Creating optimized content for both search engines and users is an awesome skill. And like any other skill, it can be acquired and improved over time.
It’s not a complicated process. You just need to follow the right steps to make sure that every content you publish on your website is optimized or SEO friendly.
On-page SEO factors like content title, content structure, text formatting, headings, and paragraphs play an important role in rankings.
In this blog post, you’ll learn the exact process I’ve been using to optimize my blog posts.
Before getting started, you need to understand two important things.
Number 1: SEO friendly content is also user-friendly content
Many people often confuse themselves that content optimized for search engines is not user-friendly. They believe that optimized content is only catered for search engines.
You need to understand the true meaning of SEO. Publishing content that both search engines and users can understand is what we are talking about.
If you don’t meet both of these requirements, then you have few chances to achieve high rankings on search engines. The worst part, your readers will simply ignore your content and visit your competitor’s website.
Number 2: Optimized content does not necessarily rank high on search engines
Let me explain.
You should not have high hopes that your content will rank higher after following my guidelines in making your content SEO-friendly.
The quality of content is important to improve your search rankings. But, having quality content alone will not guarantee you higher rankings. Off-page SEO factors matter too.
Tips For Writing SEO Friendly Content
- Plan before you start writing content
- Develop a unique structure for the content
- Create the title and permalink (URL)
- Use the right headings
- Write short paragraphs
- Focus on internal linking
- Make use of keywords or keyphrases
- Optimize the length of your content
- Write SEO-friendly meta description
- Optimize your media elements
- Keep your content up to date
Plan before you start writing content
You need to have a solid plan on what you’re going to write about to avoid writer’s block halfway through the process.
This is what I do:
I read a number of blog posts from various digital marketing blogs. When I find any of the blog posts interesting and unique, I will copy the URL and the title to Samsung Notes.
When I create my content calendar, I will scan through my Samsung Notes and review the saved blog post URLs and Titles.
Once I decide on the topics I’ll be writing, I set a publishing schedule with Google Calendar.
Once I start writing the post, I will perform detailed research and analysis of the topic and find answers to the following questions:
- What specific topic I will cover in this article?
- What is the objective of this post [ getting ranked on search engines, promoting a specific product, or gaining more subscribers]
- What benefits am I offering my readers?
Once you have answers to these questions, it will provide the clarity you need and avoid being stuck halfway.
Develop A Unique Structure For The Content
You need to define different parts of your content. It should be structured properly for your readers to understand what your content is about.
Splitting your content into various parts will make your writing easier. When you focus on smaller sections it will help you write faster and efficiently than trying to write big paragraphs.
Note: If you’re not a full-time writer, you won’t be able to finish your blog post in one sitting. When you have a structure for your content, you can easily work on different parts at any time without having the need to organize your thoughts for the particulate blog post.
For example, let’s take a look at the structure I’ve created for one of my blog posts.
Writing online content is similar to writing essays. You need to include an introduction, the main part, and the conclusion.
The main part should be divided into separate sections with sub-topics. Look at the screenshot above for one of my content. The article title has mentioned “6 Reasons”. So, I have divided the main section into six different parts.
When you have a proper structure for your content, it’s not only easy for you to write but also easy for your visitors to read.
Create Title and Permalink (URL)
Your page title is used by search engines as title in their search results. You need to create the right title for your content along with the right URL structure.
Most bloggers and content developers tend to do this first before others. However, I prefer coming up with the topic and content structure first as it will provide a clear picture of what your content will be covering.
Once you’ve identified the topic to write about, it will be easier to come up with the right title and URL structure.
But, it is up to you whether you want to decide on the title and URL structure first before following other steps in creating SEO-friendly content. Just follow what is efficient for you.
Creating an attractive and interesting title is important for both users and search engines.
A title that stands out should have the following characteristics:
- Includes the primary keyword
- The character length is between 55-60 (as shown in search result pages)
- Provides an accurate description of the content
- Attractive enough to entice users to click on your entry when appearing in the SERPs
For example, let’s take a look at one of my blog posts.
