Content is hands down the most important factor for ranking your website. The Google algorithm has many important variables it takes into account when it determines how and what to rank your website for and each factor has a different weighting, however the most undisputed fact is the importance of having good quality, naturally written and helpful content on your website.
Today, I’m going to show you 20 EASY and ACTIONABLE tips to show you how to write a killer article that Google will love and boost your SEO ranking.
First, it’s essential to know why content is your most important focus when it comes to focussing your SEO and web design efforts. Knowing this will ensure that you write with the right goals and intentions to truly get on Google’s good side, not just today, but so that your content can stand the test of time with each new algorithm update forever into the future. With each algorithm update, Google is getting far smarter at weeding out the low quality sites from the first page.
Think back to the early 2000s, when you used to do google searches and had results showing websites with crazy keyword stuffing in the meta data, unsavoury and poor quality sites - did you even know what that was about?
I had no idea why these crappy sites were coming up on the first page of Google when I was searching “dog shampoo for sensitive skin”. Fast forward 15 years later and I get it - every Google update has caught on to the latest black hat and unnatural techniques that people try to use to “game the system” for ranking. It’s funny because people spend so much time trying to find new tricks and ways to rank their site without focussing on the core point of it all - Google is about bringing you good quality website results for your searches. Period. Spend that time focussing on what matters - content.
What do you see on the first page of Google when you search for something? You get excellent articles and quality reading that adds value to your knowledge [specific result]. So now you need to emulate what you see! You must focus on creating information that Google and the wider population deems worthy of outranking all other websites for it’s value. This article is also awesome for people who have writer’s block or procrastinate when it comes to writing because you think it will take too long to write something amazing. It won’t.
So how do you do this?
Lets go through my list of 20 Copywriting Secrets that you can implement to write a genuinely excellent article TODAY with natural SEO advantage for your site ranking.
We’ve grouped them in logical order from choosing your topic to planning your keywords, to enhancing the writing style right through right through to formatting tips for easier and engaging reading. I promise, these are actually easy to action - I’ve written these so that there’s little opportunity to stall and once we get you started, you have the exact blueprint to complete your article.
Remember, we are not trying to rip off any existing content to take shortcuts, we are using all of these strategies to compile the best aspects we can research and find, to bring them together to write a BETTER and KILLER article than everything you are seeing online.
First…… How to Choose a Topic That Your Audience Will Want To Read?
Tip 1 - Find the leaders in your industry and see what they are writing about
Simple. Do a Google search for the most competitive keywords you want to target and stalk the blogs of the people who come up on the first page. Those ranking on the first page should likely have good content on topics that are very related and relevant to what you do so browse their posts. Pay attention to how they write their titles, try to guess the keywords they are targeting in each post, gather as much intelligence about why their content is worthy of outranking everything else - because they are knowledgable and share relevant experience with you. Google wants more of these quality articles in the search engines, so lets be inspired by this to write something better!
Tip 2 - Compile a list of topics that you can passionately write about in your industry
You are clearly in your field because you either love it or have been in it a very long time - hopefully both.
Either of these reasons should be enough to fill you with enough conviction to write an article about a topic you know very well - find the topics that are closest to your heart, scan what you are reading to find what you know inside out, you can challenge what is being written and you can provide even more helpful tips than what you are seeing. Note down the topics that catch your interest in a list. Anything you know very well (even if you are not passionate about it), is enough to ensure that your writing will FLOW very easily from a natural place in your mind, heart or just years of experience. This is truly the essence of overcoming your procrastination, because you’ll find that when you start writing about something you love or know well, the words will not stop (this article is my testament to this!).
Now, lets start with your first article.
Tip 3 - Pick one topic from your list and think of an improved angle to the title
From your knowledge, you should be able to add more valuable information, challenge the existing information or present a new value-adding angle to the existing topic. This is a no-brainer. Remember to focus on what you know from a place in your heart and come up with the title of your article’s angle.
Second…...Choosing the keywords to keep in mind while writing - Conscious Keyword Planning
Tip 4 - Go straight to Google’s keyword planner, to find the most searched keywords for your industry.
Login to your Google account and go straight to Tools > Search for New Keywords using a phrase, website or category. Make sure you select the country you are targeting to focus your search results in the right place and then enter your keyword. You can then open up the keywords by Ad Group that are presented to you or go to the Keyword ideas tab to find all the related keywords that people are searching for on Google. You can disregard any bids or prices per keyword, we are not creating a campaign here, we are using this keyword information to find the most searched for keywords relating to your industry with the highest search volumes. Choose 3-4 of the important main keywords you want to target.
Tip 5 - Identify long tail keywords to combine with your competitive ones in your writing
What does this mean? Go through your list form Google’s keyword planner and identify the keywords with 3-6 words within them that have lower search volumes - people searching for these are also usually extremely relevant for your main keyword targeting and it’s easier to attract people who look up these keywords as they are likely to have less competition online. Given they are more specific in nature, they are easier to incorporate naturally into your writing.
Tip 6 - Find keywords “ Search related to” at the bottom of the page of results
This one is easy. Punch your keywords straight into Google, scroll to the bottom of the results page and find “Searches related to (your keyword)”. This is pretty self-explanatory, obviously we want to capture the variation searches on your keywords, so make a list of these that you can naturally incorporate into your topic.
Tip 7 - Check the most popular products and courses online relating to your industry on Amazon
If you have a product or e-commerce site, go straight to Amazon and find the most popular products being searched for relating to yours. Look at the exact keywords being used in the titles of the products and also the reviews from the people who bought them. Extract these for use.
Tip 8 - Find online study courses and check what students are enrolling in and paying for
Some online courses are FutureLearn, Udemy, edX and Alison - go into these and search for your keywords.
