Getting your content to rank well in Google can often seem like a never ending struggle. You’ve written a great blog post, sourced the best images to go with it and then?
Nobody reads it.
Search engines – and Google in particular, are a great way of bringing more traffic, readers and more potential customers to your website, but with Google known to change their algorithm roughly 500 times a year, knowing how to beat it so that your content ranks on the first page is no easy task.
So, what can you do to try and make sure your content ranks well?
Find Your Niche
With so much content out there it’s important that you know exactly what it is you want to write about. Finding a particular topic that you have specialist knowledge on is essential if you want your content to compete for that first page Google ranking.
To start off, have a browse online and see if you can notice any gaps in what’s already out there. Writing blog posts on topics that aren’t widely covered on the web will help yours to not only stand out from the crowd, but rank at the top of the pile too.
Make sure you avoid duplicating content as well. Copying content word for word from another website, even if it was written by you, can have a massive impact on the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of not just that webpage but your website as a whole. Keep your content fresh and relevant to give it the best chance of ranking well.
Do Your Research
If you want your content to rank highly then keyword research should be your first and most essential step before starting your article. Keyword research is the best way to get inside your readers’ heads and find out what terms and words they’re searching for the most. It’s also a great way to know what your competitors are doing and ranking for, knowledge is power after all!
There are a number of tools you can use to help with your keyword research and once you’ve whittled down your list of top words and phrases you want to rank for, you can start to incorporate them as much as possible into your content (try not to overdo it, your content should still feel natural and easy to read!).
Some of the best tools for your keyword research are Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Moz.
Optimising your meta tags is one of the most important parts of SEO. If you forget this then you may as well forget your content having any chance of ranking on the first page of Google. Meta tags are the tags you can add to a page to tell Google what your content is about, they won’t appear on the page but are instead in the ‘back end’ of your site allowing Google to read them.
Once upon a time when search engines were first invented, meta tags really were the be all and end all of SEO. Nowadays there’s some debate as to how important they are but there’s some that you definitely can’t avoid.
- Meta keywords tags – this is where you can add all of the keywords you want your content to rank for. Make sure you keep them relevant and don’t go overboard, too many keyword meta tags is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and can end up having the opposite effect.
- Title tag – you can give your web page a title tag which is visible to the user at the top of the page, to ensure your users instantly know what the page they’re on is about. Meta titles are also handy for SEO as they simplify all of the SEO information into one key phrase.
- Meta description – this is the small paragraph of text that appears under your page title in search results. For the best rankings you need to ensure it’s keyword dense, concise (no more than 150 words) and clearly tells the reader what the page is about.
Think About the User’s Experience
Thinking about how the user will experience and absorb your content and website are key elements that are often overlooked when optimising content. Think about how long it takes the page to load, how easy it is to follow the content and how much copy appears on the screen.
You should be aiming to make the user’s experience as pleasurable as possible so that they stay on your site for longer. The longer a user stays on your website, the better effect it will have on your SEO.
Google takes into account click-throughs (how many people click on the content) and bounce rates (how quickly they click away) so try and keep your audience online for as long as possible.
Adding high-quality images to your content will not only improve the user’s experience and break the content up, it can also help your page to rank better.
You can optimize your images by changing the file name, meta tag and meta description to all feature the keywords and phrases that you want to rank for. Don’t forget that Google Image searches are a great way of bringing people to your website. Just make sure the file size of your images isn’t too big as this can impact your page loading speed and response time.
Another way to ensure your readers engage with the content is to use sub-headings. These aren’t just great for breaking up the text, they’re also an easy way to get your keywords in. Ensure your headers include the keywords/phrases that you want to rank for and you can quickly up the volume of keywords in your content.
Don’t Forget Links
Including both internal and external links in your content is a key way to optimise what you’re writing, helping it to stand a better chance of ranking on the first page of Google. By linking out to relevant sites you can help improve the SEO of your content. You just need to ensure that the sites you’re linking to are well-respected and have a good Domain Authority.
It’s important that you keep an eye on any pieces of content you upload that have external links in them to ensure there are no broken links (this can happen if the URL of the page you’re linking to changes or if the page is removed). Broken links can have a negative effect on your SEO so make sure you add this to your checklist of tasks to complete regularly.
Linking to content on your own site is also a good way of helping content to rank. Link to other relevant blog posts or if you’re talking about a specific product or service that you sell, link to its product page on your site.
The more links that direct to your site the better it is for your SEO and ranking position. Internal links are also a great way of keeping readers on your site for longer so consider adding in a couple to each blog post you write.
Unfortunately there’s no black and white answer for making your content rank on the first page of Google and the search engine is always making changes to its algorithm and how it ranks content.
The best thing you can do is follow the tips above and make sure your content is informative – one thing we do know is that Google loves content that gives the reader the information they’re after quickly and concisely!