19 simple tips for writing an SEO friendly blog.

seo friendly blog featured image

How to write an SEO friendly blogs

Social media may be the darling of the marketing world, allowing creatives to put together engaging images, videos and audio, but Google search is still the best way to find engaged, motivated and interested consumers. Google can’t understand video, so an SEO friendly blog is still by far the best content marketing strategy for organic search.

So, how do you write content that Google can read and will like? Well, first and foremost, Google wants you to write for people not for machines, so your audience has to be the clear focus f your writing, and Google is constantly developing it’s algorithm to reflect customer engagement, relevance and enjoyment in assessing sites.

There are two key aspects.

Technical factors for SEO friendly blogs.

This means making sure that your site is set up properly and offers an effective user experience, one which is easy to navigate, responds quickly and doesn’t block user access to data. Google is increasingly using engagement stats like bounce rate, pages per visit, average session time etc as a proxy for user experience and these can be affected by how fast your site is, your organisational and linking strategies and the level of pop-ups you use etc.

SEO Friendly blog - technical SEO

This is an evolving subject and I have written a more detailed article here about Technical aspects of blogging.

Creative factors that improve on-page SEO.

If your site is set up correctly to provide a strong customer experience, you need to populate your site with relevant, engaging and entertaining content, that will attract and retain the attention of the reader, and hopefully drive them to explore and return to your site, building a long term relationship with you and your service offering.

Relevant content

Google’s objective is to give the searcher the best possible answer to the questions they ask, not to help advertisers find the right customers. The onus is on the site owner to make sure that they meet the needs of the searcher, hence having content relevant to the search is essential.

That means making sure you answer their questions, use their language and avoid terms which mean something to you and nothing to them! Potential customers no longer need to spend time working out whether a site or page is relevant to them, they expect Google to have done that for them, so you need to make it very clear to Google what your page is about and how to find more relevant content on your site. That means:

  1. Make sure you understand the questions potential clients might be asking that you are the answer to. Remember, people search with questions, not with answers, so you need to write in the same way.
  2. Use language that means something to your reader, not just to you. 
  3. If your content answers more than one question, maybe split the page into separate articles, each answering one of the questions.

Researching the right content is essential, so if you want to know more, read this next.

SEO Friendly blogs are Entertaining and engaging

Google needs to be able to read your content and understand it, and there are certain things you need to do to help this which we will cover below

However, the most important reader is human, and your content has to be written with them in mind before anything else. You want to build a relationship with a human, not a machine, so make sure you communicate with them in a way that reflects how you want to appeal and appear to them.

seo friendly blog - standing out in the chaos

Answer the right question.

This is particularly true in service businesses, where developing a sense of authority and demonstrating competence help to overcome buyer objections and simplify the buying process.

Help the reader quickly see how relevant the content is.

The days of padding articles with loads of keywords are long gone. Articles need to be written in clear language, and quickly demonstrate how the content is relevant to them. Most readers don’t “read” articles at first, they skim, so consider using images, intros and headings which help quickly demonstrate how relevant the content is.

Make the content engaging.

If it’s not informative, entertaining or well structured, people will switch off, so it’s worth investigating creative writing techniques, particularly storytelling to help you understand how people absorb information and how this can help you write better. An SEO friendly blog is a reader friendly blog!!

Want to know more?

This follows on from the relevancy points made above. Your article should focus on one concept, issue or insight, and not cover too much irrelevant content. If you find that you need to explain something in more detail, or there are related subjects, these should form the basis for other articles that link to the article you are writing.

This serves multiple purposes, letting your reader focus on the specific subject at hand, but also helping them to understand where they can go to find related content. This helps them and you, as Google is increasing looking at stats like

Average pages per visit and session times as metrics which affect your site score.

SEO friendly blogs – How to write content that readers will like and Google will rank.

Don’t get in your own way!

The biggest failure for writers is not writing anything, so don’t let doubts and uncertainty stop you from getting written content up on your site. It doesn’t matter if other people have written similar articles, or if you don’t think your writing is up to scratch, No one is perfect, so just learn as you go.

