How to produce high-quality content for SEO

We recently crafted an article about the importance of content marketing and just how it can be so beneficial to growing your business. 

In this article, we went over why content marketing should be a priority for your business, if it isn’t already. After all, your technical SEO can be as good as you like, but if you’re not publishing or producing something people actually want to read, you may as well have a sign up saying ‘please leave this site’. 

What we didn’t really do in that article, however, was to dig deeper into how to create high-quality content for SEO. After all, if you’re not being seen on Google, you may as well not be writing anything.

Ouch – it’s a harsh reality but the search engines really take no prisoners.

So, let’s do that for you today! 

Read on for our top tips and tricks to keep in mind as you get started on your journey to world dominion … I mean, content creation and search engine domination, of course.

Jump to:
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
    Content marketing and producing high-quality content for SEO.
    Crafting high-quality content for SEO is not always as easy as it looks.
    Content marketing and producing high-quality content for SEO.
    Crafting high-quality content for SEO is not always as easy as it looks.

    What makes high-quality content for SEO purposes?

    Thanks to Google – we know exactly how content on a site is assessed by search engines. They use the acronym E-A-T which stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness.

    These are the three factors to keep in mind at all times, no matter what type of content you’re publishing.

    Expertise

    Your piece of content needs to be written in such a way that it’s clear to people reading that you are an expert in your field. If your company sells fishing rods and your entire blog is all about fashion icons in the late 20th century, that’s possibly not the smartest content strategy to embark on, for obvious reasons…

    Authority

    Are you legitimate? Are all of your statistics referenced? Do other blogs reference you?

    Trustworthiness

    Does your blog post seem like it can be trusted? Is it really biased or obviously a sales piece? Does your URL and meta-description look spammy?

    Google and users can sniff this stuff from a mile away.

    Building up authority and trustworthiness takes a while to do. That’s why a clear content strategy is so key when it comes to building your business and brand awareness.

    This is especially true when it comes to creating high-quality content for SEO. SEO, is, after all, a very long game. The first step is to get the content out there.

    But, don’t get any piece of content out there unless it’s clear, concise, easily understandable, actionable and evergreen.

    Phew – even your Year 7 English teacher might agree that’s a lot of adjectives in one sentence (and pretty tricky to achieve).

    So, without further ado, let’s dive straight in to a comprehensive guide on how to make (and write) high-quality content for SEO.

    Trust us, Google, and your customers, will thank you for it.

    1. Don’t just start writing (seriously)

    Hold on a second, what?

    Don’t worry, I know exactly what you are thinking – didn’t you just say we needed to focus on writing high-quality content for SEO?

    Well, yes. But before you get started you actually have to do some research first. 

    Cast your mind way back to learning how to write essays in the early years of high school…

    Bliss, wasn’t it? 

    Well, anyway, when you started out learning how to write essays, your teacher probably told you first of all to read the book you were writing about and the essay question you would be responding to. 

    Turns out this was pretty good advice and something you should’ve paid more attention to at the time. The reason for this?

    Unless you know what on earth you’re writing about you aren’t going to get very far. So, think of your audience like the (probably) fantastic book you had to read for English class and get to know them really well. 

    To really make high-quality content for SEO, why not ask actual questions of actual customers that you already have?

    Find out what they want to read and learn about. You can do this in a number of ways:

    • Send out an old-fashioned email survey

    • Run polls on Instagram

    • Incentivise survey completion by offering discounts or gift cards

    • Talk to your customers directly 

    Then, when you know what your customers are interested in, you need to see what your competitors are up to and which keywords they are targeting. Finding the relevant keywords can be done in a number of ways, and there are several pieces of technology that can be very beneficial. 

    Once you’ve worked out one keyword, make sure you look for similar, relevant ones as well as keyword families that can be targeted together.

    SEMRush or Google’s Keyword Planner are two really good places to start out. Here’s 7 other must-try SEO tools, and they are all free!

    Keyword research doesn’t need to take too long, but try and target long-tail keywords. This means you’re likely to have much more chance of improving search engine rankings, as less there’s less competition on Google.

    Once you know what people want to know, you have to work out how to provide this information to them (and how to make sure Google displays it).

    Brainstorm
    Brainstorming and research are two key aspects of the process.
    brainstorm
    Brainstorming and research are two key aspects of the process.

    2. Still, don’t write yet - research

    As we said, delivering high-quality content for SEO is not just about the actual writing process, it starts much earlier than that. 

    The research stage is equally as important, if not more so, than the actual sitting down and writing. 

    Again, think back to what your teachers would have taught you. There is simply no point in going ahead and scribbling away unless you have done the research. 

    A couple of things to note here – yes you need to research, but no, you don’t need to include every piece of information you find that’s vaguely relevant to your topic. Instead, you need to define a more specific topic and really hone in on this. 

    Look for industry leaders and what they have said on the topic. Don’t be afraid to directly quote what these big guys have said (and link to them, too, but more on that later on). 

    Find a competitor’s article or blog post and look for ways to fill in the gaps that they’ve missed. Make your delivery even more snappy, entertaining and evergreen than theirs.

