Google seems to change the meaning of Search Engine Optimisations (SEO) all the time. SEO specialists and website owners are constantly trying to figure out just what Google wants from them in terms of good SEO practices.
If you’re wondering how to optimise your website and do the whole SEO thing correctly, you’re not the first one to bash your head against a brick wall about it. SEO isn’t all that hard, but it can seem that way as there are a lot of things you can (and should) do on the checklist.
Ranking well in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is something everyone wants. And we want it yesterday. But, there’s no fast way to do this. There are no loopholes, no back alleys, and no corners to cut for better, faster ranking.
So what should you do? Well…
What’s the most widely used SEO tactic for better ranking? It’s creating written content.
Chances are most of the content you’re going to produce on your site will be written and in the form of blog posts. However, Google isn’t going to reward you for simply writing a few paragraphs and calling it good.
If you want to get on Google’s good side then you still have to play by her rules without being fake. How do you do that?
It’s pretty simple: Write high-quality content that appeals to people.
But, the term “high-quality” still tends to confuse people. What does high-quality actually mean?
High-quality written content is:
1) Unique – you absolutely must write your own content. No control C control V! If Google catches you doing it, you will be punished. Quoting a source is fine as long as you link to the source. Writing about a topic that has already been written about is fine (obviously, there are a million blogs out there about SEO) but just don’t steal someone else’s work. Write the topic from your unique perspective and opinion and you’ll be one step closer to creating something that’s one of a kind.
2) Helpful – if you can create content that informs, educate, helps your audience then your content will automatically be of that high-quality you’re looking for. How-to articles, tutorials, informative list posts, sharing lessons you’ve learned about something, and posts like this one are great because they help your audience learn something or help solve a problem.
3) Shareable – if you write content that’s so good people want to share it with others, then you’ve mailed it! Topics that follow the unique and helpful guidelines above are things that people love to share.
Questions to ask yourself
To help you with writing your content, here are some questions you should ask yourself before you even begin writing a blog post or creating a new website page:
Does the topic relate to your site and what you do, and will it be a topic that your audience wants to know about?
If not or you’re not sure, then don’t write about it.
Who are you writing it for?
Some copywriters I know write about topics for other copywriters. Not me, I write for my clients. They’re the ones who are (hopefully!) reading my content. If you’re not writing it for your site’s unique audience, then don’t write it.
Is the content going to be helpful or solve a problem?
Content that answers a question, solves a problem, or that teaches your audience something they’re looking to learn is definitely helpful and they’ll gobble it up. If you can judge for yourself that your content will offer this to your audience then go for it!
Producing Unique and Shareable Content
High-quality written content on your website is extremely important, but it’s only part of the puzzle. Other types of unique, helpful and shareable content can include:
Unique Pictures – Google wants uniqueness in everything, including the picture or photo in a post. Pictures can also help separate your posts from others with similar topics. If you can use your own photos or create pictures instead of using stock photos, then you’re making Google tingle all over with happiness.
Infographics – This kind of content is awesome because you create something unique and shareable.
Videos and Podcasts – these are both great ways (as long as they’re good quality) to create unique content that’s easy to share and that create buzz around you and your site.
Notice a theme here? Unique and high-quality content means that it’s both helpful to your viewers and shareable (this could even be a free download of something useful or a product like an e-book).
Google is all about serving up the best UNIQUE content to its users and it will take cues from how viewers interact on your site to help gauge things.
- Do they come to your site and then quickly leave because they’re unimpressed?
- Do they share your posts on social media to spread the word about you?
- If so, how many people do it and how often?
- How many of your site visitors are returning ones?
- Do your viewers stick around and read more than one post?
- Do others in similar niches link to your site?
Google watches all this and more and keeps tabs on these types of things to see if your site is worth the rewards of ranking well.
Other things you can do
1) Use the correct heading tags
When I write blogs for my clients, I write the headings and sub-headings, and I tell my clients whether these need to be H1, H2, H3 etc. One of my pet hates is seeing a client then post their blog without using the headings tags as I’ve suggested. They might use bold font because they think it looks better, or worse, they use nothing!
Using your Heading Tags correctly is one step in the right direction when it comes to good SEO practices, but which ones should you use and when?
The H1 tag should always be used for the title of your page and it should be clear and informative. When someone lands on your page, they should know exactly what your post is about and they should be enticed to keep on reading.
The H2 tag can be used for additional headings and then H3-4 to create sub-headings that relate to your headings.
2) Optimise Your Photos
The images you use in your posts can be optimised for SEO. It’s pretty simple to optimise them. When you add a picture to your post, you have these areas to add details about the photo:
The most important area you want to focus on, is it the Alt area. Bots that crawl your web page don’t actually see the photo that your human viewers do, but they do see the Alt text that you enter. Make sure you write something that directly relates to the photo and post.
3) Use Links and Anchor Text Correctly
The links you add within your content can be optimised for SEO as well.
Internal linking – linking content to other content on your site is something that you should always try to do, but only when it’s natural and improves the quality of the content by giving your readers additional and relevant information. Never link just for the sake of it. Internal linking can also improve your bounce rate and help search engines crawl your site.
Linking to other sites – outbound links can be just as important as the links coming into your site. By linking out to sites that are already loved by Google, you also provide something helpful to your readers. When you link out to another website, be sure that it’s a trustworthy source of information. Linking to low quality or spammy websites can hurt your reputation.
Anchor text – creating a link that contains only the keyword you’re targeting isn’t a bad thing – as long as you don’t do it over and over again with the same keyword in a post. Google has been taking a closer look at how anchor text is used and since it can be abused, there are good things you can do and things you shouldn’t when creating a link out.
4) Use Keywords
Keywords help to define what you’re writing about. Not only can you use them, but Google encourages the use of keywords. But, be careful. Using the same keywords or very similar keywords in your post over and over again can be damaging.
Here are some guidelines for keyword usage in posts and pages:
Use them naturally – if it doesn’t flow naturally in the sentence, then don’t use that keyword there. Try a longer keyword that fits or skip it for something that works better.
Remember: write for people first and search engines second.
Google is all about pleasing her users, who are human, so by making them happy you make her happy too.
Use them in titles and headings – if it’s natural and relevant, then by all means, use keywords in the title of your post and in the heading you use. Again, DO NOT force this. If it fits, use it. If not, skip it.
In your Alt description – this is a good place to use a keyword. Just remember not to use the same keyword or description in multiple photos – this will look like duplicate content.
In your meta-descriptions – use you main keyword in your meta-description to help solidify the topic of your content. This is also what will be seen in a results page, so write it for humans.
To emphasise the point again, only use keywords where they fit NATURALLY. This means that if they would fit in a sentence and flow like you’re talking to a person and it doesn’t sound stupid, then you’re probably good to go.
Wrapping It Up
There are so many things you can do to completely optimise your site for SEO. But in terms of written content, remember:
Create unique, helpful and shareable content for humans and not robots.
If you liked this post and think others would too, please share it!