Design Your Content Plan

Nine tips to create or extend your organic search results that rely on quality content, which is the gold standard for web design.

Content Design Plan

Overview

The number one goal of every website is to accumulate organic search results.

Content marketing and SEO is specific to your business niche - aka industry and your business products that determine your target audience.

However, there are many common elements to define reliable, consistent indicators of quality content that apply to any business niche. You can use the following ideas to determine how your content measures up to existing quality sites and to what Google is defining in their model and helpful content update.

This article has what I believe are nine significant points to consider in designing your content plan.

1. Appropriate Length Of Content

We're are living in tricky tech times when it comes to determining the ideal word count for content. On the one hand, we know that Google certainly shows a preference for long-form, ‘meaty’ content that covers all aspects of a topic. On the other hand, our mobile users are showing a preference for shorter, more succinct content they can read on the go.

With mobile having now overtaken desktop for going online (60% of mobile web users use their phone as their primary or exclusive means of going online), this struggle is only going to continue.

When creating content, focus on your goals and on the intent of your audience. If you want the content to rank highly in the search engines and to attract links, go for longer, 1,000+ word content. If you want your content to be easily accessible to mobile users, cut out anything unnecessary and format your content so mobile users can get the information they need quickly. Some ways to do this include using a lower word count, focusing on long-tail keywords that mobile users would be more likely to search for, the proper use of headings, bullet points, lists, and linking to other mobile-friendly content.

2. Content Enhancements

Are you supplementing with images, video embeds, infographics, or other media?

It’s possible to have high-quality content without using images or other forms of media, but we know that visual content outperforms text-only content in terms of attracting inbound links, social media shares, time spent on page, and engagement.

In fact, recent studies have shown that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than to plain text. It’s likely that Google factors in the use of multimedia when scoring pages for its ranking algorithm. Even if that’s not the case,

No one knows for sure, but its suspected that Google considers inbound links to a page as one of the heaviest factors in its ranking algorithm, and multimedia-based content has been shown to be shared up to 12 times more than text content.

  1. Some questions to ask yourself about your use of media include:

  2. Do my images or videos support claims or facts within the content?

  3. Do they meet quality standards from a technical perspective?

  4. Are they aesthetically pleasing?

  5. Are my infographics or other original visual content of such quality that others will want to share them or link to them?

As well, website design has now taken on new dimensions with using AI-generated text.

3. The Basics: Proper Grammar And Spelling

Are you supplementing with images, video embeds, infographics, or other media?

It’s possible to have high-quality content without using images or other forms of media, but we know that visual content outperforms text-only content in terms of attracting inbound links, social media shares, time spent on page, and engagement.

In fact, recent studies have shown that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than to plain text. It’s likely that Google factors in the use of multimedia when scoring pages for its ranking algorithm. Even if that’s not the case,

No one knows for sure, but its suspected that Google considers inbound links to a page as one of the heaviest factors in its ranking algorithm, and multimedia-based content has been shown to be shared up to 12 times more than text content.

  1. Some questions to ask yourself about your use of media include:

  2. Do my images or videos support claims or facts within the content?

  3. Do they meet quality standards from a technical perspective?

  4. Are they aesthetically pleasing?

  5. Are my infographics or other original visual content of such quality that others will want to share them or link to them?

As well, website design has now taken on new dimensions with using AI-generated text.

4. Web Page Basics: Proper Page And Text Formatting

High-quality content is aesthetically attractive, easy to read, and suitable for scanning and skimming (which is how the majority of your website visitors will consume your content).

Google’s algorithm has become sophisticated enough that it can detect page and content layout, and you may be penalized in the rankings for poor content formatting. Again, even if Google doesn’t penalize you for it, your human readers will.

Optimal formatting includes the appropriate use of:

  1. bolds and italics;
  2. short, concise sentences and paragraphs;
  3. bullet points and numbered lists;
  4. appropriate use of white space; and
  5. headers and sub-headers to break up long chunks of text.

Allow me a shamelss plug for my ebook: The Seven Pillars To Online Business Success.. That material goes into detail on formatting your content with SEO.

