When you’re writing content for your IT business website, you’re really writing for two distinct audiences. One is your customers and potential customers and the other one is for Google and other search engines.
It can be tricky to balance keyword-optimized pages and content that’s educational and engaging for your readers. But by following a few tips, it is possible to find that perfect harmony and write articles that will be loved by both audiences.
We’re going to dive into some of the best practices next and go over what Google calls E-A-T, which is going to give you a general road map for creating awesome content for everyone.
Why is Google Always Changing Their Algorithm?
Google’s constant tweaking of their search algorithm is the bane of many a tech business website owner. Just when you’ve put in the time and effort to get a page to the first page of a search ranking, Google makes a core update to their search and now your page drops several search positions.
How often are these changes happening? Google says that every day they release one or more updates designed to improve search results for users.
Many of them aren’t noticeable and aren’t going to cause a big SERP drop for your pages, but some do. Google’s goal is to continue to provide the best and most relevant search results they can, so that they continue to the #1 choice for search globally.
“Wow! If Google keeps changing all the time, why should I bother with content marketing?”
Because according to marketing studies, content marketing generates 3x more leads than traditional marketing and costs about 62% less!
And if that’s not enough to convince you, small businesses that blog see 126% more lead growth than those that don’t.
To illustrate how to write and update content that’s going to keep being relevant in this search engine giant’s eyes, we’ve reference Google’s blog about core updates and what Google likes to see when it’s ranking web content.
Let’s first take a bird’s eye view by explaining what E-A-T means.
E-A-T is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness – three key things that the search engine likes to see in what they consider “good” pages for a particular keyword search.
In February of 2019, Google confirmed that E-A-T is an important piece of their search algorithms.
Let’s drill down into the factors that make for a strong E-A-T for your website content.
Tips for Great Ranking & Engaging Content
It used to be that you could just make sure you used your keyword enough times in your body copy and included it in the title and URL, and you were good to go on your search optimization.
Of course, this led to some more spammy sites using a keyword every other word, creating horrible to read content for the visitor, but great ranking positions. Until… Google quickly caught on.
Their changes over the years to their search ranking algorithm is actually meant to fall in line with what a reader is looking for, so their ongoing goal is to align what they love with what readers love, which should make pleasing both easier.
To go right to the source, we’ve referenced the Google core update article mentioned above to bring you several questions that you should ask when writing content. These will help you write to both please readers and Google’s ever-evolving ranking algorithms.
Is your content original, insightful, and does it offer a complete description of the topic?
When it comes to your content, you don’t want to just copy and paste paragraphs of text off another website, that’s neither original nor something that’s going to gain you any points in the search ranking game.
It’s fine to write topics that are covered elsewhere, because of course your readers are going to want to know about backup and recovery, just like the next tech business website’s readers. But ask yourself, “What original spin can I put on it?”
Google is looking for insightful analysis, and writing that doesn’t just repeat what others say, but rather adds additional value to the topic to make it worth reading.
An example of this could be adding a spin on backup and recovery blog that notes statistics in specific industries you work in, such as:
- Data breaches at medical facilities and the associated costs
- How accounting firms should choose backup systems based on compliance
- How many municipalities suffer from ransomware attacks?
There are hundreds of ways to write around the same topic to ensure your content is original and engaging.
Does Your Headline & Page Title Provide a Descriptive, Helpful Summary of Your Content? (Without Being Exaggerated and Shocking)
We’re sure that Google must’ve seen all the “click bait” headlines and added that note about headlines not being too exaggerated or shocking as a result.
While shocking headlines had their day in the sun, sites like Google and Facebook started clamping down on click bait, realizing they weren’t giving readers what they wanted, which was relevant content.
Readers also don’t like content titles that are too over the top, just meant to drive clicks, without delivering good information. That’s why many articles using this tactic have high bounce rates and low dwell time on the page.
To do headlines and descriptions right, first ensure they match the content you’re presenting and describe it accurately. You do want to use your keyword in them, just make sure it’s natural and not “stuffed.”
Just because Google doesn’t want over exaggerated headlines, doesn’t mean you can’t still make your headlines memorable and attention-grabbing. Just do it in an honest way.
Example of a good headline/description/keyword combination: We searched on “how to set up a home network”
The top search result was perfectly descriptive of the article:
How to Set Up a Home Network- Beginners Guide
Learn how to Set Up a Home or Small Office Network and connect it to the Internet. Learn about wired and wireless networks and which is best
Does Your Content Include Clear Sourcing and Evidence of Expertise? Are There Any Easily-Verified Factual Errors?
