go for shorter paragraphs
Make up for a long article by using short paragraphs that are easily digestible. Several short paragraphs also helps extend an article visually.
Pressed for time, some Internet users usually opt to skim through articles. Subheads would serve as markers for the core ideas of your piece.
Enrich your content
Use complementary elements –a.k.a. images and videos that are clear and relevant to your article. Add a caption that can stand alone but can also generate interest to read the article.
You could also add links to related content on your site, or even to external sites that may be useful.
Use power words
Some words are more effective in eliciting emotion –and eventually cause action –from your readers. These are called power words.
First, take the active tone of voice. Then, sprinkle your article with power words related to your topic. For example, if your article seeks to build trust with your audience, appeal to their sense of security with words such as guaranteed, no-nonsense,research-proven, certified, endorsed by and similar others.
Keep your content timely and fresh.
It’s always about new information in the shortest possible time in the Internet. But do not compromise fast updating with rich content. You do want to generate readers to keep coming back.