Know your audience

Effective writing starts with a clear understanding of what the reader is looking for, so spend time researching what questions they ask, what words they use and the sort of content they are interested in to understand this better before your start. Google is very good at providing clues to what to look for offering tips on keywords and questions asked and the searcher’s intent.

Know yourself.

Ultimately you are seeking to build a relationship so your level of interest and enthusiasm will affect how engaging the reader finds you, so write about subjects which interest and excite you. Over time you’ll cover other subjects, but it’s perfectly Ok to focus on your favourite subject first!

Pick a specific keyword phrase

SEO Friendly blog - do you key word research

If you are in business for a while you understand what your customer issues are, how they talk and what they ask you, so remember that, when they search, they are likely to use the same terms. They are searching for answers, so this is what Google is trying to deliver, and you need to write if you want to be found.

Google is actually very good at providing hints on this, so spend some time researching the topic and make sure you understand which phrases come up most often.

Avoid the temptation to cover too many things in one article, as this both confuses readers who are only looking for a specific answer and reduces your opportunity to write other articles.

Have a clear idea of your specific keyphrase or word and make sure you use it in the right places.

Focus on the long tail

Long tail keywords are more detailed phrases that indicate a searcher has a specific target in mind, and has focussed theri search specifically to find it. This indicates they are more motivated and more likely to convert than people using simple words with multiple meanings.

For example, someone searching for “chair” could be looking for furniture, a role in a company, a university place or somewhere to sit down, whereas someone looking for “blue, fabric dining room chair” has a very specific product in mind!

Structure your article properly

Make sure that the article’s structure means the expectation of the search and title. If it’s supposed to be a list, make sure it’s a list, if you’ve said it’s a “how-to”, make sure it tells the reader what to do etc.

Satisfaction is the difference between expectation and reality so make sure you manage and meet those expectations.

If you are trying to communicate a more detailed concept, then storytelling is a very effective technique which uses 10,000 years of oral storytelling traditional to help communicate in a way our brains are trained to understand. Hubspot have a great article on Storytelling.

If you are offering a solution, make sure it is actionable

There is nothing worse than thinking you’re going to find the solution to your bad back or marketing problem only to find an article which offers no advice or actionable solutions, and this will put your reader offer and ensure that never read you again.

It also means you should be thinning “where next?” when writing your article and make sure there is a clear customer journey for them to follow, whether it’s to more information, a definition of your product or service or a way to purchase, as long as it’s relevant to the article and where the potential customer is in their journey.

Write a relevant introduction

Your introduction is key for several reasons. It helps readers understand quickly what the article is about and Google’s bots also focus on this section so it’s important to get your Keyword/phrase in early.

Use headers effectively

Headers serve two purposes. Firstly they let the reader understand quickly what the article is about and whether it’s relevant to them ( a table of contents for long articles can also help here)

Secondly, it’s the first place that Google looks to understand what your content is about. It is therefore essential that your Title and Main subheadings contain your keyword or phrase.

And I do mean headers, not titles. HTML uses a formatting concept called “headers” to define the formatting for titles, subheadings, sub-subheadings etc. and Google specifically looks for these tags in the HTML code to understand your article.

So, your bold and underlined titles may look bice, but if they are not properly tagged as H1, H2, H3…. headers, Google won’t realise they are important, which will affect your ranking.

Write content of the relevant length

Tl:DR is a common phrase now, indicating that the reader couldn’t be bothered to read the article in detail, mostly because we are more time poor and readers are more discerning.

Partly this is caused by articles having no obvious structure or too much text but often they are just too long! It’s probably the question I get asked the most, how long should an article be? However, there is no hard and fast rule, it really does depend on the topic.

I recently read two interesting articles on the topic which looked at which pages get the highest ranking on Google. One article concluded that the optimum length was 5,700 words, the other concluded it was between 1,250 and 1,750 words.

