Optimizing for both search engines and users is one of the most important things you can do for your content.
However, creating SEO friendly content often requires time and efforts. But in the end, you can expect them to pay off – if you do it right.
Many people think that SEO-optimized content can’t be user-friendly. This actually happens to be a total misconception because well-optimized, high-quality content essentially improves your chances of ranking higher in search results.
In order to help you get your content ranking better in search engines, check out this set of SEO rules and tips that’s I’ve collected in this article.
1. Carry out a keyword research
Although SEO is leaning towards encouraging users to create thought-leadership types of content, keywords still play an important role. Finding the right keywords will help you dominate the search results and satisfy your target audience.
While choosing your target keywords, define the following:
- The volume of searches for a particular keyword in a given timeframe. Using the wrong keywords will lead to a waste of your time and budget.
- Understand the searcher intent behind keywords you want to use.
- Research resources to create competitive content already shown up in the search results.
- Focus on long-tail keywords. They might have a low search volume, but they still give a high possibility to rank on the SERPs. People usually use longer keyword phrases when they want to find out more specific information about a particular topic.
Here are some great sources to let you perform excellent keyword research for your SEO friendly content:
- Use the tools like SE Ranking Keyword Suggestion tool, AnswerThePublic, or Google Keyword Planner to find the best keywords.
2. Generate new variations of your target keywords using Quora. People use this tool to discuss industry-related topics that isn’t filtered by search.
3. Use Related Searches on Google to learn more about your customers and what their intent is.
4. Google Autocomplete will provide keyword suggestions based on real user queries. By the way, SE Ranking also have a tool – Keyword suggestions – that helps to pick the keywords just the way people do the search.
5. Search for topic-specific pages on Wikipedia. It’s the online resource made by humans that people trust, use, and reference. It also ranks very high in SERP.
6. Reach different industry forums to see what questions and topics your customers are interested in.
7. Spy on your main competitors and figure out which keywords are driving tons of quality traffic.
8. Find keyword ideas on Amazon. It has total domination of the organic search results for any transactional keywords.
Once you find the target keywords, make sure to include them in the right places:
- Meta description: keep it between 150-160 characters
- Within your content: use keywords in H1-H6 tags
- Image names and alt image tags
Notice that over-using keywords will hamper your content readability. So avoid doing this and don’t confuse your readers. In addition to this – avoid keyword stuffing.
Create blog posts and other types of content that solve problems or answer questions of your audience. Include your keywords throughout the content in a natural way.
2. Structure your content
If you want to create great content, follow a solid structure.
First, identify the main part of your post. Dividing it into different parts can make your writing easier and faster. Once you structure your content, you can work on each part separately without any time to organize your thoughts.
Each piece of content should include an introduction, main body and conclusion. You can divide the body into different parts and write your content that showcases your personality and resonates with your audience.
Something people may miss is to make the most of their conclusion. End your content with a strong call to action for people to take the desired action.
For example, I liked the guide from West Coast Shipping. They outlined 6 main steps to ship a car and explore each step by adding compelling call to actions to each part.
3. Write catchy titles
Titles have a huge impact on your SEO purposes and user-friendliness.
Descriptive and catchy titles can help readers tell what your blog post is about, and what they will get from reading it.
To increase your chances of ranking higher, optimize your titles for SEO by following these simple tips:
- Use your target keyword at the beginning of your title.
- Keep your title under 60 characters. Google displays the first 60 characters in the search results.
- Make sure to describe the post’s content accurately.
Once you craft your title, check out its overall score with CoSchedule. The tool shows an analysis of grammar, readability and a length of your title. You will also get Google Search Preview and Email Subject Line Preview.
To hook your audience and increase your CTR, you can use emotional modifiers in your titles, such as “best,” “amazing,” “funny,” “free,” “how to,” “surprising” and so on.
Creating compelling subtitles will improve your content readability. Using subtitles in a hierarchical mode is essential. The title of a blog post should contain only one h1 tag on the page and include a target keyword. The main sections should contain an h2 tag, and subsections should be h3.
It makes sense to create different heading tags. Using similar tags can mislead users and search engines that you’re presenting the same information twice.
4. Write SEO friendly URLs
Well-crafted URLs are one of the most important SEO elements.
According to Backlinko, URLs are a significant ranking factor. They provide a better user experience, and are easier to share.
When it comes to creating SEO friendly URLs, use the following rules:
- Include the target keyword for each page. That will improve the search visibility of your website and help search engines better categorize and identify the page.
- Shorten your URLs by removing unnecessary words. The average URL should be around 60 characters or three to five words.
- Use hyphens to separate words. For example, http://website.com/how-to-write-seo-friendly-posts/
- Use lowercase letters. Uppercase letters can result in redirects or 404 errors on some servers.
- Avoid stop words, such as a, an, but, and or.
- Keep your URLs simple, compelling and relevant.
Here is a good example from Rosen Injury Lawyers that create well-structured SEO friendly URLs. They look concise and clean, and identify the core keyword.
5. Use small paragraphs
One thing to keep in mind is to keep your paragraphs short.
