SEO To Optimize Content
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization to optimize content, is probably the most talked about concept today. The internet is today’s number one source of information, albeit sometimes not accurate. But it is still the first and many a times the last place we look, for information.
So if you have a business, a blog, or pretty much any entity that is published on the internet, you want people to find it. There are three ways people find your website:
- Search Engines – Google, Bing and Yahoo are search engines, portals that let user’s search for relevant material. You type in what you are looking for and these search engines display the most relevant articles and videos they can find.
- Social Media – You can find information on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) through ads or posts shared by other users.
- Directly – You directly navigate to a website that has the information you are looking for.
Of the three, search engines are the highest used source for information. So if you own anything on the internet, chances for it being found are highest if it is popular with search engines. Hence the term, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Although it seems frightening, implementing SEO to optimize content has a specific set of steps that anyone can follow.
To know if implementing SEO is really worth the hassle, read our post SEO – Is It Really Important?
Implementing SEO To Optimize Content
Here are all the steps you need to optimize content for SEO.
1. The Article Niche
Before you even begin writing the article, determine what it is about. This article is about giving our readers an in-depth guide to optimize content through SEO. That’s it. Now that the niche is established, we can go about finding relevant keywords. Define the reason you are writing the article, its intent, its speciality. Define the niche accurately, not vaguely. The niche gives you a clue of what the keyword should be, so it should not be vague. If it is a large article with a lot of specialities, split it into multiple articles, each having its own niche. Now you have more articles to publish and market, giving you a stronger presence.
2. Finding The Focus Keyword(s)
Now that you have the niche for your article, let’s find some focus keywords that will improve your article’s search engine presence. This is the key to optimize content. Sign in to Google AdWords (there are a plethora of tools but we’re using Google’s free solution). Your regular Google credentials will do.
Now click on the setting toolbar and navigate to ‘Keyword planner’.
On the page that loads, click on ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.’ Enter the niche you established in simple words under ‘Your product or service’ and hit ‘Get ideas’.
Google will give you a result of ‘Average monthly searches for all ideas’ and ‘Keyword ideas’. this basically is the average number of times all related keywords were searched for on Google.
Now what you want to do, is pick a keyword that is being searched often, but has less competition. Let me explain. If you scroll down on the results page, you will see a list of related keyword ideas suggested by Google, the average monthly search count for that particular keyword, and the competition. These are our three important fields. Firstly pick a keyword or key phrase (more than one word) that makes sense and will suit your article. Make sure it has a good amount of searches, but not a lot. A lot would be better, right? Well, that is what everyone will think and pick that keyword giving you more competition and lesser chances of being found. Until your website becomes popular and authoritative, it is best to select lesser searched keywords (but high enough to give you a good number of hits). The competition tab tells you how much paid-competition is out there. Pick one that is Low.
Armed with one or more keyword(s), you can now start drafting your article.
3. The Heading
The article heading, or title, should possess two characteristics: it should be catchy and must contain the focus keyword. You want your heading to draw attention, but not suspicion. Search engines and social bots are now much smarter than they were before. A suggestive or sleazy heading that serves as click bait will raise a red flag. Your heading should be true to its content, should raise curiosity, and MUST contain the focus keyword.
4. The Body
You should be happy with what you write, so I won’t suggest you alter your style to suit anyone, not even search engines. Just follow these guidelines:
- Split your article into sections by using headings.
- Make sure a couple of headings have the focus keyword.
- Try to contain the content under each heading to 300 words.
- Make sure the total content is more than 300 words.
- Use the focus keyword in the text, but don’t force it in.
- Try to limit the keyword density to 1% of the total text. Too much use can raise a red flag.
- Try not to show off with big words and risk having a low readability score.
5. Images and Links
Finally, add a couple of images to the body. ALWAYS add alt text (stands for alternative text) to these images, and the alt text must be the focus keyword. Search engines cannot ‘see’ images. So how do they know what the image is about? That’s right, they read the alt text. So always add it and make sure it is the focus keyword. Next, try to insert one or more links that point to content within your own website, and a few that point outside. Inserting inbound links builds a good link structure within the page and search engines like this. It also ensures readers don’t run off after reading the article, but stay and read something else, giving you a low bounce rate.
The Metadata is the content that is shown on the search engine’s result page:
The Title, Slug and Description is the bulk of the metadata that you want to focus on. Make sure all three contain the focus keyword (Bitcoin Bubble is the keyword in the above image) and you’re good to go.
7. Tell Search Engines About your Article
Once you publish your article, you want to inform search engines about it (if you don’t, they’ll still find you, but it could take time). To do this, you want to push the article’s link on to the search engine’s webmaster tools. I’ll show you how to do this on Google.
Log in to Google webmasters (use your regular Google credentials).
If you haven’t already submitted your website to Google, do it now by clicking ‘add property’ and adding the website URL. Once added, click on the property and navigate to Crawl->fetch as Google. Type in the URL and hit fetch. In the results that follow, click the ‘Request Indexing’ button. That’s it, easy peasy.
Stitching It Together
Reading this, you might think, Hmm this seems easy. That’s because it is. It just takes time. Figure out the niche, find a few focus keywords, write a catchy title (with the focus keyword), draft a stunning article (with the keywords), add relevant images (with alt text) and links, pay attention to the metadata, publish the article and inform search engines through webmasters, and you’re done! Remember, don’t expect instant results. It takes time for search engine bots to trust you, but once they do, you are considered an authoritative source of information, and then there’s no stopping you.
You now have all the tools needed to optimize your content. Congrats!