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Reasons Your Content Isnt Working

7 Reasons Your Content Isn’t Working

Cemre Yildiz explained what may not be quite right about content on your website or blog.

(Read Time: 9 minutes)

 

The term “Content is king.” is a well-known fact by almost every marketer now. Actually it was on January 3, 1996, when Bill Gates published the essay titled “Content is King” which states that content will play a very crucial role in the future of the then-emerging Internet.

 

Every business which invests in the content have different kind of targets (aka KPIs), mostly it’s about increasing organic traffic. Yet, most of us miss one point: increasing leads and brand awareness may also be sub-purposes. Increasing organic traffic may be great when you look at the number of organic visits to your website, are those people visiting your site related to what you offer as a business though? Will they convert?

 

As stated in Harris Myers Business Development’s “Here are 7 Reasons Why Content is Still King in 2017” info-graphic shared here, content builds SEO. (Or vice versa) 93% of online experience begins with a search engine. So improving content is more like a “must”, not just a “nice-to-have”.

 

In this article, I gathered 8 most common improvement areas we have seen in the world of content. Let’s see all 7 of them right below:

  1. Difficult to read – Importance of Index Menu
  2. Word Count
  3. Importance of Internal Linking
  4. Link/Text Ratio
  5. Images
  6. Page Speed – Mobile First, AMP
  7. Backlink

 

Difficult to read – Importance of Index Menu

 

Well, making your content easy to read is easier said than done. Extracting what your target audience is searching for is the key when planning your content throughout the year.

Since more and more searches are being done on mobile and ‘mobile-first index’ is now live (heavily breathing behind our shoulder) for most of us, we should keep in mind that searchers are in a hurry. They are searching for something on their mobile device while they are trying to get somewhere or do something else at the same time. You’ll have a very limited time of attention and you should carefully plan how your content should be formed or revised.

  • Do you give meaningful answers to the questions that your target audience is asking?
  • How many images should your content contain?
  • What’s the best word count for your content?
  • Who are your competitors in terms of organic traffic for that spesific content that you post on your website? In short, who’s getting the traffic for your target keywords?
  • What is your font size? Do you have enough blank space on your content page or are you making your audience blind?
  • Do you have any copy-paste text in your content, copied from other domains or from some other page under your domain?
  • Do you really have any copy-paste text? (Believe me, it happens more than you think.)

 

If your content is a long piece, keep in mind that users scrolling on a mobile device to find an answer will not be cheerful about your website. Why don’t you part that long piece of content into pieces of questions and answers? Or you could easily provide an index menu (or table of contents) right at the top of your long article. To charm your target audience on mobile devices should be aimed at all times.

 

Here’s an example for “table of contents” taken from Wikipedia. User can navigate and find exactly what s/he is searching for with one click, not via scrolling a bunch of times.

In short, you may have the most detailed content about your niche topic, but if you go through difficulties to keep users on your webpage, that’s not going to work for you. Not in a mobile-first world.

 

Word Count

 

How many words should your content have in order to be a successful content according to your target? It would be so damn easy if I could just give a number. Nope, there is no lucky number works for all!

 

It depends heavily on what that content is about, what’s your topic? If it’s a fashion site, you’ll see more images than text on most of the best-ranking websites on Google that are serving a bunch of image or video results.  If someone is searching for a trending hair model or a wedding gown, s/he is basically searcing for pictures, aka image search results.

 

Here are the top three search results when “2018 trend hair model” is searched.

Let’s check out Elle’s page which ranked first on Google. It has not more than 150 words of text. Elle has a significant domain rating and millions of backlinks as seen like this:

Thus, it might create the illusion of “In order to outrank Elle, I have to write more than 150 words. The more I write, the more my chance increases.”

Top 20 search results are just like Elle in terms of word count in their content. They have less than 200 words, but they present more than 10 images each. Because people who search about “hair trends” don’t want to read, they just want to see the latest, top trending hairstyles. And Google does, what a search engine should do: rank satisfying search results.

 

Importance of Internal Linking

 

Internal links are important. Here’s why:

The more links direct users to your content, the more traffic it gets. The same applies to Google-bot or any other search engine bots as well. They visit your content more frequently. In order to be ranked, content needs links.

