The main ingredients for high-quality, engaging content are well known: clean, coherent writing, illustrative visuals, and a keen desire to solve the user’s problem. Toss these in a pot, simmer for two hours and there you go -- dinner is served. The only problem is that the user won’t get the chance to taste how good your content is, since there’s a long line of other chefs standing in front of you. To get ahead, you’ll have to use a secret ingredient — the right SEO tools.
Create SEO-friendly content from scratch
Even if you have an idea right off the bat for a future post or landing page, it’s always useful to know your chances of being visible in search results. Broader topics imply generic terms and short keywords, which are likely to be occupied by giants like Wikipedia. Run a keyword research to see against whom you are going to compete. If your rivals are way out of your league, try narrowing the topic and sticking to long-tail keywords instead of short ones. It will increase your odds of getting into the first page of search results and will drive more relevant traffic to your website.
Golden tip number one: No post should escape your (inner) SEO specialist’s attention when it comes to keyword research.
Once you come up with a new list of keywords, the initial logic of your text might fall apart. That’s understandable: you were going to write about, say, ‘graphic design,’ but your chances are way better with ‘graphic design trends in 2017,’ which is not bad at all, since it gives you a good opportunity to rank among the top trendsetters for the whole year. But if you’re struggling with your first line, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at how your competitors do it and run your keywords by SEO Content Template.
Golden tip number two: SEO is all about what actually works for your competitors. Don’t act randomly. You’ll save yourself a lot of time by building your SEO strategy upon industry insights.
All you need to set up SEO Content Template is enter your keywords and your target search location. Let’s try it with the example mentioned above — ‘graphic design trends in 2017.’ We’ll also add ‘bold typography’ and ‘mobile first design’ as additional keywords, as these are styles that your clients might want to implement.
SEO Content Template setup
What is SEO Content Template
SEO Content Template is basically a list of SEO recommendations for your text. What’s great about it is that it offers more than just general optimization tips. This data is based on your top 10 rivals in Google who target these particular keywords to promote their content. It is divided into four blocks of information, each providing a particular insight on your competition’s SEO strategy.
The first block is a list of your top 10 rivals in Google for each keyword. It demonstrates how invincible your competition is and allows you to recalibrate your keyword strategy ad hoc.
Digging deeper, the tool analyses each competitor’s text and accumulates the most handy outcomes in the Key recommendations summary. Before writing your piece, you will know how long it should be, its suggested readability, and what semantically related words to add to make it to the top.
Need ideas on how to interweave these keywords into your context? Check out how your competitors use them on their websites.
The last block of information, Basic recommendations, serves as a checklist for organizing your on-page SEO elements. Though these are really the basic rules of on-page optimization, skipping any of them might significantly harm your search visibility. For more information on what to keep in mind, take a look at the On-page SEO checklist.
Golden tip number three: On-page SEO elements make your page attractive for both users and search engines. Don’t forget to write them thoroughly.
Optimise your content with SEO Ideas
Now, how about the content that has already been published but isn’t performing so well in search results? Whether it is your evergreen content, your main landing page or anything else that is important to your business, you surely want to know how to get it into the top 10.
There are many factors that contribute to your content’s success — from a well-thought-out SEO strategy in general to picking a catchy title for a particular post. Keeping them all in mind can be exhausting, especially if you’re not a full-time SEO specialist.
Luckily, there’s a tool to help you out. SEO Ideas provides a detailed list of insights on how to improve your content in the eyes of both users and search engines. Let’s see how it works.
First, you need to launch SEO Ideas. You can find it in one of your project toolkits.
To set up SEO Ideas, you have to input the necessary page URL and the selected keyword. You can input multiple pages at once, and there are many input options, but we’ll get to that later.
Check your keyword strategy
Start by checking if you’re promoting the right content with the selected keyword. You’ll find this information under Strategy Ideas.
If there are pages on your domain that already rank higher for a selected keyword, the tool will notify you and suggest the you re-assign the keyword to another page. What does that mean? The higher-ranking page has a better chance of making it into the top 10 with less effort on your end.
The tool also checks your domain for signs of keyword cannibalization. If you have similar content on your website that draws traffic away from the selected page, you’ll see it’s URL and it’s SERP position. In this case, try re-organizing the content so that it fits on one page and describes the topic comprehensively.
