So you want to rank higher in search engines. Who doesn’t? When I ask new clients their website goals, almost all of them tell me that they want to be at the top of Google rankings. But how do you go about that? First of all, you have to know that it’s not an immediate process. It takes time for Google to notice you and for you to inch up in the rankings. You also have to pay close attention to your SEO content.
The Biggest SEO Content Mistake
When people decide that they want to rank for a certain term, or “keyword”, they end up oversaturating the text with that term. I’ve literally seen people write that word over and over, thinking that it will help their rankings. This is called keyword stuffing, and it’s terrible for your SEO. At one point, that actually worked a little, but Google and its crawlers have wised up to this practice. These days, Google can see right through that.
In these cases, the people were writing with the robots in mind, hoping that they would see the keyword a whole bunch of times and assume the page was a good resource for that topic. Unfortunately, that backfires just about every time.
How to Optimize your Content for Search Engines
Let’s talk about a few things that make you rank higher in Google and how to apply them to your SEO content.
First, Google has started ranking more and more based on readability (which is also super important in voice search). Yes, you want to use your keywords in your text, but you need to do it in a way that makes sense. Do you have real sentence structure? Is it obvious that you’ve shoved a bunch of keywords in your text, or do you have a more conversational flow?
Next, you want Google to see that people read and interact with your content. How long do people stay on that page? How many visits does it get? If you write copy that has a ton of keywords but offers no value, people won’t want to visit it. On the other hand, if Google sees that your content gets a lot of interaction and visits, it will rank you higher. In other words, if readers don’t want to consume your content, Google won’t either.
Third, Google loves backlinks. These are instances where people link from their websites back to yours. The more backlinks from reliable sites, the more “SEO Juice” you get. I can promise you that nobody wants to link to content they don’t find useful or relevant.
Best Traits of Quality Content
Now that you’ve learned that Google prefers quality over keyword saturation, what should be your focus for quality SEO content? Here’s a list of a few things to remember:
- Research – Don’t just sit down and write. Research your topic and link to relevant websites.
- Use Headings – Break up your content with relevant headings. Pro tip: put your keyword(s) in a heading or two so Google notices it. Now you’ve got organization for readers and keywords for Google!
- Proofread – I’ve said this before in tips for blog posts, but having spelling and grammar mistakes takes away from your content and undermines your credibility.
- Include Images – Not only do images and their alt tags improve accessibility and SEO, they break up your content and present information in ways more people can understand.
- Be Conversational – You don’t want your posts or pages to read like term papers. Write in a style that real, everyday people enjoy reading.
The bottom line? Keep your readers in mind first, then think about search engine crawlers. If real readers like your content, the search engines will follow. So write for your desired audience, and keep swimming along!