SEOThe world of SEO has changed quite a bit over the years. While 10 years ago, a spammy (keyword-stuffed) article or submitting your website to hundreds of free directories could get you top ranking for your target keywords, this is for the most part no longer true. In today’s world of SEO, one of the primary ranking factors that holds weight is built upon the idea of “natural” (meaning not artificially influenced) content/sharing/linking. Because of this, it is important that your SEO efforts be much less “forced” then they might have been in the past if you wish to achieve success and top rankings.

8 Tips to Survive the "Natural" SEO World in Which We Now Live

Below is a list of 8 tips to help you write natural & SEO-friendly content that your users will love and the search engines will reward.

1. Position your content in unique/interesting ways – The overall theme of your content is more important today than it has ever been. The web has so many sites with content already written/published, that it is becoming increasingly hard to write something that is completely unique and different than something that already exists somewhere else. Can you think of an idea off the top of your head that hasn’t already been done to death? It’s hard . . . and becoming harder every day. Because of this, it is extremely important that you try to really think outside the box when deciding on the theme of each page’s content, as the theme’s uniqueness can easily make the difference between success and failure. Avoid writing about stale ideas that have been talked about 1,000 times before, and instead try to position your content in a more interesting and unique way so that it better stands out in the crowd. Your content might not end up being a completely unique idea, but the more unique you can position it, the better.

2. Think like your target user – When you create new content for your site, do you think about it as the business owner/employee, or do you think like your end users? When deciding on the theme of your content, it is important that you factor in your target users wants/needs above all else. Try putting yourself in their shoes for a minute before you start writing anything, and you will be surprised how much the direction of your content can change. What might your target user want that you can offer? What might they search to find it? What result might they expect to see in the Google/Yahoo/Bing results? What might make a specific search engine listing stand out to them? Asking these types of questions before you start doing any writing and implementing what you learn into your content strategy can really give it much better direction and ensure that your content is strongly targeted towards the users you really want to target.

3. Engage with your users – People in general don’t like being “talked to” as much as they like to “have a discussion” or “feel involved”– wouldn’t you agree? This is why, for the most part, it is important to engage with your users whenever possible. Engagement can range from asking questions inside your content (“Have you ever had a basement pipe burst?”), to asking for input from your users (“Which new 2016 car do you think looks the best?”), to simply asking a user to share your content if they liked it (“If you are a dog lover, too, then share this post!”). Engagement with your users can make your content not only more interesting to read, but can also help it go viral.

4. Start a discussion – Not only do most people prefer to feel included in the conversation, but they also want the ability to provide their own input if they agree or disagree with what is being discussed. Because of this, in most cases, it is best to allow your users to comment on your articles, as this not only helps them feel more engaged with your content, but also increases their stake in your content, making it much more likely that they will share it with others. Not only that, but if you can get a discussion going in the comments, you will usually get many more comments than you otherwise would, which can add even more value to your article, which can translate to better on-page SEO, more frequent page updates, and higher rankings in general. This can be increasingly true if your content is “controversial” in any way, such as “5 Reasons Pit Bulls are the Best Dogs”.

5. Include a strong call to action – What is your end goal from your users for each piece of content you have? Is it for them to buy a product from you? Contact you about a service you offer? Share your content with others? Visit your site more frequently? Whatever your end goal is, make sure to include a strong call to action that is aimed at achieving that goal in all of your content. If your goal is to sell a product or service, give your users a reason to buy it or contact you now instead of waiting until later (“Act now and get 20% off vent cleaning!”). If your goal is to get your content spread virally, then specifically ask all your users to share it on their social networks (“If you also think Tesla cars are the cars of the future, share this post!”); while if your goal is to have a user visit your site multiple times, or more frequently, then give them a strong reason to come back again (“Check back frequently for more tips and exclusive monthly discounts!”). In the end, every single page of your website should have a goal and a strong call to action pushing that goal on your users.

6. Try to keep it short and sweet – Most topics don’t require an endless wall of text to get the point across, and most people don’t want to spend a large chunk of time and any single topic. Because of this, try to keep your content’s length within reason. If you can get all your points across in 500 words instead of 5,000 words, then it is almost always better to do so.

7. Provide visual aid/media – If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then does that mean a YouTube video is worth 1,000,000? Well, not quite, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value. Visual aids are an important part of online success, as they can not only make your content appear less obtrusive, but can also provide a lot of info in a small amount of time/space. Things like infographics can reduce a 5,000 word article into a single 1-page image that gets most of the main points across in a fraction of the time. Likewise, a 2-minute YouTube video can highlight an article’s main point(s), without the need for the user to commit a huge amount of time/energy. Even something as simple as adding a single image to a wall of text can help give otherwise bland content a bit more “pop”. The rule of thumb is to provide visual aids and media whenever possible within your content; your end users will appreciate it.

8. Share, share, share! – Lastly, it is important for you to get the ball rolling when it comes to spreading your content. If you won’t spend any time and energy spreading your own content, you can’t really expect your users to do so, either. Make sure you have a legit and active profile on all the major social networks, and work to build your following over time naturally, so when you create new and interesting content, it can be shared easily with lots of likeminded people in a short period of time to get the viral spread started. Also it is important to try to get as much traction as possible through sharing while the content is fresh, as it tends to have a much bigger payout with an increased chance of going viral.

With the always-changing world of SEO, things can change at any time, but the current trend is really pushing towards the idea of “natural” . . .  natural content, natural links, natural sharing. Hopefully these tips will give your content a bit more of a “natural feel” and better direction/goals, helping you move towards increased success!

WordJack Media provides a wide range of website design and online marketing solutions to clients throughout Canada and the US, including Collingwood ON, Ottawa ON, Barrie ON, Miami FL, Lakeland FL, Orlando FL, Charlotte NC, Hickory NC, Asheville NC and more. Contact WordJack Media today for more information about how we can help your business win on the web!

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