By: Lori Smith
Want to know something important about your business? Getting
ranked higher in Google is now harder than its ever been. Why? The
dreaded algorithm changes. Want to know something else? Quality
content is going to be imperative for ranking purposes in 2017 and
Search engines are big business. Google is the best, and they want it
to stay that way. Their infamous (at least in the eyes of online business
owners) algorithm changes is what keeps them at the top.
Google’s most recent changes have made getting found a lot harder.
In the past, Google ranked websites by the number of page views. A
website in which visitors were viewing many pages in a single visit,
was viewed as authoritative because of higher traffic numbers. The
actual content didn’t matter quite as much to their ranking system.
That’s not the case anymore.
With Google’s latest algorithm changes the quality of content on a
website is now used in their page ranking system. Google is
quantifying quality by length. The longer an article is, the more value
it’s perceived to have.
Search engines crawl websites to find the most relevant information
for a user’s specific search query. When you publish new content,
Google gives you a score. If the content your publishing is seen as low
quality, your ranking will be affected.
If you want to increase your ranking to get found, you have to start
writing quality content now. Is it hard to write longer more valuable
articles? No, it’s not as hard as you might think if you develop a
process. Writing quality content can be easy when you follow the
What Makes A Website Susceptible To Low Ranking
Short articles that offer no real useful information
Inconsistent publishing of new content
Over-use of keywords
Inbound links to low-quality content or from low-quality sites
High bounce rate
Low percentage of returning visitors
High amount of reused content on your site
Meta-tags that are irrelevant
No longer can you achieve a high ranking with 300 or even 500- word
articles that offer little useful information. The days of over-stuffing
your content with keywords are gone as well.
You have to stop thinking just about your website, and begin devising
an overall content strategy in which your blog and social media
content, are the life-line for your brand messaging.
How To Write High-Quality Content
Topics – Know your audience, and determine topics that will answer
their most pressing questions. What are they struggling with, and
how can you solve their problem? You can also find ideas for topics by
searching Google trends.
Article Research – Depending on the content, you might need to
research your subject matter. Keep it original, and only use
information from trusted sites. Make sure the information is current
and factual. Include proof by including links to these sources.
Effective Headlines – You should spend more time on creating your
headline than you do on writing your article. The goal is to attract your
reader’s attention and get them to click through and read the rest of
Several types of effective headlines are:
– Number Of
– How To
– Best Of
– Interview With
– Breaking News
– Secrets Of
– Explanatory (Why)
Tools For Creating Headlines – There’re several factors involved in
creating great headlines. You need to include words that project
emotion, urgency, and action. Keep your keywords in mind, and
incorporate them into your headlines as well.
These headline-generating tools can help you develop a headline that
will get noticed.
Importance Of Keywords – Including the right keywords is what
drives organic traffic to your site. Remember, that when researching
keywords to think about the words your audience uses in a search
This is easily done, by analyzing whether the keywords you’re
using are relevant to your content. Will those searching these
keywords find what they are looking for on your site? If they land on
your site will they be happy with the content they find? Will it answer
their questions or fulfill their needs?
Just as keywords are important for getting traffic to your site, you also
need to know the value of keywords to your business.
To determine the value of a keyword, divide the total profit (not
income) from your conversions by the total visitors to your site from
that keyword. This number is the value of that keyword to your
Knowing the value of a keyword will help you determine if you are
providing the right content for the best ROI (return on your
investment) for your business.
How To Research Keywords – It would be great if you could just
research single keywords that, have thousands of searches daily, but
these searches makeup only about 30% of searches. The reality is the
other 70% are long tail keywords that result in millions of searches
daily. So, which would you rather use?
Search marketers have seen that long tail keywords convert much
better. This is because searchers are most likely in the buying mode
when using more specific searches.
Think of it this way, someone looking for dresses is just browsing.
While someone looking for the perfect little black dress for a party is
more apt to be looking to buy.
Your ultimate goal is to focus on the most relevant keywords for your
content and business. This will help optimize your traffic and
There’re several tools out there you can use in your search for the best
Outlining – This is something I’m definitely, passionate about. I know
some bloggers and writers say they do best when they write without
any outline. Maybe they do, but is it quality writing?
Outlining helps to create a logical sequence for your article. This will
make content more understandable when it’s in the proper order.
Stay organized by writing a layout for your content. This will keep you
focused on including the necessary information to make your content
valuable. Having an outline helps you write better and faster by giving
you a framework to follow.
If you’re not outlining, you’re setting yourself up for a much
longer writing process and the potential to forget key information
within your articles.
