Semalt: Writing Better Web Contents Like A Journalist
Journalism SEO is no doubt one of the most difficult genres of SEO to handle. It comes with so many demands and little time to acclimate to its ever-changing landscape. Considering that engagement is the main priority of journalism writing, it holds certain unique advantages we would love to explore.
Why merge Journalism and SEO
With certain techniques employed from journalism SEO, we are able to create hybrid contents that perform excellently in fostering engagements and authority for our clients. Today, we hear a lot of scary myths like SEO is dead, Journalism is dead, and Content writing is dead, or at least it's hanging on by a thread.
Working with a journalist has opened our minds to amazing possibilities. During this time, we stumbled upon something amazing. By combining SEO and journalism, we are able to create contents that put our client's competition far back in their rear mirror.
In this article, we will be showing you some journalism tactics we use together with SEO to fuel our client's website to success. Each tactic, we will be mention, influences one or multiple elements of E-A-T.
In general, the purpose of these tactics will be to:
- Position your website and brand as an expert on the subject in your industry.
- Position your website as a reliable and authoritative source so other websites will link to it.
- Give your website a chance at ranking higher thanks to the above two benefits combined.
Journalism tactics that will help create better SEO contents
The inverted pyramid
This is a simple concept that works by disclosing the most important part of the content in the introductory paragraphs. This type of article is structured, so the most important parts of the article come first, and information is disclosed in that order until the last part, which is the least important.
This content structure was invented by Samuel Morse in the early days of the telegraph. As far back as 1845, the telegram wasn't a very reliable means of communication. Many times, a transmission would disconnect midway, so it was best that the most critical information came first, then explanations followed. This way, even if the transmission was lost for good, the most important things had already been saying.
In SEO, this concept makes perfect sense. Using the inverted pyramid structure, we can provide readers with the most crucial information first just after using the perfect lead to lure them in. then, we follow with a body that supports the information in the introduction.
In the body, we funnel information in bits as the range from most important until we arrive at the least important information. With the inverted pyramid, we get to hook the audience early on in the article, and we will be able to explain the benefits of reading that article early, so readers know the value of reading the article. The SEO engagement also tends to be great.
Considering the limited amount of time we have to impress your target audience enough to stay and read an article, the inverted pyramid puts us in a unique position where we can frontload many target keywords, which indicates to search engines that you are placing importance on those keywords.
Answering the 5Ws + 1H
If you recall our discussion of how long content should be (this section should be hyperlink to the article "how long should a content be?"), we discussed that content could be 300 or 500 words. At the end of the day, it isn't the length that matters but whether or not it is rich. For serious engagement, your content must always answer the 5Ws + 1H:
Combining this with the inverted pyramid puts you in a position where your engagement will greatly increase. Having content that answers the who, what, when, and wherein the introduction stands the best chances for attracting and keeping your target audience.
Then in the body of the content, we discuss the why and how.
Doing this is, however tricky, we wouldn't want to write blandly, so we use fiction techniques such as cliffhangers to keep your audience reading. This creates suspense, excitement, and enticement, so the audience doesn't read the first part alone but wants to read the entire piece to learn more.
Answering the 5Ws + 1H gives us more opportunities to use primary keywords naturally, and we get to provide answers to question snippets likely to be found at the top of SERP.
Headlines are useful not only because they carry primary keywords. Instead of using any cute keywords in your headings, we use concrete, valuable words. We do these because concrete and valuable words prompt the readers to take action. For SEO and your website, action means engagement and click-throughs, both of which are direct ranking factors.
Our headlines are created to perform one or more of the following functions:
- Stir up curiosity.
- Gives instructions on how to do something.
- Provides answers to the reader's problems.
- Appeals to the emotions of the audience.
- Shows advantages of reading the content.
When possible, it is also important that we use Parenthesis or Brackets. Research says that using headlines with numbers such as ten examples, 12 tips, 15 ways, etc., are 36% more likely to get clicked than regular content headings. Having brackets or parenthesis accounts for an additional 38% more reasons to get clicked.
Headings should always carry the primary and not be too long. It should always fall between 50-60 characters. These days, however, having long headlines is en vogue.
As we continue encountering more and more media and it gets pilled, our attention span tends to get shorter. Microsoft Research published a study that discovered the attention span of an average internet user is EIGHT SECONDS. This poses a big problem for SEO experts not only because doing this is extremely difficult, but that time frame will continue to decrease as every new content is published. So not only do we have to keep you on an article in only eight seconds, but we should do better as that time frame is bound to decrease.
At this point, having a slow site is the same as hanging the chances of ranking on your website.
We need to hook these readers and do it fast. Our goal is to heighten the reader's interest immediately on an emotional or intellectual level; sometimes, we can achieve both. We quickly provide insight that is unique to you and your brand in whatever subject we're discussing.
The information may be similar to your competition (carrying similar messages in different words), but we provide new and improved information based on our in-depth and recent experience with the subject matter.
One of our objectives is to ensure that the readers never get bored. We take them on a new journey and use the body to provide supporting details like nutrients for a planted seed. This, of course, applies when we are using the inverted pyramid.
We ensure our introduction provides answers to these questions:
- Is the introduction showing or telling? Our introduction should immediately put an image in the minds of our readers.
- Does the introduction introduce unique facts that stir up curiosity in the minds of readers?
- Does the introduction create enough suspense to ensure readers can't leave just yet?
In our lede, it is absolutely critical that we consider the type of audience we are dealing with. Writing for a specific audience is far easier to maneuver.
The show, don't tell
Telling you to picture yellow is one thing; showing you what yellow looks like is another thing. As an example, we would love for you to close your mental eyes. In that space, picture the bright, warm, and beautiful color yellow; remember how similar it is to the sun. Imagine it spread across a field of flowers, with a black dot in the middle of each flower and long green stalks. Now participating in this exercise wouldn't only show you what yellow looks like, you will also imagine how beautiful a field of sunflowers is. It's showing, and it's not telling.
In order to make your readers get immersed in the words we write on your website, we show, not tell. This will greatly improve your audience engagement, and your search ranking will most likely improve your ranking.
The secret to content writing is experimenting. No matter how much time and resources we spend researching and writing, it may not click. At that point, we begin modifying the content based on our theories until we do the thing that suddenly makes your content the most attractive thing to your target audience.
Do you want content that makes your website skyrocket in traffic and engagement? Contact Semalt services today.