If there’s one thing you can rely on to deliver results in the ever-evolving madcap world of SEO, it’s creating good content. There is simply no replacing this fundamental element in getting to the top spots of SERPs. It’s exactly what Google and all the other search engines want, and more importantly, it’s what real people want.
In this age where everyone and everything is connected through smartphones and social media, people now are just predisposed to share anything that they deem interesting. Articles, songs, and videos that go viral online through social networks and bookmarking sites build brands and make headlines. Industry leaders and experts take notice, and they start linking to such content through their own blogs and websites.
Whether they’re thought-provoking or emotionally-compelling, what matters is that they are good content.
Content Optimization + Content-Based Link Building
Of course, attracting links for good content is rarely something that comes instantly, especially for brands that aren’t yet established. You’re going to have to put in some work promoting the content you know is worthy of the attention of search engine users. You also have to make sure the content has been optimized to make its rise in the SERP rankings much easier.
- Read: How to Write SEO Content Which Generates Readers and Increase Sales
- Read: Why content creation is key to profitable Affiliate Marketing
Essentially, you are catering to both the special needs of people and search engines. So the entire strategy is a two-step process: optimizing the good content and promoting it.
One of the first things that every SEO specialist learns about is to know how to properly use keywords. Different kinds of content tackling various subjects require specific keywords, and it’s also important to use them in a manner that looks natural. For content optimization, this starts as your foundation. You will have to build on it with strong pillars to hold up the content.
1# Precise Titles
One such pillar is having titles that tell search engine users exactly what you’re offering through that content. People today are inundated with information in a very limited amount of time, so you’re competing with millions of websites all vying for attention.
You need to grab that attention by making sure the titles on each page of your website give people the assurance that they will get what they want by clicking on it. Having a string of keywords show up on SERPs or the same title for all of your pages won’t do that. Search engine users won’t have a clear idea, and they’ll just go click on another link that promises them what they’re looking for.
2# LSI Keywords
Latent semantic indexing or LSI is one of the more complex algorithms search engines use to figure out if the content they crawl is relevant to particular search terms. It checks for words within the content that are either synonymous or closely resemble the meaning of such search terms. And if it finds enough, then that content has a better chance of ranking high for those specific keywords.
By using LSI keywords, you never have to even consider keyword stuffing. You can look for LSI keywords for your own set of keywords through a number of methods. Type in a keyword you want to use on Google, write down the keyword suggestions, then start the search and look at the related searches section at the bottom of the SERP. You can also type in a word with the tilde key (~) before it, and Google will show search results with related terms bolded on the links.
3# Authorship Markup
Journalists and columnists shouldn’t be the only ones looking to get that fabled “byline”. Search Engine Land announced on September 27, 2012 that Google has given confirmation that content creators with authorship (people who have a byline under their links on SERPs) also enjoy a big advantage. If one of their links is clicked on a SERP and the user who clicked on it went back to the search results after a certain amount of time, they will have three more links to their own related content displayed right after the first one.
Having authorship markup works by linking your content to your author page on the website the content is on and to your profile on Google+, and vice versa. It also provides the benefit of your content looking more credible simply due to the “personal brand” you’re selling.
4# Rich Media Content
Good content can be made even better with the use of rich media content, such as images and videos. These break up the monotony of walls and walls of text, and they also make such info easily digestible while expounding on concepts that just can’t be explained through words.
Use your keywords for their filenames, descriptions, and alt text for images to help optimize these kinds of content, since search engines can still crawl them.
5# Solid Internal Linking
Naturally, you want all of the pages on your website to get crawled by search engines for them to actually show up in SERPs. The only way to do that is to make a solid internal linking structure so the search engine spiders can do their thing.
You should know how to actually do that by now, but it doesn’t hurt to remember the following tips:
- One basic step is to make sure each page links to the home page and to major categories, since these serve as your website’s hub pages, gaining the most traffic.
- You also want to insert links in your content to other relevant content in a natural manner so that readers will want to click on them.
- If you see certain content that is popular, exploit it and link other web pages to it. Make it easy for people to find the things everyone else is saying is quality content.
- Of course, you should use your keywords for the links’ anchor texts, but it would also help to change it up to avoid keyword stuffing.
Now that you’ve optimized your good content, you have to get people reading it. What follows are some of proven methods that will make people want to read it and share it.