5. Connecting With Website Visitors

Two aspects to consider when connecting with readers on your website.

First, quality content is easy to read and understand and matches the preferences of the audience for which it’s intended. Using a tool like the Readability Score, which is based on the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests, will help you ensure your content matches the reading level, expectations, and preferences of your target audience. Yes, you must understand that before starting to create your content, you have to understand the characteristics of your target audience.

Secondly, what is the engagement strategy you have put forth in your content? The analytics installed on your website inform you what people should do when they are on your website. The next step is to create one sales funnel, to begin with that leads readers, aka potential clients, down a path where they are converted into taking one action or another.

That is the essence of content marketing: converting website visitors into taking action through your website content. If you need to brush up on your skills about how to implement structured data in your content, I cover it in my online marketing article.

6. Knowledge-Based Content

A must-have in your content design is serving your website visitors with information to expand their horizons on one subject or another.

Google does measure the expertise level of content on websites. You will find more about it when looking for Quality Rater Guidelines by Google Developers on the EEAT elements. Author expertise is a critical factor when it comes to determining the quality and authority of a particular piece of content: "High-quality pages and websites need enough expertise to be authoritative and trustworthy on their topic".

For academic topics, what credentials or degrees does your author hold? For content that may have an impact on a person’s well-being, what on-page or on-site proof do you have of the author’s credibility?

This is particularly important for pages on Google, which Google refers to as "Your Money, Your Life" (YMYL): "There are some pages for which PQ [page quality] is particularly important. We call these pages Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages. They are pages that can have an impact on your current or future well-being (physical, financial, safety, etc.). YMYL pages should come from reputable websites, and the content should be created with a high level of expertise and authority."

7. Social Media Connectivity

While Google has claimed that social signals from Facebook and Twitter aren’t part of their ranking algorithms, there is evidence to the contrary; multiple correlation studies have shown clear ties between higher amounts of social shares and higher search engine rankings. Even though correlation is not causation, it’s logical that the more a particular piece of content is shared, the more awareness and inbound links it will generate, and inbound links are a core ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. For more on this, see my post, Does Google Use Social Signals from Facebook and Twitter in its Rankings?

Another indication of quality content is whether social media share buttons and counters are present. Not having them may simply be an indication that the website owner isn’t technically savvy or doesn’t realize the importance of social media. The lack of social counters may also indicate that the content isn’t being shared, and this may be a sign of poor-quality content.

Google’s reason for claiming that they don’t use social signals in the ranking algorithm is that their crawler can’t access Facebook and Twitter. However, they have not addressed the fact that their crawler can easily access the social share counts present on social share counters.

Additionally, their crawler is not limited to crawling their own social media channel, Google+, which has repeatedly shown the highest correlation to rankings. For these reasons, the smart bet is to integrate your content with social media channels by sharing it across your own and encouraging your readers to share it as well.

8. Links Intact

One of the most important indicators of the credibility of a site or piece of content is its inbound and outbound link profiles. We know that links to bad neighborhoods or known spam sites will kill the credibility of the article or site in Google’s eyes. We also know that Google frowns on the excessive use of internal linking, particularly unnatural internal linking or the overuse of exact-match anchor text.

Likely the most important indicator of the quality of a page is the number and quality of inbound links to that page. Who is linking to the page? If well-known, reputable sites are linking to it, that’s a good indication to Google that the content is trustworthy and credible. If there are no links to the page or if the links are from small, unknown, or spammy sites, this can be a good indication that the content is low quality or untrustworthy.

9. The Value Of Your Conten

While it’s difficult for search engines to determine whether content provides value, it is ultimately the only thing that matters for human readers. Value can be derived in several different ways, but the most common include:

Does this content solve a problem?

Does it answer a question?

Does it provide entertainment?

Does it provide unique, expert insight?

Does it make people laugh?

Search engines want to only rank content that provides value for human readers. But since search engines can’t comprehend content like humans do, they rely on the rest of these signals to determine whether content provides value and, thus, whether it’s truly "quality." Content that provides value tends to have these other elements in common.

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