How to Write Content Optimized for Readers and Search Engines
High-quality content is a must if you want to attract visitors to your website and keep them coming back.
But, no matter how great your content is, it will be hard for your target audience to find it if it’s buried somewhere on page 20 of search results.
Your prospects of driving traffic aren’t much better even if your content is on the second page, as any of the ten positions have a click-through rate of less than 1%.
So, if you don’t want your carefully crafted blog posts, infographics, or industry reports to end up obliterated by cobwebs in some abandoned part of the internet, you need to optimize them for readers and search engines alike.
Go for Long-Form Content
Long-form content is what both Google and your target audience like.
Although this doesn’t mean that shorter, 800-word blog posts won’t rank well, stats show that, on average, those earning a spot on the first page of Google results contain 1,447 words. So, the longer your content is, the better it will be ranked by search engines.
The logic behind this is simple: you can provide more details and add more value to your readers in 1,500 words than in 700. That’s why Google considers longer pieces of content to be more useful and packed with information.
In addition, a higher word count allows you to add more keywords, headings, and other elements that communicate the topic better to Google crawlers.
Website visitors spend more time reading your comprehensive content and possibly come back whenever they need a good source of information on a particular topic.
In this post, Medical Alert Buyers Guide goes to great lengths to help its readers pick the system that best fits their needs. The article is lengthy, detailed, and educational, using side-by-side comparisons, reviews, and scores to offer valuable insight into the topic.
Search engines want to offer searchers the best possible user experience.
In other words, besides being helpful and relevant, content also has to be understandable and readable.
To achieve this and improve your rankings, make sure you don’t hit your readers with a wall of text. Use shorter sentences, split sections into several paragraphs, and break the text with visuals.
It’s also a good idea to create jump links and place them at the beginning of your articles. This will allow your readers to skip the sections they’re not interested in.
In this blog post on SaaS valuations, FE International uses this method to improve readability and user experience. Given that the article is lengthy, with jump links, readers can easily navigate it, while crawlers can understand the content and index it.
Source: FE International
Another essential factor you should pay attention to is the reading level. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to impress your readers with high-flown language and industry jargon. They have come to your site to learn something and find answers, not to have their linguistic skills tested.
Use Hemingway Editor or a similar online tool to lower the reading level of your content and simplify your writing style.
WordPress comes with SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO that check readability and suggest how to edit your content to make it reader- and search engine-friendly.
Credibility goes a long way when it comes to creating relevant, well-ranked content.
As we’ve already mentioned, search engines want to offer only the best content, meaning that credibility plays an essential role in the process. At the same time, readers who need a solution to their issues want to be sure they will get expert advice.
Highlighting the author’s expertise is an excellent way of showing your content is legit and credible, thus contributing to your E-A-T score.
Sleep Junkie makes sure their best adjustable beds review is written by a Certified Sleep Science Coach. When a reader hovers over the writer’s credentials, they can read more. The site adds another layer of credibility by enlisting the help of a medical professional to review, fact-check, and ascertain the content’s accuracy.
Source: Sleep Junkie
Use Internal Linking
Internal links are the links that point to any other page on your site.
The purpose of this tactic is to connect related pages, show search engines the structure of your website, and pass authority between different pages.
Put simply, internal links signal to search engines to discover your new content, showcase your expertise in a particular topic through a wealth of different interconnected pages, and help your readers easily navigate your site.
When we’re talking about improving search engine rankings, a page that garnered authoritative external links pointing back to it will pass its authority to another page on your site via external linking. This way, you can boost the other page’s rankings simply using this simple tactic.
UnscrambleX uses a lot of internal links in their Scrabble word finder blog post, thus allowing readers to easily find related content and improving their user experience.
Update Your Content
When ranking content, besides quality, Google takes posting frequency into consideration and tends to favor fresh content.
Over time, facts, research studies, and numbers keep on gradually outdating, and the traffic to your once informative and educational blog post will start dropping.
By updating your content, you can expect crawlers to reevaluate it and boost its ranking, especially over the pages that never get such a facelift.
Plus, instead of crafting a new piece, you can improve your content’s performance in search results by making a couple of changes and edits to your blog post.
CXL, for example, regularly updates its popular blog post about the importance of great visual design by adding new stats and the latest trends, which allows it to stay among the top search results.
Create SEO-Friendly URLs
A URL or a unique address of a particular site or web page is an element that can also be optimized for search engines and readers.
It consists of several parts, including a protocol, subdomain, domain, TLD, subfolder, and slug.
When adding a blog post to WordPress, the platform will automatically generate a URL using the title of your page. The trouble is that such a URL is usually too lengthy and complex, which will confuse search engine crawlers as to what the topic of your blog post is.
Luckily, WordPress allows you to edit your URLs easily and make them SEO friendly.
Some of the best practices for creating custom URLs are:
- Including a target keyword
- Keeping it short
- Removing any numbers
- Using lowercase
- Replacing spaces with hyphens
- Making it readable.
MarketBeat’s piece on best dividend stocks is a great example of an optimized URL, as it’s short and clearly explains what the content is about.
Also known as rich snippets, these results provide additional information, such as the address, ratings, reviews, and similar details.
Although rich results aren’t a ranking factor, searchers are more likely to click on them than on regular results. This is because these snippets stand out among the other search results.
Plus, they offer some extra information pulled from your content so that searchers can decide whether a result is relevant for them.
There are different types of rich results such as restaurant, review, music, recipe, event, or movie snippets.
It’s good to know that you can get a rich result by adding structured data to your website source code. Structured data is practically the information about your content in a standardized format to be communicated to search engines.
You can even use one of the WordPress plugins to help you create rich snippets.
For example, a “cinnamon rolls recipe” search shows rich snippet results containing cooking duration, ingredients, and ratings. This overview helps searchers pick the content based on its relevance and quality.
These are only a few tips to help you craft content suitable for people and search engines. Fortunately, in most cases, the process is the same, as Google’s primary goal is to provide the best user experience to its searchers. Produce superb content, follow these pieces of advice, and watch your rankings and traffic improve.