Yes-EO: Top 10 Tips for Writing Google-Friendly Content
Google is a fickle beast that can change it’s mind at a second’s notice, so keeping on top of every little itty bitty factor that is taken into consideration when determining where your page is going to sit on SERP pages can be an exhausting expedition. But never fear! I have listed ten basic SEO tips below for you – these are elements that never really change and they are all pretty much to do with usability. Because if there is one thing that you take away from SEO it is that all of Google’s ‘criteria’ have been developed to make the user experience of your website better.
So, without further ado, my Top 10 SEO tips:
- Word Count – A good, informative landing page (or blog article) should ideally have between 350-500 words. Any less and there isn’t enough content to support your keyword, and any more and the page becomes too long and difficult to read (especially on mobile devices).
- Keyword Density – Gone are the days when you can get away with stuffing 50 keywords into one paragraph and get away with it. These days, that kind of writing will earn you a one way ticket to Google’s Sin Bin. The topic of your page should be your keyword (one per page, not 20 per page), and if you write 500 words on that topic, you will find that the keyword (and derivatives there of) will occur naturally in the headings and in the paragraphs.
- Keyword Selection – Don’t just pick a keyword and then try and stuff it into existing content that doesn’t really have anything to do with that keyword. For example, this blog article is about SEO – if I tried to use the keyphrase ‘digital marketing specialist’ as my focus keyword for this article, I would have a lot of trouble trying to make it work. A better approach is to either:
A) Write a new blog article or content page that revolves around the topic of your chosen keyword.
B) Think about topic the existing content discusses and think about what you would type into Google if you were looking for the kind of information that is held on that page.
- Testing Your Keyword – Not sure? Open up Google, turn on predictive text and start typing the subject into Google – predictive text is based on what thousands of other people before you have Googled so you can rest assured that if you use one of those terms then you know that other people have searched for that term as well.
- Title Hierarchy – Use H1 and H2 title tags to format your page; it helps Google (and the user) break up the content on your page and locate information that they are looking for quicker. For example, if your new content page was about Apples, your H1 might be ‘Apple Varieties Available in Brisbane’ and your subheadings (H2) might be ‘Granny Smith Apples’, ‘Pink Lady Apples ‘ and ‘Royal Gala Apples’.
- Bold, Italics and Dot Points – Text decorations should be used to point out important information, make lists easier to read and emphasize points. Google loves it when you sign-post info for your readers – for example, in this article, I have not only presented the information in a list-style format, but I have also bolded the first section of each point so that you can skim the page and only read those points which are of interest to you.
- Alt Tags – Google does not have eyes and thus cannot see that the image you have uploaded to your web page titled ‘img-004.jpg’ is in fact a picture of a cute and fluffy kitten. You must tell Google that your picture is of a cute and fluffy kitten by using the ‘Alt tag’ feature, so that when someone searches Google for pictures of cute and fluffy kittens, it knows to direct them to your website.
- Internal Links – Use internal links to direct users to other pages on your website that have related content; this helps the user locate more information that may be relevant to the question that they are trying to answer. For example, a person reading this article about SEO tips may be doing some research on writing blog articles that are going to rank well in Google and my therefore may be interested in reading another article that I wrote recently titled ‘Blogging: Growth vs Engagement‘. 🙂
- External Links – This is basically like referencing; by now I would assume that you know the dangers of duplicate content (it is very very bad and should be avoided at all costs). So if you do happen to borrow or “repurpose” some content from another website then you really should link to it and reference it; it doesn’t have to be super formal like an academic report, just casual like:
Linda from Apples’R’Us thinks that “pink lady apples are the apples for all seasons and they are the perfect mix between green and red apples” – check out more of what Linda had to say over here.
Just make sure you have the external links open up in a new browser window so that the user doesn’t navigate away from your website.
- Metadata – I’m going to be frank with you here. Google don’t give a damn about yo’ metadata. Once, Google was innocent and naive and if your metadata said that your content was about fluffy kittens then it believed you. These days, Google has some street smarts and skips straight past your metadata and just reads your page content itself. BUT – this doesn’t mean that your metadata is not important. Your meta description is the blurb of text that appears in Google next to the link to your website and tells people what they will see when they click on the link. It is a (very) short and sweet summary of your content page, and you need to be truthful and honest – if you tell people that they instantly win 10 bags of diamonds when they visit your website and they land on your website and find that they actually have to attend a 5 hour seminar about your latest profit sharing scheme before they qualify to go into the draw to win 1 of 10 bags of diamonds then Google will figure this out. Google has eyes in every corner of the internet and it will figure out that the high bounce rate on your content page means that what ever you have written in your meta description is giving people false expectations of what they are going to find when they land on your website and will subsequently alter your page rankings.
The final nugget of information that I want to leave with you with is to always consider usability – the tips above are not rules, they are blurry guidelines – don’t use headings and sub-headings if it doesn’t make sense to do so; and if you are writing an editorial article for your blog, it is ok to go over the 500 word limit! Just make sure that your page is as user-friendly as possible and Google will thank you for it in the rankings.
If you’ve got any questions about my tips, please leave me a comment! If you want to arrange a meeting to discuss website SEO services, fluffy kittens or anything else digital marketing related, please give me a call on 0413 844 190 or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.