    Remember, SEO is a zero-sum game and two sites cannot share search engines rankings. Make sure you’re Google’s number one.

    3. Now you can start writing

    When you’re really making high-quality content for SEO, it pays to keep your tone consistent and neutral. It’s not supposed to look like one giant advertisement for your product or service. Trust us when we say that users are really attuned at picking this up. 

    Think about yourself. You know when somebody is simply rattling off a sales pitch or spiel instead of providing you with useful information that’s actually going to improve your life in the long run. 

    Don’t be that guy. The one who is so obsessed with sales, they forget that customers actually come first. Remember that Google wants to make user experience the ultimate priority, when it comes to site accessibility and content, this should be at the forefront of your mind.

    Bias can be sniffed from a mile off, so try to keep it as neutral as possible. Remember, your goal with your SEO content is to prove to Google that you have all the components of EAT down-pat. If you’re simply trying to sell something, you suddenly don’t seem awfully authoritative at all. 

    Lorna Jane Blog
    This is a perfect example of actionable, high-quality content for SEO.

    4. Make it actionable

    This is tricky, because sometimes it seems that your content is designed to be solely informative, but keep in mind that when you’re creating content, there should always be a goal at the end. 

    Maybe it’s a particular product that you want your readers to purchase, or perhaps it’s a solution to some issues they’ve been having. 

    So ensure they leave with some key takeaways. 

    Lorna Jane, an Australian brand that’s absolutely killing the ecommerce game, runs a blog called Move, Nourish Believe. They’ve really figured out how to craft high quality-content for SEO, without being spammy.

    We recently did an in-depth case study on these guys to see why their digital marketing strategy is so great. 

    Their latest article is all about how to take collagen supplements. Rather than publishing an article about the benefits of collagen for hair, skin and nails, they write about how to actually take it, whether that’s in a coffee, smoothie or oats. 

    This content gives the reader something to learn, but also something to go and so afterwards. 

    Of course, there’s a call to action with a link to where these supplements can be purchased at the end of the article. 

    This is very much high-quality content for SEO, and for users, because they have learnt something and have ideas on how to use a product in an innovative way. It’s also selling aspiration as many consumers want to look like Lorna Jane – a successful, fit and healthy woman. 

    5. KISS (Keep it Simple, Silly)

    Harking it back to the good ol’ days in the playground with an acronym many teachers are fond of sharing with their students – KISS (keep it simple, silly). And yes, I know the last ‘S’ can occasionally stand for something else.

    You’re writing for Internet users. Now, no matter how beautiful your writing style – even if you’re the 21st century equivalent of Shakespeare, you need to write simply and clearly. Writing high-quality content for SEO is not like writing a book.

    If your industry is quite technical, this gets even more important as it’s imperative you’re providing information that’s accessible by all, no matter what field they come from themselves. 

    It might be that a manager is looking to branch out and purchase some new technology, or a skydiving instructor wants to start their own website  – either way, you need to understand what you’re reading without having to do a great deal of background research. 

    These people have a lot of expertise in their own fields, but may not know everything about yours – and vice versa. So, don’t be condescending and expect everybody to know what you’re on about, especially if you have been in your chosen field for quite some time. 

    Internet content should not look and read like a beautiful thesis or university dissertation. Not only because the language used in these is too difficult for most, but the actual act of reading on a tablet or mobile device is more draining. 

    It’s actually harder for our brains to comprehend information being fed to us by such a tiny screen, and so we tend to switch off. 

    The more complicated your content, the earlier this switch-off happens.

    On the contrary, one way of driving engagement is by posting content across social media with witty descriptions and headlines, as well as calls for users to engage with the content in the comments. 

    6. Cut out the jargon.

    This is quite similar to the last point but I am honestly convinced that this deserves its own because it’s possibly the most difficult aspect of writing content.

    When you work in an industry, no matter what it is, you start speaking and writing in a different way. A lot of the time this is for ease, after all, if there are long and complicated words, you can use acronyms or shorten them. 

    But, when writing for the ‘layperson’ ask yourself if you would know what any of these words would mean if you were not in the industry. 

    If the answer is no, then either remove them all together (oftentimes they are not needed, anyway) or ensure you’ve provided a brief description of what they mean. 

    A good rule of thumb is to never ever assume somebody knows what an acronym stands for, so the first time it is included in the text it needs to be defined properly. 

    7. Don’t use swear words

    This is quite similar to the last point but I am honestly convinced that this deserves its own because it’s possibly the most difficult aspect of writing content.

    When you work in an industry, no matter what it is, you start speaking and writing in a different way. A lot of the time this is for ease, after all, if there are long and complicated words, you can use acronyms or shorten them. 

    But, when writing for the ‘layperson’ ask yourself if you would know what any of these words would mean if you were not in the industry. 

    If the answer is no, then either remove them all together (oftentimes they are not needed, anyway) or ensure you’ve provided a brief description of what they mean. 

    A good rule of thumb is to never ever assume somebody knows what an acronym stands for, so the first time it is included in the text it needs to be defined properly. 

