Content marketing and SEO have fast become major elements of promoting any online business or service. Your site’s position in Google’s rankings plays a huge part in how much traffic you get, how many followers you attract, and how much you generate in profitable business.
Your Google rank is king as far as marketing is concerned, but how exactly do you ensure a high rank on Google? The first piece of advice an SEO company will offer is that ‘content is key‘. The amount and quality of content on your website has a direct affect on your ranking on Google. That said, there are many forms of content, and figuring out exactly what kind of content you need, how much you should have, how long (or short) it should be, and how to optimise it to propel you to the top of Google’s rankings is a minefield.
To help you out, we’ve put together some essential advice on content to help you really maximise your website’s visibility.
How much content do I need?
The answer to this one is deceptively simple. The more content you have on your site, the better. There is, however, one caveat: quality above quantity. More content is definitely better, but only if you are producing something that your audience finds valuable and insightful. Google take quality into account as well as quantity, so it’s better to ensure everything you post is top-notch, and build on it slowly, than it is to churn it out quickly.
Long form content vs. short form content
One hotly debated topic among SEO consultants and content marketing gurus is the issue of long form versus short form content. In essence, what is the perfect length for a piece of content on your website? For years we’ve been told the ‘magic number’ for blog posts and articles is around 500 words; this is presumed to be long enough to convey useful information, but not so long people will loose interest and stop reading. More recent statistics, however, have demonstrated that longer content seems to be the trend among those sites that actually rank highly on Google. The results of this data appear to indicate that websites featuring content of 1,000 words or more rank higher on Google than those sticking to the supposedly ‘golden’ 500 word limit. In fact, websites such as The Huffington Post, which ranks very highly on Google, advise their bloggers to aim for pieces between 800 and 1,000 words in length.
The most important things to consider when debating the length of your content are your audience, and the value they are taking away from your post. Some subjects require more words in order to convey information of value, while others require very few words to get across everything needed. Using too few words can leave your readers feeling cheated, but using too many can overload them with information and detract from the important aspects of what you are trying to say. As a result, there really is only one rule here: use only the number of words required to convey the essential information/message.
This will result in posts of varying lengths, and ensure you never disappoint your reader with too little information, or bombard or bore them with superfluous words.
Keywords are vital for ensuring your content ranks as highly as possible. The premise is very simple: by choosing specific words and/or phrases you know your ideal audience will search for, and including them where relevant in your content, you maximize the chances of your content being shown when someone types that particular word or phrase into Google. It is very important to include keywords naturally. Vary the keywords used from one piece to the next, and keep your research current, as they change regularly.
What makes better sales copy?
There are numerous elements to writing quality sales copy, the most important one being that only about 20% of your copy should be related to sales. Ensure that 80% of your copy is of value to your readers, and has no expectation for them to buy anything from you in return. This includes competitions and freebies – you may not be earning money from them, but you are still expecting your readers to ‘buy’ what you’re ‘selling’.
Stick to the 80/20 rule and your reader will be much happier to read your sales copy when you do post it. Then there are several things you can do to ensure you write the best sales copy possible:
- Be as succinct and clear as possible
- Use catchy, easy to read headings to break up your text
- Include graphics to complement your text, or convey certain elements of it visually
Keep your paragraphs short and sweet
- Utilize bullet points and numbered lists, color, and highlight key information using bold, italics, or underline
- Be conversational rather than formal
- Provide social proof (testimonials, reviews etc.) that what you are offering is valuable
- Be totally transparent about the price of your product/service
While the simple answer to the question of how much content is needed to rank highly on Google is ‘the more the better’, quality over quantity is definitely a deciding factor. Ensure your content is of a high quality, that you provide 80% value and 20% sales, and follow these guidelines for length and SEO optimization, and you will be well on the way to a higher Google ranking!