6 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Digital Content Creation
There is no secret formula to optimizing your content for search engines. There are certainly good SEO content writing practices - but like anything else, recognizing and learning to avoid the most common errors will help develop a successful writing approach that can be applied to any subject area.
Often the path to the top search page becomes clearer when you’ve learned specifically what to avoid - just like Mario Kart becomes much easier to win once you’ve learned to avoid the banana at all costs.
This guide will help you navigate the landscape of content writing by showing you which bad SEO habits and mistakes should be eliminated if you want your next article to climb up Google’s search rankings.
- Writing Your Content Like An Essay
- Writing Without An SEO Strategy
- Assuming Your Target Demographic
- Lazy Meta Descriptions
- Pushing Duplicate Content
- Boring Titles and Headlines
1. Writing Your Content Like An Essay
Many inexperienced content writers make the mistake of writing their content as though their college English professor will be reviewing it for a grade. Difference is, your college professor was paid to read your work. Your average internet user has no such obligation!
It’s no secret that in the digital age, marketers and content creators are taking every possible step to maintain their readers’ attention. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that big walls of text isn’t the best way to draw readers in.
You’ll notice that high ranking content shares the same basic structure. Writers will almost never create paragraphs longer than three or four sentences. And unless content is written with business executives in mind (B2B), their grammar choices will be as simple as possible.
It’s important to keep your work as bare bones and understandable as possible. If you are thinking twice about including an extra sentence, it probably isn’t necessary!
2. Writing Without An SEO Technique
I hate to break it to you now, but being a successful content creator in 2019 means that you’re going to have to do a lot more legwork than just writing out an article and clicking send.
The best writers will apply proven strategies like the Skyscraper Technique to guarantee that their material is the most well-informed content out there for a particular subject. How exactly does this work?
Simply put, the Skyscraper Technique involves studying other content in a given subject area in order to know exactly what worked and didn’t work for other writers.
The content that you’re studying is like a nice, tall building. You are tasked to build a couple more floors and turn that tall building into a skyscraper. Here’s a step-based breakdown:
- Research relevant competition and gather the content that has proven to rank
- Analyze this content to see what makes it stand out (use of infographics, formatting style, writing style are examples)
Develop your skyscraper by building on top of these proven ideas and concepts
- Search for new, up-to-date research study information
- Correct any misinformation
- Add any value-building material that was missed the last time out
SEO Strategies like the Skyscraper Technique are important to setting your content apart from other, similar content. Without the proper legwork and informed research, you run the risk of pushing bland content that only blends in.
3. Assuming Your Target Audience
Content writers must take the time to be sure exactly who they are writing for. The good news is that it’s not very hard to do. All it takes is some research relevant articles in that subject area.
This fits right in with the general idea of the Skyscraper Technique. A solid content writer will take the time to study other material under the same topic. This will help you nail down the mood of your content.
Age, gender, location, income level and other demographic information are factors in building a profile of your target audience.
For example: an article about new beauty trends for teenage girls in a sunny, high income area of Orange County shouldn’t include a large section dedicated to the benefits of cheap, waterproof drugstore makeup brands. Wrong target audience!
Don’t take the easy shortcut by assuming what you think is the most interesting way to write for a given demographic. Take your time and nail down an approach that will speak the most to your target audience.
4. Lazy Meta Descriptions
Like a song with a catchy hook on the radio, content with a well-written meta description will draw in readers to engage with the complete work that they otherwise would have glazed over.
When you don’t put in the effort with your meta description, you are missing a chance to properly endorse the content that you just spent so much time and effort on.
A meta description should be simple but comprehensive - readers should know just what to expect when they click on your link!
If your meta description doesn’t describe exactly what your article is about and why readers should click your link in a quick and interesting way, then you are wasting the opportunity.
Read exactly what content creators have to say about building effective meta descriptions for a better idea of how to maximize your chances to draw in new readers.
5. Pushing Duplicate Content
Say you’ve written a great article, and more than one website is interested in publishing it. Do you double the impact of your content and kill two birds with one stone?Absolutely not. In fact, there is no quicker and easier way to shoot yourself in the foot as a content creator.
Among other factors, Google ranks content and websites based off their originality and accuracy. Google’s ranking algorithm won’t know which version of your content to include in their ranking index - and they definitely won’t rank multiple versions of the same stuff.
This hurts both the content creator and the host website by diluting the search factors that will bring traffic to the content, and by extension the host site itself.
Moreover, by writing the same article for separate publishers, you are signalling to every potential future publisher that you are untrustworthy and lazy. No reasonable host site will want to publish an author who has a reputation of duplicating his or her content.
6. Boring Titles And Headlines
You could have written the most high-quality, informative article out there, but if your titles and headlines don’t match the quality of the writing, then readers won’t have a reason to click on your material.
This falls under the same general theme as catchy, informative meta-description writing. Nobody has an obligation to click on your link - you need to draw readers in by doing as much as possible with the limited character space you’re given to work with.
A good starting point is to assess how you can incorporate your article’s keywords and LSI keywords into your titles and headlines.
For example: let’s say you’re writing that article about new beauty trends for teens. You’ve decided to write around the keyword “Teenage Beauty Trends”. It would be wise to include that full keyword into your title - instead of some variation that you may find catchier.
“New Teenage Beauty Trends For SoCal Girls in 2019” will most likely outperform something like “Beauty Trends For SoCal Teens in 2019” because you’ve included an entire keyword that you already know receives more search volume.
Now That You Know..
Once all the banana peels have been cleared off the road, the pathway to ranking your content becomes clearer. Avoiding these common mistakes will allow content creators to focus on boosting the strengths of their work and develop a trustworthy reputation along the way.
More than anything, content creators must avoid assumptions of all kinds. Do the extra research and replace assumptions with proven knowledge! Utilize SEO strategies, a simple and inviting content structure, an effective meta description, keyword-heavy titles/headlines, and always avoid duplicating content.