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The art of web content

There are many elements to good SEO. It’s all about having good content, and good content isn’t just a nice “About” page or some meta descriptions. Think bigger. Content isn’t just your webpage — it’s your voice, your blog, it’s social media — it’s every channel of communication.

Content is key for any website — especially for attracting new visitors. Meta descriptions and keywords are still a great part of building Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but ultimately, it all comes down to having those keywords in your web content. Before you write new content, or edit existing content, take some time to research how users are finding your site, or sites like yours.

How to choose your keywords

Because Google is still fundamentally a text-based search engine, you need to include words on your website that people are looking for. The best way to rank higher in searches is to have clear, concise keywords, coupled with quality, related content. Keywords must be in the body copy or in the site’s content, in order for search engines to recognize them as being part of quality, useful content.

The following steps will help you identify keywords for your website. If you’ve already got the keyword research part down, but need a little help with focusing your writing, skip down to Tell your story.

Identify keywords that visitors (or potential visitors) are already using. This gives you an understanding of how users are currently accessing the site (or similar sites) and what phrases they are using to find it.

Research keywords. Once the specific keywords are identified, come up with a list of keywords for each page or page type, keeping in mind how a typical visitor might look for your site.

Check keyword popularity using Google’s Keyword tool. The Keyword tool estimates the number of searches for a particular keyword, and how difficult it would be to optimize (i.e. how much other competition you will have).

Analyze competitors. By evaluating direct competitors and what keywords they rank highly for, you’re able to determine what keywords would be most effective, and what keywords need to be cut from your list.

Finalize the list. Choose keywords with the best search volume, relevancy and minimal competitiveness.

Tell your story

Now that you’ve got the keywords down, you need to create your voice. Why did you start this business/enterprise? What is your personal philosophy? What makes you special, unique or interesting? Differentiate. Don’t push your visitors to buy, encourage them to connect with you by telling your story.

Don’t forget to add in your keywords. Say you’re a high-end TV and film make-up academy. Your high-end clients are probably not going to want to use phrases like “beauty school,” but rather search terms like “make up artist” or “artist courses.” You’ll also want to make sure to use the name of your location in your content. It seems like a no brainer, but If you are a design studio in London, you’ll want to make sure that you include the word “London” on your pages.

Clearly state what services you offer. Not only will this help clients find if you have what they’re looking for, but it’ll also help them find your website in the first place.

Keep it short and sweet; avoid jargon. Use easy to understand language. Short sentences and paragraphs make it easier to scan, to read and to comprehend on multiple digital platforms. Say exactly what you mean to say and avoid the bureaucratese. Short titles and headlines also make it easier for Google’s webcrawlers to index your site.

Break up pages. Use headers and subheadings to draw attention to important elements. It will not only help guide readers and help them understand the key points of your website, it will help guide search engines too.

Be human. This may not necessarily help with your Google rankings, but it’ll definitely help you with repeat visitors. It’s important for your potential clients, customers and/or fans get to know you for who you are. Your website is a way for them to see your professional expertise AND your human side.

Get social

Social media has become an integral part of business strategy. Social media done right will effectively become an offshoot of your website. Your website should house content relating to your services and expertise — and your social media should serve as a way to bring users to your site. And when users share links to your site through social media, it helps Google identify you as a useful, robost website.

If you haven’t already, consider setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts tied specifically to your website — these are key sites for sharing business information and adding links to your site and boosting traffic. It’s important to post regularly and create connections and conversations with your fans. Make sure to balance out promotional content with useful and interesting content, target for one business promotional post for every three useful/entertaining posts. Use relevant hashtags to help users identify your area of expertise.

Google+ is really good for SEO (since it belongs to Google), but doesn’t have as many active users as Facebook or Twitter. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to set up an account. Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, and Reddit are also great options, depending on what kind of business you have.

Blog!

Blogs are a form of social media, and as such, they need to be a part of your overall social media plan.Blogs are powerful (and affordable) tools for building an online presence. They can build brand awareness and demonstrate your expertise to potential customers.

A blog is not only a great way to share success stories and to showcase your expertise, but it’s also a great way to increase your site’s visibility. Google’s search algorithms prefer sites which update/add content regularly. Fresh content means more content, and it attracts links and likes from others — which also helps boost your rankings.

Blogging tips

Keep it fresh. A blog is bit like a fire, if it’s not cared for and consistently fed, it will languish and disappear. A blog that doesn’t have fresh content is not only useless to you, but it it’s useless to readers. Not only does a more active blog position you as industry resource, but it would help potential customers/clients find you. Plan to post at least once or twice a week.

It’s OK to get a little personal. Not too personal, mind you. But share a bit about yourself. Share insights into your life. Lessons learned. Cool things you’ve discovered. Your blog is about sharing why you love what you do. And who doesn’t love that?

Share links. Linking out to sites in a specific category or to news articles about your industry can also help the search engines decide where a website is most relevant. This doesn’t mean that you need to direct business to competitors, but by showing related websites, you can be properly categorized by search engines. Your blog is a great place for sharing links of companies or designers that inspire you.

You know your stuff, so don’t fret too much about writing creating content. It’s not about the quantity, but the quality. Share what you know, what you do, and what’s interesting and helpful. Short and sweet is perfect. Pepper in keywords as needed.

Note: This article originally appeared in Meta Q.