Your Helpful Content Primer

Benefit from 75K+ hours of SEO experience distilled into 6 straightforward steps: our guide to helpful content includes practical tips, examples & a quick start list to use today.

Friday, August 4, 2023
Updated:
Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Create helpful content for SEO

Creating content that resonates with your audience isn't just about writing for SEO keywords or ticking off topics to build 'topical authority'. It's about leveraging your unique experiences and perspectives within a topic to communicate with your niche audience in a deliberate way.

Before we get to the tips, an important preface: 

You’ll build an engaged audience if...

  1. You offer original insights and ideas that add value for your audience. 
  2. You’re passionate about a topic, have done your research, and have something meaningful to say. 
  3. You want to share your knowledge and spark conversations that wouldn't happen without your input.

You can kiss your audience ‘goodbye’ if...

  1. Your sole purpose is to sell or promote. 
  2. You're chasing trends, only interested in duplicating what's already out there and ranking for SEO.
  3. You don't have relevant first-hand experience related to the topic, or you can't add value.

Ok, let’s get to it. Here are some of the Momentic team’s tried and true content tips; from inspiration to publication. 

Finding Your Muse: How to Choose Topics that Resonate

A visual list of cues to discover good content topics: Unanswered questions Deep dives Customer / client interactions Disagreements Your successes and failures Love it? Create it Careful with trends Simple, actionable tips

The first step in creating killer content is picking the right topic. Here are some of our favorite strategies, along with a quick tip for each:

Unanswered Questions

If you can't find a good answer to a question online, that's your cue to step in. When search results don't fulfill your query, that's an opportunity to create content that does—you're not the only one looking for it. Check out online forums and social media to find even more unanswered questions in your field. 

<div class="post-grade">For example, we couldn’t find answers to questions we had about GA4, so we decided to figure out the answers and write our own guides to share. A new content strategy was born.</div>

Deep Dives 

Pick a topic you're curious about and dive in. Your audience will appreciate your fresh take. Google Scholar and industry-specific databases are your friends here. 

<div class="post-grade">Last year, we spent 3+ months connecting the dots between the 2011 ZMOT Study, E-E-A-T, and Google’s Product Roadmap. The resulting post became a cornerstone piece of content for Momentic in explaining the concepts behind E-E-A-T and why it’s not a fad.</div>

Client / Customer Interactions 

Listen to your clients and customers. If one person is asking a question, you can bet others are wondering the same thing. Keep a list of these questions and use it as a brainstorming tool.


<div class="post-grade">Earlier this month, a client asked us if they should use original video content, video content from a partner, or relevant content on YouTube. We thought, “hmmm, this is a good question, and definitely something more people should consider”. So we wrote the post, “Does it Matter for SEO if it’s Your Own Video or Someone Else’s?”</div>

Disagreements

If you read something you disagree with, use it as a springboard for your own content. But don't be a contrarian just to stand out—it's not authentic. Readers can tell an attention-seeking POV from a thoughtful one.

<div class="post-grade">In 2018, the SEO world was buzzing about “Voice Search”. Even Forbes published an article titled, ‘You Need To Prepare For A Voice Search Revolution’. I disagreed. So I wrote a post about why optimizing for voice search is the same as properly optimizing for search engines.</div>

Your Successes and Failures 

Share your hard-earned wisdom. Your audience will appreciate your honesty and the chance to learn from your experiences.

<div class="post-grade">Collectively, the Momentic team has over 75,000 hours of hands-on SEO experience. That’s a lot! Most teams don’t have this much. So we spent a few months in 2022 putting together simple lessons for customer-led SEO. This content continues to build our audience by 10%  every month.</div>

Search & Discovery Habits

Pay attention to your own search and discovery habits. What draws you in? What turns you off? If you hate something, don’t replicate it. I promise, your audience won’t be fooled. Instead, create the kind of content you love to consume.

<div class="post-grade">I despise most SEO case studies. Just about any SEO strategy can show short-term gains if it’s implemented. Very few SEOs can show real growth, ROI and value over multiple years with case studies. Momentic’s case studies are created in a format that’s updated regularly and clearly shows results in the context of timeframe. Here’s an example of a 4-year SEO case study.</div>

Emerging Trends

Keep an eye on industry trends and share your perspective. This can help your audience decide what's worth their attention. But don't share just to share: think through the logic of your position and focus on the value it provides to readers.

<div class="post-grade">When Bing and Google announced their AI goals earlier this year, I explored what I thought to be the key considerations for marketing in the AI age. The result was a hefty thought piece anchored around AI, marketing, and our responsibility to our audiences. The content performed very well on LinkedIn.</div>

Simple Tips 

Share easy, actionable tips that your audience can implement right away. Giving people practical pointers  doesn’t require a perspective, and I love how easy it is to provide value with this approach. 

<div class="post-grade">I’ve found that some readers really appreciate quick wins. Not everyone wants to be an expert. Sometimes you don’t have to dig deep to create valuable content. If part of your strategy is to inform the uninformed, try creating a simple guide to something you know well. Check out this 14-step process for a proper SEO migration or redesign as a good example.</div>

A venn diagram showing the intersection of content types within engage, educate, entertain, and inspire concepts.
A Venn Diagram, inspired by @shlomo_genchin showing the intersection of content types within engage, educate, entertain, and inspire concepts.

