Search Engine Optimization is an essential marketing tool for growing your blog readership.
It refers to the deliberate effort to improve the visibility of your website on search engines such as Google and Bing.
According to Moz, SEO optimization puts your brand at the forefront of the web’s most valuable real-estate: Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
A properly executed SEO strategy provides an opportunity for people to find your website through an organic online search. This is a great way to attract organic traffic and, ultimately, convert your readers to loyal customers.
Since search algorithms are increasingly becoming complicated, getting your web content to appear on the first page of search results requires a lot of effort and strategy.
Today, I’ll show you the top-five SEO optimization strategies that you’ll need to master for your content to rank high on search engines.
1. Know Your Focus Keywords and How to Use them
Keywords are the basic building blocks of SEO.
Your articles cannot rank high on google search without specific focus keywords.
Before you start writing, have the focus keyword (s) at the back of your mind– the words or phrases for which you want your article to rank when someone searches on google. For instance, in this article, my focus keywords are ‘SEO optimization.’
I know you’re wondering, “How do I use my keywords to make my articles rank higher?”
Once you know your focus keywords, here are the best ways to use them in your article to enhance SEO.
- Choose long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords often perform better than short-tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are more general search queries with one or two words. They’re often quite competitive and relatively difficult to rank for.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific search queries consisting of three to five, or even more words
For instance, the keywords “make money selling books online” is a long-tail keyword that would perform better than “online business” which is too broad and competitive.
- Headline: Use your keyword once in the headline since it’s the first point from which a search engine will spot your article’s focus keyword. As you can see, my headline has my focus keywords in it.
- Sub-headlines: Ensure at least one (or two) of your subheadings has the keyword. In this article, you can see that my focus keywords also appear on my third subheading.
- URL: Make the focus keyword appear in the URL of the article (Check the URL of this article).
- Introduction: Ensure your keyword appears within the first 100 words of your article. Again, search engines rank you articles higher when they can spot the keyword early enough in the article body (normally at the introduction).
- Alt tags and meta descriptions: Make the focus keyword appear in your image alt tags and also in your meta descriptions (I explain more about these in section 4).
The success of your website heavily relies on keywords and that’s why you have to choose them carefully.
Expert Tip: Never pack your paragraphs with keywords as it may affect the natural flow of information. Instead, use related keywords or synonyms to make your article more interesting to read.
2. Write Longer, High-Quality Articles
Google loves long, quality content, which is why you need to publish high-quality content to rank high on search results.
Nobody loves thin content. If your articles don’t satisfactorily answer your audience’s queries, they won’t return.
Additionally, thin content leaves room for a higher bounce rate, which is bad for SEO.
When writing, make your article relevant and long enough to answer your audience’s search queries. Focus on what they need the most, then deliver quality and valuable content.
While your article does not need to be as long as 3000 words to rank high, make it at least 1000 words long for better SEO ranking.
3. Add Links to Enhance Your SEO Optimization
The third top-tip for SEO optimization is to include links in your article.
Articles linked to other existing articles are easier to find through organic google search. Interlinking makes it easier for Google to ‘crawl’ through the web and find your article.
Additionally, internal links easily connect your pillar pages to your cluster pages and enhance the overall ranking of your website.
While writing, add at least two links to your article- one external and one internal.
- An internal link connects to an existing article within the same website
- An external link connects to a third-party website.
Your readers will thank you for referring them to more information, and Google will appreciate you by ranking your articles higher on the SERPs
4. Use Relevant Images, Alt Texts, and Meta Descriptions
Images, Alt texts, and meta descriptions also promote your articles’ SEO ranking.
- Images: They not only improve your ranking but also make your articles more appealing and easier to read.
Articles with images also tend to have lower bounce-back rates which result in higher SEO ranking.
- Alt texts: These are the texts that describe the images appearing in your article. They are often used as alternative text where images cannot be loaded or for the visually impaired who use screen readers to read articles.
Adding alt texts to images enables search engines to crawl and index the image thus, ranking your article higher.
For every article, include images with alt tags that incorporate your focus keyword and other related keywords. Always keep your alt texts short and precise (normally not more than eight words long).
- Meta descriptions: A meta description is a short paragraph that describes the content of your article. It often shows up right below your headline and URL on the search engine results pages.
Meta descriptions are important since they summarize your content and highly determine whether one will click on your article or not.
An effective meta description should be between 140-160 characters long. Any character outside that limit will not be displayed.
The selected section in the screenshot below shows an example of a meta-description:
While publishing an article, give it a meta description to let your target audience know what you’re offering in the article.
5. Write Compelling Headlines and Subheadings
Your headlines and subheadings are some of the most valuable components of your article.
Not only do they dictate how high you rank on google search pages, but also determine your click-through rates.
Subheadings help you to divide long articles into bite-sized sections that are easier to read and digest.
As mentioned earlier, your headlines and subheadings should always be compelling and have your focus keywords to improve your SEO ranking. Use modifiers and pronouns (e.g best, top, free, proven, new etc.) to make your titles more compelling for your target audience.
Design Rush explains how to optimize your headlines and subheadings for a higher SEO ranking.
Rank Higher With SEO-Optimized Articles
No matter how good your website content is, it’s all for nothing if nobody knows about, or reads it.
Therefore, it’s important to always incorporate the above SEO tips when writing your articles.
When done right, SEO optimization not only helps improve your search rankings but also provides a steady flow of targeted traffic to your website.
As an eCommerce business business owner, use these tips to create highly optimized content for an increased return on investment.
For freelance writers, use these tips to write quality, SEO optimized articles for your clients. They can also help you find well-paying clients, thanks to your improved writing skills.