The foundation of SEO strategy is content. If you have minimal content, or none at all, it would be quite difficult to rank high in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). After all, the content on your site–whether it’s copywriting on a page or content on your blog–that search engine crawlers comb through, which in turn causes your website or webpage to rank in SERPs.
However, even if you have an abundance of content on your website, it doesn’t mean you’ll magically rank high on SERPs. You can’t take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to writing content for your website. You have to write optimised content, such as target keywords/key terms, among other techniques that have been proven to help with SEO.
Today, we’re going to show you 5 steps to writing optimised content for SEO. Read on to begin your crash course.
Targeted Keywords and Key Terms
Before you even start writing in the text editor of your CMS, you have to conduct keyword research. If you’re serious about SEO, then It’s almost mandatory practice for you to align the content you create with your keyword research.
First, you need to establish whether you’re creating cornerstone or pillar content, or if you want to create cluster or supporting content. What’s the difference between the two?
Cornerstone/pillar content is typically the general or main topic, like “Christmas” for instance. The supporting content is related to the main topic and usually links back to the main topic hub. For example, “Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas” would be a supporting blog article that branches out from the Christmas hub.
Once you’ve established which time of content you want to create, you can then conduct keyword research pertaining to those topics. For example, find the most popular keywords, or the keywords your most successful competitor uses. After you’ve created a targeted keyword list, you have to implement these into your content.
Include Your Focus Keyword in the First Paragraph
In fiction writing courses, mentors always tell their students that the first paragraph is the most important block of text in the entire book. Likewise in journalism, where the most important facts about a story are told in the first paragraph.
The same goes for marketing strategies. Long gone are the days of stuffing your web page with target or focus keywords. Today, instead of increasing the target keyword density, you should spend your time more on injecting focus keywords within the first paragraph. Why? Because the introductory paragraph is what usually shows up in snippets in the SERPs (if you don’t create a snippet specifically in the backend).
Articulating the main message of your post within the first paragraph is important because you’ll make it easy for your reader to figure out what your post is about. More importantly, you tell Google or Bing crawl bots what your post is about, which will allow them to rank your website or web page higher in the SERPs.
Use Images & Videos
Why should you include photos, videos, and other visual media to your content? Well, for one, many people respond well to visuals. Decades of scientific study have shown that people learn best when information is presented with photos or illustrations, or by watching an instructional video.
That’s why picture books were popular when we were kids, and why platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are immensely popular. We love seeing images and images in motion compared to reading block after block of text. Speaking of blocks of text, inserting photos and even a video between every few paragraphs makes it easier on the eyes for site visitors. It can also help you structure your content by creating sections buffered by visual media.
Studies have shown that the use of photos and videos within the content has a positive impact on the visitor’s dwell time. This means visual media will help you captivate your audience and thus decrease bounce rates.
You should also look into using infographics and beautifully designed charts if your topic contains a lot of data. Visual information is more digestible. Again, photos and videos make your content reader-friendly.
Use Semantically-Related Keywords
One of the ways to successfully rank content is to demonstrate your content’s relevancy. So, how do you do this? Well, in order to do so, it’s important that you’re using what’s called semantically-related keywords throughout the content. What you should do is use keywords or key phrases that are semantically related to each other throughout your content when writing naturally.
The first step in generating a good list of semantic keywords is to build a list of closely-related phrases.
For example, the phrase “best mountain bikes in 2020” is related to the phrase “20202’s best mountain bicycles”. From there, you can build a list of semantically-related keywords: bike, bicycle, cycle, mountain bike, mountain bicycle, off-road bike, etc.
Using semantically-related keywords will allow you to cast a wider net, so to speak, because you are targeting every relevant word or phrase in that topic.
While quality backlinks from influencers and high-rated publications is great, and even some strategic outbound links can be a good thing, don’t forget that Internally linking through to other key pages on your site is very important in SEO. In fact, I would say that it’s the second most important type of “linking” you can do right after securing quality backlinks.
Internal linking is a great way for site users and search engine crawlers to navigate through our content. This especially true if your cornerstone content has multiple supporting content. For instance, a main hub about Christmas could potentially have numerous internal links to key pages or relevant blog posts. Internal links will also help you give equal attention to all of your key pages. For instance, if a particular page is not getting as much traffic as the rest, you can create internal links to it from other, more popular pages.
Within the body of content itself, it’s best to use anchor text. For example, if you mention the key phrase “best Sydney coffee shops” then it would make sense to link it to a blog post about the best coffee shops in Sydney. On the other hand, the simplest form of internal linking is to create a directory-style list. For example, you can post “Related Articles” at the bottom of a page, and then link to those pages using their titles as the anchor text.
So, how many internal links should you add into your content exactly? Well, there’s no law set in stone as to how many, but you don’t want to overdo it. Make sure that internal link is relevant and needed, or is supplementary to the content it’s branching out from.