You may already know with a sound Content Marketing Strategy you can rank on the top of Google & get unimagined levels of traffic to your website.
But how can you make sure that your hard-written and thought-out content gets you the ranking and the unimaginable traffic?
For a sound Content Strategy, your content should hit the right balance between Google and the readers… and then make sure the content remains evergreen in order to stay at the top of the rankings for a considerable period of time.
In this guide, I’m going to help you strike the right balance with your content strategy so that you get the love from Google and also from your readers as well.
Follow these chapters to understand how.
Chapter 1: The Meta Description that will get you clicks
You may already know that Meta Description is the copy that reflects in the search results that speaks in brief (About 300 characters in Google) what the content is specifically about. As per Google, over the years Meta Description has lost its relevance with Google.
Yet it is a wise decision to craft the perfect Meta Description for your content.
Because Meta Description is still shown below each search result and a well crafted one helps Google push your content to the readers especially by adding appropriately the target keyword(s) in the Meta Description & also has potential to increase the click throughs.
Before we Start!
Before diving in for the steps of crafting the perfect Meta Description, it is essential to understand the recent changes that Google has done to Meta Description.
Google has specifically made it clear that Meta Description is not to be considered as a Ranking Factor.
And here are the tweaks that Google has done to Meta Description in the recent years,
- Google has increased the Meta Description length from 160 characters to 320 characters.
- A good and needed change especially for the product pages in e-commerce websites as this will help in mentioning core specifications of the product in detail.
- Google now extracts automatically the Meta Description from the content, regardless of the Meta Description being defined for the page.
- This at large is happening with sites having higher rankings and domain authority.
- Going for a custom Meta Description is still a recommended strategy for websites with fewer pages and low domain authority.
- According to Yoast, the automatic generation of Meta Description is the sentence from the first paragraph in 2/3rd of the cases that they used in their experiment. Hence, it would be ideal that your introduction to the article follows the norm of an ideal Meta Description for the long-run.
The obvious question now in your mind would be Do Meta Description matter anymore?
In short if Google specifically says to not to think of Meta Description, does crafting the perfect Meta Description can help you get clicks?
The ANSWER is YES!
The reasons are,
- Meta Description has the potential for getting your page the Click Throughs
- Meta Description is like a pitch that you give regarding the Page’s content that you want the end-reader to know. Consider the following example for the search term ‘cake delivery midnight’ For this particular search term you can clearly see the first two search results in the SERP clearly pitch it well for the search term. The end reader who may read the same can judiciously go for the click of the link that clearly specifies solution to their need(s) in the search box.
- Secondly, there are instances where the search term gets highlighted with the corresponding keywords in the Meta Description’s content. This is a clear signal by Google that Target Keywords of your page get clearly specified to the reader.Check the attached snapshot where you can easily decipher, how google highlights by making bold the search term in the search box,
Crafting the perfect Meta Description
After clearing all the brouhaha around the Meta Description Tag let’s get down straight to understanding ways to craft Meta Description that gets you the clicks.
To understand the ways, one has to first know what sort of content is to be promoted.
Hence according to the type of page or page’s content I have segregated ways to organise your perfectly written pitch,
1. Case-Study Blog Post
1.1 Start by Talking about the Case-study
Go for the kill in your intro line.
Talk about the problem that you have solved through and to entice your reader more by mentioning the timeline in which you achieved the solution.
For instance, when it comes to a case-study that showcases about losing the love handles, your Meta Description can start like this,
“When it comes to losing love handles in 30 days you have come to the right place.”
“Here I will share my detailed steps on How I lost my love handles in 45 days straight.”
At this stage, you can also put across a line that specifies the uniqueness(if any) in your approach. It could be
“And I achieved this by exercising just 20 minutes a day”
Do note that here we have spoken about the problem with a solution in a fixed timeline.
