Content Development Part 1: The Recipe
In Spain there’s a little town called Elche. It’s a beautiful place near the eastern coast. The reason I bring this up in an article about how webpage content relates to SEO practices is because the residents of Elche have a very original dish that is highly –treasured for its lengthy list of ingredients.
The dish is called arroz con costar and it contains chicken drumsticks, rabbit, pork spareribs, sausages, meatballs, black pudding, tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken stock, Spanish rice, peas and spices – and to top it all off, they cover this mishmash of flavors in a crust made from beaten eggs mixed with bread crumbs.
So, in some respects it’s everything you can find in every refrigerator in town jammed into a pie. And to the casual travelling diner looking for a quick little bite, it’s too much to consume.
The food analogy boils down to this: Not long ago, website authors would stuff the body content of their web pages with volumes and volumes of keywords and phrases. Anything and everything went into the mix, in hopes that someone might stumble upon their page via some random search term or other and be willing to eat their way through all of that extraneous content to find the one little morsel they were hungry for.
Those days are long gone, thankfully.
Spend any amount of time with an SEO professional and you’ll routinely hear that Content Is King. This is true, as long as the content is natural, unique, relevant and search-worthy. Your visitors come to your page because the content is somehow relevant to their needs. They also come to your page because their search terms triggered a response from the search engine.
Ah, the conundrum reveals itself. Yes, writing copy that is both effective for SEO and reads like natural language can be a recipe of opposing ingredients. But before you pick SEO copy over natural language copy, you should know that the search engines seek to discover and reward natural language. You should also know that the best advice in the business suggests that you craft rich, unique and compelling content that addresses a particular search query.
Balance is required when content developers create pages, since they are being produced for both search engines and humans. Therefore, a compromise is certainly needed. If you can balance the two so that pages are understandable to readers and great bait for the search engines, you’ve got it made.
Is it easy? No.
This content development alchemy is practiced by the professional SEO agencies, where the mantra is to write for users, but to label content accurately for search engines. A good SEO content team is often comprised of different experts. An analyst provides technical analysis of your existing content, as well as researches the market, competition, and target audience. The Analyst also helps define keyword and content recommendations. The SEO team also includes a Copywriter who is well-versed in writing copy for humans and search engines alike without losing a grasp on natural language. And rounding out the SEO team is a Link Building expert and a Social Media pro who can help promote the great content.
Although there are a number of additional team members that make up a quality SEO agency, these individuals all work together to define and develop the base upon which your SEO content plan is built. And each one of them is focused on one thing: high quality, relevant, effective content.
All that aside, how much content do I need? Good question.
Although a point of much debate, the current going answer is also a mix of content development practices: No more content than you need to convert your site visitors into customers, all the while providing enough content for the search bots to discover and index appropriately.
But what does that look like? Probably 300-500 words per page is a good measure of text content length. Good content – as it relates to marketing – is often more like poetry than prose, so try not to be too long-winded.
Here are a few tips on Content Development:
- [As stated before] Good content is rich, unique and compelling text that addresses a particular search query.
- Good content demonstrates to readers and search engines that you are an authority in your specific market (or topic).
- Good content courts reputation via recommendation (links, re-tweets, likes from social media, etc).
- Good content favors your site over the competition and helps you to convert shoppers into buyers.
- Good content feeds the ‘bots. Search robots love text.
Last word: If you’re not entirely sure how to go about developing content that gives you a recipe for success in your market, listen to your customers for the phrases they use when connecting with you. Your other option is also to use an SEO company like Rank Fuse Interactive for professional service in keyword research and content development.