If you want to rank high on Google, publishing high quality, original content should always be your first goal. Even if you don’t do anything else, great content will always go a long way to engage your readers and drive traffic.
However, there are a few other things you can do to make sure your content is not only good but also more Google-friendly.
Check out these four steps to writing killer content to rank high on Google.
Step 1: Choose your topic
If you already have a well-established blog then coming up with ideas for new content can be a struggle. For instance, if you have a business that sells outdoor camping gear, you may feel you’ve covered every angle of ‘outdoor camping’ under the proverbial sun. However, you’d be surprised at how many variations on a theme are possible, and a little brainstorming can spark off new topics that you hadn’t thought of.
One way to come up with ideas for new content is to do a search to see what your competitors are writing about. It’s ok to take someone else’s idea and write it better than they did, as long as it’s unique content and not plagiarized. Maybe they left out some important information or you can expand on a few of their points. This is called the Skyscraper technique.
Another way to come up with fresh content ideas is to do a search for the different types of questions your customers are asking Google, and write an article to answer them. You can do this by typing in a search term, then checking what appears in the related searches at the bottom of the first page.
For instance, putting in the search term ‘ best-hiking boots’ come up with a related search term ‘best-hiking boots under $100’. So you instantly have an idea for an article that you know will be useful to people. All you need to do then is to research a range of suitable hiking boots under $100, describe their features and benefits and include a couple of brands that you sell, with direct product links to your store. Other questions like “how should hiking boots fit” can allow you to create a post with very specific and useful information and convenient links.
The important thing to remember is that Google loves content that is helpful, informative and useful to searchers and you will always rank higher than your competitors if you can tick these three boxes.
Step 2: Write your content
Once you have your topic idea, you’ve done your research and have a tentative title in mind, it’s time to write your content.
How many words you need to write to rank high on Google is a hotly debated topic. Some say the content of 2,000 words plus is best if you want to rank high and get a lot of shares, but you can write the short-form content of 500 words and still rank on the first page of Google.
This interesting article Is Longer Really Better? by Neil Patel sheds some light on how long format content may not necessarily rank higher than short form. If the content of the short form post is focused, comprehensive and generally ‘deeper’ than other articles of the same topic, then Google will rank it higher.
So don’t make the mistake of writing just to hit a certain word count. Google won’t reward you for the extra words if what you’re saying isn’t helpful or interesting to the reader.
It can be useful to write with a certain persona in mind to keep you focused on the topic at hand. Is it easy to start rambling and go off on a tangent and before you know it you’re completely off track….see?
Not only do you want to get Google’s attention, you want to keep your reader on the page.
Step 3: Optimize your content
Google is always changing the rules about SEO and where to insert keywords to gain the highest ranking. But most people agree, keyword stuffing isn’t helpful but basic on-page SEO is helpful and can help to rank your content higher on Google.
What is on-page SEO? This is extra work you can do in the backend of a platform to optimize your content for Google indexing. It involves adding keywords and search related terms to the title, content, meta title & description, as well as formatting the page with H1, H2 headings, line spacings, and bullet points so the content is easier to read online.
A plug-in, such as Yoast, is commonly used in WordPress sites to make on-page SEO easier, it gives you dedicated spaces to fill in a meta title and description, plus helpful hints on how to improve your readability and SEO score.
One important factor to look at improving is keyword density, i.e. how many times your focus keyword appears in the content. There is no optimal keyword density (though somewhere between 1-3% is recommended) because Google is more interested in natural sounding articles and awkwardly placed, or too many, keywords won’t do your content any favors.
If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of exactly what Google considers relevant for SEO, then Backlinko’s complete list of Google’s 200 ranking factors is a useful resource to bookmark.
Step 4: Marketing your post
All that’s left to do once you’ve researched, written, edited and optimized your post is to publish it and share it on your social media sites. You can share content as much as possible as long as it is relevant and does not become spammy to your audience.
Don’t forget to add a call to action (CTA) at the bottom of your post, this is a great way to ask readers to comment, like or share the post – according to Backlinko’s list of ranking factors, Google loves content with a lot of shares and likes, and gives it a higher ranking.
Do you have any further tips for writing killer content to rank high on Google? Let us know in the comments below!
Matt Ramage has been marketing websites for over 20 years. He loves helping businesses improve their user experience and searchability on the Internet. Matt now heads Emarketed which is located in Los Angeles, California. They specialize in SEO, social media marketing and web development.
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