It’s widely known that taking the top spot for a Google search, or placing somewhere on the first page, gives you a gigantic share of web traffic on that topic, with numbers dropping severely when you take the long road to page 2.
To tap into the business-changing top-spots, your content has to be engaging, but more importantly, it has to be configured to work within search engine parameters.
That is, content has to be search engine optimised (SEO) through the correct application of specific keywords.
Luckily, that’s exactly what we’re here to discuss. Here’s how to improve SEO and boost content performance…
1. Target keywords
A successful blog needs to stand out amongst the ever-growing mass of content, placing you above your competitors’ offering.
To do this, you need to identify and target specific keywords and phrases that your potential customers are searching for.
The best keywords are the exact things your audience is typing into search engines. To find out what these are, you can look at the social platforms they are using, or you can see what’s trending by monitoring popular industry terms and topics. You can even have a quick nosey at what your competitors are doing.
The most obvious keywords aren’t necessarily the best way to go. More often than not, searchers use specific long-tail keywords and phrases that take them directly to the thing they’re trying to unearth online.
As shorter keywords often come with much larger competition, long-tail keywords are a more realistic goal when it comes to ranking high, and their specificity provides a higher quality of lead.
In short: do your research, be specific, and be flexible as search trends change.
2. Integrate keywords
So you’ve identified relevant keywords, now it’s time to naturally fit them into your content.
You should develop blog topics around the keywords you’re targeting. Then, as you brainstorm ideas, remember to keep buyer personas, motivations, challenges and interests in mind. This will allow you to develop topics that offer real solutions to the real problems your audience is facing.
For each post, the iterations of your keyword should be spread evenly throughout, making sure to hit these key areas:
- Headings / subheadings
- Image alt text
- Meta descriptions
- Within body of text
It’s crucial that keywords are integrated naturally, so make sure to use them in context. Whatever you do, don’t shoe-horn them in, and don’t overuse them. It’ll be more than obvious to your readers.
3. Use reputable external links
Linking to other content can be a great way to improve SEO and boost the performance of your blog.
Offering external links to relevant and reputable websites tells search engines that you’ve done your research. Which they like. Plus, the other writer may link back. Which is nice.
You can display the research you’ve done by including verifiable statistics that back up your argument. The better the sources, the stronger the effect, and the better standing you gain in the eyes of the search engine.
4. Create skimmable, in-depth content
You may think shorter blog posts are the way to go. But it turns out, search engines respond better to longer content.
Longer posts tend to rank higher as the more content there is on the page, the more indications there are for the search engine to pick up on in order to understand what you’re talking about.
However, the longer your post is, the more skimmable you need to make it.
The gist of the piece should be clear through headings and subheadings, and the body of the text should be presented in manageable chunks. Use bullet points and subheadings where possible, this will make your content super mobile friendly.
These are all ways to grab the reader’s attention. Oh yeah, and bold too.
5. Create momentum with internal links
As well as influential external links, your posts should offer internal links to other relevant blog posts or useful pages on your website.
Internal links allow search engines to scour your website to get a complete picture of your services and helps your audience discover more of your content, keeping users on your site longer.
When linking to any page, whether internally or externally, make sure to use natural language. This is vital. Each link should be signposted with descriptive, engaging, and natural language, and should definitely not sound forced.
Overdoing it is a quick turn off for readers. Only link to things that are helpful and relevant to the topic being discussed. If they don’t naturally tie in, don’t use them.
So, fancy a rank…
To get as close as possible to that top spot, you need to be creating content that both users and search engines love. Optimise for both, and you’ll start to see a rise in your rankings and in the quality of your web traffic.