Even the best-designed websites will lack long-term viability if the content quality doesn’t bring the brand story to life. Make your content too artistic or adventurous and it might not index well for the appropriate search terms. Make it too dry or optimized and no one will want to read it.

When it comes to accessibility, labels that are vague, inconsistent, or altogether absent create hurdles for web pages and make them impossible to operate or understand for people with disabilities. Employ these eight best practices to deliver engaging, accessible, error-free content that gets attention.

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Align content with keyword research
  3. Find a unique angle
  4. Write for accessibility
  5. Automate tasks
  6. Implement quality standards
  7. Write with SEO in mind
  8. Keep a content inventory

Understand your audience

Ultimately, you’re creating content with the intention of it being seen. Communicating effectively means being aware of exactly who sees your content and what they do after reading it.

Don’t write for an overly broad audience. Casting a wide net has the opposite effect of what you intend—to attract traffic. Tailor your content to a specific audience profile to deliver the best results.

For this task, an intelligent analytics tool is a must. The data about your site traffic, insights into your most (and least) popular pages, internal search information, and behavior tracking is invaluable. You get a clear picture of who is visiting your website and what messages resonate with them. Use this knowledge to plan your content.

People looking at a screen with a question mark

Align content with searched keywords

If you’re producing content that’s meant to attract visitors and build your brand as an authority, start with keyword research. Search engine optimization (SEO) is dependent upon it. You must first define the terms you want to be found for. Researching, discovering, and analyzing keywords are the ways forward.

Which are the most-searched keywords for your topic? Which are the least? Once identified, determine which of these terms have the least competition. This means you fill a gap by writing about the topics your competitors are not.

An excellent SEO tool that performs keyword research, keyword suggestions, and keyword monitoring, as well as competitor analyses, eases the task. In this way, you have the basic components required to start building content.

Remember that simply peppering your articles with popular keywords in the hope that you’ll boost your SEO ranking is a mistake. Keywords must be incorporated so they fit the context and add value. You can then dive deeper into your keyword monitoring to get an overview of your customer’s journey.

Find a unique angle

It goes without saying that a unique angle brings prized SEO value to the content you publish. Why would a person searching the internet for information about Crete, Greece click on your article or image when there are millions (literally) of other articles on the subject? The answer is a fresh perspective.

A blog post on Crete is neither unique nor fresh. A blog post on the tradition of Cretan restaurants serving free raki brings a novel perspective to an overly-trodden topic.

Using the same example, searching Google for the terms ‘Crete Greece’ reveals 57,100,000 results. A search of ‘raki in Crete Greece’ returned 377,000 results. However, the narrowed term ‘free raki in Crete Greece’ only returned 199,000 results. Would you rather compete to be found among 199,000 articles (many of which are low quality or largely irrelevant) or among the competition of 57 million other articles? Keyword research should be included when brainstorming for any unique content ideas.

Remember that freshness goes beyond written content and also applies to your images. Search engines rank images uploaded to the internet and give a ranking based on their originality. If the picture or graphic you add to your website was borrowed from elsewhere on the internet or snagged from stock photos, you negatively affect your SEO. Try to use original, unique images because they impact your ranking just like content.

Write for accessibility

Write your content so that it is inclusive for every visitor.

On the technical side, just adding “alt text” to your images does not make your website accessible. Other guidelines include:

  • Ensuring the color contrast is sufficient between text, links, and the page background
  • Proper use of a nested structure for section headings (e.g. from H1 to H6)
  • The content on the page is in sequential, logical order for everyone
  • Ensuring all buttons, controls and inputs (fields, checkboxes, radio buttons) are labeled
  • All videos are captioned, and videos and audio clips have a transcript
  • All images have alternative text (or no alt text if the image is decorative)
  • For screen reader software, sections or landmarks on the page are labeled and there is a “skip to” link that allows users to jump directly to a section if using a keyboard
  • Plain language and readability

The best way to conform with accessibility requirements is by following the widely accepted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

To ensure you’re on the right path, run an accessibility conformance audit with an automated testing tool. This is a valuable process for ensuring you’re not causing barriers with the content format you're using. The Siteimprove Accessibility testing platform detects issues that aren’t in line with the WCAG guidelines and gives practical recommendations for fixing them.

Write with SEO in mind

While search engine optimization generally should not be your main focus in creating content, it’s a necessary consideration for any website. Content elements optimized for SEO include titles and meta descriptions, well-chosen internal and external links, and images with descriptive alternative text. The easier it is for search engines to find your content, the easier it will be to expand your audience.

Implement quality standards

It seems like a simple concept, but it’s one that’s frequently overlooked. Visitors may make it to your website but are less likely to stick around if visible errors like misspellings, broken links, and outdated information exist. If your content is presented in a sloppy fashion, your message will not get across. Invest in a tool to scan your site for errors and guide you to fixing them.

Keep a content inventory

It’s difficult to keep your content relevant and useful for visitors if you don’t know what that content is. Make a content inventory to stay on top of what material lives where on your site. Having an overview makes it easier to replace or remove outdated and irrelevant information. Using your content inventory in coordination with your analytics tools is also an excellent way to track what is and isn’t connecting with your users. Those insights prove useful for future content planning.

Use the right tools to automate tasks

A robust suite of web optimization tools is absolutely invaluable. Crafting, monitoring, optimizing, and delivering an effective content strategy at a complex professional level require automation.

If you’re interested in seeing how to reshape your workflows using automation in SEO, Analytics, Accessibility, or Quality Assurance, look at the Siteimprove Intelligence Platform. Explore more information using the following links or by requesting a demo.

SEO

Analytics

Accessibility

Quality Assurance