Why the difference?? Well basically it comes down to the topic. One article looked at Marketing content the other at sporting content, and the main conclusion is that the length varies depending on what you are writing about. Padding will kill your article, so write as much as you feel you should to cover the subject without being flabby, boring or repetitive.

There is a bottom end however, and that’s technical. One of the things Google ( and I think FB/Instagram) looks at is the ratio between code and content. Your page has loads of HTML in it which tells the browser how to present the content. Lots of code and no content suggests a page with little informational value and can be negatively affected from a SEO perspective, so try to aim for a minimum of 4-600 word for an article.

Write for your audience.

SEO Friendly blog. know your audience

Unless you are using blogging as a catharsis, it’s likely that you want to attract people to your site using your content, hence it needs to appeal to them and be relevant. Use words they use and make sure you are writing from the problems perspective. People with bad backs don’t care how pain killers work, they just want to know that they get rid of pain, so make sure you show how the reader will benefit.

Use images and videos when relevant

Images help communicate ideas more effectively than words, and help break down the text, hence improve the readability of the article. However, they need to be relevant and appropriate. Writing a short article and dumping loads of images in will not help the readability of the article, it’ll make it worse!

Also, check with Google and see whether image content is relevant and interesting. Search for your key phrase, and, if Images results are above the Search results, consider add more images, a pinterest page or a gallery for your chosen subject.

Don’t forget Alt-text!

A simple one, but Alt-text (a written description of an image that helps blind people understand the web) is a great place to add keywords and can help you appear on image searches.

Craft a powerful, eye-catching but relevant Title

Whilst it won’t guarantee a high ranking, your title will have a massive impact on your click through rates so it is essential that it communicates the subject and clearly demonstrates what the reader should expect.

There are lots of formulas that talk about power words, including numbers etc, and they can be effective, but ensuring the title adequately reflects the content is arguably more important especially as engagement and satisfaction stats become a greater part of the ranking algorithm.

Make sure your metadata is correct

From an SEO perspective, this means making sure your URL, Title and Description clearly communicate what the article is about and contain the keyword you want to rank for. Length is key here, you only have around 75 characters for your title and 160 words for the description so be concise!

Use Links effectively

Links are the lifeblood of the internet and Google expects to find and use them. These come in two flavours, Internal and external.

You should be including links to other resources on your site as it helps people find more relevant information, keeps them on the site and increases potential for engagement. Make sure they open in new tabs, and that the text of the link tells you what the link leads to.

Google also wants to see links to other sites, and you can use this to support related businesses or add credibility to your own information. Again, set these to open in another tab and make sure they are a mix of follow and no-follow links.

Organise your content properly using Categories

SEO friendly blog

Organising content on your website makes it easy to find relevant content and increases the chances that your readers will stay longer and read more. Creating detailed hierarchy of evolving content is tough, and runs the risk of broken links, so consider using categories ( one per article) to keep track of your content.

Help readers find new content through related posts

Related post plugins let you present 3-5 articles that have similar ideas or content. This is particularly easy if you have added a category to each article, as this can be used as a search term on the plugin.

Promote your content

We all want our content to be found organically, but it’s always worth giving it an extra push! This can be as simple as posting on a relevant social media channel, adding a comment to a forum or answering related questions on site like Quora.

Why spend time on researching keywords and Phrases

Search Keywords and phrases

Whether you are writing content, creating a search friendly website or planning on investing in adwords, picking the right words and phrases is essential if you want your content to be seen.

It’s not an easy task, but if you are a small business operating in a relatively small niche and have a bit of patience and creativity you should be able to quickly pinpoint those phrases that will help you stand out.

Before we look at the process you need to follow, lets look at the reasons why keywords and phrases are so important.

How do people find information

For the vast majority of people, their main source of information is the internet.

They will either specifically search for the information they seek or notice relevant and interesting posts or ads on social media because they have expressed an interest in a subject through hashtags, follow thought leaders, or are parts of specific groups.

