Do you want to rank higher in search results without increasing your marketing budget?
If yes, then you need to create SEO-friendly content.
What’s SEO-friendly content, by the way?
When you create SEO- friendly content, you try to optimize the content in order to attract more traffic to your website via search engines like Google. Your website becomes more visible to people who enter keywords associated with your products or services.
Why SEO-friendly content?
No doubt your content should be well-written and full of valuable information.
If you don’t provide value to your readers, you may run the risk of being penalized by Google. The bounce rate of your website may increase and thus lower would be the conversion rate.
But at the same time, you need to make your website discoverable.
Even your best-written content is useless if nobody finds it.
That’s where SEO comes into play.
SEO increases the visibility of your website.
It helps you rank higher in SERPs and make your content available to a broad audience.
If your website shows up on the #1 page of SERPs, it has many benefits. You get more clicks, likes, shares, and engagement.
So, while creating SEO-friendly content, you need to have two goals in mind:
- Write quality and valuable content that could engage, educate, and entertain the users, and
- Increase the search visibility of your website.
In other words, we can say that quality content and search visibility go hand in hand as far as producing SEO-friendly content is concerned.
In this article, we’ll be looking into 11 best tips, step-by-step, on creating SEO-friendly content.
Table of Contents:
- Keyword research
- Use SEO-friendly URL
- Optimize the Headline and Use Sub-headings
- Consistently Create and Publish Quality and Unique Content
- Length of the Article
- Optimize Your Images
- Add Internal and External Links
- Optimize Meta Description
- Enable Social Sharing
- Use Google Search Console
Let’s get started.
#1. Keyword Research
This is one of the most crucial steps for creating SEO-friendly content.
According to Wikipedia,
Keyword Research is a practice SEO professionals use to find and research alternative search terms that people enter into search engines while looking for a similar subject.
Proper keyword research gives you an idea about keyword volume and trends.
And then you can optimize your post or page accordingly.
There are two main factors of keyword research:
- Search volume – This is the number of monthly searches.
- Keyword difficulty – This shows the competitiveness of a particular keyword.
The keywords that have no monthly searches will obviously generate no traffic and the keywords that are highly competitive have very low chances of ranking at the top.
We have to choose the keywords wisely.
Based on their length, keywords are of three types:
- Short-tail keywords
- Medium-tail keywords
- Long-tail keywords
The short-tail keywords having 1 to 2 words are least likely to rank in search results due to extensive competition.
The long-tail keywords having more than 4 words are easier to rank for but have very low search volume and therefore are often neglected.
So, we have to focus on medium-tail keywords having 3 to 4 words. These keywords have medium volume and medium or low keyword difficulty.
How to find the right keywords?
Following are some of the tools which can help you get keyword ideas:
- Google keyword planner
- SEMRush (7-day trial)
- Long-tail pro
- Moz keyword explorer
- Ahrefs keyword explorer
Besides this set of tools, you can also use the following methods which are quite popular:
- Google auto-suggest – When you type your topic in Google search bar it automatically starts giving you around 10 suggestions.
- Google’s “Searches related to” – You can get keyword ideas from “searches related to” section which is on the bottom of every page of Google.
- Quora – This is a great platform to learn what topics are trending and what topics are people interested in. It helps you generate new variations for your target keyword.
- Google trends – Using this tool you can get an idea about the rising and falling trends in search volume for keywords. Apart from search volume, it also shows you where the majority of traffic is coming from and gives you some additional keyword ideas.
- Industry forums – You can check out different industry forums to learn about the questions and topics your customers are interested in.
- Amazon – It also helps you get highly relevant, trending, and Amazon auto-suggested keywords.
Once you find the right keywords, where on your page should you place them?
You can include your keywords in the following essential places:
- Title tag
- H1 and H2 headers
- Body text
- Meta description
- Image Alts
IMPORTANT! Try to include your target keyword in the first 80-100 words of your body text.
Remember! Never try to include as many keywords as possible. The search engines consider this as keyword stuffing which may hurt your SEO.
#2. Use SEO-Friendly URL
The URLs of your pages and posts should be easier to understand the content on those pages and posts both for the search engines and your visitors.
Some of the important things which will help you in using SEO-friendly URL are:
- Remove stop words – Search engines ignore the stop words like ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’, ‘to’, ‘by’, etc.
If you write a blog post titled,
“How to create SEO- friendly content?”
Here ‘to’ is a stop word and avoid using it in your URL.
