In 2019, quality content is all about one thing – solving your audience’s intent. This is something Google has been prioritising for quite some time now through its ranking algorithm updates and implementation of increasingly advanced technologies.
But despite this comprehensive and complex approach, the blueprint for creating quality content is relatively straightforward. Essentially, all you need to do is help your audience understand what it is you’re trying to tell them.
With this in mind, here’s a 10-step guide to creating quality content in 2019.
- Decide upon a topic or theme
Start by choosing a topic or theme to write about, which strongly correlates with your organisation’s industry. The more educational, the better. Try to answer the questions or solve the problems your audience has:
- What will they be searching for?
- What do they want to know about?
- What will resonate with them?
If you’ve got the time and resources, build out some buyer personas based on demographics and interests. Along with knowing that you’re targeting the right users with the right content, this should also make it easier to focus on your industry, not yourself. Don’t forget you’re trying to attract strangers to your blog, not loyal customers who would visit regardless.
- Conduct some keyword research
Despite the fact that your priority should always be educating and inspiring your audience, don’t neglect the importance of keywords. After all, they are the specific terms and phrases your audience will be typing into search engines.
Keyword research doesn’t have to be a difficult or technical exercise either, as there are plenty of easy-to-use tools available. For example, Moz’s Keyword Explorer can help you unearth over 500 million traffic-driving keywords.
Be sure to include synonyms of your keywords as well to keep content fresh and readable.
- Identify long-tail keywords
For every piece of content you create, try to focus on one long-tail keyword. This will help keep your post focused on the specific goals of your audience while also establishing domain authority through broader generic terms.
Audiences that search long-tail terms are more likely to read an entire post and subsequently browse other content on that site.
When you brainstorm long-tail keyword ideas, think about how they could contribute to a wider content strategy. For example, a series of blogs could all link to a more in-depth eBook or whitepaper, collecting those all-important lead contact details in the process.
- Come up with a working title
Once you’ve identified a topic and long-tail keyword, come up with a working title for your piece of content. This needs to catch the eye of audiences and encourage them to click your link.
A working title will also help to narrow your topic down and focus on one particular angle. Go back to your working title once you’ve finished your post and refine it to be more aligned with the content.
Although there is no perfect title, HubSpot research discovered that:
- The ideal blog post title length is 60 characters.
- Headlines between 8 and 12 words are shared most often on Twitter.
- Headlines between 12 and 14 words are liked most often on Facebook.
- Have a short URL
Your URL doesn’t have to match the title of your blog; simply make sure it contextualises what your blog is about.
Another top tip is to avoid numbers in your URL, such as years or steps. Therefore, if you update the content in the future, you don’t need to update the URL or create a 301 redirect.
- Optimise image alt-text
Search engine algorithms can’t ‘see’ images the way humans can. Instead, they look for alt-text, which tells them what the image is all about. Google will reward sites that optimise image alt text with favourable search engine positions.
Best practice is to optimise your images with descriptive variations of your long-tail keyword. This will also help those with low vision or blindness to consume your content more easily, resulting in an inclusive and accessible website.
- Write a compelling meta description
Meta descriptions, which are only between 150-160 characters in length, give search engines information about your content for more accurate and appropriate results. Meta descriptions aren’t actually that impactful when it comes to SEO, but the copy is crucial for click-through rates as it needs to satisfy user intent.
When writing meta descriptions, give your content as much context as possible, which should include a variation of your long-tail keyword. At the same time, make the copy appealing and engaging for the user.
- Include internal and external links
Whenever you make a stat or claim in your content, make sure you link to the external website from which the information came from. Even though you won’t want users to leave your site, which can always be remedied by having content open in a new window, external links often provide more context and value to audiences.
Next, provide internal links to other helpful pieces of content on your site. Not only does this encourage users to stay on your site, it also tells search engines that you’ve created a cluster of similar content. This should help boost your visibility and authority for certain subjects.
- Include and embed other types of media
Did you know that adding a video to your website can increase the chance of a front-page Google result by 53 times? This is because people take the time to watch the video, thus increasing time on page and reducing bounce rate – two of the biggest search engine ranking signals.
It’s also worth noting that the majority of people (79%) who visit your site would rather watch a video to learn than read text on a page. Once again, solve your audience’s intent with interesting and engaging media.
- Locate industry thought leaders
Don’t worry if you’re not an industry expert or thought leader on a specific topic. Do some research into people who authors high quality content and ask questions about their work – what is interesting about it, how could you make it better? This should help you discover a different angle and add something new to the conversation.
You may even want to collaborate on pieces of content with thought leaders, taking advantage of their profile and followers to shed light on your business instead.