1.2 Make the Case relatable
After enticing your reader of the solution to common cases, I also recommend that you relate with the case in consideration for the end reader. An example here can be,
“I was able to shed my love handle problem despite the regular food-intake and the busy work schedule”
1.3 Wind-it up with a Call to Action
It’s now time to get that valuable click from the reader, so end it with a CTA,
“Click on the link to understand in detail the steps I followed to lose my stubborn love handles”
2. ‘How to’ or a Guidebook Blog Post
2.1 Talk about the importance of the Topic
If the topic is about “How to make sure your Google AdWords strategy works?” you can start by mentioning the importance of the topic like,
“We all know how important it is to implement Google AdWords Strategy when it comes to generating valuable business online”
2.2 Mention the relateable challenge for the end reader
Mention the challenge your end reader would relate to, like,
“But making sure that you AdWords strategy works you need to select the right set of keywords and then have result be clicked to get them to your landing page.”
2.3 Assure your reader
Talking about the challenge needs to be followed by an assurance so as to get the reader motivated to go for the click. So, for the particular instance we are discussing your concluding line of assurance can be,
“In this post I’m going to help you make device a sound Google AdWord Strategy that gets you valuable traffic to your landing page”
3. E-commerce Product Pages
Integrate the Buy Keywords in the starting line of the Meta Description. Do make sure the Keywords make grammatical sense. Don’t think of doing keyword stuffing of buy keywords. Google is likely penalise such approach in Meta Description.
Example of ideal use of Buy Keyword in the start of Meta Description for a Product Category.
The first result’s website (pepperfry.com) although has not used the buy keywords exactly in the first line but has blended the buy keywords grammatically well in the Meta Description overall.
The second & third result’s websites (urbanladder.com & flipkart.com) have got the buy keyword right at the start of the Meta Description followed by a well readable & related description.
Now go ahead & mention about the uniqueness of your product/service/both
Ideally, here you can mention about,
3.2.1 The uniqueness in the offering (such as discounts or offers or same day delivery)
“Use Coupon Code SAVE10 to avail 10% discount.”
3.2.2 The uniqueness about the product (such as in specs or even output)
An ideal Meta Description to convey the uniqueness for a power saving ceiling fan could be,
“Save on your electricity bills with the most energy efficient ceiling fans in the market”
Ideally Homepage Meta Description approach is similar to the approach for the E-commerce Product Pages i.e First integrate grammatically correct buy keyword of your product / service at the start of the Meta Description and follow it up with the uniqueness in your product or service.
4.1 For a Service related agencies it could be
“Winner of Prestigious WOW Award for the category of BEST DIGITAL AGENCY 2018”
4.2 For Product it could be,
“All our beauty products are not tested on animals”
Wrapping up the Meta Description Chapter.
- Meta Description should be your ultimate pitch and hence you go for presenting the enticing factor(s) about your content to the reader than taking a beating around the bush approach.
- With Google sometimes generating the Meta Description of its own it will be a wise approach to keep the first paragraph or introduction to your blog similar to the Meta Description. In this way you can assure your pitch will be perfect to push the content properly to Google and readers.
Chapter 2: How the perfect Title tag can get you the love from Google
With Title Tag being the first touch point to your end reader it is essential to craft your Title Tag according to the reader’s requirement. Following are the guidelines I suggest to keep the Title Tag enticing from the reader’s perspective and friendly with Google’s Search Algorithm,
1. Start off with the Target Keyword
It is a good way to start off the title tag with the Target Keyword. If you cannot craft the title with the Target Keyword at start then include the parts of the Target Keyword in the start of the Title Tag’s sentence.
Although Google denies with Keyword stuffing in the Title tag as a ranking factor but it is still a good practice. With Google going more towards the Semantic Search approach and generating Meta Tags automatically it is a good practice to keep the H1 tag similar to your Title Tag.
2. Get those Parenthesis to convey the enticement for the reader
Use the Parentheses like (, ), [ & ] the enticing part of your content, for instance,
- [The Definitive Guide]
- (7 Proven Strategies)
- (A step-by-step Guide)
3. Include the Brand Name
A reputed Brand Name should go for conveying their brand’s name in the End. For instance in the snap below you can see famous names in the field of SEO putting their brand’s name (Backlinko, Moz & Search Engine Land) in the Title Tag,
The benefit is the end reader on knowing a reputed brand name will give preference to your link than to a brand that they are not aware of. Yet do remember an ideal Title Tag is between 50-60 characters long so you need to use the limit wisely.
