What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. Of course, I’m probably insulting you a little bit by explaining this. After all, the term has been around for quite a while in marketing circles.
Writing a good text for your website takes more than just good information and style. There are a couple of formatting and vocabulary rules which ensure whatever you’ve written ranks highly on Google’s search results. The text (blog post in this case) has to be optimised for the search engine.
This post will go into detail about how to do SEO. We’ve mentioned it several times but never delved deeper into its precise mechanics. Today we’re going to change that.
While reading, see if you can spot any of the techniques used in this very post. After all, it’s search-engine optimised.
If you use WordPress or Yoast to check your posts before publishing them, you’ll automatically get suggestions for optimising it further. In this section, we’ll explain exactly what you need to pay attention to.
The focus keyphrase is the pillar of all your SEO endeavours. If you don’t have a good keyphrase, you’ll have a tough time both writing your post and ranking well on Google.
A keyphrase is what your entire post will revolve around. Placing it in strategic places throughout the text will make sure that Google considers you relevant enough. More on that a bit later.
There are a lot of tools that can help you find a good keyphrase. Google Keyword Planner is great, as well as Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest. Both of these allow you to find related keyphrases and zero in on what you want to write about.
What makes a good keyphrase
- Length: A good keyphrase is neither too long nor too short. It’s long enough that there isn’t an obscene amount of competition for it, but short and unspecific enough that people will actually search for it.
- Popularity: You want to find a keyphrase with a high number of monthly searches.
- Previous non-use: You don’t want to re-use keyphrases otherwise you’re competing with yourself on Google, lowering the chance for either of your posts to be seen.
For example: cheap winter boots is a good focus keyphrase that checks all of the above. Boots would be too general whereas something like cheap, high-quality winter boots of fine leather is way too specific.
Where to place your keyphrase
Even if you have the best focus keyphrase, it won’t do anything unless you repeat it in the right places. Here are all the places where your keyphrase should be found:
- Title/Heading (preferably at the very beginning)
- First subheading (and as many more subheadings as possible)
- First sentence
- Twice more within the first 500 words of your post
- Once more for every 200 words after
- Meta description
- URL Slug
- Image ALT attributes
If some or all of these terms sound foreign to you, don’t worry. We’ll cover them all in the following sections. But first, let’s talk about:
Google likes knowing what your post is about before ranking it higher. Generally, longer texts make this easier. The longer your texts, the higher they will rank on Google’s search results.
This is not a law, however. If you have a long post that’s poorly written and uninformative, don’t expect it to have good SEO.
In general, try and write posts longer than 300 words. The more the merrier, but never add pointless content just for the sake of increasing the word count.
All of us have probably used Google to look things up. You’re no doubt very familiar with a Google search results page. We have the titles in big blue letters, the link in green right below them, and then a short description below that of what the page is about. That’s the meta description.
It can be up to 155 characters and should contain your focus keyphrase. Otherwise, Google may not deem it relevant enough to show.
Other than that, try to make it actionable. A good meta description is dynamic and succinct. For example: Trying to write an SEO blog post but not getting anywhere? Read our amazing guide and find out how to do it yourself or hire a content writer!
The slug (not the slimy kind) is the part of a page’s URL which tells you what it’s about. It’s usually the part after the final slash, e.g. https://remotebob.co.uk/seo-blog-post.
The slug should contain your focus keyphrase and should be brief and precise. Feel free to remove any “filler” words like articles or prepositions. However, be careful to still differentiate posts that talk about similar topics (e.g. if you have two posts talking about URL slugs, don’t make both of their slugs “/slug”). Avoid using random number-letter combinations for your slug.
This title is what will appear in Google’s search results. It should contain the keyphrase as close to the beginning as possible. Like many of the other things we’ve mentioned, it should neither be so short as to leave too much space after it nor too long in which case its end will get cut off.
Take care to write an attractive title that will draw people in.
Inbound and outbound links
Inserting hyperlinks that link to other posts on your website or even other websites is important. By inserting inbound links (those that link to your other content), you create a web of links that helps Google parse your website. It makes its structure more transparent and lets search engines know how to rank your posts.
Outbound links are important, too, but for different reasons. They are a way for you to credit your sources and similar websites. Although they don’t help you specifically, they help the Internet overall (which includes you). They also make your content credible and trustworthy. Don’t hesitate to add value by insering outbound links.
Image alt attributes
Finally, we come to the final important thing to consider when optimizing a post. You want images to be interspersed throughout your text. These images then have alt text which essentially describes what’s on them. Alt-text is used by screen readers for those who are visually impaired.
For this reason, you should make your alt text as descriptive as possible. Insert your keyphrase when it’s natural but avoid spamming it. Alt-text is primarily an ease of access tool, but Google also looks at it when ranking pages, so there you go.
Hiring a content writer
A content writer is a type of virtual assistant that can make sure your blog posts are optimized for search engines.
Why bother with one? you ask since we’ve basically told you all you need to know here. Here’s the thing: even if the theory behind this makes sense, in practice it can be challenging to keep track of. Think about it: writing a post while thinking about keyphrase and hyperlink placement isn’t very easy or fun. Not to mention later considerations about the slug, meta description, and the like.
Writing your own texts can often take too much time. Let’s face it: you can’t afford that. You need your precious hours and minutes to focus on management and executive decisions.
Luckily, a content writer can easily take care of all these issues for you. And, even more luckily, Remote Bob has an awesome selection of experienced content writers ready to put your content on the front page of Google’s search results!
SEO content writing is surprisingly involved. There are a lot of things you need to pay attention to in order to ensure your content ranks highly on Google’s search results, from keyphrase placement to image alt-text.
For this reason, it’s best to hire an experienced content writer to take care of it for you. If we’ve convinced you, feel free to contact us for some great help with this and, quite frankly, almost any other issues you might have!