Does your content suck?
Over the last few weeks we have gone over different types of content, tips for coming up with content ideas, and local content for your dealership’s website. Today, we’re going to discuss how you can improve your content, and optimize it to help you rank higher.
Structure is Important
Let’s start with one basic writing rule that has stood the test of time: your content should, at the very least, have a beginning, a middle, and an end. As for your word count, start with 1,000 words and build from there. You can always update it with additional content later on. But this isn’t The NeverEnding Story (RIP Artax).
To be considered ‘high-quality,’ content needs to have structure, with a clear beginning that introduces your topic and an ending that ties it all together without unnecessary rambling, or information irrelevant to your subject. It should be interesting to read, easy to follow, and it should avoid any unnecessary technical information, especially if your intended audience won’t understand it.
Include Useful & Actionable Information
Now, you might be thinking, “but we’re a car dealership, engine specs are important even if they’re hard for some people to understand”. You’re right. Engine specs are a great example of important technical information but it’s important to present them in a way that’s easily digestible for your general audience––not just enthusiasts.
Two important phrases you should keep in mind are “useful” and “actionable.” Your content should contain useful and actionable information designed for your intended audience. Once more for those in the back? Useful AND actionable.
But most importantly, make sure you are creating your content for humans and NOT for a search engine. Google prefers Conversational Content, meaning that it’s written to reflect the way that people speak. This makes it easy for your audience to read and to understand.
Remember, Google is all about the user experience. If you offer a superior user experience for your audience, you’re more likely to attract more traffic and Google may reward you with improved search rankings.
When you are coming up with topics, and before you put pen to paper, ask yourself the question “Who Cares?”
This is probably the most important step in creating good content. If you aren’t writing content for your audience, for things they are searching and answering questions they are asking, you are not writing content that will interest or help your potential buyer. Failing to do either means that your content lacks purpose.
Do’s & Don’ts
DO: Introduce your topic in the introductory paragraph. You’d think this was self-explanatory, but it’s something that many bloggers really struggle with. By stating your purpose at the beginning of a piece of content, your audience can determine whether or not your intent mirrors their needs. This can improve audience retention, and make it easier for Google to recognize the value of your content.
DON’T: Write an introductory paragraph that has nothing to do with your dealership or topic just to fit in a keyword or make your content seem interesting. This works against everything that we just said. “Boring” content is okay, and it will definitely come up. Not everything you create is going to provide information about a bright and shiny new toy like the upcoming 2021 Bronco. Sometimes you have to write 1000 words on the types of maintenance you provide at your service center. That is exactly what some of your readers are looking for, and it’s very important in setting up your dealership as an authority on Google.
Remember, regardless of your topic, the content needs to be purposeful, delivering useful and actionable information.
DO: Structure your content around a keyword or topic that your dealership’s customers are likely to be searching for. From model pages and reviews to side-by-side comparisons, your customers are performing online searches every day. You need to anticipate those needs to establish yourself as an authority.
DON’T: Overload your content with keywords so that you can “rank” higher on a search engine. This is called ‘Keyword Stuffing’, and it stopped tricking Google a long time ago. Like I said before, Google wants content that reads naturally and is designed to improve the experience of their users.
DO: Create a steady stream of new content that is relevant to your dealership or the potential customers you want to reach. Yes, this is a major undertaking––and it’s why many dealerships simply don’t have the resources to create content in-house.
DON’T: Write the same piece of content over and over again, changing only a few key phrases. Google knows what you’re up to, and it basically comes down to plagiarizing yourself adding nothing of real value. Which makes for a perfect segue…
DO: Be original.
DON’T: Plagiarize. Google won’t rank your content if it isn’t entirely original.
So, let’s recap:
- Choose relevant topics.
- Be purposeful.
- Write like you are having a conversation with your audience in mind.
- Structure is crucial.
- Always begin by clearly presenting your intent.
- Include Useful & Actionable information.
- Incorporate keywords but never overuse them.
- Wordcount matters.
- Never plagiarize.
But these 9 tips barely scrape the surface of how you can improve the quality of your content. Next week, we’ll talk more about viewing your content through an SEO lens, and how you can optimize it to stand out in the eyes of Google. So join us next Thursday, and every Thursday, right here on “Just the Tip”