3 Critical SEO Guidelines for Writing Content Like a Superstar
by Ryan Eland
To create a winning SEO strategy for your small business, you need to integrate it from day one. SEO best practices must infiltrate every channel, avenue and department of your small business.
Google takes into consideration an estimated 200 different factors when deciding how to rank a page on your website. This is why there is no silver bullet SEO technique. It’s not about finding the one trick that makes a difference, it’s about implementing best practices everywhere.
So, what’s the good news? Well, there are a few simple things that you can do from day one that can set you up for long-term success. SEO influences social media, public relations, website design, website programming, content and more.
Here’s how you can elevate your digital content to be SEO-friendly.
The SEO content myth:
It is not good enough to simply publish superb, sticky content in the hopes that your SEO will soar. To be sure, good SEO content is not less than that. You need to craft content that people want to read - that should go without saying - but this is, in and of itself, not an SEO strategy.
An SEO content strategy includes the following:
• SEO writing techniques
• A fierce data-driven approach
• Key on-page optimization
Here are three SEO guidelines for writing content that will help you establish a rock-solid organic search foundation.
1. SEO Writing Techniques
Good SEO content includes everything that would already be considered as simply good content writing. This includes proper sentence structure, good grammar, proper spelling and content that engages the reader.
Write unique content for your audience. You could risk a penalty if you scrape content from another website and change around a few words. Search engines can pick up on this.
Proper keyword usage
Did you know that the following type of content used to work?
“Would you like to buy these brown cargo shorts? Our brown cargo short store has all kinds of different brown cargo shorts. We have cheap brown cargo shorts and expensive brown cargo shorts.”
Keywords are like seasoning. Use too much and it ruins the dish; use just the right amount and the food is delicious. Use keywords wisely and sparingly, but always make sure to use them!
Write enough words
Writing a few sentences on a page with lots of big pictures, negative space and symbols is not an optimized page. While it may look clean and pretty, it will have a very difficult time ranking on the first page in the search engines.
This is because search engines - and people - need context. They need to know that your page will answer the query. Spacious pages may look nice, but don’t expect them to perform well for SEO.
At a minimum, try to provide at least 500 words of context on every page that you want to rank in search.
Solve for a specific need
When people search, they are looking to solve something specific. They have a pain or a question that needs answering. Your page should solve for this need.
2. A fierce data driven approach
Get comfortable letting keywords guide your content.
This sounds so boring! I know. But it’s not.
Think of it like this: When you are doing keyword research you’re researching the pains, questions and concerns of real people. In days past, when we had a question we would go to the library, call an expert or ask a friend.
Today, we ask Google.
Peel back the layer and the dry world of keyword research fascinates. When you dive into Google keyword planner, you are plunging into the questions and concerns of the collective minds of billions of people.
You then get an incredible opportunity to position your expertise as the answer to these questions and concerns. Provide that answer in a deep, thoughtful and helpful way, and stay on topic.
Here is a great guide to learn how to do keyword research like a pro.
3. Key on-page optimization
The goal with on-page optimization is to give search engines crystal clear signals as to what the page is about.
The following three things are akin to Malibu beach-front property for search engines. This is the most valuable on-page real estate so make sure not to waste it!
Make sure that you include your primary keyword for that page in your title tag. Click here to learn more about title tags.
H1 and H2 usage
Use unique and keyword specific phrases in your H1 and H2s on your page. Don’t waste this valuable real estate on generic page titles that are duplicated across your other pages.
While not as important as the first two, taking advantage of naming your images according to the keyword direction is a good signal for search engines. Make sure that you optimize both the image file name and the alt attribute for the image.
SEO for a small business is hard work, there is no way around it. Integrate the above SEO content guidelines today to save yourself years of catch-up in the future.
It’s worth it.
Ryan Eland has never escaped the world of small business - and not that he would ever want to. He loves small business and he loves helping small businesses succeed through SEO. He has extensive experience in the highly-competitive online verticals of higher education degrees and online medical training. He also owns a CPR training website for new parents called www.infantcpr.com. But secretly, Ryan is a writer at heart, which is why we have him blog for us.
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