The Internet is cluttered with information, and people are searching online for products and services, instead of the more traditional methods (i.e. Yellow Pages). Therefore, copy that is written for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is more important than ever.
While it’s very important to write with the end reader in mind, the ultimate goal of all your business activities, including blog posts, is to get more business and make money. For this reason, it’s still very important to write for search engines, in a way that is still relevant and engaging for your readers.
So how do you write an article that is optimised for search engines?
Here are 10 simple steps for effective SEO writing.
1. Know your keywords and use them wisely
Find out what your keywords are before you start writing your article. Use tools such as Google’s Keyword tool, Google Trends or WordTracker to determine which keywords to use, and then include them in your title, body and meta tags. Don’t worry so much about keyword density, as there is no evidence to prove the Google favours higher density. Rather, include the keywords in a way that flows smoothly and is natural to the reader.
2. Write content that is useful and engaging
Google cares about the quality and relevance of content, so the more useful and original your content is, the better it will perform in search results. Each blog post should follow a main theme, supported by the paragraphs in the body. The tone should be engaging and entertaining for the reader to keep them interested and encourage them to share the article across their networks.
3. Use categories and tags
Most blogging platforms let you add tags to your posts and create categories. While categorising your blogs makes it easier for readers to find relevant content, it’s also important for SEO. When your categories and tags match your theme and keywords, they can improve your search ranking.
4. Include hyperlinks
Including links to other websites that are relevant to your topic, or that you used as a source, can help build trust and credibility with your readers. Rather than add links by saying “click here”, make them part of your content.
5,Keep it concise and scannable
When people are reading information online, they generally don’t want to spend a lot of time reading one article. Be considerate of your readers’ time and write your articles concisely, so they can be read and understood in 5-10 minutes. Breaking your content up into short paragraphs, using subheadings and/or lists will make your content more scannable and easier to read.
6. Optimise your images
Including relevant images not only makes the article more interesting for your readers, it also presents an opportunity for further optimisation. Name your image with relevant keywords, and make sure the image isn’t too large, as a slow load time will impact your search engine ranking. To ensure your images are the optimum size, try using this Online Image Optimiser.
7. Find out what questions your prospects are asking, and answer them
Looking at what questions your prospects are asking will ensure your content is relevant, and help you rank better in searches, as it is likely that your prospects will type those exact questions into the search engine. If you’re delivering credible answers to your prospects questions your prospects are more likely to visit your page and more likely to buy from you.
8. Get on Google+
Google+ is playing an increasingly important role in SEO. Creating a Google+ profile and an Authorship account, will enable you to take ownership of your content. Building your AuthorRank and actively participating on Google+ will increase your authority, and therefore boost the authority of every piece of content that you write.
9. Title Tags and ‘Snippets’
Title Tags are what Google looks at first when categorizing a web page. The title tag combined with the ‘snippet’ (meta tag), makes up what people see when your page comes up in their search results. The title tags and meta tags should include keywords, but should also sound natural and motivate people to click.
10. Build links to your article
One way that search engines determine a website’s strength and authority is to look at who links back to that website. Links act as a ‘vote of confidence’ to your website. Make sure your content is sharable, and get it noticed by sharing it across your own social networks, on relevant forums, newsletters etc. Guest blogging is another great way to increase backlinks, if you write a great piece of content for another website, and include a link back to your own.
It’s always best to optimise your content as you write it, but you can go back and make changes and edits if need be. Please contact us if you would like any further SEO advice or have any questions.