This guest post is by Keith Bishop of Online Digital Junkie.
If your goal is to publish a lot of meaningless content that doesn’t get read, then you’re in the wrong place. On the other hand, if you desire your pages to engage and help the reader take some type of action based upon what they were searching for when they found your site, read on.
With time and proper SEO practices, visitors will likely show up on your site through search by using keywords that relate in some way to your page. With that said, it only makes sense that you should optimize your off-page content in a way that promises to alleviate whatever issue led the searcher to your door.
All you have to do is consider the impact of your keywords before you use them. This is very important because the keyword you choose is actually your first promise to your potential visitor. If I were going to rank something like “why is the sky blue,” I would want to make sure my page does a couple things right away so that they click my link.
Proper meta data
A good way to digest meta data is to view it as a miniature representation of your real page, sort of like a business card. It includes a title, description, and tags. Tags are not as important to search anymore so I will focus this article on just the title and description.
The first thing that has to be done is to come up with your title. Meta titles are the text you see at the very top of the page, on the tabs, and beside the little logos known as favicons.
They are also the linkable text that you see in the search engine results page (SERP). This means that it is the first thing your potential visitor sees in regards to organic search traffic.
You might use something like; “have you ever wondered why the sky is blue?” Did you notice that the keyword is in the page title? This is important for search engines and visitors alike. Search engines and visitors use it to help determine what your page is about. It can push you rank higher and get more clicks because it is directly relevant to your chosen keyword.
Another must-do is to clearly let the reader know that your page will solve their problem by explicitly stating that it will do so in the description.
This is the text portion that shows up in the search results. For those of you that are not familiar with this, it is the snippet or short paragraph you see directly under each link after you search for something in Google (or other engine).
If you do not manually set a meta description for your page, Google will just use some of the text from the first paragraph of your article and go with that. This is not advisable, because it technically qualifies as duplicate content.
It also does not convert as well, since your description is the second promise you are making to your potential visitor, and there is no need to have them read the first couple of sentences twice. Instead, you might use something like the following:
“This article is in response to people like you and Bob who want to know why the sky is blue. After much research and contemplation, you can now find the answer in this article by visiting my page.”
A description like this says, “hey you … yes, you in the green shirt. You have been wondering why the sky is blue, right? Awesome! You’re not alone. And I have spent a good deal of time finding the answer for you. Come on inside and instantly solve your problem right here on my site.”
Now you have clearly set the stage with some direct promises that show confidence in your ability to deliver a solution. It can help make a difference when your content is sitting in the fifth to eighth spot on page one of Google Search, which is where many of your articles will hover at.
Don’t just rank: close the deal
There is a definite difference between ranking a keyword and closing the deal on one.
Just make sure you don’t ask for anything until you have provided the reader with something valuable first. And what you are providing is always the answer to whatever problems the reader is facing, which led them to search with your keywords in the first place.