Chapter 3: How to organize Headers to help Google understand & promote your Content better?
Header hierarchy should be consistent throughout the content. There are two core reasons to do this,
- Organised Headers makes Google understand the content and optimise it in Snippets
In short, place your title of the blog post in H1 Tag and all your chapters or steps in H2. So Google optimises your intro paragraph after H1 as the introduction to the article for Snippets.
For your solution or the steps listed in the post, use H2 tags for the sub-heads. These H2 Tags header then gets listed in Snippets.
Have a look at the examples below,
The 6 points listed are in H3 format. In short Google Analysed the consistency of the content and that helped Google to list the steps in H3 as Snippets.
Hence make it a point to store your core steps/guidelines under the same H2 or H3 Tag. In this very blog post that you are reading all the chapter names are inside H2 Tags. This is done with an intention to make sure these H2 Tags get listed in the snippet if someone searches on information for “content strategy for google and readers”.
2. Improves the UX
In this mobile version of Web remember one thing, Good UX helps in Good SEO of your website. With your content being organised Well within H1 to H6 tags, this would in fact help the reader grasp well the content better and help in quick navigation of content especially when it comes to going forth or back to the previous topic(s) within the content.
So make sure you have one H1 Tag (more on this in the Guidelines below) that contains your essential heading of the Articles, H2 Tags to talk about steps or the way ahead. H3 Tags to be put wisely within the sub-headers defined under H2 Tags of the content.
After understanding the importance of Header Hierarchy above, let’s focus on Guidelines that will help you organise Headers in your content,
1. Organise your Content with meaningful headings & subheadings at each step
The flow of your content has to be given a title at each step.
This helps your reader understand what information is being conveyed under that header. This will make your article not just well organised but help your reader and Google navigate well within the content.
More your content is scannable to the human eye, much better involvement of the reader will be there. With people dedicating their reading time more through the use of their mobile screen, a scannable content with Headings & subheadings will help the reader get the quick meaning of your overall content in a jiffy.
2. Enrich your Heading with Keywords
As your content with organised Headers gets received well with Google. So optimize your heading with targeted keywords. This will help Google to connect well with the list of keywords at their end and make it easier for Google to crawl and understand the organised content of yours deeply.
Please note that keywords to be stuffed in H2 to H6 tags are not the Target Keyword(s).
The Target Keyword should be well woven in side the H1 Tag of your content. There are further two advantages to this,
- Sends a clear signal to Google about the Target Keyword of the Blog Post
- In case Google automatically decides to show your H1 Tag as Title Tag then the Target Keyword will be easily conveyed to the reader and Google
One needs to understand excessive keyword stuffing should be avoided at all cost and keywords should be allocated to the H2 to H6 tags only when it is relevant. Not all Headers can meet the criteria of Keyword Stuffing. Keyword Stuffing should be done to help the Reader understand the Header in a proper grammatical way.
3. Make your Headers sound beneficial
It is in our human nature to know “what’s in it for me?”
Why not make the most of it by crafting the headers as a benefit to the end reader.
Believe it, not only does this make your Header amazing but also enticing to the end reader. Consider the following two Headers and decide which one is more enticing for the end reader,
- Digital Marketing for Business 101
- Digital Marketing gives extra wings to your business
4. Use only one H1 Tag
As specified under the second Guideline that we need to stuff Target Keyword inside the H1 Tag, make sure to use only one H1 Tag.
Stay away from the myth that only one H1 Tag has to be used through out the blog post as we have this myth dispelled via a Tweet by John Mueller who is currently a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google
But then why to keep only one H1 Tag?
Answer is simple.
With multiple H1 tags you are going take away the consistency from your blog post, in short your content will turn into bad UX that will in turn result in bad SEO.
H1 tag is to be wisely used with your Target Keyword so as to clearly send Google the signals what is the core purpose of this blog post. With multiple H1 Tags you are surely diluting the value of the core H1 tag to convey the topic of your Blog Post.
Hence, avoid multiple H1 tags at all cost. Keep the H1 Tag with the core topic of your blog post.
