If you have been following Google algorithms long enough and you are a webmaster yourself, you should know by now how big of a role content plays when it comes to getting your site ranked. Whether it’s on-page or off-page, content matters. And if you don’t put effort into making sure all content related to your site is quality, then you risk getting penalized. Google just doesn’t like giving users poor quality and it’s something that you will have to take into consideration if you want to succeed in SEO.
Many people still get confused over the type of content Google wants. Compelling, engaging, informative, in-depth, concise, and credible. Sure, those adjectives may give you an idea of what Google wants but it’s not really specific. It’s still vague in some ways because not all of these apply. It still depends on where your content will appear.
To help you out are tips related to the formula for creating content users will love. Yes, there is a formula and no, it doesn’t necessarily apply to all types of content but it should get you closer to where you want to be which is to provide valuable information to your users and attract them to your site and compel them to stay longer.
This is basic but one that should be emphasized over and over again. Write content that is readable to human beings and not crawlers. This element is often overlooked for the sake of satisfying technical SEO requirements. Keyword stuffing is a huge offense many webmasters still make. They compromise a piece of content’s readability for the sake of including keywords that sound awkward and forced.
Users are getting smarter and they can detect keyword stuffing from the first few paragraphs. This can be a turn off especially if it’s used too often in the content. This doesn’t mean you should ignore the importance of keywords altogether. Keywords are still important but they should be used sparingly and only if the content warrants it.
So how do you know if your content is readable? You can do it the old school way and find a beta reader to read your content and give you feedback or you can take advantage of the abundant sources the internet has to give. Below are some of the online grading tools you can use:
Simply copy and paste your content on the site’s text box and it will automatically grade your content providing you a quick read out of your scores. It also provides text statistics that provide you relevant insight of the content you just wrote.
This tool gives you two options for reading your content. You can type in the URL where the content appears or you can copy and paste the text directly. After running the tool, you will be given a readability score as well as text statistics. It also provides you with an interpretation of what your scores mean which is a great starting point for further improving your content.
Online-utility.org Just like read-able, this tool allows you to enter either the URL or the text you want you evaluate. Aside from providing you with readability scores, it will also give you a list of the sentences that you need to improve to increase your content’s overall readability.
Know your target audience
Knowing your target audience helps your site in so many ways. Not only in building a site that will give them the best experience but also in creating content that is pleasant for them. Get to know your target audience and this should help you create a writing persona that will speak to them. Below are just some of the steps you can take to better understand what your target audience wants.
Find out similar publications they read
Having an idea on the kinds of publications your user reads will give you insights on the kind of content you should create for them. For example, your user may read an article about how to save money on household goods but they could also be reading content related to minimalism. Understand how a certain publication could be related to the other and gauge the readability scores of these two. Knowing the grade level of these two separate but related topics can help you create content within the same level.
How to Use Readability Scores to Satisfy your Audience’s Interests
The list of tools we have discussed above provide you with scores that lets you gauge how readable your content is. These scores can be used to your advantage in creating content that is exactly what your user wants and needs. If you are clueless on where to start, listed below are steps you can take based on the scores:
1. Sentence length Get an average on the sentence length for the publications your users are most likely found on and adapt this to your writing.
2. Number of syllables
The number of syllables is a good indication of the kind of words used in a content. Longer means more complicated words while shorter syllables means simple. It doesn’t apply to all but this is a good place to start.
Again, it will depend on who your target audience is although you don’t want to risk putting out content that sounds too complicated to read that it sounds pretentious or too simple as if it’s underestimating the user’s intelligence.
This might be taking it too far but the choices of words you use for your content could make a difference in you gaining or losing a visitor. Know the average number of syllables your readers like to help you determine the kind of words you need to use.
Quality content isn’t just for Google’s search engine crawlers anymore. If anything, web masters should start thinking of its users. User feedback takes a huge chunk of what Google looks into when ranking a site. If done correctly, it creates a loop that will only further bring your site higher in search engine rankings.
Think about it, if you began writing quality content for your site, and you started with little traffic, that traffic could grow incrementally simply because you focused on providing compelling content to your users. And the more your traffic increases, Google will take notice and reward your site by bringing you on the top search results. Being on the first page of search engine rankings will also mean more traffic to your site.
The importance of content in SEO cannot be emphasized enough. Many webmasters already know this and have taken the right direction of stepping up their content game. They either provide the most concise content possible or they churn out in-depth posts. Again, it all depends where the content will appear.
Posting on reputable and relevant sites just won’t do it anymore. If you want to lead the pack in content marketing, you need not to look further than these tips. Mimic the readability level your users are likely to engage in and from there, focus on writing content that is relevant, informative, and useful for your readers.
Did you have any thoughts about what we have just discussed? Let us know in the comments.
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.