We all know that creating content is non-negotiable when it comes to performing retail SEO, but how effective is your content creation process really? When it comes to crafting high-performing content that moves you closer to your ranking objectives or helps you to maintain search position, making a few New Year tweaks to your content creation process can make a big difference.

If you’re ready to create more valuable content for your customers and craft posts that generate more likes, shares or links to help with your SEO trajectory, read on for six easy ways you can up your performance this year.

  1. Perform regular keyword research

Consumer search habits change constantly so working from a master list of keywords that was created last year won’t serve you well today. In addition to seasonal spikes – certain product-related keywords may be more valuable to you at key parts of the year for example – the way that shoppers search for products changes. Things like what’s in the news or trending on social media can also have an impact so keyword research needs to be performed consistently and often.

  • Be engaging

This is much easier said than done, especially when you’re wearing your ecommerce SEO hat. Try replacing this with your shopper hat. Think about what you like to read, the style of content that draws you in and interests you. Chances are it’s very different to the ‘SEO’ content you put together. Being engaging isn’t easy and it takes work to hone your writing skills to a point where you can juggle your SEO check list with a creative, welcoming and interesting post which visitors want to linger on.

If you aren’t a regular reader, upping the time you spend with magazines, newspapers, blogs and books can help you develop a more natural, polished style. And this means visitors will spending longer on page, which gives your SEO a boost.

  • Use proper formatting

The way you arrange your content is almost as important as what you have to say. Rather than having a big solid block of text, focus on making it easily digestible, easy to navigate and a pleasure to read. Don’t use lots of long sentences for example, as this can be hard to follow on the smaller screens of mobile devices. Keep paragraphs at a digestible size. Use bold and italics to emphasise key points. Use H1, H2 headers to break up your text and don’t forget the importance of visual content.

  • Prioritise quality over quantity

It’s super easy to fall into the habit of feeling pressured to push out a certain volume of content to be successful with your SEO. That can work against you and it’s more productive and more valuable long term to instead created more detailed, informative and longer content. Long form content is a signal of quality and authority and research shows that sites with more detailed, high quality content consistently perform better in the SERPs. It’s also more likely to add value for the consumer and be something that they recommend or share, which again works for you on the SEO front.

A piece of content like a buying guide naturally lends itself to longer form so that’s an easy place to start if this way of thinking is new to you.

  • Target featured snippets

If you can get your content showing up as a featured snippet, you have achieved the SEO aim of being visible at the top of the SERPs. It isn’t a given that your content will be selected as a featured snippet but if it is, you’ll eat into some of the traffic that would have gone to the number one organically listed site.

To be in the running for featured snippet placement, try answering a question early on in your content or giving a definition. Using bulleted lists and numbered step-by-step formats can also help. Again, your content should also be of a higher quality and be logically organised, well formatted and readable. If you’re focusing on really creating best practise content, you may even find that feature snippet success comes as a by-product of your other efforts.

  • Be original

It’s easy to rehash old topics but, being original holds a lot of SEO sway. It’s also much more interesting for your audience. To get into this mindset, start thinking about what your brand or product has that is unique and how that can be transformed into a piece of content that hasn’t already been done to death. If you can perform a survey or study, have a really well defined thought or opinion piece, you’re on the right tracks.