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5 tips for great content

5 tips for great content

There's a saying in SEO circles that "Content is king!"  That's even more true heading into 2013 as older, traditional SEO methods have become irrelevant or now have less weight in the search engine's eyes. One of the more spectacular demises in the last 12 months has been the backlink schemes, many participants of these finding their sites hit hard by the Panda update earlier last year.

There is no substitute for great content.  Yes, a picture might say a thousand words in some circumstances, but not when it comes to SEO.  They can say a few in SEO through the use of "alt text", but it remains a smaller part of the whole on-page SEO strategy.  Great content, however, is the stuff others link to, and bookmark, and refer others to.  So here's 5 tips for making sure you start in the right direction with your content writing.

1. Make it easy to read.

There will be times, and industries, where the content gets pretty technical.  However, it's important to understand that not all your readers will understand all the ins and outs of your business.  Write for the layman where possible, explaining and using references.  Avoid lots of jargon and slang.  If it's a white paper, consider doing 2 different versions if you feel you must use jargon - write your jargon one for industry geeks, and a second for lay people with more explanations of unavoidable terms.

2. How do you spell......?

Please, please, use a spell checker.  Nearly every program that has to do with text has one.  Even if you consider yourself a super spell-master, use it!  Poor spelling makes you look silly.  That said, there are times where a particular search phrase you are targeting includes a purposely misspelled work.  What then?  y all means use it (I've done it), but identify the purposeful use of the incorrect spelling to the reader.  Maybe add parenthesis after it or an asterisk and an explanatory footnote.  Don't let the reader just assume your spelling is bad!

3. Is it it's or its?

Following on from poor spelling is poor grammar.  There's resources all over the Internet if you're not sure of the correct grammar (is it, it's or its, your or you're), yet I constantly see bad grammar all over websites and in print.  And, yes, even I've done it, and I consider my grammar above average.  Take your time, read and reread and have someone else check your copy.  Even better, just Google "online grammar checker" and run all your copy through it.

4. Make it unique

If your content is a "me too", then no one will be interested, or stay around for long.  There is so much information available to surfers today, that yours must shine to get their attention.  By all mean use reference material and quote sources, but don't think that adding fresh content means a wholesale cut and paste off another site - regardless of how good that content may be.  Give it your spin, your thoughts, your solutions.

5. Use real life cases

Wherever you can, refer to real life cases.  So, if you're writing about, say, insulation installation, refer to a case where a house was under-insulated and what it cost the owners to keep it cool or warm.  Then talk about what you installed for them, and how dramatically their heating/cooling costs went down.  Make it like a mini testimonial.

Lastly, practice.  Most of us aren't pro writers right out of the box and it takes time, and practice, to perfect it - or at least become good.  Analyze other content and see what they've done, how they've styled it, and learn from it.  Again, make Google your friend.  Search for online writing courses - there'll be a bunch of resources to help make you better.

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