“Want another Topic to be discussed within the blog post?”
Make another blog post with that Topic being the core Topic of that new blog Post & internal link this new blog post inside the former blog post. This way a concerned reader can easily navigate to your Blog Post that talks about different yet relevant topic for the end reader.
Chapter 4: How Content Length can get you ‘Awe’ appeal from your Readers
The last time I checked Worldometer’s stats on daily Blog Post being published online; it showed about more than 4 million blogs getting published in a single day.
You need a serious way to stand out from the crowd. How does one do this and achieve status of being an expert of the respective industry?
Well the crucial answer is you craft the content that generates an appeal of ‘Awe’ from your readers.
And how does one do that?
By making your content Grand with a 2000 word blog post the least.
Even study suggest the same fact that large form of content of 2000 words hold an edge over short form of content.
So make your content go ‘Grand’ to make the readers feel the awe from your content just like the awe appeal that one gets from image above of Angel Falls, Venezuela.
But this is not a thumb rule to go for that each blog post should be of 2000 words. For instance if your case study is to the point and comes down to 1000 odd-words then stick to that. Adding unnecessary content to an existing relevant content will not only ruin the well crafted content but also make the user uninterested to read on further and can increase the bounce rate of your website. A signal that Google closely monitors for all the websites.
Chapter 5: How an Evergreen content can make sure your content stands the test of times
A content gets valuable social shares, comments and backlinks due to its relevance. To make sure your content is relevant in the long-run then do update the same whenever there is a change to the present way of working that will be more efficient for the end reader or your community.
Being a Digital Marketing Professional, I need to be sure that whatever I claim is backed by a study. And with the new relevant findings by studies done I need to make sure that my published content gets the relevant upgrade.
This has two advantages,
- The end reader’s image about you being an expert of your field gets reinforced
- Google respects content that is fresh, so a content that has been successful in the past and with timely tweaks to make the content more relevant by the publisher; your content is bound to stand the test of time.
Chapter 6: How to grasp Reader’s attention by Content Formatting
With attention span at its lowest, one has to make sure to grasp the reader’s attention to the max. Your content could be rich in knowledge and utility for the end reader.
But all of your efforts will simply get wasted if you just do not invest your efforts in simple ways of Content Formatting.
Follow these simple yet ideal ways of formatting your content,
Use Headers & Subheaders at the relevant places
Headers & Subheaders’ importance has been covered in Chapter 3.
But as Headers along with Subheaders form top of the hierarchy of the overall points under Content Formatting we will discuss this sub-topic in brief.
Goes without saying much and easy to perceive about how to organise Headers using H1 to H6 tags. Make sure there is consistency maintained within the main topic(H1) and subtopics(H2) within the main topic and so with usage of H3 to H6 Tags.
Headers & Subheaders gives your reader the edge about what information is being conveyed at that level and also helps in scannability of the content. With scannability well embedded in your content using Headers & Subheaders your content is bound to grab the reader’s attention till the end of the content.
Utilise Paragraphs in brief formats
Make your paragraphs simple to read by making sure the language is lucid and break the paragraphs when you are changing even the slightest of gears in your content.
Just make sure you tell a specific piece of information that will form a large paragraph than into 3-4 paragraphs that convey information easily & keeping reader’s eyeballs scan easily within your content.
For Instance here is the introduction paragraph from wikipedia for the topic The Incredible Hulk (comic book)
The Incredible Hulk is an ongoing comic book series featuring the Marvel Comics superhero the Hulk and his alter ego Dr. Bruce Banner. First published in May 1962, the series ran for six issues before it was cancelled in March 1963, and the Hulk character began appearing in Tales to Astonish. With issue #102, Tales to Astonish was renamed to The Incredible Hulk in April 1968, becoming its second volume. The series continued to run until issue #474 in March 1999 when it was replaced with the series Hulk which ran until February 2000 and was retitled to The Incredible Hulk’s third volume, running until March 2007 when it became The Incredible Hercules with a new title character. The Incredible Hulk returned in September 2009 beginning at issue #600, which became The Incredible Hulks in November 2010 and focused on the Hulk and the modern incarnation of his expanded family. The series returned to The Incredible Hulk in December 2011 and ran until January 2013, when it was replaced with The Indestructible Hulk as part of Marvel’s Marvel NOW! relaunch.