In any event, the information they seek will be presented to them, not by advertisers or writers, but by algorithms and expert systems that assess their informational needs and try to match them to content that expressly meets their needs.

So, if you want your content to be seen, you need to understand how this works.

Expert systems

Most algorithms are expert systems that look at pages and assess whether they meet certain characteristics. These are learning systems that use feedback from real people to fine-tune the criteria that they use to rank the pages based on a hierarchy of relevance.

Whilst they are all proprietary and different, most follow the basic model that Google uses in its mission to “Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Even Twitter and Facebook try to present posts that are relevant, not just new.

Building a strategy based on providing information that people see will increase visitors to your site. It’s a bit like opening a shop, you want it to be at the front door and looking inviting rather than being round the back near the bins!

Example.

If you search for Private Dentists for children on Google, the system will aim to provide you with a page that is

  1. Close to you. Make sure that you have claimed your site on Google Business.
  2. Offers the most relevant information based on your query. It will try to match pages that specifically match the search term, then, if it cannot find these, for specific keywords like “dentist”. This is why your content needs to have a consistent keyword strategy.
  3. Try to assess why you are looking for information and match content that meets your intentions. In this case, it is likely that you are looking to visit a dentist not learn about dentistry, so it will present Surgeries rather than an outline of why kids should wash their teeth
  4. Authority. Google will seek to present information from sites with High Authority, where the information is credible and has been found to be useful by other people and sites in the past. This is where backlinks come in, it’s part of the way Google scores how good the web thinks your content is. Links from the Irish dental authority, or articles you’ve written for A children’s health website will work here, giving you traffic and authority.
  5. User experience. This is a rank of how closely the experience of clicking on a link matches what the average user is looking for. An example is pop-ups and sales messages on a landing page. If the user is searching for the top ten plants for a south-facing garden and the landing page is just a sales message for a garden centre, or if the content is covered by a pop-up ad, this doesn’t match the search intent and therefore will be ranked badly.

Where online communications are used, your need ensure that

1. the content you are providing meets the needs of the searcher

2. you understand how important it is to promote your content and how to do so as this will increase your ranking and pull in visitors

3. you understand what your customers are searching for and how keyword searches can help you boost SEO, but, more importantly, create content which is readable, relevant and enjoyable

 

 

 

 

 

What is search intent and why is it important

What is search intent and why is it important

When people search they are not always looking to buy. most often they are just looking for information, in order to better understand a subject or issue, before looking for more detailed information at a later date.

This is important for two reasons

1. if a customer is just looking for information, bombarding them with sales messages is not answering their question and is going to put them off.

2. google actively assesses user intent and uses this to present pages which have the most relevant answer

4 types of buyer intention

Informational Search intent.

At this point the customer is doing general research about an issue or subject, they are trying to understand their context and situation better, seeking to understand what options are available to them, rather than making a decision. Content marketing helps to position you as an authority at this stage and so you are looking for long tail keywords and questions you can build content around.

Commercial investigation.

At this point, the customer is seeking to compare alternative decisions. Reviews, case studies, and comparisons work well here. Again, this is a content focussed area, but, if the product is relatively generic, ad words will fit well. Top tens, best XYZ or comparison articles go well here.

Transactional.

At this point the customer is making a decision. they are looking for the cheapest, best, discounts, Where can I. buy or Near me types of investigations. At this point, you are looking at Adwords.

Navigational.

This is where they are looking for a specific site, so are using the title, brand or company name to find the site rather than adding the URL into the navigation bar.

If you don’t know what sort of search it is, look at what sort of content Google is displaying as this will often give you a clue.

Why are you researching?

Keyword research is iterative and, to a certain extent, non linear. As you search for the keywords it will spark ideas of content etc. so it’s not a step by step approach necessarily.

As you research you will identify thousands of words and phrases that could be used, so it’s important to understand what you are using them for. Be clear about your objectives before you start.

For AdWords

The intention here is to target searchers who are in buying mode. Your objective is to identify words that signal buyer intent and have sufficient volume and are cost-effective enough to generate actions conducive to buying.

