Writing content to improve your search engine ranking

Since its arrival, search engine optimisation (SEO) has put financial advisers in a difficult position. Do you write website content for people or the search engine algorithms?

Thankfully, you no longer have to choose. Google actually prefers natural-sounding content, in the same way as your readers will. Besides, what’s the point of landing a high Google ranking if your content won’t turn prospects into clients?

Below are eight ways of writing content that will improve your search engine ranking:

1. Write for humans, optimise for robots
Nobody wants to read SEO content, not even the search engines. Everything points to the fact that Google prefers natural content. Moreover, there’s no point in great rankings if your content doesn’t convert. Focus on your target audience – but help the robots find your content.

2. Forget about keyword density
Keyword density is one of the most tenacious SEO myths out there. But there is nothing to indicate that Google favours a certain density over another. It’s important to use relevant keywords in your copy, but use them naturally. Cramming keywords in where they don’t belong will mostly likely do more harm than good.

3. Use synonyms, related keywords and grammatical variations
Google and other search engines use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to match search results to the intentions of the person performing the search. Using synonyms, related keywords and grammatical variations is an easy way to make your content more relevant.

4. Write long, in-depth, quality content
The average web page ranking on the first page of Google has over 2,000 words. Moreover, evidence points to the fact that in-depth articles get more shares and links than short, superficial ones. Aim for content that delves deep into the subject matter and provides real insight. But DON’T write lengthy content just to please search engines – do it because you have knowledge and insight to share with your audience.

5. Take advantage of the long tail
The problem with single-word keywords is that they are usually very competitive, and ranking for them demands a huge effort. Long-tail keywords are a type of keyword phrase that has at least three (sometimes as many as five) words in the phrase. Long-tail phrases have a smaller search volume; however, the traffic quality will be higher as the visitors are more motivated and likely to convert.

6. Answer your prospects’ questions
If your prospects have questions about your product or service, they’ll probably type those same questions into Google. Provide your prospects with content that delivers credible answers and they’ll visit your site. Provide them with better answers than your competitors and they’ll want to do business with you. Additionally, answering questions is a great way of taking advantage of the long tail.

7. Get your content noticed and shared
Sharing gets you links and traffic, and the more ‘shares’ your content gets, the more relevant and popular it will seem to Google. Do your part to get your content out there and shared via relevant forums, blogs, influencers, newsletters and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.

8. Use natural title tags and snippets
Your title tag is one of the first things Google looks at when categorising the individual web page. Moreover, the combination of title tag and ‘snippet’ (meta description) is what your prospects are going to see in the search engines results pages (SERPs). So include keywords, but make your titles and snippets sound natural and focus on motivating prospects to click.

Paul Bearman, Senior Editor, Goldmine Media

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