In the olden days, businesses would get their content to rank in the search engines by stuffing it full of keywords. And it worked – at least for a while.
These days, things have moved on (thankfully).
When it comes to effective content writing, creating informative, original content that gets shared is a basic requirement.
But, if you want to create content that is visible in the search results, you have to be smarter. Here are some key tactics you can use to give your content the best chances of ranking.
1) Have a keyword focus for each blog
Keyword stuffing is dead. But having a keyword focus for each blog post is very much alive.
For every blog you create, choose a primary keyword and create the content around this. You should already have a clear idea about the keywords you are targeting in your content from your keyword research (and if you haven’t worked out your keyword research strategy yet, read our blog to get started).
Once you have a primary keyword to focus on, create your blog content around it. Don't include a keyword for the sake of it. Instead, make it the focus and build your content around it.
Remember, people searching for that keyword are looking for solutions that answer their questions and provides them with the information they need, so that should be your focus.
2) Use the might of meta
Now that you have your keyword, make sure you use it in the right places – which includes the title tag and meta description.
The title tag is the headline that shows up in the search engines for each page and when people share the content. Please find below an example of a title tag:
Include the keyword within it, but also make it compelling. You want people to click on it, after all.
When coming up with yours, keep in mind that the optimal title tag length is 50-60 characters.
The meta description also shows up in the search engines underneath the clickable title tag. This provides an overview of the content, so make it something people would want to click on, and use the keyword within it too. About 160 characters is the optimal length for a meta description.
Please find below an example of a meta description:
3) Don't forget the URL
When it comes to your content writing, do you even think about the URL? You should. The URL will normally be formed automatically when you publish a blog. But you should be able to change it, so make sure it includes your primary keyword.
However, avoid cramming your keyword into the URL unnaturally. Try to make it easy to read so that people have a clear idea about what the content is about from the URL alone.
The URL often gets shared as a direct link, so if it is easy to understand, this can help to get clicks.
It's also good for SEO. According to research, people will consider the URL as one of the most important factors before clicking on a link in the search engines.
Finally, when it comes to the URL, shorter is better. It's easier to read, so stick to between 50 and 60 characters for the optimal length. For longer URLs (100+ characters), you can shorten them using a tool like the Google URL Shortener.
4) Link to and from your other blogs
Getting links to point back to your content from other websites is a crucial SEO practice, but don't forget about the importance of internal linking.
This means for every new blog you publish, link to other blogs and pages on your website and ensure you link to your new content as well.
This is a simple but often forgotten step, and it shows the search engines that your content is relevant to the other topics. It's also helpful for readers because it provides them with useful further reading – and Google loves content that’s useful for readers.
It also helps to keep readers on your website because they are directed to read more of your content.
The simplest way to do this is to create a list of all of your content and URLs in a spreadsheet, then you can just look up the relevant content to link to.
5) Make it visual
What does the appearance of your blogs have to do with SEO? More than you might think.
The most effective content writing involves more than using text alone. By adding images, GIFs and videos to your content, you will make it more attractive to readers. Visual elements can also illustrate your points more clearly, which all leads to more engaging content.
This can help to get more shares – and links – and that’s great for SEO. Images are much more effective when shared on social media compared to text alone.
For SEO purposes, add an alt tag for each image. The search engines cannot read images like they can read text, so this is a way to add descriptive text.
And, once again, make sure you use your keyword in the alt text.
Make your content more visible in search
There are many great reasons to create content, and better visibility in the search engines is certainly one of them.
So follow the simple strategies outlined in this blogging for dummies guide to improve your SEO for every new piece of content you publish.
And if you want to get more from your blogging, take a look at our free download: 'Your Guide to Better Blogging'. Download it now...