Check your search snippet
Now you need to make sure your search snippet is catchy enough to attract users. Does the search title match the one on your page? Is the meta description relevant and correct? If it is, good for you! That means users see your search snippet exactly as you planned. But what if they don’t?
Everyone has seen snippets like this one, stuffed with duplicate information, long and clumsy. It’s not the end of the world, since the title is still relevant and contains the seed keyword, but compared to other search snippets, it might look less attractive.
Golden tip number four: An irrelevant or vague title and meta description can lead to significantly fewer clicks.
But how could that happen? Here’s what could have gone wrong:
- The person responsible for your website may have forgotten to write a meta description
- They wrote it, but it was too short, so Google completed it with a random phrase
- They wrote it correctly, but Google hasn’t seen it yet because the page wasn’t crawled
If there’s something wrong with your SEO items, you’ll see a notification under Content Ideas. The tool checks whether the title and meta description from the SERP page match your <title> and <meta> tags.
<screenshot from content ideas with irrelevant meta>
What is there to be done? Make sure your meta description is specified correctly and use Fetch by Google to ensure that there are no indexing issues.
Use keywords correctly
The next thing that is crucial for your page’s ranking is to use your target words correctly. They should be presented in the page’s main on-page elements, such as the title, h1, body and meta. If not, you will see a tip to add them and will be able to launch a detailed keyword analysis.
It’s common knowledge nowadays to avoid keyword stuffing. But if you accidentally overuse a few, the tool checks for the presence of keyword stuffing in all the main page elements and issues a suggestion to fix any issues.
Add semantic diversity
When your text is semantically diverse, it is not only more readable, and it allows you to include more keywords that would help promote your page. The Semantic Ideas section analyzes what other keywords your top 10 rivals in Google are using, and creates a pool of semantically related keywords that you can include in your writing. Yes, it is pretty much similar to SEO Content Template.
Add internal links
Make sure there are enough internal links leading to your page.
If there are not enough of them, you will see a tip under Technical Ideas to add additional links. Internal cross linking is considered to be a search ranking factor, so it’s importance can not be underestimated.
Take a close look at your website’s content, find articles on similar topics and cross link those articles — it will benefit all pages’ rankings.
Find content to promote
The above mentioned were tips for optimizing a particular page that you know is important for your business. But what if you don’t know what page to push higher?
First, you need to identify what can put food on the table, in other words, what content on your website has the best potential to rank high. It is logical to promote these types of pages, rather than pumping effort into something that you only assume might pay off.
You can find those pages by connecting your Google Search Console to SEO Ideas. This tool is free, and it opens up a variety of analysis options for your domain. Here’s a quick guide on how to use GSC like a pro. Apart from everything else, it helps you reveal how each URL on your domain performs for a certain keyword in terms of Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Positions.
However, it’s not so easy to find the exact pages you need, since Google Search Console doesn’t provide search filters, so you would have to look for pages with the proper parameters manually. If your domain contains thousands of pages, this will be extremely time-consuming, if not impossible.
The good news is that you can connect your Google Search Console to SEO Ideas which allows you to apply filters to search for the precise pages to work with.
So, what are we hunting for here? What stats would indicate that this page requires optimization before others? It takes time to see the results of your optimization campaign, so if you are craving a quick win, start with your pages that appear on the second page of Google search results. Target the pages that have a lot of Impressions, but a low CTR.
This combination indicates that users see those pages more often than others, but for some reason don’t click on them. This is a real red flag for your SEO specialist.
Now run those pages by SEO Ideas and find your best shot content.
The amount of information we deal with everyday is enormous, and it requires expertise to stand out in the Internet. As a content writer you should know how complex it is to create something truly valuable for the reader. For any search query there are already tons of materials that show up in Google.
Digital content lives by its own rules. It is no longer only about your content itself, but about the chance to present your content to the user. And the basics of SEO optimization have become a must-have skill for writers, bloggers and content producers. Ignore it — and you’ll be left behind. Embrace it — and you’ll get onboard.
Fortunately, you can delegate a lot of your SEO efforts to the proper tools. Try out a few, see what works best, and you’ll rock the Internet with your next big post!