Does Duplicate Content Harm Your Website’s Rankings?
According to Moz, Duplicate content is “content that appears on the Internet in more than one place.” And the copied content doesn’t have to be word-for-word to be considered duplicate. It can be information that’s hastily reworded and published to a site. It can be a quoted article, reposted articles, and even product descriptions posted across multiple sites. But will duplicate content tank your ranking? Not necessarily. Whether intentionally or not, a large percentage of the content on the web could be considered “duplicate.”
However, what you do want to avoid are large chunks of identical or nearly-identical content. When Google’s crawlers find two pieces of content that are essentially indistinguishable, they’re forced to determine which page will be ranked higher and which page will be booted out of the top rankings. Do what you can to ensure that the content on your page is unique, or at least not copied word-for-word from another site. This not only has the potential to hurt your rankings, but it’s unprofessional and potentially unethical. And if you want to read what Google has to say on the matter, you can check out their guide here.
How Can I Find the Keywords That People Are Searching for to Find Businesses Like Mine?
Keywords are one of the most crucial aspects of your SEO strategy. Keywords don’t have to be a single word—they can also be a phrase or grouping of words. Consumers enter keywords into a search engine when they’re looking for something. It’s as simple as that. And while defining a keyword is easy, finding the keywords your target audience is searching for takes a little more work.
You can find the keywords that people are searching for to find your business—and businesses like yours—through a variety of means falling under the umbrella of “keyword research.” Keyword research tools exist to make this part of your SEO easier on you. Keyword research tools and resources show you what consumers are searching for, what you are ranking for, and what words you need to incorporate into your content and site structure to draw people to your site.
By identifying the keywords your base is searching for, you can alter your site text so that you’re utilizing those same keywords. When you do that, you’ll rise up in the SERPs and get more clicks. And just like that, you’ve drawn in traffic with your keyword research.
How Do I Create SEO-Friendly Content?
All of your content creation should be focused around your SEO strategy. Creating SEO-friendly content isn’t accomplished by ticking boxes on a one-size-fits-all checklist. However, you can craft your content in such a way that you’ll boost your SEO and help you site rank high in Google’s SERPs.
SEO-friendly simply means that whatever you’re creating is going to bring traffic to your site, help your rankings, and get you more clicks. SEMrush has a helpful infographic explaining the different aspects of SEO-friendly content.
To create content that is going to bolster your SEO, you’ve got to focus on a few things:
- Keyword Research – Keyword research is going to help you know which words and phrases your audience is searching for so you can include them in your content.
- Authenticity and Brand – Make clear your branding and your message. Consumers should know exactly what you have to offer. What’s more, both human site visitors and Google’s crawlers can sniff out deceptive or shady content from a mile away.
- Engaging Content – Your goal is to not only inform but also to engage. Write captivating content, and don’t neglect presentation. This includes bulleted lists, infographics, block quotes, bold text, and even gifs or memes if appropriate.
How Long Should a Page of Content Be?
No one is going to be able to give you an exact number to answer this question. However, the consensus is in, and longer is better when it comes to word count for your content. A page of content should be at least 1,000 words, and double or triple that (or more) is still an appropriate length.
When you have content that’s at least 1,000 words, you’re able to include keywords that Google’s crawlers are searching for. Longer posts also allow for headings, links, graphics and videos, and other elements that help boost your SEO.
Some things simply can’t be accomplished in 200 words. Additionally, longer content communicates to users that you have authority and can be trusted. And it’s perfect for scanning, which is what the vast majority of users will be doing.
But length isn’t the only thing you should focus on when thinking about content. You can have twenty pages of 5,000 word articles, but if the content is low quality, your word count won’t matter. Creating content that’s at least 1,000 words and checks all the boxes of SEO optimization is going to get you noticed by Google and, as a result, you’ll rank higher in the SERPs.
How Do I Conduct Keyword Research?
When someone searches for a good or service—like the one you provide—and they type their query into the search bar, we call those words “keywords.” In order to rank high enough to get in front of your target audience, you’ve got to know keywords that will help you in Google’s SERPs and draw traffic to your site.
Keyword research encompasses a variety of methods and strategies depending on who you talk to. Firstly, you’ll need to understand the different types of keywords. From there, knowing your audience’s needs and intent will help you choose the right keywords to include in your content. Ask yourself what it is that users want and what you offer. What words are your competition using? You can even use Google’s predictive text algorithm to help you see what keywords users are searching for.
In addition to your own research, you can utilize keyword research tools. You’ll find a huge range of these tools that perform a variety of tasks for you, and depending on your needs, you can find free keyword research programs that will get the job done.
In addition to conducting independent keyword research and using the tools we linked, we’ve got a Guide to Keyword Research Success that outlines—in detail—everything you need to know about keywords and how to optimize them for your SEO.
How Do I Know When I’m Using the Right Number of Keywords on a Page?
By now, you know that keywords are one of the most central components of effective SEO. That’s why knowing how to properly utilize them is so important. When it comes to optimal keyword count, there isn’t a hard and fast answer.
In general, you should stick to an appropriate keyword density. No one has reached a consensus on the magic density percentage, but top-ranking pages consistently have a keyword density of just under one percent. By following this rule of thumb, your content will flow nicely without feeling like you awkwardly stuffed keywords throughout. Google—and readers—will quickly pick up on your attempts to meet a keyword count if your goal is to reach a certain frequency without focusing on providing useful, authentic content.