For content writing.

Here you are looking for interesting and relevant ideas which are going to entertain and educate searchers about a specific subject, allowing you to position yourself as a trusted authority. Here you want relevance and interest and are seeking informational buyer intent. you are looking for questions and phrases, not buying words, products or brands. Subjects for youtube videos or Blog articles are a good example

For on-page SEO.

Keywords are still an essential part of search ranking, so if you want to be high on the list, you need the right keywords for on-page SEO and the right links of Off-page. The key here is relevance and competition. If Accounting is your area and the first 20 entries on google are Colleges and National bodies, it will be almost impossible to rank for, so you need to find phrases where there is less competition and a good volume.

For off-page SEO.

Here you want to find sites that carry content that is relevant to your subject area, and the kinds of content they carry, as this will allow you to write content that they might carry, or where to promote existing content.

 

What tools can I use for Keyword research

What tools can I use for Keyword research?

Keyword research can be as limited or as detailed as time and budget allows. youtube, facebook and google all contain information that will point you in the right direction, but there are also free and paid tools which can give you more insight, depending on your needs.

Google is the heart of search. It’s the most common search engine and is the leader in search technology, so many of the main social and content channels follow the same methodologies, so it will always be the place to start.

It is also well worth using chrome as your browser, as there are a range of extensions that can help, and are exclusive to chrome.

Most of these tools work by scraping google’s auto suggest or related search terms, so they are acting to automate what you can do manually.

Keyword search tools

SEOStack

This is a chrome extension for brainstorming. It takes a keyword and searches for the top ten most popular searches on a range of platforms, returning literally hundreds of statements, questions, keywords and phrases. There is no detail on volumes, but it’s great for idea generation

KWsurfer

This is another chrome extension that lets you look at how popular a keyword or search term is. As you enter a search term it displays estimated search volumes and CPC rates for the territory you specify within the search bar, a list of similar terms ranked by search volume and similarity. it also gives some limited information on the top 10 web results.

Moz Bar

Moz bar gives you a bit more information on each site, and is more related to off pages SEO. the extension adds detail to about page and domain authority to each web result, plus access to details on backlinks, but this is limited without paying for Moz

Text optimizer

This extension is designed to help you improve your content writing by offering suggested words or phrases that can help you broaden out your writing, both from a readability and SEO perspective. However, it can be effective for keyword research. If you find an article that you like, it can identify the most common keywords on the page. you can use this to analyse the most popular searches on a page for example

Tube buddy

This extension gives details about videos and channels on Youtube, like number of and trends in subscribers and views. It also exposes the tags on each video and channel which can give you a read on what keywords are attached to popular videos. Going deeper , there is a suite of additional tools like keyword explorer which will assess specific words, but you may need to pay.

Keywordfinder.io

This is a good research tool, which gives you monthly search volumes, trends, estimated CPC rates, and a rank of the competitiveness of the word. It’s a bit clunky and you can’t specify a region, but it’s generally a good tool.

Keywordtool.io

this is a great tool if you want to see details about youtube, twitter or instagram. It also tracks keywords popular on ebay and amazon. say you want to come up with thought leaders on instagram for Accounting? this tool will list the most popular people and hashtags. the down side is that it doesn’t give you volumes for free, and I am not sure that the lists are ranked. However, from a pure ideation perspective, it works very well

Competitor and site activities

Analysing popular and competing sites can be exceptionally powerful to assess where they get their content from, what they rank for, who links to them etc. and these range from the free to the exceptionally expensive enterprise-level tools.

Just a word of caution. Information costs money, free tools will have limited info, detailed sites will be expensive. it;s also worth noting that Google doesn’t give out this kind of information, so these sites provide data based on their own databases and estimations, so there will be discrepancies between each tool.

Ubersuggest

This is a great place to start as it will give you basic information on a range of criteria using either a domain or keyword as a source. This can give you detail on which keywords a particular site ranks for, which pages are the most popular, where they get backlinks from and what content is popular for a particular subject.

