Creating an Article List
The first step of your content plan is making a list of all of the pages and articles you want to create for your website. Some pages to include would be:
- Thorough descriptions of your products or services
- Customer testimonials
- Stories explaining how you’ve helped particular customers
- Helpful how-to articles
- Frequently asked questions
Additionally, with the FAQs, you can turn each of those answers into a thoughtful, well-structured article for your website.
Formatting a Page
When thinking about how to turn these topics into pages, the first thing to consider are the technical and quality factors. We go into depth on these in our article about targeted keywords, but it comes down to creating substantive, detailed pages focused around a specific word or phrase. It’s important to keep in mind that the goal with these pages is not to trick Google, but to build trust with customers.
The way the page is laid out, however, is almost as important as the content. A helpful way to do this is to think back to the way you likely learned how to write a paragraph: you tell the reader what they’re going to read, you give them the information, and then you recap it. It’s important to organize the page using subheadings, which will not only help the reader find the content that is most interesting and appropriate for them, but will also help Google understand what your page is about. Another useful thing to include would be key visuals which you can use to reinforce or clarify ideas, such as with our anatomy of a page diagram.
Utilizing a Meta Description
When you search for something on Google and you see a result, it contains the title of the website, the link to the website, and a snippet of text. This snippet of text is called your meta description. Google will either use a description that you custom write and embed or it will automatically pull text from the page to create one. If you don’t have a custom meta description, you are basically leaving it to chance that Google will grab the most important information.
On the flip side, if you do have one, you have the opportunity to say what you offer and why buy from you. This is essentially free ad copy and will drive your click through rate. Some social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, will also pull from these meta descriptions when someone shares a link to your page.
Creating a meta description is easy, especially with WordPress. There are several free programs, such as Yoast, that will allow you to create a custom description for each page. We would caution you against trying to stuff your meta description with keywords for SEO, and suggest instead that you try to communicate to your customers in a meaningful way.
Tools and Tips
One of the free tools that we recommend everyone use on their WordPress site is Yoast. This plugin is essentially the training wheels for search engine optimization. They have a field for you to enter a focus keyword or phrase, and Yoast will point out where you should include it, as well as recommend other changes to optimize your page. For example, it might recommend you make your page longer, break it up into smaller sections, or add images. Yoast also allows you to create custom meta descriptions for each page.
We also recommend adding Google Sitekit. This plugin is made by Google, and combines several of their tools, such as Analytics and Search Console. Verifying and adding this to your site will allow Google to start logging some of the information and giving you feedback so you can begin tracking data on your site.
Finally, we recommend making a schedule and sticking to it. Write down the amount of articles that you think you are able to commit to, maybe once a week or twice a month, and hold yourself accountable for having a page completed by that deadline.
This lesson, along with a step-by-step video walkthrough and demonstration, are available when you sign up to be a Cultivate member.