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How to Ace Content for Search Engines For SEO's to manage and build content takes time, but it's worth the investment.

By Bruce Clay

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It's crucial for companies to understand the relationship between search engine optimization (SEO) and content. The SEO work focuses on the more technical aspects of improving a website, which might include things such as title tags, placement of keywords, URL structure, page load times, managing duplicate content issues, image optimization, and so on.

On the other hand, the content's main role is to answer the questions people searching online are posing. The content should be the thing that the searcher is looking for.

With this in mind, here are five essential tips on how to manage both - content and SEO:

#1. Give searchers what they want

You already know what searchers are looking for, so give it to them. It sounds simple, yet websites struggle with this. E-commerce websites are particularly bad at it. Usually, such sites simply publish whatever content comes from the manufacturer, along with product images.

At best, this will populate a product page. But it does little else. But this content appears thousands of times across the web. So why would a search engine choose your version over any other? The focus here could be on the top revenue-generating items and making their content unique.

#2. Predict your customer's next move

Predict the next logical step in a searcher's journey. For instance, if someone is searching for a tent for camping, it's logical they may also need a sleeping bag. So on your "tent" page, be sure you link to your "sleeping bag" page as well.

But more than that, your "tent" page needs to be authoritative. What questions might someone have about your product? Weight, dimensions, material type, are the seams sealed, and so on. Some of these answers will be provided by a manufacturer, some will not. Cover all the logic bases to become the authority on a topic.

#3. Invest in unique content

Be unique. Never use content from article sites. That content has been reused hundreds of times already, leaving you with the latest version of something that is old and overused. While it is expensive to produce unique content, think of that content as an actual asset of your business.

Use your content to differentiate you from your competitors. Where they use common ideas, seek out the uncommon to add to your mix. Where they use duplicated product descriptions, add to yours to make the more unique. Content is your intellectual property.

You wouldn't buy your friend a shirt, and then claim you knitted it yourself, would you? Content takes time to build and manage, but it's worth the investment.

#4. Don't overuse your keyword

Your content should sound like natural language. Beyond not repeating the keyword over and over, you need to speak to the reader in a voice they like. Be helpful, be clear, be factual. As you build your content, you'll know if a keyword is overused by simply reading the article out loud. If it sounds like a word is repeated too often, it is.

#5. Ditch the "thin content' approach

There was a trend several years ago to write as little content as possible. It was known as "thin content" and the search engines long ago saw it for what it was -- a short cut. Lists of bullet pointed sentences, not going into detail when explaining things, and rewording common phrases to describe items, are all common in "thin content" approach.

There is no limit, or magical number of words here. Write the amount that is needed to clearly provide an indepth review of the topic. Some pages will be longer and others shorter. All will be unique. Do not focus on a set number of words, however, as this limits you and may fail you.

(As told to Prerna Raturi)

Bruce Clay

Founder, Bruce Clay Inc

Bruce Clay, an internet and digital marketing guru, is better known as a founding-father of search engine optimization, and one of the first people to popularize the term. In 1996, he started Bruce Clay Inc, an internet marketing solutions company from his house; today the company has offices in the US, Europe, Japan, West Asia and India. In 2013, Clay received the Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence in Vision, Execution, and Market Influence in the Practice of Search Marketing. 
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