The title: The Top 30 Benefits of SEO To Your Business
My primary keyword was “benefits of SEO”. Rather than having a title with just the keyword, I’ve added: ” The Top 30″ and “To Your Business” to provide a clear indication to both users and search engines on what they can expect when they land on my content.
Smart blogger by Jon Morrow has compiled 801+ power words that you can use to attract more visitors.
When we take a look at the URL, it’s straightforward and simple.
- You need to use (-) to separate the words that make up a URL. If you’re using WordPress or other CMS, it will be automatically generated and you just need to make sure it is showing the right URL structure because sometimes it can sure weird and funny s tructures.
- Make the URL shorter. You don’t have to include the entire title in the URL. If you’re using a CMS, you can manually change the permalink before publishing your content.
For example, going back to my SEO benefits blog post. The default URL was /the-top-30-benefits-of-SEO-to-your-business/. But, I chose to optimize it and make it shorter to /benefits-of-seo/
Although URL structure is not considered as an important Google Ranking Factor, having a shorter URL makes your entry look professional on SERPs.
Note: If you want to make changes to your URL after publishing your content, make sure to add 301 redirects to avoid losing your current rankings.
Use The Right Headings
You need to follow the heading rules to properly optimize your content. You can’t simply use headings wherever you want in the content as it will look awkward in the eyes of the readers.
You need to think of the headings as a hierarchy. Starting from H1 and moving down to H2 and H3. I don’t think you need to use H4, H5, and H6 unless you have super micro subtopics. (This never happens!)
Use the H1 tag for the title. The title will use the H1 tag. In some scenarios, the title for the blog post might be different than the one that appears on the page.
The most important thing about H1 is that you need to include your primary keyword.
Use the H2 tag for your main section. The title of your main section is divided into a few parts that will use the H2 tag.
Use H3 tag for sub-sections. If your main sections have multiple sub-section then you can use H3 for the sub-section titles.
The main reason you should organize your content structure with the right headings is not only to help the search engine spiders to crawl and understand your content but also to make it easier for your visitors to read.
Write short paragraphs
Never ever write large paragraphs for your content and publish them. It’s a costly mistake.
As the majority of users are using mobile devices to read blog posts nowadays, you need to make your content easy to read.
Focus on writing short paragraphs (2-3 sentences long) and make use of the formatting options to make your text interesting. You can bold and italic the important words in your content to look more appealing to the readers.
Even in this blog post, you can scan through and look at the length of each paragraph.
Focus on internal linking
You don’t want your readers to instantly leave your website after reading a specific blog post. You want to give them a reason to stay longer.
When you write new content, try to associate them naturally with your published posts. This will help you create an internal linking structure with your content.
Internal linking is one of the basic on-page SEO practices that offers great benefits:
- Your new posts or pages get discovered by search engine spiders: when search engine spiders crawl a page on your website, it will look into links added to the pages (the ones with the Nofollow attribute) and add it to the index list ( if it’s not indexed yet)
- It gives an indication to search engines on what the particular page is about: For example when I add a link: SEO Consulting, it tells the crawler that the link has something to do with SEO consulting.
- It’s one of the best methods to encourage readers to stay longer: when you link another blog post related to the current one the users are reading, they are more likely to click on the link to know more.
- One of the best techniques to reduce bounce rate: Having users engaged with your blog posts will keep them longer on your site.
In this blog post, there are a few links to other blog posts on this site.
Don’t worry about the extensive use of keywords in the anchor text. You won’t be penalized for it.
Make use of keywords and key phrases
As long as you don’t abuse your keyword placement in your blog post, you don’t have to worry about being penalized by Google. You just need to do it right.
Avoid keyword stuffing. It’s a big NO.
The keywords should appear on your content naturally. You should not force them to appear. It will make no sense for both users and search engines.
So, where can you add your keywords?
- Include it in the title of your content
- Include it in the main section (main headings) of your content
- Include it naturally within your content
- Include in the conclusion
If you want to avoid keyword stuffing, you can use synonyms or keywords that are closely related to your primary keyword. They even called it LSI keywords as it will provide stronger contextual information to users and search engines.