1# Participating in Forums and Communities
Look for the places where your target audience resides and has discussions, then join in. Register, make yourself a part of the community, and share your level of expertise by providing educated insights about the industry you’re in. Visiting these portals can also educate you about what your target audience concerns itself with.
Obviously, you’re going to share the content you have on your website by giving a link. Just don’t ever make the mistake of simply dropping the link without giving a little context and a bite-sized version of the content, unless you want to get banned for spamming.
2# Answering Questions on Quora
Quora is basically a site where members ask questions for whatever topic and other members provide answers. The best ones get “up-voted,” thereby gaining better visibility. You can use it as a proving ground for your credibility by directly answering questions and providing a link to content that elaborates on the topic.
It works like other social network sites by allowing people to connect to each other. This can be integrated in a number of ways through your own website so that other people can know when you give helpful answers. You can even use it as a source of inspiration to create more good content.
3# Commenting on Blogs of Influencers
This follows the same principle of the first two methods. The difference lies in the fact that you’re directly participating in a discussion with thought leaders. You expose yourself to a big audience that has its fair share of experts.
By commenting on such blogs, you and your content are exposed to all of the bloggers’ followers, which usually include respected people in the industry. Impressing them with your valuable contributions to the topic will lead to wonderful things, such as guest posting and link building opportunities through a more relaxed and easier outreach strategy. Your insightful comments and the good content you share make you trustworthy.
Just remember to be honest while being polite, and to make sure first if sharing a link to your content is okay. If it is, then you can expect a good amount of traffic to your content coming from the particular blogs you’ve commented on.
Introducing Evergreen Content
Making good content the focus of your link building efforts means you have to maximize its potential. You can only create so much good content on a consistent basis without hitting a dry spell.
Enter evergreen content. Basically, it’s the kind of content that stays true and relevant for a long time. It achieves this long-lasting quality through an in-depth explanation of a specific idea in such a way that compels people to seek it out no matter how old it is. It is always useful, and requires very little to no updates.
Benefits of Evergreen Content
Creating evergreen content leads to a plethora of great advantages. First of all, it generates a lot of traffic because of its inherent level of quality and the subsequent effect of social shares and inbound links. These social shares and inbound links will then help boost it to the top rankings in SERPs. Inevitably, it will just snowball to a point where more people will see it due to its high SERP rank and number of social shares. And the same people, in turn, will link to it in their websites.
As a result, your brand gets bigger and bigger throughout the online world. What’s more is that you can expect this kind of content to deliver constant traffic months and even years later, since it can be seen as an important resource for anyone willing to learn about that particular industry.
Evergreen Content at Work
Evergreen contents are mainly informative articles, such as tutorials, FAQs, curated lists, and other learning resources. For specific examples of evergreen content, check out the following:
It’s everything anyone new to SEO needs to know to start. With 10 in-depth chapters tackling fundamentals like how search engines work to more advanced topics like the various search engine tools and services, it has become one of the definitive guides in the industry.
This a highly-detailed, well-designed, and easily-understandable infographic about the different methods of online marketing and shows how images can be evergreen. It even provides a timeline of when to apply the techniques.
From brainstorming linkbait tactics to publishing and sharing linkbait, Distilled made sure to leave no stone unturned in the field of linkbaiting. By covering a very specific subject that everyone in the SEO industry understands to be highly beneficial in a comprehensive manner, complete with accompanying images, the online marketing website has guaranteed constant traffic.
Creating Evergreen Content
Developing your very own evergreen content actually starts with identifying good content you’ve already created. Make use of your analytics to find out which content you have that has a lot of views and continue to generate leads. To help with optimization, also check which content rank high for keywords you’re targeting.
Once you’ve come up with a short list of content that can be turned into evergreen content, see what needs updating and remove anything that’s outdated. Your original call-to-action might no longer be appropriate or its design might not match the current ones on your newer content. Evergreen content doesn’t mean it should be left totally untouched.
Creating brand-new evergreen content is a matter of researching for the kind of topics that people will always look for, and coming up with an exhaustive article about those topics. More often than not, these topics are based on the kinds of keywords that are popular.
It’s going to be competitive, so you have to make sure your content is good. Spice it up with rich media content. There’s no harm in scoping the competition’s content, as long as you add to it or bring a fresh take on the subject.
There’s a reason the phrase “content is king” has stuck in the SEO industry. Create the best content that will also be able to stand the test of time while allowing for optimization. Promote it through your target audience’s communities and the industry leaders’ blogs in an unwavering but respectful manner, and watch the links pour in at a steady rate.