Shaping Your Content: How to Write Posts That Pop

Creating top-notch content is all about knowing your audience and delivering value. Here are three tips to help you hit the mark:

Know Your Reader

Understand who your audience is and what they care about. Keep your content focused on meeting your reader’s needs. 

<div class="post-grade">Earn your readers' respect by respecting their time from the outset. For topics with a lot of nuance or levels of understanding, state who the content is for and who it's not for. You can't "trick" people into finding value in your content anyway. This Momentic post about optimizing Google Business Profiles starts by defining the types of businesses eligible to create a GBP.</div>

Include Actionable Steps

Make sure your content includes at least one concrete action the reader can take. This makes your content more valuable and engaging. Use bullet points or numbered lists to clearly outline actionable steps.

One of our most popular posts of 2022 was a simple step-by-step guide on how to set up GA4. Readers appreciated the clear, actionable steps, and now we see that they return to our blog often to read new GA4 content.

<div class="post-grade">Speaking of action, aim to use the active voice as much as possible in your writing. It's more concise, engaging and authoritative.</div>

Be Original

Read other articles on the same topic and make sure your content offers something new. Add a fresh perspective, additional details, or a unique format. In other words, don’t create content just to “rank” in search engines :) 

<div class="post-grade">Most ‘SEO influencers’ discussed E-E-A-T in detail in 2022. But lacking from their content were actionable things SEOs and marketers could do to send better E-E-A-T signals. They’d say things like, “make sure your authors are experts and know what they’re talking about”. What about the companies who would like that, but don’t know where to start? To stand out, I created a blog post to help people navigate a specific task… finding and recruiting subject matter expert writers to improve E-E-A-T.</div>

The Art of Self-Editing

Visual list of self-editing tips: Take a break Change the format Device diversity Trim the fat Send it to someone you trust Use lists! Bite-Snack-Meal Ask ChatGPT for feedback based on previous work
Top self-editing tips from the Momentic team.

Don’t skip this part of the writing process. Ever. Polish your posts to perfection with these tips:

  • Take a break: Let your content sit overnight and review it with fresh eyes. You’re excited to publish it, but I've found that this helps me spot errors and awkward phrasing that I missed in my initial review.
  • Change the format: Copy and paste your content into a different format or font for a fresh perspective. I like posting my content into a plain text editor, like Sublime. It feels fresh, and it’s easier to spot issues with headings and font styling removed.
  • Read on different devices: Review your content on your phone, not just your laptop or desktop. I do this for every post. It helps me trim down and simplify content.
  • Remove unnecessary words: If a word doesn't add value, perspective, or clarity, remove it. I <s>still</s> struggle with this <s>one</s>.
  • Write for the reader: If a sentence or paragraph doesn't add value for the reader—even if it's beautifully written—remove it. Yes, it’s painful. 
  • Use bulleted lists: Break up large blocks of text with bulleted lists to make your content more skimmable. A good example of this is the list you’re reading right now. 
  • Follow the bite-snack-meal model: Start with a compelling title (the bite), provide a brief overview (the snack), and then dive into the details (the meal). This structure works well for long or complex topics.
  • Ask ChatGPT for feedback: Paste your content into this markdown tool, then prompt GPT-4 with the LinkReader plugin activated. A prompt I use is: “Polish the following blog post to match my voice, tone, and style as represented here: [URL of blog post you’ve written] / Blog post: “[paste content from the markdown converter tool]”

Killer Titles: How to Grab Your Readers' Attention

A great page title initiates engagement on the SERP (search engine results page). Here are four simple tips for improving your titles:

  1. Write the title last: This allows you to summarize the value of your content accurately. Content evolves as we write. So does the value proposition.
  2. Front load the good part: Make sure the first word is attention-getting and ideally a targeted keyword. The first version of the headline for this section was, “How to Grab Your Readers’ Attention With Killer Titles”. See how the revised version is much more effective?
  3. Stand out: Look at other page titles for the same topic and find ways to make yours unique. It’s 2023 and everything is still a damn listicle. It’s not hard to stand out.
  4. Use tools: Use a SERP preview tool to visualize how your title will look on desktop and mobile results pages. Use headline generators or AI tools to brainstorm ideas. Keep in mind everyone else is using these tools too, but only you have access to your ideas :) 

<div class="post-help">Page titles are important because they're the first impression your content makes on a potential reader. They also help search engines understand what your page is about. </div>

Titles good for SEO and your audience are: 

  • Specific
  • Engaging
  • Distinct

Getting the Word Out: How to Promote Your Content Like a Pro

A "tip" from Search Console Insights: "If your content isn't performing as well as you think it should, you might want to improve your content or raise awareness of your content on relevant social media groups, forums, and websites."
A "tip" from Search Console Insights: "If your content isn't performing as well as you think it should, you might want to improve your content or raise awareness of your content on relevant social media groups, forums, and websites."

