How To Rank Higher On Google With SEO
We all want our content to receive the recognition it deserves, but sometimes it needs a little help from SEO. Search engine optimization works in a few different ways: it can increase your organic search traffic, add to your conversion rate, and, as a result, generate more leads to your website or article – which is exactly what we want! Any way you look at it, SEO is here to stay and you should be using it for all your articles and blog content going forward for your website. If you're a newcomer to the online world or are looking to spruce-up your content, my guide below will help your blog posts reach more people with search engine optimization.
Primary keywords are important
In order for a search engine like Google to pick up the important content in your article, you need to make sure the primary keywords are in the right place. But you'll also need to make sure the headline doesn’t sound too manufactured and mechanical – which can feel like treading a fine line.
Each blog post you publish should be designed to revolve around a main keyword, rather than an entire sentence, which would then bring down its SEO value. Think about your article and come up with a keyword to describe it; this is usually the winner and will work best when paired with search engine optimization.
Use longtail keywords throughout
Want your article to have a better chance at being picked up by search engines like Google? Longtail keywords are another great way to improve these chances, with the keyword being repeated over and over in the copy it's more likely to show up in the search results.
For example, if your chosen primary keyword was ‘coaching’ it would look a little something like this in a longtail format:
- Coaching tips for beginners
- Motivational coaching ideas
- Live your dream coaching career
The more you get into the habit of using this format for your blog or guest posts, the better SEO will work in your favor, and the more hits your content will receive!
Learn about latent semantic indexing
Ever wondered why search engines pick up certain posts over others? This falls under the umbrella of semantic latent indexing, which basically looks for relevant terms on websites. SEO expert Bruce Clay explains it in this way: “In latent semantic indexing, Google sorts sites on the frequency of a variety of terms and key phrases linked together instead of on the frequency of a single term… the content should never focus solely on that keyword or phrase.”
Take the time to really think about the content you're putting out there, and make sure that your copy is relevant to the keywords you've chosen. The best way to take advantage of this is to use synonyms that add complimentary variations to your keywords, but aren't exactly the same word or phrase. Typically, if a phrase is repeated over and over, the latent semantic indexing could actually penalize your work, and even push it down the SEO index – which is not what we want!
Semantically connected words are the best way to get around this, and actually build on the quality of your work rather than relying on the same words throughout your copy. I like to think of it as a way to strengthen the quality of work you're producing.
People first, search engines second
Among all this technical stuff, we can sometimes lose sight of who we are writing for in the first place. Always create content with your audience in mind, not just search engine optimization. Usually if it involves the latter, there is too much technical jargon and the body of work itself feels too mechanical and lacks creative flow. One of the worst things that could happen is that your audience starts to notice this and clicks off the article altogether – exactly the opposite reaction we want the content to have.
To avoid this happening to your content, don't overflow your copy with too many keywords. Rather than choosing so many and constructing sentences and paragraphs with this in mind, spread them out consistently throughout your entire article. Not only is this received better by the search engines, but it also reads better, which is ideal for your audience. Make sure you're using primary keywords in a useful way, and not trying to compress as many as you can for the SEO benefits.
Who is reading this right now on their mobile phone or tablet device? One of the biggest factors people forget when it comes to SEO is that so many of us use mobile devices now, so this means that websites need to cater to this too. If your website isn't mobile responsive, you're losing valuable time and money.
CEO at Chaosmap.com and enterprise CEO expert Jon Rognerud places the importance of a mobile medium as well: “Mobile usage comprise so much of overall online traffic that Google may already be penalizing websites that return mobile errors. Building a mobile-friendly website not only satisfies Google, but it will bode well for your mobile traffic and overall site engagement.”
That makes more sense, right? When configuring your website, make sure mobile users are just as important as those logging on from their desktop computer.
Embrace longer blog posts
One of the best ways to explore a topic is to take your time and make each blog post as comprehensive as it can be. Longer blog posts distress content creators because they believe that if they’re too lengthy, readers will switch off and lose interest. But, research shows quite a different pattern; posts with at least 1,500 words rank best with SEO – which is a great sign for all of us who love to write about topics that we're passionate about!
Work on creating quality content rather than shelling out shorter articles that skim the surface of each topic. You'll need at least 1,000 words to dissect a topic, adding more when it comes to relevant sources, quotes, and exploring your own themes in each blog post.
Rather than taking this information and thinking that you need to fill the space with words, understand that quality is always better than quantity. Take time to explore each theme until you feel like your point of view has been communicated well with your readers.
Create unique content
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you for SEO is that unique content is always more appealing. If you are writing an article on something that has been covered hundreds of times before, the odds are its SEO ranking won’t be that high. Take the time to plan out each bit of information you put into your work, and add your own personal touch so it stands out from content already out there on the internet.
When it comes to creating unique content, there are a few important rules to remember:
- Make sure your ideas are completely your own. Using someone else’s thoughts (without quoting them) can often leave you in a lot of trouble and with a lower search engine optimization ranking. Don’t try to duplicate content that isn't credible for your business and doesn’t translate well on SEO.
- Include original content like exclusive interviews and transcripts that you've researched and that hold particular significance to the story you're trying to tell. It will make your work more credible and improve your search engine optimization rank.
- Look at what your competitors are doing so you know what’s out there on the market. Do a quick Google search on the topic you've chosen to explore, and be aware of what else is out there. This is just another way to make sure your content is different from everyone else.
Break down your post with headings
It goes without saying that static, long-winded posts are extremely hard to follow, especially since all the content basically looks the same. Break down your ideas by using appropriate headings which will make your posts easier to read.
At the same time, it makes it more desirable from an SEO point of view to index your content on other websites. If you're working on a particular how-to list or exploring a number of themes in your copy, headings are an essential tool to break-up your content by making it more relaxing to read and easier to retain information.
Images and SEO
When it comes to posting images and expecting a good search engine optimization ranking, it’s a completely different playing field. Not only do images add to your copy, but they follow their own special set of rules:
- Include keywords: Well formatted images always have names separated by dashes because they're received better by SEO in this format. These should be your primary keywords that are the same as in your copy.
- Use the right image: One of the biggest mistakes people make is using an image that has nothing to do with the article itself. Your article needs an image that is complimentary to the copy and must add to an idea you're trying to explore. Otherwise, you're wasting the space and are better off having no image at all.
- Avoid using stock images: Do you want to read something that's accompanied by a standard stock image? No way. Where possible, try to use your own unique images that are a reflection of you and your content. If this just isn't possible for you right now, another alternative is to use images from Flickr (an image sharing website) since many fall under the Creative Commons license. Make sure you are given the go-ahead to post an image and attribute it when necessary.
- Illustrations work well: Graphs and self-made illustrations are another great way to get around this and still add some personality to your copy.
- Prepare your image: Don’t make the mistake of choosing an image that doesn’t fit the dimensions of your article – nobody wants to see something that's so big it overpowers the copy or too small that you can’t see it. Edit your images so they are in proportion to the layout of your article, and always preview before publishing so you can see how it looks
- Scale images for SEO: Larger images mean your article may take some time to load, so be sure to scale them down for SEO. WordPress is already on this since it provides the image in a few different sizes for you already, but you might need to do this manually from time to time.
- Choose one keyword to center your content around
- Use longtail keywords to get better search engine ranking
- Use synonyms to create higher quality posts
- Write for people, not search engines
- Make sure your posts are responsive on mobile
- Don't be afraid of writing long posts
- Don't recreate content that's already out there without adding something new
- Make your content easy to read by using headings and subheadings
- Use images and make them SEO friendly
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