In case you didn’t already know…content is everywhere!

According to recent research:

Wherever you turn, you come face to face with compelling content, on websites, social media, and in person. With the rise of short-form content on platforms such as TikTok and an increase in the popularity of AI-generated content, as we look to 2024 and beyond, it’s only going to get more and more difficult to reach your audience above your competitors.

So, how can you cut through the noise and level up your content? You need a two-pronged approach: Your content needs to be perfectly optimised for SEO, and it needs to resonate with human emotion. By doing both, you will establish yourself as a relevant, authoritative voice and rank highly on the SERPs, while also evoking empathy among your audience which will lead to conversions and brand loyalty.

Here are our top five tips for creating SEO-optimised content that connects with audiences and evokes emotion.

#1 Understand user intent

Our first, and arguably most important, tip is to understand your audience. By this we mean:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What are their online habits?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What are they motivated by?

Having an in-depth understanding of your audience and being able to identify user intent will ensure you are creating human-centric content that speaks directly to your potential customers. In doing so, you’re likely to be able to provide solutions to their problems and, in return, create content that converts.

Understanding user intent also has a huge impact on SEO too. To rank highly in the SERPs, you need to prove to Search Engines that you have all the answers users are looking for. This means targeting appropriate and relevant keywords, depending on the topic you are writing about. 

For example, if you are creating a piece of content about Christmas fundraising ideas, you wouldn’t be targeting keywords about Summer fundraising ideas as the people searching for these terms most likely aren’t interested in the content you’re currently creating. By mapping appropriate keywords out across your content, you’ll be matching search intent which can help you rank highly and convert customers.

You might be wondering, how can you understand your audience and user intent?

Create audience personas - Based on available data and research, a persona represents your ideal customer and can be used to ensure you’re personalising content for that particular audience. When you create a persona, you will dig into their motivations, pain points, values, goals and desires. You may have several personas, depending on different types of customers. Learn more about creating personas.

Conduct keyword research - From an SEO perspective, keyword research is one of the most crucial parts of creating content as it helps to identify what users are looking for and expecting to find.

When it comes to keyword research, tools such as SEMrush or Google Ads Keyword Planner are useful as they show average monthly search volumes and the intent behind the keywords, for example, ‘commercial’ or ‘transactional’.

Do competitor research - Analysing your competitors is also a great way to learn more about your customers. What content is performing well and why? If users are responding better to your competitor’s short, snappy content than your long-form content, you should be taking this into consideration. Find out more about completing a competitor analysis.


#2 Use trust signals

If you want to connect with your audience, while also creating authoritative SEO-optimised content, it’s important to build trust between both you and your users, and you and the Search Engines.
When writing content that resonates with human emotion, your audience needs to believe what you’re saying, and ultimately, trust that your brand can deliver what you’re promising. If your audience trusts that you are authentic and an expert in your field, they will be more likely to connect with your content. This can then lead to more conversions and donations, and increase brand loyalty.

Why do Search Engines need to trust your content? Google analyses every page of a website according to E-E-A-T:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

That’s right, your content is being directly measured for how trustworthy it is, and it could have an impact on how well your page ranks for certain keywords.

Using trust signals throughout your content is the best way to build trust among your audience and Search Engines. Trust signals could include:

  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Logos
  • Security badges/signs
  • Reviews

In this example, Christian Aid demonstrates trustworthiness on every single page of its website by including two signs next to the contact form. One highlights that they are registered with Fundraising Regulator, and the other that they’re a member of actalliance. Both of these signify to users that they take their work seriously and can be trusted with your donations.

You can also build trust through implementing a link-building strategy. Find out more about how to create Digital PR campaigns that build trust and get in touch with us today to discuss how we can support your brand with Digital PR


#3 Back it up with data

Sticking with the theme of building trust and demonstrating your authority to both Search Engines and users, let’s talk about data.

Incorporating data into your content is a must. First and foremost, it backs up the story you’re telling. For example, if you are hosting a fundraising event, you could share how many donations you received from the last event you did, or how many people the donations from the previous event helped. You could include:

  • Online search data
  • Surveys
  • Reports
  • Statistics 

Data also reminds users of the real-world impact your organisation is having, which is likely to resonate with users and evoke empathy. Our top tip for including data in your content? Choose your most impactful statistics and put them front and centre. This is because of anchoring, which follows the principle that the first statistic (whether that be a fact, number or figure) someone sees will impact their judgments and decisions later on.

