By Amanda Clark
We’re often asked about the best strategies to marry content marketing with effective SEO. The basic premise is really simple: If you want to find favor with search engine algorithms, it’s important to first find favor with human readers. Making your content easy to discover, to read, and to digest—that’s all Google really wants you to do.
An implication of this is that, if you sacrifice the user experience—if you create content that doesn’t provide value to the reader, or that makes that value difficult to excavate—it’s inevitable that you’ll see a drop-off in Google traction.
This introduces a question. Is your content user-friendly? Or, to come at it from a different angle, are you doing anything in your company blog posts and in your Web content that’s compromising the user experience—and, thus, sinking your SEO?
Allow us to point out just a few common user experience errors that can make your content difficult to digest—and thus, less likely to find favor with Google’s algorithms.
Where Content Marketing Goes Wrong
We’ve blogged recently about word count, and about how there’s no simple answer to the question of how long your content should be. With that said, the basic principle to keep in mind is that you need to offer value without fluff—and a blog post that’s just 200 words probably isn’t fully addressing your readers’ questions. Aim for posts that really tackle your topic thoroughly and substantively; skimpy posts do not provide for a satisfying user experience any more than overly long, rambling ones do.
Bland and Boring Layouts
What’s the old saying about pictures and words? Well, we’d say you need both. A boring, black-and-white layout isn’t going to capture the reader’s attention. Make sure you embed pictures, videos, and other rich and colorful content into your blog posts and throughout your website.
Misspellings or Bad Grammar
If your content is laden with typos, it’s not going to come across as trustworthy or authoritative—so you can’t expect to see much in the way of backlinks. Readers won’t put up with poorly proofed content for long.
You need content breaks to make your posts easier to maneuver—and to skim. Make sure you break things down with section subheadings, bullet points, lists, etc.
Similarly, avoid unbroken streams of text that just run on and on forever. Short paragraphs are key!
No Call to Action
A good blog post or website will direct the reader to what they need to do next; it will crystalize their action steps. That’s what a CTA is all about—so don’t neglect them!