 

“The more, the better” may not apply in case of internal links though. Because they can establish a hierarchy on your site, which enables you to give the most important pages. Google tries to have an idea of your website structure and we wouldn’t “fool around Google” just to increase one page’s traffic. That could lead to a disaster.

 

Every click counts – Let’s say you have categorized content pieces under “Blog”. Then you sub-categorize them “DIY”, “Trends”, etc. If your content can be reached after multiple clicks by humans or let’s just say “users”, so it does by search engine bots. If some page is important to you, try to link them from somewhere close to your homepage. But don’t destroy your website hierarchy.

 

“Related Articles” is another great idea to provide more internal links to your content since it will not create a “spammy” sight.

 

Link/Text Ratio

Speaking of “spammy” sight, if your content has a high link/text ratio, it might create a similar problem. It was how it’s been until now, at least.

 

If you are curious about “Does Google Think Your Website Is Spam?”, you can learn more from Hubspot Blog. This post is 6 years old, as a century in internet time. But it gives the basic idea.

However, Google is getting better and better at understanding what is SPAM and what is not. Still, it’s like playing Poker. Standing at the safe zone will always make you a winner.

 

The one takeaway from this sub-topic is to use links wisely. If you are using it and you think some pages from other domains should be linked, then link them. If it’s not necessary, try avoiding to link any content from yours. Always and always link when you are mentioning about the third party though!

 

Images

 

Since site speed is now one of the three most important parameters that Google has announced in January 2018, you’d consider to optimize image size in order to rank well. Your content may be magnificent, if it contains a 2 MB of an image on it, it’s not going to work, ever. (Well, maybe it can rank for a longtail keyword search for a time of period, but users wouldn’t wait for it to load anyways.)

Serving images in the exact size is another necessary way to optimize page speed. If your image is served 150×150, then there’s no need to upload it 390×390.

Another important thing to consider about images is “image alt text”. Search engine bots still require basic text to understand what that image is about. Providing those keywords for them is significant if your website has potential traffic from image sources.

Try not to be too simple when typing image text. Yet, try not to load too many keywords such as a paragragh for an image.

 

Page Speed – Mobile First, AMP

 

As mentioned very briefly above, page speed is important. You can test your content page’s speed performance on GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights. If you are curious about what’s the industry benchmark for page speed, you can learn from here.

After optimizing webpage speed, you can use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for your content pages. Since mobile usage grows significantly over the years and more of the searches are now done on mobile devices, Google supported AMP. (Some people think that AMP is one of the services that Google provides. In fact, it’s not. But Google supports the spread of AMP staidly.)

AMP HTML is basically HTML extended with custom AMP properties. When your content page is also served as an AMP, the most basic version of your content page will rank and show at the search results with a small AMP logo on mobile devices. That basic version includes images, text and all the necessary information. But in a very plain and fast way.

Your current content page may load in 8 seconds. When it’s AMP, it loads instantly. You can read more about how AMP works.

 

Backlink

 

Last, but not least, you need backlink for your content in order to get it rank well.

Backlink is a wider subject which we’ll write in full detail in another blog post and we’ll link it here when it’s ready. But until then let’s briefly explain what a backlink is.

 

What are “backlinks”?

Backlinks are links that are directed towards your website. The number of backlinks indicates the popularity and/or importance of your site. Backlinks are important for ranking because Google is giving more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks. In short, Google considers your website more relevant in the SERP for related search queries. One huge point to address here: the number of backlinks is significant. But the quality of those backlinks are even more important. Some of the backlinks you may get may have the strength of ten tigers due to their high-quality domains.

That’s why we plan in full detail when we are forming our backlink outreach strategy for our clients, here at Converged.

 

To wrap up, the seven most witnessed improvement areas in the content world are;

  1. Difficult to read – Importance of Index Menu
  2. Word Count
  3. Importance of Internal Linking
  4. Link/Text Ratio
  5. Images
  6. Page Speed – Mobile First, AMP
  7. Backlink

 

If you have any comments or suggestions to add in this list, please let us know by tweeting at us @AgencyConverged.

Hope you enjoyed!

CEMRE YILDIZ About the author

SEO Consultant at Converged Agency. Contributing to all phases of digital marketing life cycles: from search, mobile marketing, digital planning, digital strategy to budget management. A proud career shifter and marathon runner. Mozcon 2016 Attendee.

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