The technical search engine optimization of title tags and meta tags, is extremely important. Content, though very different from off-page optimization, is just as necessary and more difficult because there is no simple procedure for producing effective content.
More than any other part of the SEO process, content writing is about the reader. Search engines are now engineered to put the most searcher-friendly content at the top of the SERP, rather than the content with the most keywords. Therefore, the goal of creating a website and optimizing it should be to help searchers and customers.
The key to writing good content is writing for the readers. What will make most sense to them? What questions will they ask? What are the accurate answers to their questions? Anticipate what readers need from your content and make sure you provide it. Search engines reward websites that cater to the customer.
Why is content important?
Content, as already mentioned, is the heart and soul of a website. It’s what readers come for and what they stay for. All other SEO practices are preparation to make sure the content is discoverable.
Great content makes customers want to continue reading, and encourages them to share the website with others. People and search engines alike judge websites by their content, making good writing a necessity.
How to write proper content
There is not one foolproof method to writing good content. However, there are some universal rules that help the process. First, always write with the reader in mind. Ranking in search engines for specific keywords is important, but never more important than writing the best copy for readers. Search engines reward reader-oriented text, so make sure that webpage copy is geared toward readers before any other (electronic) audience. One way to do this is to make sure you write at an appropriate reading level. The Gunning Fog index is a good measure of copy readability. A score between six and eight is desirable for maximum readability.
Always stick with the main idea on a page when writing text. Creating an outline before writing content helps focus ideas and weed out unnecessary ideas. Choose two or three keywords or one key phrase to focus on per page. This is helpful for search engine rankings, and helpful for readers. Use clear organization when writing (also assisted by an outline), and always look at content from a reader viewpoint, editing accordingly.
Always place keywords in intuitive places for readers, not to cater to search engines. Rather than helping SEO, search engines frown on this practice.
Calculating the Gunning Fog Index
Choose a passage of text of around 100 consecutive words. Divide the number of words by the number of sentences. Count the complex words (words greater than two syllables). Follow the formula below.
0.4[(words/sentences)+(complex words/words)]=reading level
For more information, see Gunning_fog_index
ISU Best Practice