    8. Do link to other, authoritative sources

    One easy way of ensuring your content looks (and is) authoritative is by ensuring all of your statistics and quotations are linked back to. Think of this as a bit like a modern bibliography. Instead of listing all of your sources at the end of your paper where nobody reads them anyway, you need to have these linked throughout. 

    It’s a good way of building up a network of information as well. Users might be super interested in a study you mentioned and will click on it to learn more. 

    Then there’s the simple fact that it shows you didn’t just pluck these numbers and figures out of thin air… 

    Eventually, your goal is to be viewed as authoritative enough that other people link back to your work!

    It’s a bit like creating a network of high-quality content for SEO, just make sure you’re not linking to any dodgy sites. 

    9. Link to other places on your own site

    This one is kind of a no-brainer, but it basically keeps bounce rates low if people spot other articles or pages on your site that they think they might be more interested in. 

    Sometimes, readers are going to find a particular article uninteresting for them, so try to entice them to stick around anyway and see what else your site has got going on. 

    This is also helpful when it comes to Google indexing your site. It shows them how you want a user to navigate or work through it so their crawlers do the same. 

    10. Structure the content well

    As we said before, people find it naturally much harder to read on a mobile and even on a tablet or desktop. So one thing you want to avoid is massive chunks of text that they’re forced to endure. 

    Unfortunately, they simply will not, and instead they will click off and find something else that feeds them the information they desire in an easy way. 

    So, you need to avoid long paragraphs, as in, anything more than four sentences (or lines, really). To make the page look interesting, however, it’s a good idea to vary the length of these sections. 

    Don’t have lots of one-liners. 

    A few are great. 

    But, too many, and they kind of lose their dramatic effect. 

    And it looks like you’re reading a list of groceries. 

    Do you see what I mean? Other tips include: 

    • Use bullet points to break up the page

    • Headings and subheadings should be used to guide readers through the article 

    • Use images and graphics to break up the content 

    • But things in bold and italics to emphasise them

    • Don’t use so many hyperlinks that the text looks like it was coloured in by a child

    • Avoid too much filler (a little is okay)

    • Try put statistics in understandable terms – graphics are your best friend here, too

    Another hint is to keep your information at the front of your article and at the start of each of your sections and paragraphs. This is known as front-loading, and it just saves readers time in getting to the crux of the subject matter. 

    After all, most people haven’t got all day! 

    11. Employ examples

    It’s great to talk and talk and talk about something, but, it’s even better to simply show the reader what you mean. Every 300 words or so, it’s good practice to insert images which demonstrate whatever you’ve been writing about.

    The Technical Stuff

    Like we said, SEO and high-quality content go hand-in-hand. So, once you’ve got a nicely optimised piece of content that is good to go, it’s time to turn your mind (quickly) to the fiddly bits. 

    High-quality content for SEO purposes also needs to be technically perfect – start off with these three simple aspects. 

    1. The title

    Titles should be within the 5 – 7 word limit that Google can display on the SERPs. It’s okay to have a shorter title that displays there, and then a longer one underneath when you click on the page, if you think this will serve you well. 

    You only need to have one keyword in your title tag, and just make sure it’s specific as to what the content is about. Clever, witty headlines were great for journalists in print, but just appear confusing online. 

    Don’t be afraid to play around with, and change titles, even The New York Times does this. They actually employ A/B testing to see which headings have the most impact with online readers, before they go to print the next day. 

    They sometimes have up to 9 variations and can update these as news flows in. 

    2. Meta Description

    This is the bit that appears under the title tag when it appears in the SERPs. It needs to also contain the keyword and make it really clear what the page is actually about. 

    Google has said that although meta-descriptions do not directly count towards SEO, they do determine whether or not users will actually click on the page, and your click-through-rate will eventually affect SEO. 

    3. URL

    It seems kind of self-intuitive, but many people forget that the URL also needs to be optimised. Users are likely to be scared off by really long and mysterious URLs. 

    If they don’t know what they’re following, users are much less likely to actually continue through to your page, as it looks spammy and dodgy.

    A recap

     There are three stages to creating any kind of high-quality content for SEO. 

    Firstly, comes the planning. 

    • Find out what your customers want to read about. 

    • Research, research and research. Look at what your competitors are doing and see how you can do better than them.

    • Don’t make it a sales pitch! There is honestly nothing worse. 

    • KISS (Keep it simple, silly). Clear english and concise copy works best.

    • Make it actionable, ensure there’s a call to action at the end! 

    • Avoid swear words. 

    • Link to authoritative sources.  

    • Link to other places deep within your website.

    • Structure the content well (lots of sub-headings). 

    • Use lots of examples, it makes it easier for people to understand what you’re trying to tell them if they can see it in action. 

    • Don’t forget to optimise technical elements like the title tag, meta description and URL. 

    For more about the technical elements of SEO for ecommerce, we’ve got that covered too. 

    Writing high-quality content for SEO is as much about the planning and fine-tuning as it is about the finished product. 

    But it is achievable, and it can have some great impacts on your search engine visibility, brand awareness and sales!

    About The Author