How to Create Content That Actually Converts
The world of SEO is ever-expanding, and with millions of new content being published every day, it can feel congested. Countless brands are vying to rank for highly competitive keywords within their industry, and this presents the challenge of making your SEO content stand out and convert.
by Catie Leary
The ever-expanding world of content can sometimes feel bloated. After all, millions of pieces of new content are published every day! With so many brands vying to rank for highly competitive keywords within their industry, it can be a challenge to make your content stand out and convert visitors into customers.
Table of contents
- Have a conversion strategy
- Know your niche
- Know your audience
- Quality over quantity
- Write for humans
- Be concise
- Offer takeaways
- Implement SEO
Wondering how to cut through the noise and generate those valuable leads your business deserves? Here are a few tips for creating high-quality content that actually converts.
1. Have a conversion strategy.
A good SEO strategy will attract visitors to your site via search engines, but if monitoring increases in search traffic is all you’re focused on, you’re missing the point. Search traffic is all fine and dandy, but if your SEO efforts aren’t resulting in conversions (or if you just aren’t sure), how do you know if it’s worth the investment? Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do your visitors do when they arrive at your site?
- What actions are they encouraged to take?
- Do users tend to interact with one call-to-action more than another?
- Are you able to track user movements throughout your site?
- Is your search traffic actually resulting in product purchases, contact form submissions, phone calls, or other types of conversions?
The answers to these questions lie in your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy — that is, if you have one! The bottom line is that if you’re serious about tracking and improving upon your digital marketing strategy, you need a CRO strategy.
2. Know your niche.
One of the biggest challenges of creating high-quality content is identifying your niche market. In the SEO world, a niche is a highly specific area of focus that is generally less competitive than broader focuses. For example, while competing in a very broad market like “dog treats” might be an uphill slog, you might have more success tapping into a niche market like “organic gluten-free dog treats.”
Without defined niches, you’re likely generating content without a clear direction or strategy. A great way to identify your niches and create unique content based on those niches is to implement a content cluster strategy. Content clusters leverage strategic internal linking to boost your search performance, but they also help you to identify the “content gaps” in your existing content. This means you’re never running out of ideas for content that targets your niche.
Just starting out with SEO content creation? You may not have enough content to really conceptualize those content gaps with content clusters. In that case, a good starting place for creating content based on your niche is to tackle questions that you hear most often from your customer base. One of our favorite tools is Answer the Public — simply type in a keyword related to your industry, and it will spit out a visual diagram of the most common question-based search engine queries for that keyword.
3. Know your audience.
As you begin generating a list of content topics pertaining to your niche, you’ll also need to consider that niche’s audience. There are several questions that you need to ask yourself to determine whether a content topic is worth writing about:
- What makes this information relevant to your niche’s audience?
- How will your audience benefit from the information you are offering?
- Would your audience share this on their personal or professional social media channels?
- Can your audience get this same information elsewhere? What insight can you provide that competitors cannot?
4. Aim for quality over quantity.
You may have heard that Google rewards sites that publish content every day. Does this mean you should scale your content production to match that? The answer is “probably not.”
Unless you’re an online publication or a major corporate brand with substantial resources allocated for content creation efforts, churning out vast quantities of content will likely require you to sacrifice quality. The end result is thin, sloppy content that is unhelpful to your audience. And because search engines have a vested interest in bringing high-quality search results to their users, that low-quality content can also damage your SEO efforts.
That said, we still recommend publishing content on a regular basis, whether it be once a week, a couple of times a month, or even just once a month. The frequency will depend on your resources and budget, but what matters the most is that the content follows a “quality over quantity” approach.
5. Write content for humans first.
To expand upon the “quality over quantity” point, it is critical that your content is, first and foremost, written with your niche’s human audience in mind.
We get it. When you’re putting together an SEO strategy, it’s tempting to do everything in your power to rank for your desired terms. You may be tempted to heavily gear your content to appeal to search algorithms, even if it’s at the expense of your readers.
However, it’s critical to keep in mind that the purpose of your strategy should be to reach real people. After all, it’s real people who will be using your products or services.
If the only way you’re able to reach people is with useless, poor quality content that is stuffed with keywords, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Real people will see through you, and as we have discussed a million times over, so will search engines.
As search engines become more intelligent, it is becoming significantly easier for them to penalize sites that employ nefarious SEO tactics to “game the system.” This means that even if you manage to rank for the desired keyword using below-board tactics, you’re unlikely to hold that position very long.
6. Be concise.
Contrary to popular belief, writing concisely doesn’t mean writing less. It means writing clearly.
Content strategist Marli Mesibov sums up the distinction (concisely!) over a UX Planet:
“A concise sentence or paragraph has no unnecessary terms, but contains all the information required to be well understood and valuable.”
Why does concise writing matter for SEO content? Well, if your content is long-winded and unnecessarily wordy, there’s a chance you might be boring your readers before they have a chance to convert.
How do you ensure your writing is concise? Our number one recommendation is to hire an editor. Editors do so much more than catch typos — they make sure content is readable and concise, and for that, they are worth their weight in gold.
Another way to make your content more concise and readable is to break up “walls of text.” This is especially crucial for long-form content with 1,000 words or more.
Longer content is valuable because it demonstrates authority and depth, but it can also be difficult for readers to digest without elements like header tags, bullet points, imagery, embeds, and “takeaway” content (which we discuss in the point below).
7. Offer valuable takeaways.
Your content should be more than just a strategic arrangement of keywords. First and foremost, it should offer value to your site visitors — whether that’s an answer to a question or a solution to a problem.
Some of the most tangible and powerful takeaways you can offer your reader include:
- Charts and diagrams to articulate complex concepts
- Step-by-step instructional videos, gifs, and graphics
- Embedded social media posts to provide context
- Downloadable assets, such as white papers, infographics, printables, and other “freebies”
- Links to resources and further reading
Regardless of what form they take, these “takeaways” are what separate mediocre content from truly excellent content.
8. Ensure success with on-page SEO and link building.
No matter how comprehensive or helpful your content is, it means very little if it’s not appropriately supported by an overarching SEO strategy. That means your on-page SEO — elements like title tags, meta descriptions, image alt text, URL structure, and page loading speed — should be flawless. For even better results, your content strategy should be closely intertwined with white hat link-building efforts.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’re better positioned to put together a content strategy that is both useful to your target audience and recognized by search engines as high-quality.
Kickstart your content strategy today.
At SiteCare, our dedicated SEO team takes the mystery out of a content strategy with one-on-one consultations and strategic planning. Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services.