Three simple alphabets that has every online business owner/marketer clamoring about it.
You cannot ignore the impact that search engines have on your writing.
If you truly want to get the word out about your product, service, or story, it’s important that your writing is optimized for search engines.
Sadly, some people go over the top with SEO and churn out meaningless content stuffed with keywords to appease search engines.
And these search engines are not to be trifled with either.
Over the past 8 years I’ve been in the online marketing field, I’ve seen search algorithms morph and change for the better.
They are no longer mindless robots crawling your site to find content that people search for.
They have mutated into intelligent beings who take over 200 factors into consideration before a site makes it to the first page of the search results.
So what can you do to make sure your writing makes it to the coveted spot?
Let me take you through the process I followed to curate an article for one of my clients.
Step 1: Identify the Keywords
When you start writing, you probably have an idea you can expand on. The first step is to find keywords that are relevant to your idea. I’ve written a detailed article on how to do keyword research if you need a step by step guide.
Identify relevant keywords that have a high search volume and medium-high competition. Also make note of related synonyms that you use within the article.
I had an idea to create a travel guide for someone traveling to India for the first time. I knew this would prove to be very useful for my client’s target audience.
The first step was to identify phrases related to this idea that people were searching online for. I did the initial keyword research and came up with the following keywords:
When writing the article, make sure you identify what your focus keyword is, and then include the rest of the keywords and their synonyms within your content.
Step 2: Write In-Depth Content
This is something I try very hard to do, as well. Rather than publishing a large number of mediocre articles, aim to write meaty content that will prove to be quite useful for your audience.
Write in-depth articles rather than just rehashing old content. In-depth articles of over 1000 words can become power pages on your site. You can follow the process I follow in the article, How to Write When You’re Not a Writer.
With respect to the Indian travel guide again, I brainstormed with my team and came up with a list of the type of resources anybody visiting India for the first time may need. We created a spreadsheet with our ideas.
Step 3: Optimize the Article for Search Engines
This is a pretty straightforward task, but one that is easily overlooked by even seasoned writers. Make sure your article has the focus keyword in the title, URL, meta description, as a heading within the content, and in the first paragraph if possible.
I recommend using a plugin such as WordPress SEO by Yoast to make the process easier. Try to also include at least 2 or 3 internal links to other posts/pages on your site.
Step 4: Add a Visual Component
Google and other search engines images pay extra attention to images/videos that are included in the content. Plan to include at least 1 or 2 related images in your article. If you’re including a video blog, make sure you add the transcript of it in the same article.
The images within your content also need to be optimized for search engines. Make sure the keyword is included in the following:
- Image file name
- Image title
- Image alt text
Step 5: Increase Social Signals
The advantage of writing great content is that your readers will want to share it. When a particular article receives more likes and shares, it is more likely to rank well on search engines.
Add social sharing buttons to your post and encourage your audience to share, retweet, and repin your article across various social media platforms.
You’ll notice that my article has social sharing buttons at the top and bottom of the page. I will be running Facebook campaigns for this article, and I’m also in the process of getting other travel bloggers to link back to it, which will make the article more popular with search engines.
Step 6: Optimize User Signals
Search engines pay particular attention to how users behave on your site. You can try to reduce your bounce rate by taking efforts to keep users on your site a little while longer.
If you’ve written good, in-depth content, readers will spend more time on your site and they will most likely be coming back for more.
You can also keep readers on your site by adding a call to action to your content, urging them to read a related article, subscribe to your mailing list, or visit other pages on your site.
To wind up, here’s an image by Moz that pretty much sums it all up!
This is a very basic guide to make your written content search engine friendly. I hope you’re able to start incorporating these suggestions on your website.
Check out the other posts in this series:
- Why Writing is Important for an Online Business
- How to Write When You’re Not a Writer
- How to Write Effectively for Your Target Audience
This was our last post in the series, Becoming a Better Writer When Writing is Not Your Forte. We’ll be taking a month-long break on the blog. I’ll see you again with fresh articles in the first week of May!