Branded marketing content and excellent organic search rankings are not mutually exclusive.
Content is among the most subjective aspects of search engine optimization. It has also become the most important: The strongest content signals are unique, well-written, and relevant.
But that content should also mirror your brand’s messaging and voice. Here are nine tips to get started.
Optimizing Brand-friendly Content
1. Be unique. Nothing else in this list matters unless the words on your pages are yours alone. Scrambling the words doesn’t make them yours. Consider this example.
- Original text from Wikipedia: “The Rock of Gibraltar, also known as the Rock, is a monolithic limestone promontory located in the territory of Gibraltar, near the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula.”
- Overly similar text: “The Rock of Gibraltar can be found near the tip of southwestern Europe. Also known as the Rock, it is a monolithic limestone promontory on the Iberian Peninsula.”
Though it’s not an exact copy, the “overly similar text” includes the same words, phrases, and concepts. Rearranging another source’s phrases won’t help your organic search performance.
Never copy and paste from another source, unless it’s a direct quote. And don’t quote long sections of another site’s text. Link to the source instead.
2. Write well. Search engines value well-written and grammatically-correct content. It’s part of the user experience. Typos, awkward phrasing, incorrect or vague information: All degrade your chances of ranking organically.
3. Provide contextual relevance. Optimizing content requires more than repeating keywords. Use related phrases and concepts. Investigate the other sites that rank well, and note the connections within their body copy. For example, to rank for “golf cart batteries” — which accounts for 40,500 monthly searches in Google U.S. — mention related concepts such as battery voltage, popular brands, and lithium use.
Remember, however, that no amount of keyword repetition will overcome stolen or poorly-written text.
4. Brand it. No experienced SEO professional would advise ignoring your company’s brand voice. Without that, the content could be on any site. Avoid cliche, slogans, and marketing-speak. If you have to use irrelevant language from a marketing campaign, work in descriptive phrasing for contextual relevance.
5. Resist jargon. Avoid industry jargon unless keyword research proves that shoppers use it, too. Speak like consumers, and they will understand your copy.
For example, the medical-supply industry commonly uses “wound care” as a catchall for bandages, gauze, tape, and other first-aid supplies. While it is arguably understandable, “wound care” is not how most consumers search for those products. Thus using “wound care” or “wound care supplies” would likely target only a fraction of the keyword demand.
6. Replace pronouns. Use the actual word or phrase rather than its pronoun when possible and natural. Avoiding the pronoun allows for more descriptive language.
- Bad: Its red, white, and blue colors display your allegiance to our country.
- Good: The flag’s red, white, and blue colors display your allegiance to the United States.
7. Mind current rankings. Don’t redo your content without first understanding the keywords that each page ranks for. Optimizing headlong without researching current performance could hurt organic search performance, not help.
8. Vary the text. Search engines ignore punctuation when judging keywords and contextual relevance. This provides an opportunity for variations of the same keywords, which could trigger different search results.
For example, both sentences below are grammatically correct. But they use the keyword phrase “running shoes saucony” differently. A comma separates one — the other by a question mark.
- For those who are passionate about running shoes, Saucony combines a cush feel with a durable and stable outsole.
- Are you passionate about running shoes? Saucony combines a cush feel with a durable and stable outsole.
9. Get to the point. Search engines don’t reward blather. Your content needs to make its point quickly, without fluff. Text-heavy pages can certainly rank well. But it’s because they contain valuable info, not repetition or redundancy.