Coffee, Cigarettes and Key Words: Or, How I Killed My Content
Like a beautiful woman with a gun, targeted keywords can be more trouble than they’re worth. We take a look at ways of using them in your content without killing it.
Too much of a good thing will kill you. Whiskey, cigarettes, beautiful-looking women with a license to carry small firearms; all of these are fine in moderation. But cross a line and they will end up burying you in the cold, hard ground.
Unfortunately whiskey and cigarettes are an unavoidable ‘must’ if you’re going write content – and are much easier to get your hands on too – as are targeted keywords.
The real problem, however, is that keywords can sometimes prove to be more of a hinderance than the benefit you think they’re going to be. And like that gorgeous blonde, packing heat, they can be more trouble than they’re worth.
How keywords are killing your content
The idea behind quality content is to capture the interest of its readers and keep them returning to your website. In other words, it’s all about building a regular audience in order to cultivate a loyal customer base.
Keywords, on the other hand, are an effective way of driving relevant traffic to your website but do little more than that. Sure, it’s relevant traffic, it might even be motivated traffic, but unless you provide content that gives people something beyond the preliminary info then you’re not going to get much of a reaction out of them.
Plenty of affiliates will focus on the volume of traffic and the quality (which are both very important), but fail to keep that traffic interested once it arrives at their website, and this is largely a result of neglecting the quality of their content over relevant, keyword-based content instead.
The problem with focusing/relying too heavily on keyword-based content is that it doesn’t offer any long-term ‘value’. Users want content that is interesting, entertaining, and ultimately makes them feel good about reading it. This is how people come to value you as a brand, regardless of what products you have to offer. It’s better to grow a large community of potential customers than to have a small percentage of one-time buyers.
More to the point, high volumes of traffic are useless if they don’t stick around, share your content, and complete a desired action. In fact Google will penalise you for having such an awful bounce-rate and this will seriously effect your rankings.
Here are some things to consider when creating content that adds real value, alongside effective keyword implementation that won’t compromise on quality.
Originality is personality
When it comes to content creation, originality is key, and writing with keywords in mind can limit creativity. Remember that competitors will probably be using the same keywords – based on common search terms – as you and that will reduce originality. People want to find something new, something they haven’t already seen somewhere else.
Obviously you won’t be able to create something that has never been done before (trust me) but you can make it your own. Just be a little bit creative and utilise the one thing that makes it truly unique – your personality!
- Create a personal blog in addition to your regular content. You’re already putting out content, you can add a little more personality by adding a more ‘personal’ blog. You can still talk about the same things, but from a more personal perspective.
- Share thoughts on social media. Social media is going to be a huge platform for sharing your content. But don’t be afraid to share a little more of your human side too – just keep it clean and relatively safe.
- Create an About Me page. If you don’t already have one, set one up. If you do, update it every now and then to show you are always ‘active’.
People generally like to learn more about other people, so if your personality comes through in your content then it’s far more likely to resonate with readers. This is even more crucial when you’re selling products/services online, as anonymity is the usually biggest barrier in the way of conversion.
Create content with your website’s goal in mind, but not exclusive to
This basically means writing content that is thematically aligned with what you want your website to achieve, without being too transparent about your agenda. In other words, you want content to be relevant and action-orientated, but you also need to provide content that’s interesting, fun and of value to your target audience. It’s all about give and take.
SEO-targeted content isn’t always people-targeted; it’s dull, boring and quite frankly, it feels insulting when its clearly been created for the sole purpose of closing a ‘sale’. So forget about those keywords for the moment, you’d be surprised at how well you’ll be able to produce relevant content – that aligns with your website’s goal – more creatively without the limitations of strategically placed keywords.
- Talk about topics that interests YOU. This will make it easier to create regular content that is dynamic, as well as showcasing your personality.
- Write in a way that incites discussion. This shows that you engage with your readers, care about them, and is more likely to get shared.
- Always keep your targeted audience in mind. Don’t stray off topic too much, you still have a demographic to consider, so write what you know interests them.
Remember, you want people to keep coming back to your website. It’s all well and good creating content that attracts quality traffic and successfully converts, but it’s even more important to populate your site with fresh, exciting content that gives that quality traffic a good reason to visit again.
Look around. It’s a big world out there
The great thing about creating more dynamic content is that there’s plenty of inspiration, and it’s absolutely everywhere. Chances are there will be tons of current events that are relevant to your target audience – and your website – so look around in the news, on the internet, and social media and talk about it!
- Explore current events. There’s going to be relevant affairs in the the news and media that could be talked about and explored further, preferably in an interesting and beneficial way.
- Be industry-minded. The same goes for whatever industry your audience/website focus is. Explore relevant tech, retail, business, fashion, travel news, etc, and give readers something they would love to hear about.
Use keywords, but with a different mindset
Okay, we just told you to forget about keywords for a moment, but not altogether. SEO-targeted content is still an incredibly effective way of getting what you want, whilst providing quality content that people genuinely want to read – so long as you do it right!
Approach keyword research and implementation with a slightly way to how you did before. Here’s a simple method to get you in the right mindset.
1. Research keywords according to topic, rather than the other way around
Instead of researching keywords and then trying to come up with content that fits around them, decide on a topic to write about first and then search for keywords that will help drive traffic.
Once you have your topic decided, it’s a simple case of researching key words and phrases people use when searching that topic, and then implementing them into your content. You will now find you have a more varied selection of keywords to play with, as you are no longer looking for something so tightly focused.
2. Search for phrases that sum up the topic of your content
To get started, enter a short phrase that sums up the topic of your article. Try more than just one and this will provide a wider scope for relevant keywords.
3. Assess your keyword result relevance, competitiveness and how they fit into your content
The trickiest aspect is determining which keywords/key phrases are best to utilise. You need to draw up a list of the different results and order them in terms of relevance and competitiveness, and take a look at how you can implement them into your article or blog post.
Remember, you need to include the keywords/phrases into your title, your opening sentence and then liberally throughout the rest of your text according to content length – so go with something that doesn’t look as though it’s been shoehorned-in.