People browse the internet for many different reasons, whether that’s seeking information or advice, looking for places to eat or shopping online. With millions of results displayed for each user’s search query, it can be difficult to stand out amongst the digital crowd as a blog or content creator.
Working in such a competitive space, it’s essential that you, as a writer or SEO company, create valuable user-friendly content which cuts through the noise to reach your readers.
But writing great content isn’t enough by itself. To have that competitive edge, your content needs to be pertinent and succinct, yet presented in an engaging and accessible manner.
Here’s how you can create and improve your user-friendly content.
It may sound obvious to some, but you need to clearly identify the purpose of your blog posts—whether that is to entertain, inform or discuss a certain topic—before you start writing.
Once a purpose has been established, you need to find a niche—a unique selling point of your piece that will draw readers in. Pinpoint your subject and think about how you can make it stand out from all other online content that covers the same topic. Can you write about a subject in more depth or from a new angle that hasn’t been done before?
Conducting research can help you understand where the gaps in your field lie, as well as reveal useful data to cite. But do be wary of plagiarism; duplicating content online can land you in hot water, and you will be heavily penalised for doing so. Play it safe by taking the time to learn about relevant copyright rules and legal guidelines as you plan your content.
Writing about subjects that you are genuinely knowledgeable and passionate about will boost the value of your content. By creating inspiring and interesting blogs, you will build an authoritative voice in your industry, as well as gaining trust and credibility among your readers.
Providing content that you yourself would read is also more likely to keep readers engaged for a longer period of time. Writing in a personal tone or your brand voice will further help capture your reader’s attention.
You should always review your work before hitting the publish button, and it’s vital to have an ever-improving content marketing strategy in place to help dictate the direction, content and tone of every single blog post.
Producing user-friendly content means creating text that is accessible and easy to understand. It doesn’t matter how engaging, informative or witty your content is if it isn’t readable. Writing lengthy paragraphs will send your readers straight back to Google, as huge blocks of text are off-putting and often confusing to follow.
There are easy steps you can take, however, to increase the readability of your content. Writing shorter paragraphs (around three to four lines) increases the readability and scannability aspects. Large volumes of text broken down into manageable chunks is always much easier to read. Plus, if your reader is scanning for specific information, having to check through only a few lines of text at a time is beneficial.
Making use of headings can help organise your text into topics or themes, again, helping with readability and scannability. Make sure you know when to use the correct heading tags, too, to help you become an SEO expert.
Breaking up your text into short paragraphs isn’t always enough. Small blocks of text can still be visually daunting when stacked up on a page. So, the next step in structuring your content should be adding images to break up your text.
Having eye-catching images that not only separates your text but also supports the message of your content is essential when creating user-friendly content.
Using relevant images can work to quickly grab the attention of your reader and draw them to read on—as long as it matches the subject of the text.
With modern life becoming more demanding, especially in terms of time, readers want information that is instant, eye-catching and that makes for a simple read. Images should all be a uniform size that is compatible with your blog.
Simplicity is key when it comes to data, which is where data visualisation comes in. Using graphics to convey previously complicated data is an effective way to appeal to readers, providing that the imagery is clear, concise and relevant.
Another option is to include infographics. Even though infographics are two-a-penny now, well-designed infographics are not. Many contain information overload, a cluttered layout or have a poor resolution, and so add little to the article. Make sure you choose high-quality infographics or other content assets to help support your text.
Don’t overcomplicate your content with technical jargon or long fancy sentences. Your readers will just lose interest. Stuff your text with keywords or boring facts and you won’t have any readers left.
Keep things simple. Information should be short, snappy and (again) relevant. Attempting to relay technical jargon often results in sentences that are so long, readers will either tire or get confused, and you will lose credibility as a writer.
It’s best practice to avoid the following:
Abbreviations: Unexplained acronyms can cause confusion and lead readers to seek sites with better user experience.
Overuse of links: Both internal and external links should be included to support your subject. Including too many links, however, will appear spammy and render your content untrustworthy.
Overly complex language: Don’t fall victim to trying to prove your authority on a subject by using complicated words. The average reader won’t understand and will be deterred by your overwhelming jargon. Stick to simple and easy to digest explanations to keep your readers engaged and on the page.
Simplifying your content doesn’t mean that you can’t offer an in-depth insight into a topic. As long as your workflows when read out loud and you avoid complicated language, your readers will stay engaged. To achieve this, you should avoid potential distractions in your literature that may interrupt the user’s engagement with the text. Learning how to write good content is vital to achieve this.
The people also ask (PAA) box is an increasingly popular SERP feature on Google, and one you can use to improve your SEO strategy.
The PAA box presents a handful of questions that other users have asked, and that are related to your own query. You can gather and implement PAA data to improve your user-friendly content.
There are various digital tools and browser extensions you can use to extract or “scrape” PAA listings. Once you have gathered the listings, it’s worth analysing what type of questions are being asked (informational, transactional or navigational) to help inform your content plan.
Optimising your content to include the keywords featured in PAAs increases your chance of your site being featured in the PAA box itself. Google tends to display the same source for every related question in the PAA box, so if your site is displayed to answer one question, it will likely be featured for other related questions too.
You can also incorporate PAA results into your own content by answering the featured questions that are related to your subject, either by creating new content to address the related questions or by optimising existing content to include the PAAs.
By providing more relevant content for your readers, and more in-depth features, you will also appeal to the user intent. Your site will become a one-stop-shop for readers, keeping them on your page for longer and, in some cases, guiding them through the buyer’s journey.
Creating more relevant content for your readers opens up the opportunity to create some SEO-friendly internal linking.
Internal linking is essentially the practice of creating links between your onsite content. Not only does this keep your readers on your website as you’re providing everything they’re looking for (think back to those PAA questions), but you’re also helping Google understand your site and how to rank it. Overall, this helps to improve your SERP position and online visibility.
To effectively execute internal linking, you need to create anchor text within your content that is relevant to the link you are attaching to it. Not only is anchor text the clickable text readers can see—so you want it to be relevant enough for them to click through—but it also indicates to Google what a page is about.
We couldn’t talk about user-friendly content without mentioning keywords!
Striking the balance between keyword optimisation and keyword stuffing can be tricky to manage. Including keywords in your content helps boost your SEO, but overdoing it will have the opposite effect, so you need to use them mindfully.
First, you want to spend some time conducting keyword research, so that you can establish which keywords are relevant to your piece and your user’s intent.
Once you have established the right keywords for your piece, you should aim to include them in the right places, including:
In the title or headline of your post
In the introduction
Within your H2 and H3 tags where appropriate
Don’t forget to use synonyms of your keywords too, which helps to avoid repetition within your content.
Keywords are important to a certain extent, but prioritising their inclusion over the quality of your content will only cause harm. Remember, Google penalises sites for over-stuffing keywords, so make sure that you are creating valuable content that answers the questions your readers are asking first.
You want to make sure that your content is completely user-friendly before you hit the publish button.
Does your content have a purpose or USP?
Is your piece visually attractive/is the layout well-structured?
Can you read the entire article without getting distracted?
Are images appropriate and relevant to the text?
Is your piece topical, unique and useful?
Have you included internal links to relevant content?
By implementing all the advice above, you can be confident that your content is valuable, user-friendly and more likely to cut through the competition to reach your readers.