Well there is nothing wrong with the information. But a huge bulk of content will at times disappoint your reader. Hence, I suggest breaking the paragraph into small paragraphs as shown,
The Incredible Hulk is an ongoing comic book series featuring the Marvel Comics superhero the Hulk and his alter ego Dr. Bruce Banner.
First published in May 1962, the series ran for six issues before it was cancelled in March 1963, and the Hulk character began appearing in Tales to Astonish.
With issue #102, Tales to Astonish was renamed to The Incredible Hulk in April 1968, becoming its second volume. The series continued to run until issue #474 in March 1999 when it was replaced with the series Hulk which ran until February 2000 and was retitled to The Incredible Hulk’s third volume, running until March 2007 when it became The Incredible Hercules with a new title character.
The Incredible Hulk returned in September 2009 beginning at issue #600, which became The Incredible Hulks in November 2010 and focused on the Hulk and the modern incarnation of his expanded family. The series returned to The Incredible Hulk in December 2011 and ran until January 2013, when it was replaced with The Indestructible Hulk as part of Marvel’s Marvel NOW! relaunch.
List your points using Numbers or Bulleted-list
As a content writer to make the flow of your steps/methods/guide, easy & consistent use Numbers & Bullet points wisely.
Be sure to use consistency in your approach to numbers & bullet list. This will add ease of understanding to the reader.
Quotes add ease and elegance in reading. Use them effectively to put a statement from experts related to other websites with strong Domain Authority.
Embed Images & Videos
Use relevant images and videos within your content to convey information that related well.
Images especially add positive emotion and at times pushes readers to relate the meaning of the image with the content.
Well what’s the meaning of the Indian lady above enjoying Holi Festival?
To talk about it, I used it to emit positive feeling within the content.
And speaking of positive feelings from your content let’s dive in right next to the final chapter, Essential Content Strategy Tips.
Chapter 7: Essential Takeaways for a comprehensive Content Marketing Strategy
To make your content interesting for the end reader & increasingly shareable here are some handy tips for you to simply apply to your Content Strategy,
Emit Positive Emotions
You may have heard Negative News is helpful in going viral but to be frank content with positive emotion actually gets shared more.
People are looking for solutions to their problems. If your content works around a tailor-made solution that helps a person overcome their problem(s) one can surely see that content working well.
So to make your content be filled positive emotions add instances especially case-studies where it clearly gives a positive outcome. For instance,
- “20 days routine for a winning approach to life”
- “8 effective ways to achieve work-life balance”
- “How I grew traffic by 4x for my website in 15 days”
Brand your Approach
Have a unique & tested solution for a problem?
Make sure to brand it with your term.
Brand it with a term that your readers can easily relate to the problem it solves.
There are many advantages of branding your approach & promoting the content with the unique name,
- Your approach that resolves an issue for the end reader with a unique name, the chances of impressing the end reader such way is highly probable and quick. So do not miss this opportunity to be an expert in your audiences’ mind.
- The readers generate buzz by sharing your brand name. In short there is more chances of recognition with the unique approach branded by you to be viral.
- The Higher Domain Authorities can easily then backlink to your content. Such content with a unique name catches the website with high domain authority owner’s curiosity & in such way your content can get the backlink easily.
Benefits of Storytelling
Storytelling is the best way to connect with your reader and get the content shared.
Take a storytelling approach often that helps your readers grasp your content well.
Storytelling approach can be used effectively in examples given throughout your content.
Not all content can be made for Storytelling. In such cases use the language where it is more like a conversation with the end reader. This helps in reader getting immersed with your content easily.
Did you get what I am trying to convey here?
If yes, then go ahead & read the conclusion of this post.
So that’s my ultimate guide for balancing your content strategy for Google and the Readers.
Did I miss a thing here? Or may be you want to discuss about a sub-topic here?
Let me know at your ease by leaving a comment below.