How to Write Content that RANKS Regardless of what changes and evolutions we see in the SEO industry, one thing will remain the same and that's the fact that content is the foundation of both on & off site SEO. While there are many topics I could cover in this post in regards to SEO, I want this post to stay on topic so I will only be discussing "Content Writing Tips" which will include the following: [*=left]Understanding the Content Topic [*=left]Researching the Content Topic [*=left]Reader Interest Retention [*=left]Formatting the Content [*=left]Main/LSI Keyword Usage Understanding the Content Topic I can't stress enough the importance of understanding the content topic when writing an article. If you don't understand the topic at hand, you're not going to end up with a result that your readers are going to be satisfied with. This will result in visitors leaving your site to another source that will actually provide them with the information they're seeking. This goes back to the saying: - Write what you're passionate about - Of course though, we're not always going to be writing about topics that we're familiarized with. The following scenarios are example situations where you may find yourself having to write about a topic you need to research: [*=left]A client hires you to write content on their products/services. [*=left]You run a tech blog and you need content on a newly released product. In situations such as the ones referenced above, the art of writing itself will not be enough to produce content that the reader/client will be satisfied with. This will require the skill of research, the effort of researching the topic/product, gathering whatever information you can from your research and creating an engaging & well formatted piece of content at the level of quality that search engines and readers have come to expect. Researching the Content Topic As you probably would've guessed, the three main resources I use for product/service research for my content are as follows: [*=left]Google - All Purpose Research [*=left]Wikipedia - Specific Research [*=left]Amazon - Product Research Stick with these sources and these sources alone. After all, you only want to do content research from trustworthy sources with accurate information. It's also a good idea to link to authoritative sources (In some cases) within your content. While you may lose some traffic from doing this, in many cases it will increase the reputation you have with your reader. Reader Interest Retention Generally, to keep the reader interested in my content, I usually integrate what I like to call "interest continuances" in my articles which are points throughout the content that makes the reader "want" to read more. I blend a mixture of multiple tactics into the content that captivates their interest not only in the story itself but in the style of writing. I accomplish this in more ways than one: Citing facts "on topic" that would be of interest to the reader. Confronting the reader with a question that they'd like answered. Using relevant quotes within that topic from very reputable resources or celebrities. Citing relevant statistics or survey polls from other sources. Being comical and making the reader laugh (A happy reader is a loyal reader). Formatting the Content The format (layout) of your content/post is of immense importance. If your article is not easy to read, difficult to follow and not well structured, it's going to be quite a task to keep your visitors reading your post. Not to mention, the difficulty you'll encounter in keeping them on your site. Notice how the post you're reading now has section titles & bullet points to highlight important parts of the post, your content should follow the same guidelines. Headline - Thee most important part of your post is the headline, it's a short yet important title summary of your post that's used to captivate the interest of your visitors. Questions - Asking questions that you know your reader(s) will want answers to is a great way to keep them engaged in your post. I have a tendency to ask a few questions in the beginning of the post and answer them throughout the article. Length of Sentences - Don't drag your sentences on for the length of what should've been a paragraph. Keep your sentences short, descriptive and to the point. If you're sentences become too long, it may be difficult for your readers to follow what you're saying and may lead to a bounce. Subheadings - Depending on the length of your content, using subheadings is important to help your readers find what they're looking for. They're kind of like "subtitles". Alternatively you can "bold" important keywords that you'd like to have stand out to readers. Bullet Points - If you're conveying multiple points to your reader(s), use bullet points to outline those points. An example of this is the list at the beginning of this post where I outlined the topics that were going to be covered. Personal Reference - Engage with your readers, ask "some" questions that go unanaswered and encourage them to leave a comment for their input/experience(s). Main & LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keyword Usage While this ties directly in to SEO, it's an important part of content creation and in some cases will either make or break the success of your content in terms of ranking(s). In the past, the main metric used by search engines to determine the relevancy of your content was the keyword density (And this is still used today - Keep KD at 2%-3%). However, LSI keywords are also used to determine what your article is about, in short, LSI keywords are keywords closely related to your main keyword. For example, lets say Google crawls a page and comes across the word/term "Apple". How does Google interpret/understand that word? What do they use to decipher whether or not it's in reference to the fruit or the company "Apple"? They use Latent semantic indexing keywords, in this case if your post contained words such as fruit, flavor, taste or food, they would assume you were referencing the term "Apple" to the fruit in which case they'd be correct. This is why LSI keywords are of such great importance, it allows you to reach a broader market by targeting additional keywords while also making your content easier to properly index for SE's (Making their job easier is better for you). When writing your content, you want to find a good variety of synonyms throughout to include in your post so both readers and crawlers know "exactly" what your content is about. Don't over think it, generally, writers will typically include such terms naturally without having to singularly focus on including LSI keywords. I hope you all enjoyed the post, if you have any questions or comments, please post them below. I'd love to hear your feedback!