Check the number of enrolled students who have paid to learn this information! Go to the course information and check the curriculum outline for a good structure to use in your own writing - it will logically flow from introductory concepts to sub-section detail.
Tip 9 - Carefully choose and use closely related words to your topic - Latent Semantic Indexing
Lets say you want to write an article on the topic of business networking. How does Google know whether you are writing about business or networking? By looking at the words you use around "business networking". All of the associated keywords need to be logically relevant to your main keyword so Google can build a story or some context for your page and rank it when appropriate. This probably does not need to be overly analysed because if you are writing a natural topic, the surrounding words will naturally incorporate as they need to.
Tip 10 - Stalk forums on your topic of interest
Go to the voices of people speaking there, particularly the question-askers - these are the people who are searching online, have not found suitable answer results and have gone to the extent of asking a question online using their own keywords as they can express them best. This is also a great place to find ideas for more topics to write about where you can bring value to people who need it! Go back to those forums and post your article as a response (without intentions of spamming).
Third…… Make Your Writing Style Compelling and Engaging… Reduce Your Bounce Rate
Tip 11 - Start off with a statement or known issue that your reader will agree with
Summarise the challenge they are likely to be facing immediately which is the likely reason they have found their way to your article. This establishes what you will be addressing, without letting it drag too much to the point of losing interest.
Tip 12 - Immediately tell them what you will be providing in this article to solve their problem
Whether you are giving them tips, a list, links or advice, you must highlight the value they will derive from staying on the page and reading on.
Tip 13 - Give them a preview of the answer immediately
Do not let your writing drag on without giving the reader something they can use immediately. People’s attention spans are less than 10 seconds on an initial impression, so you need to keep giving to hold their interest. Spend the remaining article writing out your value-adding information to solve their problem.
Tip 14 - Emphasise the benefits in every sub-headings - boost perceived value of your content
Perhaps the most important point about the substance of your writing. Ensure that you continually offer value with a tip, new information, links or present the information from the angle of the benefits your reader will derive. We are all self-interested beings, so the more you give someone to use, the more they will enjoy reading on. Incorporate these benefits in the sub-headings you use without making them sound too sleazy - they need to be real benefits tailored to your reader’s objective of solving their problem.
Tip 15 - Go for Long Form style
Google prefers long form writing as it indicates quality and time investment into the content, rather than thin, low quality sites. Write a lot (which should not be hard if it’s a natural topic to you), keeping it genuine and consciously incorporating the keywords you’ve identified already from your initial research where appropriate. It’s important however to make sure that you use appropriate formatting tips (coming up below) to keep your readers engaged, otherwise your valuable information will be lost on them because it just looks too much.
Tip 16 - Use Conversational Connectors to keep them reading
You might be wondering:
What’s a Conversational Connector?
They are brief connecting words in your article that sound as if they are being spoken in a casual conversation. It keeps it sounding interactive so that you are not just speaking AT your reader who needs to passively absorb your points. It’s way better for attention span and maintaining interest. It’s also crucial to reduce your bounce rate so people stay on your page for longer. What are some examples you ask? Here’s a few you can keep for reference:
Tip 17 - Follow the clickbait headline style of your favourite/worst news sites
Love them or hate them, they work. Without a headline that makes people want to click, your valuable content is as good as the rotting lettuce in the bottom of my fridge vegetable container. If all the nutritional veggies are stashed away out of sight, they aren’t in my view of attention, I forget about them and I don’t often have enough reason to go searching the fridge compartments for good stuff to eat when I have a jar of nutella that just needs to be opened (spoon optional). It’s just there (it’s also awesome). The point is, your title needs to be in people’s faces to get their attention otherwise they won’t know you’re there, no matter how good your stuff is. Trawl examples from Buzzfeed, Viral Nova, Reddit and pay attention to what you click on. Find the popular articles and emulate their title style. Here’s an awesome list of modifiers and adjectives that will work everytime and will also bring you more search traffic due to their click ability :
Tip 18 - Use regular calls to action
What’s a call to action? It’s an order to act on what they are reading. You need to sprinkle these frequently so that at any point your reader wants to call, email or contact you, there is an easy opportunity to do so.
Like what you are reading? Get in touch with us!.
More importantly…. do not overdo it. If you are too high pressure and frequent, readers get turned off by the desperation. Use calls to action with moderation and relevance.
Finally….. Engage your readers with intuitive and important formatting techniques
Tip 19 - Use sub-headings to break up the text, incorporating your keywords appropriately
Be careful not to overdo it. Overusing your keywords will easily be picked up by Google as over-optimisation so you must keep it natural and don’t over think it.
Tip 20 - Vary your text formatting - use bold, italics, large, small fonts and colours
Anything is better than a big chunk of unstructured text - make it easy to read. Keep variations using colour, font sizes, bold, italics and underline appropriately. Keep it moderate.
Tip 21 - Use excellent high impact images to break up your text
Visual examples are the best thing you can provide to keep interest - use them regularly, when you think a reader may trail off, insert image or any of the tips above to keep them going.
Tip 22 - Included words and phrases from Adwords ads into your title and description tag.
Ensure that your meta descriptions which come up on Google have clean paragraphs and a compelling title. Manually write these yourself, rather than letting Google pick up the beginning sentences on your page - look at other Adwords ads to see the best and most engaging ones that appeal to you and use a similar style.
Tip 23 - Include internal and external links
Link relevantly internally to your own content - Google loves to see this as its an indicator that you are building good content regularly that is all relevant to each other. They are not randomly generated topics to get traffic. Equally important, having links to external sites also provides relevance by association to them to show that you are actively networking and sharing good information, as people will hopefully do with yours.
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