- Use shorter URLs – According to Backlinko, shorter URLs tend to rank higher in results pages. It should be around 60 characters or 3 to 5 words.
- Use one or two keywords per URL – According to Matt Cutts, Google is not going to give you as much credit for adding additional keywords to your URL.
Limit your URL to one or two of your target keywords.
- Use hyphens and lower case letters – Use hyphens to separate words and letters you use should be in lower case.
- Use https, if possible – If possible, use https because Google has confirmed that it uses https as a positive ranking signal.
- Avoid dynamic URLs – Humans find it hard to understand dynamic URLs.
#3. Optimize the Headline And Use Sub-Headings
What’s the first thing that your audiences will come across when they carry out a search on search engines?
It’s the headline, of course.
Using headlines and sub-headings is important for SEO and making your content user-friendly.
Your users find it easier to skim through your content and understand what your post is all about.
And, when your readers find your content easy to read, they’ll more likely to share it with their friends and to their network on social media channels.
At the same time, headlines and sub-headings also make the search engine robots better understand the content of your posts and then categorize them accordingly.
And it helps greatly in your ranking.
Following are the main key points you should consider while optimizing the title of your blog post:
- Use the target keyword in your title tag – Try to include your target keyword at the beginning of your title tag, but in a natural way. This will help you rank for that keyword.
- Maximum 60 characters – Since long-tail keywords are easier to rank, never use too short title tag. But keep it under 60 characters.
If you exceed this limit, the end of your title won’t be visible to your readers. Only the first 60 characters are displayed on Google’s search results.
- Make it engaging – Nobody is going to notice your content if your title tag isn’t engaging. To make it engaging or captivating, you can use numbers and modifiers such as ‘Best’, ‘Free’, ‘Top’, ‘Awesome’, ‘Amazing’, ‘Funny’, ‘Unbelievable’, and so on.
These modifiers will help you hook your audiences and increase the CTR of your website.
The title tag, by default, uses an H1 heading tag. And for sub-headings, you can use H2, H3, H4, …. and so on.
Using sub-headings in a hierarchical mode will not only improve the readability of your content, but it’s also essential for effective SEO writing.
IMPORTANT! Create different heading tags. Never use title tags that are too similar. This is because it may mislead both your readers and search engines that you are presenting the same information twice.
#4. Consistently Create And Publish Quality And Unique Content
Creating and publishing quality and unique content consistently is important because Google wants to provide searchers the best results that fit their search intent.
If you regularly add high-quality blog posts that are informative, relevant, and entertaining, the search engines will reward your site by ranking it higher in search results.
On the other hand, if you are not consistent in adding new articles, the search engines will not crawl your site more often.
It may give signals to search engines that your blog isn’t a good resource for searchers.
And it will negatively affect your rankings in search results.
And most importantly,
Your content should be unique and original.
Google easily identifies duplicate content.
And it’s not going to rank any web page or web site with copied content in its search results.
So, it’s no use publishing duplicate content on your website.
Yeah. A copied content can damage your reputation and ruin your rankings.
To check the uniqueness of your site’s content, you can use the plagiarism checker tool, Copyscape.
Just enter your URL and Copyscape will instantly start scanning the entire web and check for the copied content of your website.
You can also check out the following related articles:
- Blogging Tools: 31 Best Tools to Grow Your Blog (In 2020)
- How to Write a Blog Post: 9 Most Essential Steps to Write a Great Blog Post (2020)
#5. Length of the Article
Gone are the days when most of the blog posts used to be short-form (300-500 words).
It was easy to publish shorter articles more frequently.
And obviously, you get more traffic if you publish more articles.
But this isn’t the case anymore.
Now Google gives more preference to long-form and higher-quality content. It favors in-depth content that could provide its users with all the information and answers they want on any topic.
If you want to explain any given concept or phenomenon thoroughly or want to provide your users with all the possible answers to their queries, your article needs to be long-form.
According to Backlinko’s study,
- Long-form content having 3000+ words gets 77.2% more referring domain links than short-form content having less than 1000 words.
- The ideal length of content for generating more social shares is between 1000-2000 words.
The tools like SEO Rambler can also help you in getting an idea about the average length of the articles that are ranking for your target keywords.
REMEMBER! Writing long-form articles doesn’t mean writing fluff. What’s important is that your articles should be SEO-friendly. Just try to make them more useful and informative that could give more value to your readers. This will also increase the chances of reducing the bounce rate of your site.
