What does an SEO-friendly article look like these days?
Ask 100 people and you will probably get 100 different answers. The problem is that a lot of marketing ‘experts’ are still stuck in the past when it comes to the best strategies for getting a post to the top of Google and this results in a lot of low quality content and a lot of wasted time.
The best way to make an article SEO-friendly is actually quite simple, so read on and let’s dive into what you need to know…
To understand how to write the best SEO-friendly article, it pays to get inside the mindset of Google a little. What is Google trying to achieve?
The answer is simple: it wants to serve its users by linking them to the very highest quality and most relevant content that it can find.
Any signals that you can send to Google to show that your content is high quality and relevant, will ultimately result in a boost to your SEO. The question is how you go about doing that.
One example is to include outward bound links to other useful resources, relevant to the content of your site. This shows Google that you’re interested in providing as much information as possible to your readers, it aligns you with high quality sites and it provides references to back up your claims (suggesting accuracy).
But what this shouldn’t mean is that ‘every article needs at least two outward bound links’. This is entirely missing the point as it will create a predictable pattern on your site that will look like manipulation. Link out when it is relevant and useful and avoid the temptation to link for the sake of linking.
Google likes to see long content, approximately 800 words or more. While reports vary, it is generally thought that the ideal content length for SEO is approximately 1,800 words – this length can improve your chances of being featured as news.
It’s painful to see, but some SEO companies still think that a good SEO article is one that has the same keywords repeated over and over, to the detriment of the reading experience. This is one of the fastest ways to have your content flagged as spam, if not by Google, then by the human readers on your site.
Instead, keywords should be used very sparingly. A density of around 1-2% is recommended but only when that is appropriate and when it fits with the content naturally. This is one reason to write longer-form content though, as longer posts are going to have more space for repetitive keyword use.
It’s also important to recognize that synonyms and related terms are just as important, if not more so. Try to write around the subject and let related terms enter your content naturally. This is something you can expect to play a bigger and bigger role in future.
If you already have a blog or thinking of starting one and SEO is important to your business strategy, it helps to learn as much as you can about the subject. SEO experts at Moz have one of the deepest learning libraries on the planet. If you’re serious about doing SEO yourself or just want to get comfortable with the subject, start with Moz.
Next, give yourself a checkup! Our favorite is online tool is SEO Site Checkup. You can enter your website’s URL and get a free summary on the important key SEO metrics – a great way to learn more about the things that go into rankings with quick tips on what you can do to make a difference right away. Looks like we can make a few improvements!
Finally, install an SEO plug-in. We use Yoast SEO on all our client websites and like SEO Site Checkup there’s a free version available. On top of giving you a simple ranking and ideas for improving SEO on every page, Yoast lets you customize page titles, edit search result snippets and add Facebook-sized images for sharing on social media.
Finally, space out your content and use lots of headings. Use large fonts and a narrative, user-friendly structure. This will help to keep people on your pages for longer and that’s one of the other things that Google looks for when ranking content.