Data also highlights to Search Engines that your content is relevant, up-to-date and has expertise. This has become particularly important since Google’s Helpful Content Update. In turn, your content is more likely to be deemed authoritative and may be ranked higher on the SERPs. If you are incorporating data into your content, don’t forget to regularly audit your content to ensure it remains up to date and doesn’t become irrelevant. You may even be able to turn your data into a Digital PR campaign if it’s relevant!


#4 Make your content digestible

One of the key ways to ensure your audience resonates with your content and Search Engines rank it highly on the SERPs is to make your content digestible and easy to read. If users can’t understand your content, and there is no clear structure or navigation, it is unlikely to evoke empathy and could encourage them to leave your page for a competitor’s.

Here are our top 4 tips for making your content readable:

  • Tell a story - What do you want your content to say to users? Every piece of content should tell a story and have a flowing narrative, whether you’re writing a blog, case study or landing page
  • Structure - Use H1, H2 and H3 titles to structure your content and make it easier for both users and Search Engines to understand what they can expect to gain from your content
  • Break it up - It’s important to break up your content so that users aren’t reading one big block of text. Considering using bullet points, images, lists, sub-headings and tables to format your content is different ways
  • Remove any jargon - Remember that not everyone who wants to read your content is an expert in your field. Where possible, write in plain English that’s easy to understand. By using industry jargon, abbreviations or uncommon words, it can make it difficult for users to resonate with your content

By sharing a powerful story that communicates your brand, expertise and how you can answer your user’s search intent, you will evoke emotions and encourage people to continue their journey on your website. Also, Google is always looking for the highest quality content to rank highly as it wants to present the best information to users. Therefore, by making it as clear as possible that your content is relevant, easy to understand and answers user intent, you are more likely to rank well on the SERPs.


#5 Believe in the power of visuals

Our last tip for creating SEO-optimised content that resonates with human emotion is to incorporate visuals where it feels natural and appropriate. Visuals could include:

  • Photos
  • Animations/graphics
  • Videos
  • Infographics

You might be thinking, how do visual cues resonate with human emotions? You may also be wondering how images and videos can support your SEO strategy. Let’s dig deeper…
Images and videos add another dimension to content as they can help to visualise your copy and evoke emotions from users, such as empathy. By immersing your users into the story that you’re telling, images and videos can communicate to users on a much deeper level than copywriting alone. Visual cues may use real-life people, colours, perspectives, music and many other features to resonate with human emotion.

Incorporating real-life visuals (for example, including an authentic photo of a volunteer rather than an actor portraying a volunteer) also builds trust with your audience as they can see the real-world impact your organisation is making. Did you know…according to the behavioural principle ‘Identifiable Victim Effect’, having one identifiable individual in your image, who is described in great detail, evokes deeper emotions and sympathy than a large group of anonymous individuals.

Images and videos can also be great for SEO purposes as they reduce the amount of text on the page, making it easier for both users and Search Engines to read. If you are incorporating visual cues on your website, ensure you do the following to optimise them for SEO:

  • Use relevant, high-quality images
  • Add image structured data
  • Reduce file sizes where possible to ensure images load quickly
  • Add alt-text where appropriate
  • Add captions or transcripts to videos

Key Takeaways

The best type of content is the one that has been written with both the user and Search Engine in mind. To strike the perfect balance between optimising for SEO and resonating with human emotion, you need to:

  • Understand user intent by doing research into your audience
  • Back your content up with data
  • Use trust signals, such as testimonials or brand logos
  • Ensure your content is easy to read, emotive and tells a story
  • Harness the power of visual cues such as images and videos

Are you a charity or non-profit organisation looking to leverage the power of SEO and connect with online audiences to increase donations? Get in touch with us today to learn more about how you can enhance your digital marketing through SEO, CRO and human behaviour.

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Wordsmith Morgan joined the Reflect Digital team fresh out of University and is learning about the world of digital marketing while supporting the SEO team with highly engaging content. With a background in website administration and social media, she also brings a broader perspective to her clients. 

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