It doesn’t mean that each sentence needs to start on a new line, but the paragraphs should be arranged logically and have their own idea. Stick to small paragraphs (about 2-3 sentences).
Use different formatting options, such as add bullet points, highlight text, change your font. That makes it easier for mobile users to read the content and make your content less boring.
6. Optimize meta description
The meta description is a summary of your content that Google uses to show beneath your title in the search results. It is important to make it appealing and informative to encourage readers to click your blog post.
The meta description should explain what your article is about and include your target keywords. The meta description length is between 155-160 characters.
There’s no guarantee that the original meta description you’ve labored over will appear in the search results.
So, the best solution is to figure out your target keyword and include it naturally in your meta description. If Google finds a match in your meta description, they will probably use your tag.
7. Optimize images
Including and optimizing images in your content is a great way to effectively get your points across and improve the reader’s experience. Image optimization is similar to traditional SEO.
Google Images can’t read a text in images, but they can interpret the content of images to define images’ relevance in the search results. You need to give proper Alt text and descriptive titles, captions and filenames.
The ALT text is not visible to website visitors, but search engines use this information to understand the subject matter of an image better. In case images don’t load on a given device, people will see ALT texts instead. Try to create useful and informative content that contains your core keywords appropriately and naturally in your ALT text.
Here is the example of an ALT text for an image:
<img src=”puppy.jpg” alt=”Dalmatian puppy playing fetch”/>
8. Add links that make sense
Whenever you write a new blog post, include some words, statistics or points that could benefit from further clarification.
What this means is don’t refrain from adding internal and external links to your article. They help your readers explore a topic in more depth while staying focused on the main point.
Internal linking is an effective way to: help search engines understand the relevance of your content, make your readers spend more time on your site, and reduce the bounce rate. Linking out to useful external resources like Wikipedia will build trust and improve user experience.
Also, you’ll want to add descriptive anchor text to the links as people can better understand what the link is about. Try to use a reasonable number of links. No one knows what number of links you should include. Just make sure that your links are relevant, natural and useful for readers.
9. Use the optimal content length
For a typical blog post, 300 to 500 words should be the minimum word count.
This is because Google likes longer content as it tends to get more likes and mentions in social media. Therefore, longer posts have good chances of ranking better in the search.
The optimal content length is around 2000 words. But it shouldn’t be your number one goal to write 2000 words every time.
First and foremost, you need to provide the most useful and informative content for your readers that determine their search intent.
Quality is more important than quantity. So, check out your top ranking content to see what articles get the most views and analyze the impact of content length.
10. Optimize your content for mobile
Now mobile/tablet internet usage sits at 56% globally.
Optimizing your blog for mobile devices is a must for search engines, as Google is now ranking mobile-friendly websites higher.
It is therefore essential to have a responsive website design as Google penalizes non-mobile-friendly sites.
You’ll also want to adapt your web design for mobile, tablet and desktop devices.
Simple navigation and layout make it easier for users to find all necessary information quickly. This means you’ll want to analyze the load speed of your site. Use Accelerated Mobile Pages to build content that loads instantly and improve the overall user experience.
To check out whether your site has any issues, such as site speed, mobile optimization, HTML validation, etc., I recommend SE Ranking Website Audit. The tool evaluates all key parameters and provides actionable tips on how to fix issues if necessary.
11. Update your content regularly
Even if you create engaging and high-converting content, you need to write blog posts and update your site content on a regular basis.
This is because Google wants to provide searchers the best results for their search queries. As a result – if you don’t publish regularly, Google won’t consider your blog as a good resource for searchers.
Once or twice per week is a great starting point. Give your readers some time to digest your fresh content, and respond to comments on your post. Use copywriting tips to improve your writing skills.
12. Use social media share buttons
Want to get free links? Make it easier for users to find your social share buttons and spread your content around the web.
Beautifully designed buttons will encourage people to click and share your publications.
13. Include schema markup
Implementing schema markup will help search engines better analyze your content. It divides each part of your publications and explains search engines what these parts mean.
Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to add markup to your blog posts easily. For example, if you want to add schema markup to your title, choose the right section “Articles,” enter the URL and start tagging.
In the left panel, highlight your title, choose the type of schema markup and create HTML. Copy this code and replace your source code for this post with this HTML.
Bonus tip: use SEO analysis Tools
If you want to write readable and SEO-friendly blog posts, you can’t do without SEO analysis tools.
Powerful SEO tools can help you find the best performing keywords for your content, create and submit a sitemap, check your mobile optimization, analyze your link profile, detect and disavow bad links, etc.
Examine your writing before pushing it to the web. Make sure that it is free of grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. Check the readability of your text with Grammarly.
To figure out the most popular content on your site, you can use a tool like Finteza. It offers detailed estimations, such as bounce rates, page depth, visits, conversions, and the actions of leads. Using this data you can optimize your links and content accordingly.
The bottom line
It will take some time to find out how to create an SEO friendly content for your site but in the long run, it will be extremely worthwhile.
Follow these practical tips to write SEO friendly content and drive value from your copywriting efforts. They will help you ensure that good content leads to more shares, leads, links and repeat visitors.
Do you know other things that can maximize the SEO friendliness of your content? Let me know in the comments below.