Formatting – Use your outline to format your article according to
industry standards. You should be using headings and subheadings,
for your main points.
Most readers scan articles for the most important information. Make
sure what your readers will be looking for are included in those
headings. You also want to use short paragraphs and sentences. Aim
for around a 6th-grade readability score.
According to the most recent algorithm changes, longer articles are
seen as more valuable. Articles of 1000 + words are going to rank
better than shorter articles. This doesn’t mean that shorter articles
won’t rank well. It’s just that now, it’s more about quality.
Voice – Write in your own voice. Keep your writing conversational to
make it relatable. Not sure how to do this? Practice writing how you
talk. Be sure to inject your personality to develop your own style.
Introduction – You have seconds, yes seconds, to grab your readers
attention. Your first sentence needs to be your best. You have to hook
your readers from the beginning to keep them reading the rest of
Some introductions that perform well.
– Engaging story
– Obscure fact
– Differing viewpoint
– Info found nowhere else
– Stating results upfront
What To Include In Your Introduction – You want to tell your reader
why they should care about this information. Why do they need this?
What actionable steps will you offer to solve their problem?
Introduction Length – Depending on the length of your article, 100 to
600 words is plenty. Your reader has come to your content for
information they need. Don’t bore them with a long introduction that
doesn’t offer actual help.
Provide Value – Identify your audience’s struggles and provide
answers and solutions to their problems. You need to offer actionable
steps they can implement to get results.
Supplement your content by breaking it up with images, videos, or
infographics. Visuals can help your readers to understand the content
better. When you provide valuable advice, it sets you apart as an
expert and builds your authority.
Share-ability – When you make it easy to share your content on social
media, you are turning your audience into your own, marketing team.
The more your content is shared, the more backlinks that creates. The
more backlinks, the more traffic. This requires little effort on your part
other than including social share buttons.
Comments – Having comments enabled on your site allows for your
audience to interact with you. Google has also indicated that a high
number of comments, might be viewed as higher quality content.
I have to admit, I’m on the fence when it comes to commenting
systems. I’ve seen with my audience, that many of them are against
having to sign up or provide an email just to leave a comment.
Another factor to consider is you can’t control the quality of the
comments. Yes, you can filter out bots that leave spam comments,
but can you erase negative comments?
Think hard before enabling comments on your site. You don’t want to
turn off readers because of an invasive commenting system. You also
need to verify you can delete any negative comments. These could
hurt your authority and conversions.
Internal/External Links – Internal links to relevant articles will only
provide more value to your audience. When your reader is clicking a
link to another article on your site, it increases your page views. This, in
turn, decreases your bounce rate.
External links are not a bad thing. Many online business owners
believe that. Why would you include links to content that would lead
your visitors off your site?
Linking to credible sources will only provide more evidence as to your
own credibility. The bonus is you could get noticed by these sources if
they see that they are receiving a lot of traffic from your site. This can
open up an opportunity to network with authorities in your niche.
The Close – The ending is as important as your introduction. The
ending should relate back to your introduction, and don’t forget to
always include your bottom line takeaway.
Editing – Your grammar and spelling need to be impeccable, and the
content should be concise.
My editing process is 5 steps. That may seem like a lot, but if you want
your writing to be taken seriously, then it must reflect your best work.
1) Edit yourself first for any mistakes that stick out.
2) I use Hemingway App for readability.
3) For grammar and spelling edits I use Grammarly.
4) I always go back and review my article again for duplicate or
unnecessary content, and non-relevant information not
included in my outline.
5) Check for plagiarism. I don’t EVER copy content from someone
else unless I’m quoting an expert, and I always attribute the
information to the appropriate source. However, given the
amount of content on the web, it’s not all that impossible to
maybe have something written the exact same way as on
another website. I use Quetext to check for this.
Note: If you accept guest posts from others, always check for
plagiarism. Duplicate content can hurt your SEO.
The actions you need to take to write high-quality content.
Pick a topic that is on target with your business goals and what your audience needs
Research well to provide accurate and factual information
Write a click-worthy headline
Include the right long tail keywords for your content
Outline your article to make your writing better and the process faster
Format your content according to industry standards
Write in your own voice and develop your own style
Start with an introduction that will grab your readers attention
Provide information that will be useful and valuable to your audience
Make your content easy to share by including social media buttons
Enable comments for engaging with your audience
Include internal links and credible external links for proof of your expertise
Make the close, as good as the introduction
For your writing to be its best, edit well