Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to boosting your content’s visibility when it comes to organic search results. Ultimately, Google and other search engines want to organize and showcase the most useful content that will drive user interaction.
This is done by using a complex algorithm that scans content to determine whether it’s relevant for a search query. By using SEO best practices, you can crack the code to better search engine rankings.
SEO is a fast-paced field that is always evolving in response to advancements in technology and search engine data collection and analysis. That being said, there are some SEO basics that every creator should know to help your content perform better.
6 Tips for SEO Success
When it comes to search engine optimization, there are many, many search engine ranking factors at play. So, let’s focus on some basic on-page SEO tactics you can use to improve your rankings and help get your content seen by the masses.
1. Be Smart When Doing Keyword Research
Your primary goal with SEO is to get seen. Start by doing keyword research that is relevant to your content’s topic.
Popular keyword research tools include free and paid subscriptions, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Surfer SEO, and Ubersuggest.
When doing keyword research, focus on popularity and search volume. This information will give you insight into how many people are searching for a keyword, as well as how easy or challenging it will be to rank for it.
Look for keywords that are high-traffic, but low competition. In other words, you want to choose a keyword that is being frequently searched for, but also isn’t being used by a ton of people creating content.
Related: 5 Link Building Strategies
2. Focus on User Intent when Creating Content
Plugging keywords into your content isn’t enough. You need to craft content to fit user search intent. What does this mean?
It means you need to tailor your content to fit what people are trying to find when they search for a specific term or phrase.
Let’s say someone searches for “puppy training” (something that I’ve recently done a lot of research on). A user might want to find a puppy training course or maybe they just want to learn why training is important. Maybe they’re looking for specific training schedules or tools to aid in training. That’s a large range of information to guess at.
So, how are you supposed to know what people are actually searching for, aka user intent?
It’s simple. Let Google tell you.
Search for the keyword or keyphrase and see what lands on the first page. The search engine has already collected and analyzed user intent for that particular keyword. You can then capitalize on this knowledge and create content that seamlessly fits into the keyword’s user intent.
3. Strategically Include Your Main Keyword
The location of your keyword matters. The top of the webpage carries more weight, so the sooner you drop your keyword, the better.
Use your main keyword in the first paragraph, as well as in your SEO title and meta description.
If possible, front-load your title with your target keyword. In some cases, having your keyword at the beginning won’t feel organic. So, don’t make your title tag awkward by forcing a front-loaded keyword that just doesn’t jive well.
4. Use Variations of Your Keyword
You can further leverage user intent by using variations of your keyword or keyphrase.
By sprinkling variations of your keyword throughout your writing, the search engine can pick up on more hints about the true substance of your content.
This further establishes that your content is aligned with popular user intent and will increase your topic relevance.
5. Improve Your Readability
Readers are likely to lose interest if you have huge blocks of text or complicated explanations. Therefore, content that’s easier to read ranks higher.
Make your content clear and easy-to-read by:
- Using shorter sentences and paragraphs
- Avoiding complex jargon
- Adding bullets and lists to organize information and break up text
- Using subheadings for hierarchy
- Getting to the point
A readability analysis tool like Hemingway Editor or Yoast SEO can help highlight areas for improvement.
Apply readability suggestions and changes to your writing to adapt and save yourself time on future content.
6. Spend Time Creating Unique, Valuable Content
It’s easy to get swept up in the game of churning out content to stay relevant. But quality is what puts you at the top for your readership and for organic searches.
High-quality content takes time and effort, both of which should be grounded in thorough research.
Look at what is performing well on the first page of Google for your keyword or keyphrase. What’s missing from the information? What questions do readers still have? Is there a better way to frame the information so it’s more digestible? How can you add to the discussion in an authentic and original way?
Use this same principle for improving your existing content. If your writing has improved or if you’ve gained more expertise in an area, spend some time updating your previous content to make it more relevant and valuable.
How to Brush up on Your SEO Knowledge
SEO skills are in high demand. If SEO is your jam, you can really go down the rabbit hole of learning advanced techniques. This can benefit your own writing. But you can also offer it as a service to others.
Build your knowledge by using free online resources from SEO experts and platforms that host SEO tools. There are also a lot of books and online SEO courses that can give you a great foundation. And, of course, you can always learn a lot from networking with other creators in your space to see what is and isn’t working for your niche.
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