It’s increasingly being pulled behind a paywall as user numbers increase, but it’s a good place to start.

Moz vs Ahrefs vs Semrush

These are the pro level tools, and are exceptionally good for managing your own site, running keyword and competitor research and a whole host of arcane and specialised tasks. They tend to be very close approximations of google, and can give you exceptional insights on keywords, competitors and popular sites.

But they aren’t cheap. expect to pay 100 per month minimum for access, with more complex tasks and tools adding significantly to this. Competitor analysis on Semrush will set you back at least 300 per month for example!!!

Unless your business is online marketing or you have a high ad spend, it’s debatable whether you will get the value from it. However, if this is a one off project, Moz and Semrush give limited time trials, during which you should be able to capture a lot of information.

Customers

Customers sit at the heart of keyword research because you are looking to identify what they want to know and how they search for it. Conversations with customers will highlight phrases and words that commonly come up. If your customers are using the same words and phrases over and over, chances are they are going to use the same lexicon when they search.

 

Boost your small business with simple content marketing ideas

Finding great content marketing ideas

If knowledge and skills are your business, demonstrating credibility and capability is essential, and well planned content marketing can significantly increase your authority and value to potential customers.

Why include content marketing in your strategy

Content marketing refers to any approach that seeks to educate and inform, leading from basic blogging and video content up to complex elearning strategies as part of a wider onboarding strategy. 

It incorporates Social content strategies, youtube channels and web content, and gives potential clients a much better sense of who you are and what value you can bring to them which increases your perceived value. 

However, with over a billion new pages being added to the internet each day, how can you hope to stand out?

It’s actually quite simple, as long as you understand how your customers learn, and how search engines like Google organise search results based on search intent.

Think in terms of questions not words

Long tail keywords have been a viable paid search strategy for a while, using smaller, more focussed groups of keywords where you trade lower search volume for disproportionately higher conversions, and therefore, potentially higher volumes of leads at a lower price per conversion. 

This is driven by increased specificity in searches as we all have to filter out irrelevant search results to get closer to the information we want. This has led to longer, more focussed search terms that seek to answer questions rather than just basic keywords

Long tail key words
Semrush's illustration of the value of Long-tail keywords

People aren’t just searching for “shoes” anymore, now we are more likely to search for “shoes near me” or “black trainers near me”, or even “ which shoes shops have the best discounts”, and each of these searches tells us about what kind of information people want to hear.

But, Google is not clever enough to make the connection between the question and the answer, so you need to be specific, telling google the question that you are answering with your content.

Understanding how people search online.

We tend to buy things that help solve a problem. Whether it’s as basic as buying food because we’re hungry, taking a bus to get to work, the size of the problem will tend to correlate to the value we put into the solution and the effort we are prepared to put into finding it.

For more complex problems, we often don’t have a ready-made solution at hand, and will seek information that allows us to understand our problem, it’s potential solutions and what we need to do to implement them.

Understanding this process, and providing guidance at an early stage helps you engage with potential customers earlier, increasing your value to them and potentially your conversion rates. 

However, it does require you to realise that you do more than just provide a service, and accept that there may be other solutions.

Imagine you’re a yoga instructor, is your value only in teaching someone a new position, or, are you really helping them solve their stress or pain problems?

Discovery - what is my problem

Keeping with the Yoga analogy, few people wake up in the morning thinking I must learn yoga!”.

Instead, they wake up after a restless night wondering why their neck hurts, or why they didn’t sleep well, and, if this continues, they are going to start looking for a solution, possibly googling “lack of sleep”, Causes of sleeplessness” etc. 

This will lead them to isolate a possible cause, and motivate them to find a solution.

Understanding - what's the root cause of my problem

Neck pain is often the cause, but what’s causing the next pain, is it a posture issue, a sports injury or something wrong with the pillow of bed? There are still loads of potential solutions, so our insomniac will likely search for more information to isolate the cause and get closer to a solution. 

