How Content Impacts the SERPs

The secret to great content does not lie in a magic formula.

In fact, there really is no secret at all.

Keyword usage helps you refrain from Google’s wrath – it will mercilessly penalize you for keyword stuffing, for instance – but there are no writing tricks or shortcuts for producing great content and equally great rankings.

In other words, you have to do the work to get the results.

But what, exactly, does doing the work mean?

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Doing the Work: Why Good Writing Equals Great Content

According to Orbit Media, good writing is detailed and thorough. This means it’s longer, includes more explanation and offers lots of answers for visitors.

And, guess what? Google just so happens to love detailed content. More importantly, Google loves detailed content exactly like the above – detailed, exhaustive, informative, and high-quality. In fact, Neil Patel says that quality is Google’s No. 1 ranking factor.

Write like that, and you’ve got some good writing on your hands, the type that Google notices. And, when Google notices your writing, you’ve got content that ranks. You know the rest – content that ranks well jumps that final hurdle.

It’s not just good, it’s great.

Of course, there’s a catch.

Detailed, exhaustive, informative, thorough content doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It takes work. It takes research. It takes skill.

It takes time and resources. Which leads us into…

Why Great Content Is Worth Your Time and Effort

For a good example of why taking the time and energy needed for producing great content is totally worth it, take a look at this Express Writers case study: Case Study: How I Increased My Company’s Rankings by Pouring Resources into Content Creation

This case study shows exactly what great content can do for your bottom line.

Personally, I never saw results when I skipped a week of blogging – and I never saw results when I skimped and did a “rush” job to save money or time in publishing my blogs.

On the flip side, we saw serious organic traffic increases when we invested in more serious content marketing and higher-level experts to help me manage a committed schedule of four blogs per week.

Each blog was long-form and comprehensive, at 2,000 to 3,000 words each. No blog we published was below that word count.

This is what happened for Express Writers when I doubled my own content budget in order to get better results with my content.

We saw a 400 percent increase in our organic search rankings.

Here is the SEMrush data from May 2017:

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And here is the data from June 2017, just one month later:

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As you can see, in May 2017, we had 8,200 keywords ranking in Google and $ 17,700 worth of organic traffic from keyword rankings/monthly.

By June 2017, just one month after I doubled-down on content, we had 10,200 keywords ranking and $ 76,800 worth of organic traffic from keyword rankings/monthly.

All of those gains, thanks to great content.

As you can see, the investment more than paid for itself. When I let the content sing, we soared.

And, if you know our story, that has been our refrain from the very beginning. Over and over again, great content wins – whether that means keyword rankings, outperforming competitors, or bringing in revenue.

We are a content agency that falls back on exactly what we sell – great content.

Now that you’ve seen the proof, the real question remains: how do you get results for yourself? How do you turn good writing into great content, which equals great rankings?

How to Turn Good Writing into Great Content That Ranks (No Magic Necessary)

There are keys to great content, which in turn are keys to great rankings.

They all have one thing in common: each and every one is achieved with good, solid writing.

Orbit Media lists lots of ways to use your writing like a honed weapon – a sharp pencil, if you will, one that turns out strong, attention-grabbing headlines, makes visitors linger over an article, and encourages them to share, share, share.

Kissmetrics recommends many of these same strategies in order to craft killer content. Let’s dive into a couple of them. You’ve probably heard them all before, but they definitely bear repeating.

1. Be Original. Be Unique. Be Creative.

This one speaks for itself. Use your own ideas in your content, and say something new. Don’t just rehash and summarize others’ ideas. What do you have to contribute to the conversation?

Neil Patel sums up this point with this advice:

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2. Nail the Headline

A good headline gets you noticed. A great headline gets you clicks.

How do you craft a great headline? Use strong words – verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Use numbers. Focus on benefits for the reader – they’ll take the bait.

3. Break Up the Content

Breaking up your content into bite-sized, easily digestible chunks makes it smoother to read and/or scan. Visitors aren’t faced with the infamous “wall of text” that not only looks daunting, but also makes your eyeballs turn to liquid when you attempt to read it on your digital screen.

Too graphic? Avoid these types of analogies and break up your content into manageable pieces. Your imagination will thank you.

Bottom Line: To Get Ranked, Hone Your Content

Your content is your way to the top of the SERPs. If your content is great, your rankings can climb higher than you ever imagined.

To hone your content for great rankings, you have to have good writing as your number one tool.

Remember, however, that good writing on the web comes with lots of caveats. You need catchy headlines, digestible organization, thorough and detailed research, and lots more, including adding backlinks and SEO keywords. This is all in addition to writing good sentences.

The main point? Good writing has to support your content, otherwise, you’ll never get anywhere.


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Julia dropped out of college to follow her passion in tech and writing, and hasn’t looked back since. Today, she’s been named among the top 30 content marketers, is the founder and CEO of leading content agency Express Writers, hosts the Write Podcast and #ContentWritingChat, and is a published, best-selling author. She’s also the creator of a brand new, leading industry course, The Practical Content Strategist Certification Course.

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