6 SEO Content tips to help your articles rank higher in Google
Back when I started blogging, I always employed the best means to get people to read my posts. I wasn’t after big numbers then, just a mere 100 views per day would have been okay for me.
But hey, I never got those numbers.
This frustration of not getting enough views on my articles got me to search for possible means to get traffic to my blog. At the time, I experimented mainly with Facebook Adverts. However, it didn’t take me long to realise that it was not very sustainable.
The thing with paid traffic is that when you stop paying, traffic ceases to come in and that’s especially very bad if you are not using your traffic to sell goods or services as in the case of ecommerce.
Someway somehow, I came across SEO. I don’t really remember my first contact with SEO, but I do know that I continuously heard the phrase: “Content is King”. I will like to believe that Bill Gates’ essay titled “Content is King” is the one use that made the phrase popular.
You can read the full essay here.
Currently, on Mfidie.com, we enjoy more than 50% of our traffic from Google by just optimising our content for search engines.
Content is King
In SEO, there are a lot of things that you need to take care of, but the most important, as I have come to realise is the content.
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” – Bill Gates, 1996
Again on the Bill Gates essay, he mentioned that: “One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create.” Although Bill Gate’s article did not limit content to just blog posts and articles, I would focus on that for this article.
Content is King in SEO simply means if your articles are relevant, engaging and useful for your audience (usually targeted), they are most likely to consume it better, share and take actions based on it and all of this will, in turn, send positive signals to search engines to rank your article higher.
So for your content to reign, it needs to satisfy the user primarily, before search engines.
However, how much of your content should satisfy the user and how much of it should satisfy search engines’ bots? It’s very important to maintain a balance in all of this.
Content that satisfies users
The only way to satisfy someone is to look out for what they want and give it to them.
Usually, you should write a post that addresses a challenge, solves a problem or explains a complicated issue.
For starters, each blog post you write you need to determine the goals of the article which audience you are targeting it at. If you don’t know how to begin with this, surf through your analytics, select specific posts and look at the demographics for them.
Know your audience and set post goals
Usually, it is easy to draw a pattern via your analytics reports. You would notice posts that bring you new users, posts that returning users are attracted to and posts that are not performing at all.
These can help you determine what posts to write to get new readers, and those that will increase loyalty among your existing readers.
Some other post goals you may opt for are:
- Selling a product or service
- Getting users to sign up for your newsletter
- Getting in the top 10 for a specific keyword, Eg: “Plumbing Services in Accra”
- Getting 2,000 unique page views on the article for a month
You would realise that once you have your goal set, the audience becomes a bit more defined and the way you write the article overall changes.
One important rule though if you are using external writers or hiring other people to write for you, make sure that the content is original and not plagiarised. For this, I take advantage of a very simple Plagiarism Checker by searchenginereports.net which even allows me to upload the original documents and check them against content existing online.
Remember, you are satisfying the reader and your article should be able to answer their questions. It is therefore important to revise your articles from time to time so they can continue to meet your goals.
Choose a good heading
Oh yeah, do I need to stress how much important this is?
The first thing someone sees on your post is the heading, and most often than not, it is the heading and metadata that “compels” someone to click on your article’s link.
Here are some things you should consider when writing your blog title/heading:
- It should be between 6 to 12 words
- It should have a “Call to Action” if possible
- Use attractive adjectives and adverbs to make your blog post curious and interesting for the reader
- Use 55 or fewer characters when possible
Take these two examples:
- Wrist Watches in Ghana and Where to buy them from
- 5 Top Shops to buy quality Wrist Watches in Ghana
The second one is a much better heading because it is compelling and gives a number. People will more likely read a “listed post”.
Make your posts readable
Your posts should be simple to read and easy for people to skim and scan through.
It is important to break your content down into shorter meaningful paragraphs so that users can read properly. Also, add relevant images with captions to your articles.
Use subheadings where appropriate and learn the correct use of the H1 and H2 tags. Your main title is Usually the H1 tag of your article. You should, therefore, employ the use of H2 – H4 tags in your articles.
Lastly, make sure your first two paragraphs are able to inform the user of what he/she is to expect in the article. This would make readers stay longer and bring down your bounce rate.
If readers to your site bounce immediately, your site’s rankings are likely to go down also.
Ultimately, making your readers happy will keep you high on search engine rankings, but there are some pieces of stuff you need to do, just for the search engines, for better ranking.
Content and signals that satisfy search engines
When we talk about Search Engines, we usually refer largely to Google, and that’s fine. After all, Google has more than 95% of the world’s search traffic.
There are some elements to incorporate into your articles and posts to make them nicer and sweeter for Google.
Let’s look at some of them.
Keywords are those terms that people search for on Google. If you want people to come to your blog posts, they need to rank, and to rank, these keywords need to be in your article, but they need to make meaning.
You should understand that keywords are phrases or words you think people will use in search engines to find information related to your blog or article.
Every post you write should target a keyword or keyword phrase that is most relevant to your post. You can use a service like SEMRush to help you in your keyword find.
You should, however, note that you don’t need to overuse the keywords in your article as Google would know you are practising keyword stuffing and would penalise you. Your keyword should generally take up just about 2% of the whole article.
If you use WordPress, the Yoast plugin can help with the measurement.
Internal Linking and External Linking
It’s very important to write related content and link to each other on your website.
When search engines crawl your site, they are also looking at other links within posts. These posts and the links to the other pages on your site tell Google exactly what context your posts are in.
Also, add external links to other well known and high authority sites so that Google can again “respect” your content and know it is relevant. External links also help to build a relationship with other sites.
When looking for external links, always link to non-competitive authority sources within the scope of whatever article you are writing.
Google likes to see that users are happy on your site.
By driving engagements like getting people to share your articles, leaving comments or even leaving a rating, positive signals are sent to search engine bots and this can help your site rank high.
Even when users click through to another web page (both internal or external), search engines pick these as a good signal.
This is why your internal and external links need to be relevant, always.
It’s obvious we all want to rank high on Google since it is not a very “expensive” source of traffic while delivering long-term benefits.
If you want to write content that will rank high and possibly be on page one of Google’s search engine results page, here are a recap of the things to keep in mind:
- Your articles need to be relevant, engaging and useful for your audience
- Set post goals and make sure they are properly targeted to a particular audience
- Study your analytics and let it inform your decisions
- Your posts should be easily readable and should deliver what they promise; avoid click baiting
- Target relevant keywords and use them in your article properly
- Utilise internal and external links natural links in your posts
- Drive engagements by offering users an array of actions on your posts
Also, don’t expect instant results once you’ve followed the instructions. Just continue and get a few more posts that meet the criteria and you will start to see the results.
It is also important for you to know which stuff works for you and which ones don’t. If you tinker and experiment, you will finally find your own winning formulae.
If you ever need help with SEO for your business or blog, send an email to [email protected] and let’s talk.