Once they realise it’s a posture issue, they can then focus on a set of potential solutions, which might include a new chair, changing their working practices, learning some new stretches or getting a massage, but they are closer to finding a solution that will solve their particular problem.

Do it yourself

Most people will try to solve their own problems, before they spend money on a solution, so will seek out exercise videos, How-To’s etc, that let them try out a possible solution before they commit. 

It’s only once they have exhausted the free solutions that they will look to buy, so only at this point will the specific search terms that are traditionally used are relevant.

Be the solution provider

As this brief example demonstrates, most people will have gone through a comprehensive search process before they start looking for a specific provider online, and it’s likely that the earlier you engage with a client in the process, the more valuable they will see you and the more likely you are to be the provider of choice when they get to making their decision.

You’ve been there from the start and are demonstrably interested more in helping your client than taking their money.

How to find the right questions

There are millions of guides on the internet that tell you how to find the right keywords for your business, but most of these are internally focussed, identifying the words that describe you, not those that your customers are trying to find. 

So, rather than thinking about yourself, think about what language your audience uses, and what questions they ask.

Customers

Obviously your customers are the best people to listen too, and, assuming you’re a people centred business that engages with your clients, you’ll have a good sense of what motivated them to find a solution in the first place. 

The trick, however, is to look a bit deeper. You’re not interested in why they picked you, but what triggered the journey in the first place, what underlying need motivated them to seek answers and take action. 

We call these “pain points”, stressors in a person’s life that are bad enough to take action to remove, and therefore of great value. 

Understanding the pain point gets you closer to the root cause and the start of their journey, and allows you to reinforce how much value you add at a basic level. 

Understanding search intent and how Google uses this.

Sometimes this isn’t easy, or we operate too far from our clients, so how do we understand what people are searching for? Thankfully, Google is there to help us out. 

Google wants to be the researcher’s friend, seeking to give you the best possible answer to your question or query, and it starts by understanding the intent behind your search. You will have noticed how the search results page changes depending on the type of search you make, and this is because Google seeks to assess your search intent, deciding whether your goal is buying or information. 

This is important, because it will affect whether you’re placed highly or not, and if you’re not on page 1, you’re effectively nowhere! 

If Google thinks a search has an information intent, i.e. the reader is looking for information, it’s unlikely to present shopping or eCommerce responses, meaning that you will not be placed.

People also ask

Once Google decides on the type of search, it presents different content types, like featured snippets, that will highlight strong answers and help guide the searcher to the best content. It also presents a very useful tool called “ people also ask”, which highlights some of the most popular search queries related to the search term that you asked for.

This can help you refine your subject area and find interesting topics to write about.

Answer the public

There are a number of sites like Answer the Public, which collate potential questions and queries based on a seed phrase with the addition of a preposition. So, for example, they may start with “neck pain” and then use complex algorithms to create sentences, by adding “How” or “What” giving you a set of potential subjects to write about.

Quora

Forums are also a great source of questions. If there are any industry forums, try joining and searching these to get a better understanding of the kinds of queries your audience asks. It’s also a good place to start building connections and a presence, as you can also add your answers to the forums. 

More generic sites like Quora or Reddit can also be helpful, although Reddit is often not for the faint hearted!  Quora is a Q&A site, where people can ask specific questions to be answered by the general population. Searching for a subject will help you build a picture of the priority queries, and those in your industry who are also actively answering. You can find ideas for content marketing and obviously add your own answers.

Build a long term web presence with content marketing

Content on your website is permanent and the more credible and well written content you include the more likely you are to be found. Covering your subjects in more detail, aligning your content with the searches being made and improving your relevance increases your search ranking and therefore the number of people likely to see you. 

You can obviously use social media to promote your content, but remember, you are trying to make your site more visible, not Facebooks, so don’t waste your best content on post. Create valuable content for your site, then create shorter posts for Social media. That way you can build your audience amongst both groups and drive more traffic to your site.