Pro tip: You can start writing short-form articles of around 1000 words and gradually increase the number of words. Very soon you’ll realize that you’re able to create long-form content without putting much effort.
#6. Optimize Your Images (ALT Tags)
Your readers will find your content boring and monotonous if it’s “text-only” type of content.
Including relevant images to your content can make it interesting, less tiring, and your readers will find it easier to read.
The key points for optimizing your images are:
- To make the search engines understand what your image is about, you need to include image alt text.
Yeah, it’s the alt text search engines use to understand the subject matter of the image.
And in case the images on your blog post don’t load on a gives device, your readers will see the image alt text instead.
- Include keywords in the alt text but in a natural way. Avoid keyword stuffing.
- Optimize the size of the image. Keep the image size small as too large images will slow down the loading time.
There are many free tools like the Squoosh app you can use to resize and compress your images without affecting the visual size.
#7. Add Internal and External Links
Adding internal and external links to your new blog posts will help your readers explore a topic in-depth. And the readers can do this staying focused on the main topic.
Linking your new blog posts to your old blog posts, ebook, or web page is helpful for your readers as well as search engines.
The internal links keep your readers moving from one article to another, and thus they end up staying longer on your site. And this lowers the bounce rate of your website.
You also prove your authority in a particular field when you link your new post to the existing ones.
And the best part?
The search engines easily find your best articles and re-crawl them.
Linking your post to reputable and high-authority websites will build trust, improve user experience and increase the validity of your website.
The more credible sources you link your articles to, the greater will be the chances of your page to rank in search results.
IMPORTANT! Never go for excessive linking (internal or external). It may hurt SEO and negatively affect the user experience and credibility of your website. Use only those links that are relevant, natural, and useful for your readers.
#8. Optimize Meta Description
The Meta description is a brief summary of your content that search engines such as Google use to display in search results just beneath your title.
In 2009, Google announced that Meta descriptions or Meta keywords have no role in Google’s ranking algorithms for web search.
But it has a significant impact on the page’s CTR on Google which can obviously impact that page’s ability to rank.
So, it makes sense to make your Meta description appealing and informative.
The length of the Meta description is 160 characters. Keep it long enough so that it explains what your content is all about.
You should also include the target keyword in your Meta description but include them intelligently and don’t make them look unnatural.
#9. Mobile Friendliness
Most of the internet users search on Google from their mobile devices than from a desktop or laptop.
According to Statista, in 2018, more than half of the website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile devices.
In 2016, Google declared that it’s moving towards a mobile-focused index.
So, making your website responsive is a must to avoid getting penalized by Google.
Google has confirmed through its recent studies that whatever be the size of your business – whether it’s a small, medium, or a big enterprise – you’ll gain a competitive edge if your site is mobile-friendly.
How to test whether your website is mobile-friendly?
You can use Google’s own mobile-friendly test tool.
Just enter your URL and if your site is mobile-friendly, it’ll show “Page is mobile-friendly” in its test results.
If any issue occurs, Google will recommend you to make some changes.
There’s another website “mobile phone emulator” which you can use to see how your website looks like on different devices.
#10. Enable Social Sharing
So, your SEO-friendly, quality, and original long-form content is ready to be published now, right?
What should be your next step?
Enable social sharing.
Yeah. You need to promote your blog post by sharing it on the popular social media platforms.
The official page of your website gives you an option to share it on your personal profile.
Also, add social sharing buttons to your website so that your readers find it easier to share it on their social network.
#11. Use Google Search Console
This is one of the crucial tools to optimize your website structure.
Google search console (formerly Google webmaster tools) is a free tool offered by Google which helps you to manage all the functionalities of your website’s search.
It’s a must-have tool for every SEO professional and digital marketer.
You simply can’t think of SEO without it.
How to set up Google search console?
Just go to Google search console and log in with your Google account.
After logging in, you’ll be required to add your property (property here is your website).
Enter the URL of your website and click on the button “Add a property”. And you’re all set.
It requires time and effort to write SEO-friendly content.
Keep using these step-by-step tips and once you’ve mastered the steps, very soon you’ll be able to create content that’s user-friendly as well as SEO-friendly.
Whatever topic you write your content on, try to cover that topic very well. Your content should provide your readers with all the answers and all the information they want related to your topic. You need to go in-depth.
Do you have any other ideas or tips to write SEO-friendly content?
Feel free to share them in the comments section below.