Have you been amping up your SEO efforts and not seeing the results you hoped for? Are you not sure why - after months of hard work, you’re still not ranking #1 for your focus keywords?
You may have fallen prey to some of the biggest blunders of search engine optimisation content writers can make! To help you be a better content writer (and digital marketer), we’ll discuss how
- Not understanding your audience well enough,
- Choosing the wrong keywords,
- And writing sub-par content,
Can ruin your SEO success - and how to resolve these issues immediately.
Learn From The Most Common SEO Mistakes
- Not understanding your audience well enough
Many content writers spend too much time trying to hit a word count and too little time thinking about who they are writing for. On the same note, it’s not enough to know your audience; you also need to understand how to address them and what speaks to them. Some of the issues we frequently encounter include:
- Content is so cluttered with industry talk that it forces readers to exit the page.
- Content is oversimplified and, therefore, unable to convey the true benefits of a product/service.
- Content ignores the consumer's wants and needs instead of being truly helpful and informative. But why does this matter for SEO? Well, there are several reasons:
- Search engines are getting smarter by the minute and can tell whether or not you’re writing for real, complex humans or just hoping to score a hit by stuffing your articles with keywords.
- Search engines also know how much time users spend on a given page, whether the content is easy to read and understand, what other sites it links to and much, much more.
- As a result, customer-focussed, well-written content is more likely to rank higher in search engine results and thus more likely to bring more visitors to the website.
What can you do to target audiences, not algorithms?
- Do your research and make sure you understand what your audience wants and needs before sitting down to write an article. Research and discovery tools like Buzzsumo can be a great starting point!
- If available, draw on branding guides to make sure you’re hitting the right tone and voice.
- Turn towards competitors to understand what works in the respective industry.
- Begin by writing a draft, so you know where the journey goes - and whether or not you’re hitting the mark.
- Choosing the wrong keywords
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but to rank on Google and support your cause, you will need to use the right keywords in every piece of content. By far, the biggest SEO mistake we encounter is content writers optimising their work for generic keywords. We get it. We’ve all been told to dream big at some point in our lives. But, this is not the time and place! If you’re writing for a small business that operates locally, you don’t want to target big players with millions of searches every day - such as “restaurants” or “running shoes”.So, how do you pick the perfect match?
- Come up with more specific words and phrases. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself competing with every business across the world offering the same products or services.
- Long-tail keywords are the key to success. They may get less search traffic, but they’ll often have a higher conversion value since they're more specific.
- If you’re writing for a local business, use your location in your main keyword - for example, “restaurants in Brisbane”.
Speaking of keywords, the following SEO mistakes fall in the same category and are equally problematic:
- Skipping title tags and meta descriptions or not using your keywords in either! These are huge missed opportunities. You want to give search engines as much useful information about your content as possible.
- Forgetting to provide context with schema. While it may not always apply to you as a writer, many digital marketers use markup tools such as Schema to let search engines know what new content is about.
- Missing high quality internal and external links. Content should never live in a vacuum but connect to further resources or relevant websites with a great reputation. When adding links, make sure the anchor text is meaningful - to both readers and bots.
- Missing image tags, which are basically alt tags for visuals. These give images more meaning and improve web accessibility - a huge factor for modern SEO.
Tip: There are many great keyword research tools that won’t cost you a cent, starting with Google’s Keyword Planner!
- Writing sub-par content
This ties into a lot of what we’ve discussed before. Pumping out low-quality work for the sake of including keywords and meeting a certain word count is anything but sustainable.People that browse the web have a plethora of options, and content that is anything other than awesome just won’t cut it. It’s simple: Google wants to ensure its users only receive reliable and accurate information. If you show expertise, you’ll get a little SEO boost that might just take you to the top of search results. But, you can’t expect search engine algorithms to see you as an expert on a specific topic when you’ve only published sub-optimal content about it. This has a lot of implications for your writing!
- Write quality content that is easy to read and engaging. Always make sure that readers walk away having learned something new!
- Avoid copying and plagiarising content at all costs! It’s not just illegal. It may also be seen as a spammy practice and is highly discouraged.
Nobody said SEO was easy. It is, in fact, a lot of work: Great content writers have to stay agile and think ahead. If you want to become one of them, make sure you know your audience, follow the latest trends, understand how to use keywords to your advantage - and most importantly, write great content. The roadmap to success isn’t a straight line but accompanied by many ups and downs. If you ever find yourself off-track, Anchor has got you covered! If you need support with customer-centric content that’s optimised for humans, not just search engines, get in touch!