5 Questions to Ask When Writing Content
The web was dominated for a decade by two key elements. Search engines and content.
If you wanted information you asked Google. It was simple.
This led to the rise of a new industry called “search engine optimization” or if you love acronyms “SEO”. Experts good, bad and scammy emerged from the web mist to offer your website the holy grail of being ranked number one on a Google search result page. This was important because that gave you 40% of all clicks. Ranking number one could mean the success or failure of your online business.
This led to dubious practices and activities and content farms that just replicated content popped up. Unique and interesting information was being buried and overwhelmed by poor duplicate content.
Google decided to change the game as their search results were becoming more irrelevant and of lower quality.
They decided to work out ways to identify great content through social signals (hence the launch of Google+) and other technologies that rewards the content creators and not the content copiers.
Google got smarter. The web became more human.
Content on purpose
Content creation on a smarter and social web requires you to ask some questions. So before we start writing our next piece of copy we better stop and ask ourselves what its purpose is when published on the Internet.
- Is it fresh and unique, or are we just adding to the duplicates, risking to get penalized?
- Is it readable and persuasive, or it pushes our readers away?
- Does it answer the questions the readers ask, or are we wasting their time?
Writing a high quality copy requires thorough research on the subject, taking you to all sorts of blogs and articles people from all around the globe have shared, but sadly, this pile of content often consists of far too many articles that fail to comply with the three goals we mentioned above. Not that these three goals of a quality copy are all we should meet, but if you want to truly grab the interest of your target audience, you should give them a second thought before you or your marketing team decide to publish the next post.
Since Google Panda was launched you should be aware of duplicate content on your website, so writing the unique and quality content is extremely important, with free duplicate content checker PlagSpotter you can find out who steals your works without citing you.
Google is changing copywriting
It is true that Google’s algorithmic updates have caused many transformations in SEO copywriting. We all need to align the way we write with these constant changes. But, instead of us trying to stay one step ahead of the search engine equations, we can create our content with our human audience in mind, and meet them at the finish line.
Google will always have good user experience as their primary goal, and each update they make will be in the direction of better understanding of the content from a human perspective. If you guide your copywriting to provide what your readers look for, not only that you’ll get more loyal audience that loves to come to your website and read what’s new, but Google will also award your actions with a higher ranking in their search result pages.
So how should you write?
Here’s what you should ask yourself before you publish your writing on the Internet:
#1. Would my friends or colleagues walk away if I read this to them?
Read your copy out loud to better understand the flow for each sentence and paragraph and to see if the content is interesting enough to capture the interest of an audience. This will also allow you to clean up your typos, punctuation errors and unnecessary words.
#2. Do the headlines in the copy explain enough about its content?
If somebody reads only the headers of your article, will they understand what the article is about and what is its main idea? Ideally, the headlines should, provide transition and a description for each of the paragraphs.
#3. Are the keywords repeating too often?
When writing content for the Internet there must be some focus on the important keywords, but the density should always float somewhere in between 1% and 3% if we don’t want the writing to sound forced or spammy.
#4. Are my intentions being honest as a writer?
Why are you writing this copy? What is your purpose with it? Is it a complete plagiarism, or an effective idea sharing? Provide your readers with links to other websites, articles, pictures or videos related to your content to be able to achieve better SEO.
#5. Does the copy offer anything new to the readers?
This question builds off the previous point – will those who read your writing learn something new? Your content should match your goal of satisfying the curiosity your audience has on the particular subject. Only new, fresh and organic content is the way to more quality visits and better rankings.
What about you?
Do you write for search engines or is it for humans? Google’s equations are getting better at picking the difference.
Has your writing on the web changed in the last 12 months. Are you creating unique content?
Look forward to your feedback in the comments below.
Guest author: Sandra Miller is a frelance writer and you can connect with her on Google+
Want to learn how to create great content?
My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.
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