So, when Google released the May 2020 Core Update, a lot of websites in many different industries were impacted very negatively. Some saw a massive drop in rankings on many of their best-performing pages.
Unfortunately, one of my sites was one such victim of this trend, seeing significant drops in rankings and traffic over the last few weeks. The site has made a bit of a recovery, but it is impossible to say whether it is due to the algorithm changes settling down a bit or due to the changes I have made.
What Can I Do to Fix the Downward Trend?
Often, when Google releases any sort of algorithm update, you see winners and losers. Some sites go up in rankings, and others drop dramatically. Obviously, if your site has been impacted negatively, you want to know how to fix it.
Google is notorious for remaining mum on what changes they make in updates, rather giving a high-level overview of what the change is meant to do. Literally, some of the feedback Google has given regarding how to fix content that has dropped after the May 2020 core update can be surmised as “get good”.
To break it down a little bit further, the company consistently suggests that the reason for content drops is more often than not thin content. We have previously covered thin content, but a quick refresher regarding a definition is content that has no value.
Thin content appears to be similar to automatically generated content (written by a machine), affiliate marketing (content written to feature a product), or scraped content (copy stolen from another site).
How Creativity Fits in The Picture
We’ve heard it time and again in many different ways, but the famous Bill Gates statement “Content is King” continues to ring true. If you write good content, Google’s algorithm should love you. But then this begs the question: what is good content?
Well, most online SEO guides, such as Neil Patel and Moz, all make a point of stating that your content should be written for humans first, and then Google’s algorithm. This is not to say that keywords aren’t important, but that originality and authenticity are important too.
So, attempting to make a copy of a page on another website that doesn’t get picked up as plagiarism could still be viewed as duplicate content if it doesn’t really have its own voice. And, this is where creativity comes in.
There are always going to be people writing about the same topic you are covering, but it is how you approach it that makes it unique. While it is vital to get your keywords down, there are several ways in which to relay information.
6 Tips for Being More Creative With Your Content
So, SEO writing has a bad reputation for killing creativity. You are supposedly just inserting keywords in content that you “scrapped” from the site that was ranked first in the hopes that your content will fly up to the top and do the same thing.
Very often, however, it is the content that has been written in a way that differentiates itself from the rest of the information available that seems to return better results.
If you are struggling with ways in which you can make your content seem more genuine and less like an advertisement, here are some tips to help you be more creative and authentic with your work:
1. Choose the Right Keywords
As stated above, keywords are essential. But to obtain the right keywords, you need to make sure that you understand the scope of your content and what sort of keywords you are going to need to go after.
We all use tools to get keywords, whether it be Google Keyword Planner or a third-party tool. When you type in a root word, you are sure to get a large number of words, of which only some will be related to the aim of your page.
It is crucial to siphon your keyword list so that you don’t confuse the bot about the purposes of your page. This is particularly important in cases where a word has several popular uses.
For example, if you are writing a blog about the NBA All-Star game, you are not going to include the keywords used to search for All-Stars shoes or Smashmouth’s song, All Star. This is because you risk confusing the meaning of the content by doing so.
Also, you should be looking for keywords that may not use the focus keyword but relate to the overall topic of the blog. Going back to the NBA All-Stars example, it may be prudent to mention terms like LeBron James or Stephen Curry to get better results. This is because they are inherently related concepts.
2. Try to Make a Human Connection to the Reader
The lack of human connection within writing can be quite detrimental to conversions, whether it is getting people just to click on your site or sign up for a subscription. Even the most mundane topic can be altered to include some sort of human connection.
Ways in which to do this include:
- Inserting personal first-person and second-person pronouns (I, we, you).
- Telling a personal story as a lead-in to the topic.
- Understanding and playing on your targeted reader’s interests.
In some cases, it may be a little more difficult than others to insert the whole idea of a “human connection”, but it is essential to remember that it doesn’t have to encompass the entire piece.
For example, you could divulge a personal story as a lead-in in your introduction and then circle back to it in the outro.
3. Focus on Reading Competitor Content
Understand what is out there and how your competitors are formatting their content. This shouldn’t be for the sole purpose of trying to emulate what they did to get to the top. Instead, you should be focusing on two areas:
- Trying to see if there is a gap within their content (an area they didn’t cover) that corresponds with keywords people are using to find content.
- How you can present your content in a way that differs from theirs.
We’re not saying that you should reinvent the wheel, but rather that you shouldn’t be making a carbon copy of what’s out there already. Sometimes, you may find a new way to present content that your competitors also cover in a more digestible manner, which we go into this further in the next point.
4. Present Your Content Effectively
Nobody likes reading a wall of text. It can seem very intimidating and boring. So, if there is a way in which to present your content that conveys your message more effectively, use it. Chances are, there have been times where one of the following would have been able to represent your content better:
You are more likely to see an increase in CTR and bounce rate when using such methods to illustrate information because it is easier to digest.
5. Input Stats and Facts in Your Work
Statistics are a good way of making your content sound more factual. The more factual you are, the more likely you are to see conversions because it helps build authority with your audience.
Interestingly enough, it has been suggested that the authority rating of a site can account for as much as 23.87% of Google Ranking Algorithm, so you are really only doing yourself a favor by building trust.
However, that being said, we don’t recommend using facts and stats just for the sake of it. Try to find information that actually fits with your content. Remember that statistics that don’t quite fit the mold of your content could have the opposite and make you seem like you don’t know what you are talking about.
6. Use SEO Tools (But Don’t Be Overly Reliant on Them)
SEO tools can be beneficial for creating good content. They can help you get an idea of what you need to do and how to approach something. However, it is also important to remember that they are just a guideline and not law. Especially, as the rules of SEO keep on changing.
Sometimes, an SEO tool may compare your site to the one that is ranking first for that keyword. The issue with this is that sometimes the reasons for ranking may be affected by factors other than content.
For example, a site that has been around for ten or more years and has consistently produced top-notch content will most likely have a better authority score than a site that has been around for two. But a real comparison of the content may show that your content has used the keyword x times more and that you should reduce it.
Or, maybe the comparison will show that the competitor’s page has 10 000 words, and yours is only 2000 and tell you to add more.
If you have been working in a particular area for a while, you should be able to notice anomalies. So, you should be able to judge whether a specific recommendation may actually provide worthwhile results.
Will Making Creative SEO Content Really Improve Rankings?
Well, as stated above, we don’t really know what impacts Google’s ranking algorithm and how it really weights factors. Originality and authority have always been two areas the algorithm has paid close attention to. They very much align with the idea of “thick content”.
While creating such content probably won’t salvage rank drops from the May 2020 Core Update, it is good practice. Get into the habit of writing with intention as opposed to hoping that you can game the system.
Download our presentation here: 6 Tips for Making SEO Content More Creative