Once you've created your content, it's time to get it in front of your audience. Here are some free and attainable ways to promote your content:

Social Media

Share your content on your LinkedIn, Facebook, and other relevant social networks. Tailor your message to each platform to better engage with each specific audience. Create snackable snippets from your content and post them as tidbits over a month. Take it a step further and create a shorter video-only version of your content. Embed that on the post, and push that out to social networks, too.

<div class="post-grade">When I publish comprehensive guides, I like to create a series of shorter posts highlighting key points from the guide and share these on social media (mostly LinkedIn for my audience). This lengthens the lifespan of my content on social platforms, increases engagement, and drives a ton of traffic to the website.</div>

Niche Communities

Promote your content within niche communities who will appreciate it, such as subreddits, forums, and other online communities. Engage with the community to build trust and credibility before promoting your content.

<div class="post-grade">I’ve seen some nice residual traffic from subreddits for posts that answer an unanswered question in a thread. I’ve found that the key is to answer the question in the thread and follow it up with a link to your content. Remember that forum users probably want to stay there instead of clicking out to an unknown website.</div>

Leverage Your Network 

Share your content with fellow members of any associations you belong to, include it in your newsletter, and ask colleagues or experts involved in the content to share it. Consider creating a content sharing group with colleagues or industry peers where you can mutually support one another's content.

<div class="post-grade">When we launched the Momentic Google Algorithm Update tracker, I asked for feedback from my close professional contacts. I incorporated the feedback, and now we have full organizations using our content internally as their source of news around algo updates.</div>

Be Available on Search Engines

Add links from other content on your website to your new post. Then submit the new URL in Google Search Console to request indexing. I manually submit every new post to Google Search Console, because I want it indexed and ranking as quickly as possible!

<div class="post-alert">Don’t skip the internal linking step. Your content will decay much faster without unique and thoughtful internal linking.</div>

Tools of the Trade: How to Use Keyword Research & Topic Inspiration Tools

There are several tools available that can help you research topics and queries for new content inspiration. Here are some of them:

  • Google Search: Use Google Search to explore a specific topic or question. Note the autocomplete options. Then, read through the 'people also asked' and 'related searches' sections in the search results. Use incognito mode in your browser to minimize personalization. 
  • Google Search Console Insights: Regularly review your website's top and trending queries in Google Search Console Insights. This helps you stay on top of what your audience is interested in and shows you search queries that Google thinks your site is relevant for.
  • Google Trends: Google Trends can reveal what people are searching for in relation to a given topic or query. Use Google Trends to identify seasonal trends or emerging topics in your industry. 

<div class="post-help">Take a closer look at "Breakout" searches - but keep in mind topics can fizzle just as quickly as they peak. Look for trends that align with your niche and experience.</div>

  • Paid Tools: For a more calculated approach and in-depth analysis, you can try a paid tool like Semrush or Ahrefs. Use these tools to analyze your competitors' content and identify opportunities for your own content. It’s less fun than the more exploratory tactics, but it's very effective.

Your Action Plan: Kickstart Your Next Blog Post Today

Now that you know how to find your muse, shape and edit your content, and promote it online, here's how to turn those tips into results:

  1. Choose one topic: Start by identifying a topic that you're interested in, have experience in, and that your audience will find valuable. Maybe an unanswered question, a deep dive into a new subject, a response to a client's question, or a rebuttal to a misleading post you saw this morning. The best topics often emerge from your own curiosity and emotional responses to information you consume online.
  2. Research your topic: Get your head around some context before you get started.  Look at what's already been written on the subject, and think about how you can add something new to the conversation. Optional: Use tools to help with this.
  3. Define your position of value: Now you can decide on your unique angle or perspective. This is where you add value. Maybe you have a new approach, a different viewpoint, or a unique solution that hasn't been covered before. Your personal experience is your unique selling proposition. 
  4. Outline your post: Before you start writing, create an outline of your post. Don’t start with ChatGPT here, unless you have a rough idea how you’d like the post structured. Even with detailed prompting, the output is typically very formulaic. Make sure you address key points within a logical flow.
  5. Write your post: Remember to keep your audience in mind as you write. Your post should be engaging, informative, and provide value to your readers. Be original, and include actionable steps that your readers can take.
  6. Edit your post: After you've written your draft, take time to edit it thoroughly. Let it sit overnight and come back to it with fresh eyes. Read it in different formats and on different devices to catch any errors or awkward phrasing. Remove any sentence or paragraph that doesn't add value for the reader.
  7. Write an engaging title: Your page title is the first thing people will see, so make sure it's engaging and accurately represents the content. You can use headline generators or AI tools to help brainstorm title ideas.
  8. Promote your work: Once your post is published, it's time to promote it in bite-sized chunks. Share pieces on your social media channels, submit the URL to search engines, and leverage your network to help spread the word. Consider answering related questions on platforms like Reddit and linking back to your post for more information.

Above all, be authentic in your content. Guides like this one can be a great way to find motivation and get started, but the real value comes from creating original content you're proud to put your name on.

<div class="post-note-cute">If you need help with content strategy, development, implementation or anything SEO-related, don't hesitate to reach out: info@momenticmarketing.com</div>

Bar chart showing increase over time with Momentic logo

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