In 2011, Google made it loud and clear that content made up a huge chunk of their ranking algorithm. In 2012, Google accented that with a slap to the face for those who were ignoring the warning set by Panda. Since then, multiple updates from the major search engine have made changes to how we write content, and that includes over 500 algorithm changes in 2014 alone.
2016 will be different for search – a new year always is. But we’ve got a not-so-sneaking suspicion that content is still going to be the name of the game.
We do think there will be a bit of a difference. 2016 is going to be all about connections. What can you connect together with your content? Who can you connect with through your content?
In today’s article, we’ll be talking about how you can write content in 2016 that will help you rank AND make valuable connections that’ll take your business to the next level.
Write “Social” Headlines
The web is more connected now than ever, thanks to social media. A few years ago, “going viral” was something very few businesses or individuals could accomplish. However, now it’s become much easier! But many business owners don’t realize this, so they don’t write content that could potentially go viral.
The best way to get a lot of traffic through social media is to write social headlines. Always keep this in mind: people are on social media for interesting, unique, entertaining content. They don’t want to read something they’ve read before. They want to read something that gives them that “A HA!” moment.
If you can provide this in your content, then allude to that through the headline, you’ll find yourself getting more traffic than ever before!
With this in mind, think about your value. If you have something valuable, people will share it. So, skip the part where you sell yourself, your product, or your service, and instead GIVE something valuable to your readers. The more valuable the video, image, content, etc, the more likely it is to be shared and then of course, go viral.
You should be posting to all the social media sites. When you write something for your main page, share it with your social media platforms. The social networks have grown strong over the last decade, and they prove to be staying around for quite some time longer.
On the Question of Length
Content length has been debated for quite some time. Should content be longer or shorter? Well, evidence has shown that the longer the content, the more likely Google is to rank it on the first page. So length is strength….
In fact, Neil Patel of QuickSprout ran a test, where he determined that in the majority of niches, websites ranking on the first page of Google all had 2000+ words on their homepages.
Why is this? Well, in general, people like having more than enough content. And it’s not just Google that says people like longer content – people actually link more to longer content too!
Now, this doesn’t mean you should go off and write 2000 words just for the hell of it. No, you need to be providing value with each of those words. This is not about fluff. People don’t like length for the sake of length. They like length because in generally, the longer an article is, the more value it contains!
If what you have to say can be done in 400 words, 600 words, 1000 words, or even 1400 words, that is fine. The idea is to write the content with quality in mind. Use the amount of words it takes to properly explain what you mean, give instruction, or whatever your intent is, and then stop. Don’t fill the article with fluff, and NEVER cut it short. If your article promises to offer something valuable to a reader, but actually doesn’t, they will move on, and probably never come back… because you lost your rapport with that reader, becoming less than an authority.
Now, when you are writing, one of the main things to keep in mind is to write naturally. DO NOT WRITE FOR THE SEARCH ENGINES, write for the reader. This means, everything you learned about keywords and SEO in 2004…chuck it out the window. Google has been working hard since that time to eliminate that old style keyword search from their pages, and now as we approach 2016, that type of search is not only gone, it can get you slapped by the search engine if you try to incorporate it in your article.
Look at the example below. The page that ranked in the #4 position for a particular search did so in only 4 months, and do you see that search phrase in the title? No! But, the content explains it well enough for the search engine to understand it belongs in that search.
Write Evergreen Content
Unless your site is geared towards information that is seasonal or easily outdated, avoid writing content of that nature. What I mean is this, if you write content that only is important around certain times of year, such as How to Stuff a Christmas Stocking for Under $10, or you create content that has statistics that will soon go out of date, like how many burgers people ate in 2015, then it is not considered evergreen content.
Of course, we all want that information listed above, and much more like it, but if your site doesn’t rely on that type of information, try writing something like How to build something, or an instructional tutorial to make the content more evergreen.
Evergreen simply means that is stays fresh for a long time, or perhaps forever without ever going out of date. This type of content is not necessary to stay alive in the 2016 world of content, but it will help you by avoiding the need to constantly remove, update or refresh your content.
Google offers a freshness score to your content, so if you do not write evergreen content, you need to understand its life cycle, and either update it or remove it before it goes stale and drops your ranking.
Internal and External Links
Within your content, make sure to highlight specific phrases and link them to relevant articles on your site.
This is fantastic for spreading the authority of your website to other pages, and also works wonders for the user experience. And as we know, Google loves sites that feature a great user experience!
But don’t just link to pages on your own site. Be generous with your links! Link to people who’ve posted interesting content. By doing this, you’re giving your readers additional insight on a topic you’re talking about, and you also increase the chance that the person you linked to will notice you.
This is a fantastic way to make a connection with someone of influence in your market. Send them a link every now and again (whenever it’s relevant). They’re likely keeping track of their incoming links, so if they see you linking to them, they may check your site out. If they like it, who knows where that relationship could go!
When creating anchor texts, it is important to offer exact matches. Moz recommends that 17% of your anchor texts be brand names.
Do not over optimize your content with anchor links to avoid being penalized by Google. You should make sure your links are relevant, useful, and of course, reliable.
Be Mobile Friendly
Since digital content is taking over, it is likely to see more and more users on their smartphones and iPads when browsing the Internet. This means, you have to write content for these users as well as the ones on the computer. Make sure your website is mobile friendly, and that you have an easy way for your users to read your content on the mobile devices without having to scroll back and forth reading one word at a time.
2016 will be a huge year for digital marketing….so be ready!
After reading this article, you should be focused on quality. The points below are quick tips for you to remember when writing content for 2016.
- Keep it social (especially when writing the headlines and titles)
- Length is strength
- Write as if you were talking to your readers
- Keep it fresh
- Link up organically
- Mobile friendly websites are essential
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