Writing content that gets ranked in Google. What I have learned

Build it, and they will come. Post it, and they will find it. I wish creating content that ranks high in search engines worked like this. Unfortunately for us it doesn’t always happen this way. Sure you can write content that ends up performing well. But in most cases your content won’t be found without being intentional.

I am not saying that every piece of content should be focused on boosting your search results in search. But if your goal is to increase traffic to your site than it is worth the work up front.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is far more complex than formatting pages correctly. But researching, writing, and formatting content can go a long way.

Research your content

If you are writing a blog with the intention of improving SEO start with key word research. Why? Because some keywords are going to be much harder to rank for than others. It’s difficult to rank for the search term “workouts”. But ranking with a search term like “working out with a dog” may be possible. Search terms like these are “long tail keywords”.

Yost SEO says this about long tail keywords:

“Long tail keywords get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific.”

Less people are searching for long tail keywords but you will have a much higher chance at ranking for them. So how do you find long tail keywords? There are a number of great premium tools out there:

If you aren’t willing to pay for a tool, there are alternative methods using Google. This is a more difficult route but sometimes you just need to be scrappy. Backlinko.com wrote a guide on how to find long tail keywords.

Writing, formatting and posting for SEO

Once you settle on a keyword, it is time to create some relevant content for that keyword. The trick here is to write something that is valuable to people. If users don’t stay on the page long enough to read the article Google will notice.

Include you’re keywords in these areas:

  • Page URL
  • Title tag
  • Page meta description
  • Post title <H1>
  • Subheads <H2>, <H3>
  • First paragraph
  • Image alt tags

Page URL SEO basics

Keep URL’s short when possible, and when it makes sense. Making URL’s human readable can go a long way especially with accessibility being a part of SEO. When possible keep your URL structure short. Leave stop words out of your URL’s (and, or, but, of, the, a, etc.).

Good URL: yourdomain.com/working-out-with-puppies

Bad URL: yourdomain.com/blog/20923/post?ID=puppies=jump

Title tags and post titles

Title tags help your readers understand what you page is about. It is recommend to keep your titles under 60 characters long. Titles are a great place to include your keywords but don’t overdue it. Avoid titles like “Best remote controls, wireless remote controls, easy simple remote controls”.  Make your titles readable, actionable, and accurate.

Page meta description

The meta description is an SEO tag that looks like this:

Writing customer meta descriptions is an important part of SEO. Your meta description will appear below your links in search engines. Optimize your meta descriptions, and use all the space, around 155 characters. Google changes the length.

Try to include your keywords and actionable steps for users to take.

Use alt tags in your images

An image alt tag looks like this: <img src=”image.jpg” alt=”describe your image”>

Why use image alt tags? Search engines can’t read your images, and some visitors may be visually impaired. Including alt tags makes content accessible for readers using screen readers. And can help with some SEO.

Start writing

Nothing works better than trial and error. You can’t learn everything about SEO before you start creating and publishing content. So start creating content, and don’t expect to knock it out of the park on your first try. Research and Implement relevant keywords, but don’t over saturate your posts with them. Be intentional about the way you format your content and page structure. Make sure your content is valuable, flows naturally, and is readable.

Don’t forget the best part about the internet is you can iterate easily. Revisit your content, try new things, and test out different methods.