By Christopher Benson on Jan 17, 2023
Every business wants to be on the first page of Google. After all, the first result that comes up on the first page of Google has an average click-through rate of 28.5%. Second position is 15.7% and third position is 11%. After that, it’s a free fall with the 10th position garnering only 2.5% on average. And if you’re on the second page of Google? Well, good luck.
There is a lot to getting on the first page of Google, but it all starts with writing for SEO.
SEO writing optimizes content so search engines can easily find it, easily understand what it is about, and once found, rank it above other similar content high in SERP. Following are 10 tips for writing for SEO and getting your content ranked high by search engines.
You need to write for your target audience, for human beings. Google wants to give quality links when people perform a search. As Google has become more sophisticated, they are increasingly penalizing content that is written with an attempt to rank on search engines but which has little value for the human audience.
What can you do to give value to your audience? Develop buyer personas where you have fleshed out roles, motives, challenges and interests and write to them. Address your audience’s challenges, give them solutions, answer important questions in your industry, show how to do something useful. In other words, write about content your audience cares about and add some value. Concentrate on what your audience wants to see, not what you think the search engines want.
Just because you should focus on writing for humans doesn’t mean keywords don’t matter. They very much do. Use keywords and phrases your customers are searching to help them find you.
You’ll need a tool to help you find the right keywords. Start with Google Keyword Planner. You may also want to take a look at Ahrefs, SEMRush and Ubersuggest. They will inform you what search terms people are using, the volume of the searches and a lot more.
Now that you have your great keywords, don’t overdo it. If you overuse keywords, Google will read it as spam and penalize the content. Use the keywords in a natural way scattered throughout the article including the metadata, the title and some of the subheadings.
Don’t stop at just one keyword or phrase. Use related keywords that will help search engines interpret what the article is about. When choosing keywords, consider search intent. If someone is looking for pizza recipes, it doesn’t help you if a search engine sends them to your pizza restaurant. Think about what words can you use to be sure your audience finds you. To learn more about that, check out our blog post about search intent.
Be sure your content is original and that you don’t repeat yourself in your article. Be careful copying even if it’s legitimate, say, a legal blog post quoting a case. Quote what you need from the case, but don’t overdo it. If you want them to read the entire case, provide a link. Use Copyscape or similar services to check you aren’t inadvertently copying too much from a source, even if you wrote the article yourself.
Some businesses appear to be afraid to link outside their own websites. Don’t be. Linking to good websites shows both your audience and search engines that you have properly researched the article. It also provides your audience with additional valuable material should they want to take a deep dive.
Linking to other pages or posts on your own site is beneficial in multiple ways.
But you want to link to material that is actually relevant to the content on the page. If you are just linking to products you want to move instead of information that clarifies an issue, you are only going to frustrate your audience.
When writing for SEO, your subheadings are important both so your audience can see what your blog post or page is about at a glance and to help search engine crawlers understand your content. You don’t need to use keywords in all your subheadings, but you definitely should be using them in some. This will go a long way to improving your ranking in search results.
Try to break up your content to make it more easily scannable. If you are debating between putting a section of content all under one subheading or two, always go with two. You want to use a lot of subheadings and break up your content.
Keep your sentences short and your text readable. Formatting also counts. Use white space, bullets and subheadings to make your content easily readable and give your audience a fast idea what the article is about. Infographics and images also add interest and help make your blog post or other content more readable.
Don’t underestimate the power of a catchy title. Before your audience reads your brilliant blog post, you need to grab their attention with a good title. Try to use your primary keywords in the title. Address a challenge or a benefit… maybe be a bit mysterious. Try to be specific. There is nothing interesting about being vague.
Meta data is crucial to good writing for social media. Meta data helps search engines find your content. You should be writing meta data for every page on your site and also for images.
The title tag is what people see when your article turns up in search results. The title tag (not to be confused with the title of the article) tells your audience what a page is about. You should use keywords in your title tag. It generally should not be more than 60 characters, but Google allows up to 70. You do not see the title tag when you actually go to the page.
When you look at search results, a meta description appears below the title tag. It gives you more space to describe what is on the page. Once again, use keywords. You should not use more than 160 words for a meta description.
You should write metadata for each image on your site to help search engines make sense of your site. Use keywords. You should write an image title, a meta description and alt text. The image title and meta description do not appear on the actual content page.
Alt text describes the actual image. It helps if the image does not load or is being viewed by someone visually impaired who uses a site reader.
You can also write a caption that appears under the image, but it’s not required unless you feel the image needs an explanation.
Write long form content that is long enough to fully cover the topic. But don’t be redundant and just go on and on for no reason. You usually want each page to be at least about 1,000 words. 2,000 words or more is fine as long as you have something valuable to say and are not just adding filler. If you can use other media such as video, that’s also highly recommended.
If you need help with writing for SEO or any of the many other aspects of SEO, schedule a free consultation with an Umbrella Local Expert. Either contact us through this form or call us at 1 (646) 440-1426.
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