Step-by-Step Guide to Write SEO Articles that Rank
The content marketing picture begins with a highly relevant, well-researched keywords, but where do those keywords come from. Keyword research. But what does keyword research entail? This labor intensive process seems tedious, but once you identify your focused keywords your articles will generate more traffic.
But this requires doing in-depth research. In other words, going to the gym for 10 hours a week but not exercising won’t yield results.
This is from the webinar “The Step-by-Step Guide to Write SEO Articles that Rank.” Download the presentation and watch the recording below:
- Long reads of 3000+words get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words).
- Shorter articles(300-900 words) have zero shares 4.5 times more often than long reads of 3000+ words.
- Articles with long headlines(14+ words) get 2x more traffic, 2x more shares, and 5x more backlinks than articles with short headlines (7-10 words).
- Articles with list headlines(those that start with a number like “N things…”, “N ways…”, etc.) get 2x more traffic and 2x more social shares than other types, followed by guides and “how-to” articles.
- 36% of articles with H2+H3 tagshave higher performance in terms of traffic, shares, and backlinks.
- Articles with 5 lists per 500 wordscompared to articles with no lists get 4x more traffic and 2x more social shares.
What does this mean? People are driven and engaged by content with more information. Typically, a longer article is indicative of in-depth content with multiple sources. While short content is not a bad thing depending on search intent, search engines prefer longer content.
Once your method is ironed out, make a spreadsheet or word document that outlines your steps. For me, this means two word documents that are always changing depending on the content.
Start With Keywords
Keywords will help identify what you should write about based on what people are interested in reading. In the millions of words and infinite combinations of phrases, it’s important to hone in on the important ones.
Asking a sales team or customer service representative about frequently asked questions is a good start. What are people asking for offline and how can that translate to helpful online content? From there, you can identify words and phrases to jumpstart your keyword research process.
By the end of the process, you should be able to find a key phrase that has high search volume, low competition and high relevancy. For this, we refer to several helpful online tools.
Tools to Start Your Keyword Research
- Answer the Public
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Trends
Using Google for Keyword Research
Google’s suggested search dropdown menu is a great way to identify similar keywords and queries related to your starting keyword. While this does not show volumes, it can help identify the specific queries related to your keyword.
Quick Way to Estimate Competition for a Keyword
Without using a dedicated tool, there are three signs that signify a highly competitive keyword in Google’s SERP.
- A lot of ads in the search result mean the keyword is especially competitive.
- Well-known websites in the first results page indicate a higher threshold. These websites have developed authority on the keyword subject.
- Target keywords are at the front of the links or after the brand name, meaning these sites were optimized for your keyword.
Brainstorm Your Keywords
After using these tools, brainstorm your top keywords and add those to your organizer document. Put those into Google and identify which ones are the most relevant with the least competition. Those words will offer the best opportunity for optimization. However, if a word is not competitive, this means you need to find additional information on whether people search for that term.
Using Google Trends, you can see the search volume for those highly relevant, uncompetitive terms you identified during your brainstorm. This can help view the interest over time. Alternatively, if you use Google Ads you can use Google’s Keyword Planner.
This is a wash, rinse and repeat process, but at some point you should be confident in the keywords you have selected.
Title, Description and Permalink
Now based on your chosen keywords, layout the title, meta-description and permalink name. This can and should be done before writing the article to make sure the keyword gets mentioned. Adding the keywords in these places will tell search engines that the article is relevant to the query.
The title should start with the keyword and be 60 characters, max. Again, longer titles get more engagement. The meta-description should ideally be a one-sentence (155 characters) summary using the keyword. The permalink, alternatively, should be on the shorter side and mention the keyword.
These can change as you write the article, but outlining them at the very beginning will guide the writing process and ensure that the keywords are optimized.
What other pages within your website are relevant to this article? Internal linking has always been important to SEO. Internal links connect your content and give Google an idea of the structure of your website. They can establish a hierarchy on your site, allowing you to give the most important pages and posts more link value than other, less valuable, pages. So using the right internal linking strategy can boost your SEO.
Don’t Forget Contributors and Social
Articles should be shares across social platforms and mention contributors, partners and the outside network. Syndication should also include variations on each post. Here are some examples:
- Share with your inside network (tagging contributors, partners and friends)
- Share with your outside network (tagging bloggers, thought leaders and media)
- Share with link and mentions
- Share with link and hashtag
- Share with link and quote
This not only gets the content in front of relevant people, but it also can attribute content to authoritative writers and leaders. This shows people that your content is reliable and expertly written.
Author Names & Biographies for All Editorial Content
Follow the EAT guidelines and be sure that authorship becomes a part of your content marketing routine. As well, make sure each of your authors on your website have a complete bio with a short description and an image. You can learn more about EAT here.
It’s Time to Write the Article
This might be the easiest step in the process. Here are some important things to remember:
- H1 headlines should include the target key phrase.
- Keywords should be used four to six times in the body of the article.
- Related phrases should be used throughout the article.
- The ideal length is 1500 words or more.
- Format short paragraphs, headers, subheads, bullets and bolding.
- Use images at every scroll depth if possible.
- Utilize quotes from relevant experts.
- Link to other sources on your website.
- Always include a call to action at the very end.
At the end of the day, content writing is another skill. Writing using an authentic voice and with well-researched information will take your content to new heights partnered with this keyword research.