Have you ever clicked on an article expecting to get some good information about a topic, then realizing it was just fluff, designed to get a good SEO ranking, but light on any expertise?
Both readers and Google’s search ranking engine dislike content that’s not trusted, valuable, or coming from a good source.
Some of the ways you can boost the trustworthiness of your content are:
- Include evidence of your expertise (i.e. the author is Microsoft Certified)
- Add links to your About page or a section “about the author”
- Be clear about where cited statistics are coming from by linking to the source
- Double check your assumptions as facts may have changed (i.e. is Office 365 still the market leader or has G-Suite caught up?)
- Be precise (i.e. instead of “lots of companies are using the cloud” say “as of January 2019, X% of small businesses are using at least one cloud app)
Is Your Content Styled & Produced to Be Attractive and Easy to Read? Does it Have Spelling Issues or Too Many Ads?
If at first glance your page looks cluttered or difficult to read, people will bounce right off. 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the layout looks unattractive. And if they’ve had a bad experience, 88% of readers won’t come back to your site.
Content that is easy to read uses a mixture of H1, H2, H3 sub headers to break up large chunks of text and will include things like plenty of white space, bullet lists, and attractive style elements, such as use of colors and images.
Style mistakes to avoid:
- Too many fonts on the same page
- Long paragraphs that include multiple lines of text (6+)
- Too many ads or popups
- Unorganized content
- Not enough white space
- Spelling errors
- Sloppy-looking content
Why does Google care what your page looks like? Because if the content on your page is attractive, people stay and read it, increasing the time people stay on your page (dwell time), which tells Google that the content was relevant to that user and was a good match for the keyword they searched.
Does My Content Look Good on Mobile Devices?
If you’re only viewing your website and blog content on a desktop, then you may be missing the boat on mobile and your search rankings could be dropping in the process.
52% of internet traffic globally comes from mobile devices. (WordStream)
Not only has mobile become the dominant device using the internet, 60% of Google searches are performed via mobile. That’s why Google has prioritized sites that look good on mobile devices and that are responsive in their search results.
Users also won’t stick around on a page that’s not easily read on their smartphone or tablet. Which means your content isn’t reaching those potential leads who will also be largely browsing on a mobile device.
Mobile content uses many of the same style rules as desktop, but a key component is that you want to make sure you’re posting your content on a mobile responsive site, so it will automatically size and adjust content and images to view well on smaller screens.
Also… check it! Pull up your blogs and check them on your own smart phone to see how they look.
Does Your Content Offer Substantial Value Over Other Pages in the Search Result?
You want your headline and description to stand out above the competition and not just look like it’s a retread of what everyone else is writing about. Google is only going to list so many “10 Great Anti-Virus Programs” in its first page search result.
Look for ways to distinguish your content from others that come up on the same keyword search. A good way to do this is to search the keyword that’s most relevant to your content and take a look at the search headline and description, as well as the article they click over to.
Say you wanted to attract mobile repair business by writing a blog about how to repair an iPhone screen, hoping that once people read the steps, they’d rather just bring it to you.
Review the image below of page 1 search results for the keyword “how to repair an iphone screen” and look for the things that make you want to click on one over the other. Then incorporate the qualities that attract you most into your own content.
Is Your Content Really Serving Your Readers or Is It Just for SEO Only?
If you’re only writing your content to serve a keyword, it’s going to show, and will not be as engaging to your readers. There’s a good chance that it will also have a high bounce rate because you’ll lose people who quickly realize the content isn’t written for them.
Writing for your audience should be your first motivation when you’re coming up with blog content. Write personally to the reader in a way they’ll be engaged and educated about your topic.
If you need to add a few keywords in paragraphs and headers later to increase penetration and optimize for SEO, that’s easy enough to do afterwards. But, if you’re not writing in a way that attracts the reader and keeps them on your page, then the keywords won’t matter.
Just Be Natural!
When our Tech Blog Builder team is writing content for our clients, we keep all of these key tips in mind and above all else… we strive for originality always.
Our best tip is to just be natural when you’re writing your blog. Write something that you yourself would enjoy reading, and most likely your readers (and Google) will like it too.
Are there any rules of thumb you use when writing content for good rankings? Share your tips in the comments.