You can use the following tools to identify those keywords or key phrases:
Optimize the length of your content
Many studies have shown that longer blog posts perform better in search rankings and get more shares and likes on social media platforms.
I have to agree with the facts. But it does not mean shorter content will be pushed to the 2nd or 3rd page of search engines. You need to understand that quality is what matters. Your content needs to provide the best answer for search engine queries.
Let’s be realistic here. You can write lengthy content for every topic. Some content just provides the direct answer to questions that users are searching for and it doesn’t have to be 2000+ words.
You need to check your competitors. The competitors that rank well on search engines for particular topics. Check their content length and use that as your benchmark.
Your content should naturally earn links. To do so, your content needs to be the best on the topic that other sites want to link. Many argue that content lengths matter. Yes, it is to a certain extent as more words are required to cover a particular topic. But, search engines like Google still use links pointing to your blog post as the strongest signal in rankings.
If you want to decide on the number of words you should concentrate on, search the topic you want to write for on Google. Open up the website on the 1st page of Google (all 10 of them) and analyze the types of content they’ve published and their word counts.
Your ultimate goal should be publishing content that is better in terms of quality.
Even if you manage to craft content better than your competitors, don’t expect it to miraculously rank on search engines after publishing.
It takes time. Don’t sit idle and start working on your next content.
Write SEO-friendly meta description
Writing and optimizing your meta description is as important as your titles and URL structure.
The meta description is s summary of your content that shows up on search result pages. It’s usually less than 200 characters. The tricky part is that Google may or may not choose to show the meta description that you’ve written.
If you use your primary keyword in your meta description, then there is a high chance for your meta description to be picked by Google. If you’re using WordPress you can either install Yoast SEO plugin or Rank Math and write the meta description.
Meta descriptions encourage users to click on your link and visit your blog post. So, the description should be informative and entice the users to click.
Examples of SEO-friendly meta description:
Optimize your media elements
You need to use various media elements like images, videos, infographics, and others to make your content interesting and informative. Including media elements, will improve the quality of your content.
Search engines are often unable to understand the context of videos and images many times. Yet, many of us still fail to optimize media elements.
You just need to add the right file name and user-friendly ALT Text.
For instance, if you’re including an image that shows the statistic of countries adopting to remote working culture, you don’t want to name it image001.jpg. You need to rename it to something that explains the image. i.e statistics-of-remote-working-culture.jpg
And for the ALT Text, you can provide a good description that includes your keyword. i.e Statistics of Countries Adopting Remote Working Culture
Keep Your Content Up To Date
Imagine landing on a website with outdated information. You don’t want the people visiting your website to find content that is not valid anymore. You might have written epic content a few years back and it is still found on search result pages.
Fresh content is important for SEO. When you make changes to your existing blog posts, search engines will notice the changes. If you’ve not published content on your site for some time, making changes to your existing content will show search engines that your site is still alive.
If you choose to be an authority within your niche, you need to make sure the content on your site is fresh and up to date-with current trends.
Other than that, integrity is one of the most essential traits of SEO-friendly content. You can use plagiarism checker tools like Plagiarismchecker.co to check how much of your work is plagiarized. You might want to add citations if you choose to mention other people’s work in your content.
Writing SEO-friendly content is something that is often overlooked. You need to get the fundamentals right before applying advanced SEO techniques to your site.
The recap of this blog post is as follows:
Before writing new content, you should research the right topic to write about and the objectives you’re looking to achieve.
Just follow this simple guideline to write the best SEO-friendly content. If you have existing content that is not optimized, start optimizing it for better results.
Don’t forget to create a publishing schedule that you can strictly follow. There’s no point in having a publishing schedule if you’re unable to follow it.
If you are still new to SEO, don’t give up. You might not see good results in the first few months. But in the long run, you will eventually see how your organic search traffic grows.
Put in the work and be patient to see the results!