Numbers and percentages aside, more important than keyword density is the quality of your content. If you’re creating content that is designed to attract and benefit your users, your keywords will naturally fit right in. Remember, you’re being ranked by Google, but you’re writing for people. If you write for your audience and keep important keywords in mind, that’s a neccessary step to creating SEO-friendly content and earning the rankings you want.
Will blogging help SEO?
In short, yes, blogging can absolutely help your SEO. But like all SEO practices, in order for blogging to be effective, you have to execute it correctly.
When you publish a blog on your site, you’re making a personal connection with your audience. Blogging invites users to enter into your space from your perspective, and all the while you provide firsthand knowledge, information, or insight. You offer your site visitors free advice based on your experience, which is appealing not only as someone trying to learn, but as someone who wants an intimate look into a company or brand.
Blogging boosts your SEO in three main ways:
- Providing consistently new, fresh content for you site
- Allowing you to routinely work in keywords
- Inviting links from other quality sites
All three of these benefits will catch Google’s attention, and their web crawlers will evaluate your site for ranking, putting you higher than a site that might have great content but is never updated.
If you’re going to blog on your site, be consistent. Whether it be weekly, biweekly, monthly, or some other frame of time, keep your publishing schedule consistent so your base knows what to expect. Additionally, don’t neglect on-page optimization for your blog. After all, if you’re putting in the work of creating content, you want to make sure it pays off in your SEO.
How Do I Write SEO-Friendly Copy?
SEO-friendly copy is written with two things in mind: the user first and Google’s algorithms second. SEO copywriting is useful, engaging, valuable content that promotes your SEO strategies. If that’s the end goal, how do you get there?
While trends ebb and flow, the hallmarks of excellent SEO copy remain the same:
- Write to Your Audience – You’ll see this on every SEO strategy plan. While Google is the means by which your copy is evaluated and ranked, you’re writing your content to serve the needs of the user.
- Target Keywords – Google is going to find your copy and rank your pages largely because of your keyword optimization. Understanding which keywords your audience is searching for—and why they’re searching those specific keywords—will enable you to write copy that benefits your SEO.
- Create a Captivating Headline – Your copy’s headline can make or break content engagement. Eight out of ten people will read your headline, but only a fourth of those will go on to read your content. If you’ve got a captivating headline, you’ll capture more readers, and the number of folks engaging with your content will increase.
Crafting SEO-friendly content takes time and planning, but when you execute copy that boosts your rankings, you’ll quickly see that the strategizing and effort will be worth it.
Does Bolding Keywords Help SEO?
When formatting your content for SEO purposes, bolding your keywords won’t cause Google to find your pages faster or rank you higher in the SERPs. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bold, italicize, or otherwise format your keywords.
By now you know how important keyword selection and usage is for your SEO. Keywords are the fuel of your SEO strategies and help users find your pages. While keywords are super important, bolding, italicizing, underlining, nor highlighting them is going to affect your SEO. However, formatting keywords in this way will definitely improve user experience when they’re reading your content.
Realize this: most page visitors will not read your content in its entirety. In fact, about 79 percent of people checking out your content are going to scan it until they find what they’re looking for. This is one reason bolding your keywords is important. While you don’t technically benefit your SEO, you’re providing the user experience people want when they come to your site. Scannable copy enables people to more easily engage with your content and your brand. By bolding keywords, you do most of the work for your readers. You’re showing them that you have the solutions they need, and you make it easy for them to find information they’re searching for.
What is a Focus Keyword Phrase?
Your focus keyword phrase is the term you’re trying to rank for in Google’s SERPs. When people search for words or phrases, if they enter in your focus keyword, they should find you.
Your focus keyword also concisely describes what your page is about. If you can understand a focus keyword phrase, you should be able to have a firm grasp on the content as a whole.
Figuring out your focus keyword or keyword phrase is important because you’re going to optimize your page based on that term. Part of your keyword strategy should be finding a focus keyword your targeted audience is searching for. It should encompass your brand, your message, what you do, and should answer questions your users are asking.
Optimizing your focus keyword phrase will absolutely benefit your SEO. It provides a literal focal point for your content and your page to center on. Additionally, your keyword allows for Google’s crawlers to more easily find and understand your page. A focus keyword phrase that is specific, an appropriately high volume, and fits the needs of your audience is going to draw your target users to your page.
What is a Long-Tail Keyword Phrase?
Long-tail keyword phrases typically signal two things: a visitor is either near or at the point-of-purchase, or they’re using voice search to find what they’re looking for. Long-tail keyword phrases are longer, more specific searches that include certain keywords. If you’re getting traffic thanks to long-tail keyword phrases, that’s great news. It means you’re attracting a group of users who are ready to pull out their wallets for your goods or services.
Unlike shorter keywords, long-tail keywords have less competition because of their specificity. For example, consider these two searches: “car” versus “used SUV for sale with less than 200k miles.” The first search term is higher volume, for sure. But because it’s such a general keyword, the volume is actually too high, and your chances of ranking for the term and converting clicks into real profit are incredibly slim.
However, if you’re trying to rank for the second keyword phrase, because it’s so specific, you have a higher chance of climbing to the tops of Google’s SERPs. And if a user is that specific in their search, they probably know exactly what they’re looking for and are ready to spend. Optimize your content for long-tail keyword phrases that both meet consumer needs and describe what you offer, and you’ve essentially earned a new customer.