Until recently the rules of Internet marketing stated that if you wanted to rank well in the search engines all you had to do was spend some time on keyword research, position those keywords strategically throughout your article and BAM! You were ranking. Now, the rules are a little different. If you want to rank high in the search engines now, you have to back those keywords up with some quality content.
But hasn’t quality content always been the number one requirement if you wanted to rank well? Not necessarily. In the past you could churn out content all day long and it didn’t matter if it was good content or not. As long as you were able to get it published somewhere online then you got a backlink or two out of it and that’s all that mattered. Like I said, though, the rules have changed.
As more and more people come to the Internet in search of information, the search engines are focusing on making sure those users find what they’re looking for. They’re looking at things like how long the reader actually stays on your page, how many pages they view while they’re on your site, and how often those users share your content with their friends. Today, if you want to rank well in search engines, you need to create quality content, which means you need to engage your readers.
Keyword research: Keywords still play an important role in ranking. You need to use keywords so the search engine bots can identify your content. But the idea that you need to mention your exact keyword every 100 words or so is out the window. Use longtails and LSI to make you blog posts and articles sound less like they were written by a robot and more like they were written by someone you’d like to get to know.
Pillar posts and internal linking: Create a high quality pillar post for each of your categories, something that lets your readers know you are the authority on that specific topic. Then, each time you write a new post, use anchor text to link it to the relevant pillar post. Use plug-ins to create links to related posts. Give your readers a reason to stay on your blog longer and read more of your content.
Easy Navigation: Using keywords when you set up your categories helps you in two ways: It’s another way for the search engines to identify your content. But it also makes it easier for visitors to find their way around your site. And if it’s easier, that means they’ll stick around longer.
Alternative media: Give you readers something different to look at occasionally. Use charts and graphics to illustrate a point. Create videos to highlight that How-To article. The key here is to use your own, original creations instead of just pulling random YouTube videos or copying an image you find on Google Images. Create original content and your videos and graphics and comics will be the ones that everyone else is using on their blogs. Always make sure you have your link included on your content so when it does get copied everyone will know where it came from.
Social media: No one can deny the importance of the social networks. Whether you like it or not, sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Digg are here to stay and that Google +1 Button will soon be one of the most important features on your site. Remembering that, and incorporating it into your business plan will help you rank better. Every site should have the standard Sharing buttons and Follow Me links, but go a step further – Create content that people will want to share. Every time you write a new blog post or create a new video, ask yourself “Is this content good enough to engage my readers? Will they want to share it with all their friends?” If the answer is no, then add some more polish until it shines.
Define your USP: The new definition of quality content is content that engages the reader. Period. If your reader can find your exact same information on dozens of other blogs, then you need to find a way to set yourself apart from the crowd. What is your USP – your Unique Selling Point? Why should searches come to your site? What makes your blog so different from all the others? Why should they stay there and keep coming back? And most important, why should they share your information with their friends?
The new rule is – If you want to create quality content to rank high in search engines, then you need to stop worrying about search engines and create quality content that engages your audience.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!