I have often talked in previous blog posts about the importance of good quality web content, and the importance of article marketing within the context of today’s increasingly cynical and sophisticated search engines. From blogging and article writing to web content development, the one thing which underpins the vast majority of online marketing today is the written word.
But whilst it’s easy to talk about how important it is to produce good quality content, many people struggle when they come to sit down in front of their computer and stare blankly at a bare white screen with an irritating blinking cursor daring them to commit their wild and random thoughts to meaningful text.
So I thought for a change it would be helpful today to look at a few of the techniques which you can employ when it comes to creating SEO articles or web content in order to help both the creative process, and the effectiveness of the end result. It is one thing to get going when it comes to writing good quality content for the web, but quite another to make sure that what you are writing is worth the space on the screen.
1. Know Your Audience
One of the biggest hurdles many people face when it comes to writing articles or blog posts is the fact that they don’t have a very clear idea of who it is they are writing for. Clearly if you are writing to your bank manager you will apply a different style and tone of emphasis than if you’re writing to your dear Aunt Maud, and this is very true for web content.
Try brainstorming a few keywords relating to the sort of person you are trying to target. Think about their age, background, professional experience, occupation, location, needs and so on. A big problem for many people is that the audience is invisible. Often they never even meet a single one of the people they are writing for, and this can easily give writing an impersonal feel.
One little trick that you can try if you feel this is a problem is to have a quick look online for an image of someone who seems to represent the sort of target audience you are trying to write for. Print off this picture, and tape it next to your monitor. Try to explain your ideas whilst looking at a photograph of this person. This may well help to improve the clarity and effectiveness of your descriptions and explanations, as well as helping to keep a tighter focus.
2. Know Your Audience’s Needs
People are busy, and are unlikely to spend much time reading web content or articles that have no direct value to them personally. You might think that what you are writing is useful and informative, and it may well be, but if it doesn’t directly inform or provide value to the people you are trying to target then it is unlikely to be read, linked to, shared or otherwise used in a way you are hoping for.
It is helpful therefore to make a list of the sorts of problems or questions to which your target audience is trying to find answers. You might even find that a search online in forums or even on Twitter for keywords relating to your topic reveal the sorts of questions and concerns people have at the moment. It is important to make sure that your content or your articles address these specific questions or problems, and of course it is important that people can see at a glance what it is you are offering. This is why clear, accurate titles are so essential.
3. Title First Or Articles First?
Many article writers and web content developers are split between deciding whether to write the title first, or write the content and then think of a suitable title afterwards. This same question is even raised when writing short stories and even novels, often with authors having a working title which is then changed once the book is complete.
I think that the best approach is to have a title right from the start, because this helps lend focus to your writing. It easy for web content and SEO articles to become fluffy and vague, going off on tangents that end up leaving the reader feeling as though they’re on a content Safari rather than a clean and purposeful journey with a specific goal.
But whilst having a title right from the start is important, there is also no harm in revisiting this title once you have completed your article and assessing whether perhaps it could be improved or altered. I would also strongly recommend that if your article or web page is going to exceed 300 or 400 words in length that you also incorporate working subtitles. This helps to ensure that your content is structured as well as having a defined purpose.
4. Semantic Language
Obviously keywords are no longer something which we should be focusing on when creating articles, blog posts or web pages, although inevitably you will want to get specific key phrases incorporated in titles and subheadings. But it is also essential to consider the vocabulary you use throughout your content. If the only contextually relevant words you use are tightly focused to the specific keyword or key phrase you’re wanting to optimise your content for then you are unlikely to endear yourself in the eyes of the great god Google.
The best thing to do is to create a list of words which relate to the subject you are about to write about. So if you were to write an article about playing cards your list of relevant vocabulary is likely to include words such as pack, deck, suits, hands, hearts, clubs, spades, diamonds, jokers, box, games, shuffle, deal and so on.
It is all too easy when writing blog posts or SEO articles to become lazy, and to use pronouns rather than the actual words you mean. So in our example above, rather than saying something like “Dish them out to people and then ask everyone to look at them” say “Deal the cards to the players and then ask them to look at the faces” – you see how in one sentence we’ve managed to incorporate three semantically relevant words?
Incidentally, did you notice the word cloud above? That was generated directly from this blog post. Can you see how the semantic language has been incorporated naturally into this text? That’s what helps to make sure it gets picked up and noticed by the search engines, yet it all sounds perfectly natural, without any forced language at all. This is how writing in 2012 needs to be.
Creating good quality content these days is so important, and if you feel that it is going to take you too much of your time to come up with suitable articles or blog posts then it is usually beneficial to enlist the services of a professional copywriter with experience of creating this sort of content.
If you have any questions or comments, or need further help with developing content for today’s demanding web then either get in touch, or feel free to leave a comment below, and we will do our best to help.