The infrastructure of the search engine optimization (SEO) industry is one that is natural predisposed to constant change. This stems from the fact that people are always finding new ways to exploit technology, which is always being updated to battle these exploitations, which continues in an eternal cycle of innovation and technological advances.
This is by no means a negative thing; it just means that working in SEO is not an easy job. There is a continuous string of changes happening and challenges to face. This means that SEO personnel need to stay on their feet and be prepared to meet any unexpected changes that arise.
The all-powerful answer to every question in the SEO field is “create quality content.” Whether it comes to on-site SEO or off-site methods such as link building, we are constantly being assured that if we provide relevant, quality content, we will be safe from being penalized in the search engine results.
What is not made clear is what defines quality content, and even more important, how to write it.
Writing, like SEO, is difficult because there is no guaranteed formula for success. You can have impeccable grammar, an interesting voice, and passion about what you’re talking about, but unless you put those together in exactly the right combination in exactly the right forum, you can end up wasting a lot of time getting no results.
The challenge is that this combination is different for every piece. You can’t analyze for certain what makes one piece successful and what makes another one fail. There doesn’t always seem to be a clear answer.
What you can do is produce the best content you are capable of and pray for some good luck. Here are some writing tips that will get you in the right direction.
Outline What You Want to Say
Now, there are different levels of organization, and I am not saying that you need to have a detailed outline of everything you write. However, it is generally a good idea to write down the main point that you want to get across. Then jot down your supporting thoughts or specific points or phrases you want to use. This simple activity will help get you through what I call the “second paragraph slump”, where you’ve written the introduction, but have no clue where you’re going from there.
It is also good to note information such as your target audience, the tone you’re going for, your overall message, and anything else you feel is important to the piece. You may think you can remember the important points, but writers experience blocks and brain farts all the time. By getting it all in one place immediately, you’re more likely to remain focused and not end up with an article of which you don’t see any point.
Don’t Worry about Word Count
When it comes to writing, many of us have held on to the school-implanted idea of word counts. We think that our writing needs to be a certain limit, so we set a goal. The problem is that then we either stop as soon as we meet it, or we struggle to meet that goal, writing useless nonsense just to reach our self-imposed word count.
It’s okay to have idea of how long a piece will be, but in general, it’s best to just write out everything you want to say. This will force you to go back through and edit with a careful eye, which is the next step.
Give Specific Details
So you’re generating content because you want people to be able to find you online. Well guess what? So is everyone else. The internet is full of information. At least half of it is never read. After all, if you’re looking for general information that anyone could write, you’re probably going to go to a site you already know to find it.
Your writing has to offer something that no one else does. Whether this is a specific way of presenting a scenario or a humorous tone, you have to find an interesting way of getting information across. The important thing is that you give people a reason to come back. If they like one thing you write, they’re more likely to return.
In creative writing, you’re told to use odd descriptions and phrases that stand out. Clichés have their place, but you don’t want to build your portfolio on those alone. Unfortunately, most articles on the internet are an amalgamation of clichés and tropes. Set yourself apart by going against current thinking and presenting new ways to look at things.
Even though we are eliminating the English-class tradition of the word count, we are keeping the idea of a rough draft. You should definitely go over anything you write before submitting it for publication. You’ll probably cut a lot of words, add a few things, and reorganize a bit. This process is what will make your piece strong; it forces you to think through every decision carefully.
If you like to be done with a piece immediately, go ahead and take a break before doing your editing. Go for a walk or work on something else. You can even wait a day or two If you have time. The important thing is to be able to look at your piece with fresh eyes.
It is also good to have actual fresh eyes peruse your work. After all, you know what you’re trying to say; you need to make sure it is clear to other readers. If you want, you can have someone edit the piece after you finish it, then edit yourself while you go over their revisions and suggestions.
The most important part of creating stand-out content is to care about it. If your tone conveys that you are passionate about an issue, people will be more interested, and search engines will be able to see that. Start conversation; be a hub of discussion in your niche. This will bring people back and help you produce even more relevant content. There is no written-in-stone formula, but there are also no short-cuts. The best way to generate quality is to put blood, sweat, and tears into it. Just be sure that there’s some heart in there too so that you don’t scare people away.