Who wants higher rankings, more social shares, and more targeted traffic!?
We all do! Business would be so much better and more profitable if we can get our most important pages in front of the right people online. And in this guide, we will show you a 5-step guide for creating content that ranks in the SERPs, gets traffic, and gets shared!
Go For In-Depth, High Quality Content
Are you still publishing generic, 500-word articles that don’t teach anything new or valuable to website visitors and readers?
If you are, you’re shooting your digital marketing and ranking efforts in the foot. Gone are the days when you can write a short, keyword-stuffed, and bland article and expect to rank on the first page of Google.
In a blog post by Google technical staff member and Panda update author Pandu Nayak, the Big G’s preference for long-form and informative content was made clear. Mr. Nayak said:
“Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.”
In a 2012 study involving over 20,000 keywords, the results found that pages in the top 10 SERPs averaged 2,000 words (or more) in length – with the number one spot averaging 2,416 words.
And if that’s not enough to convince you of the ranking power of long-form content, another study by a popular inbound marketing and SEO tools provider found that #longreads tend to generate more high quality links.
As any real internet marketing and SEO expert will tell you, high quality links are your ticket to better rankings and traffic!
But be warned:
Stuffing your pages with filler content just to cross the 2,000-word mark isn’t going to earn you favors from Google.
Especially with the introduction of the machine learning AI system RankBrain, Google is only getting better and smarter at distinguishing filler content from posts and articles that provide valuable answers to user’s search queries.
So while crossing the 2,000-word mark is helpful for better rankings, business and website owners must keep in mind that their content should appeal to readers first and search engines second.
Add And Optimize Images For Maximum SEO Juice
Fun fact: 93% of all human communication is visual, and the fact that the human brain processes images 60,000 faster than words is not surprising!
Adding images to your blog posts, landing pages, and other pieces of content is a great way to break up huge blocks of text while ensuring your message is better digested by readers and visitors.
Check out this example:
A money-saving guide for businesses that used several images for a better reading experience.
However, know that the benefits of adding images go beyond better user experience.
Just remember, however, to optimize and compress any image you add to keep the file sizes low, minimizing loading times while keeping the overall site speed at a healthy pace.
Tidy Up The Title Tags And Meta Descriptions
On-page SEO factors often take the sidelines, with off-page SEO especially link building often taking the spotlight.
But let’s not forget:
Google ranks content as one of the three most influential ranking factors, and you need to optimize certain on-page elements to make your content much more attractive both to search engines and readers.
The title tag and meta descriptions are two of these elements.
The title tag gives Google and visitors a quick insight as to what your content is about. To optimize your title tag, be sure to include your target keyword (or a close variation) while succinctly presenting the contents of your page.
You also want to keep the title tag’s length at 70 characters or less so it doesn’t get truncated in the SERPs.
Here are some basic examples of a good title with the keywords in bold. Notice, too, how the titles nicely fits the 70-character limit while informing the reader what’s inside:
- How To Build Your Email List In 7 Science-Backed Steps
- 13 Actionable Blogging Tips For More Traffic And Leads
- On-Page SEO: An Optimization Guide The Most Important On-Page Factors
Meta descriptions, on the other hand, are not part of Google’s ranking factors. But don’t ignore your pages’ descriptions! They may not have SEO juice, but descriptions can make or break your click-through rate (CTR). The right description can attract the right traffic like a magnet!
The ideal count for descriptions is 160 characters or less, giving you more room to “market” your content. Use the space to craft a “sales copy” for your page, one that includes benefits, sets expectations, while using keywords intelligently.
Increase Your Odds Of Ranking Through Internal Linking
Internal linking is an essential SEO tactic that both website visitors and search engines appreciate.
From a visitor’s point of view, internal links to relevant pages give them more reading options, which can help increase the time spent on your site while keeping bounce rates low. For search engines, on the other hand, internal links point them to other important pages within the domain.
Even better, Google is totally fine with using exact match anchor text for internal links. This means you can increase a page’s ranking power for a certain keyword by using the exact phrase for links within the same domain.
Just don’t go overboard and blast 5,000 exact match internal links to a single page!
Keep The URL Short And Sweet
The URL of a page play a key role in rankings, one of the most important elements Google checks for relevancy.
You want it to be as descriptive and relevant as possible, and including the target keyword, if the opportunity presents itself, is often a good idea. But at the same time, you want your URLs to stay short and sweet.
Keeping the entire URL to 76 to 90 characters seems to be the ideal range, and an experiment even hinted that longer URLs can hurt a page’s visibility in the search engines!
In an interview, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, even said that four to five words in URL is OK – but words beyond that mark are often weighed less by Google’s algorithm.
A complete guide to higher SERP rankings, targeted traffic generation, and social marketing best practices would make a massive tome!
But in this short post, we’ve looked at how to set the foundation for better rankings and more traffic by creating content that both search engines and users love – from providing in-depth content, improving readability with images, to optimizing the most crucial on-page SEO factors.
Put the steps to good use! Make a checklist out of it. So when you’re creating a blog post, article, or any piece of content for your blog or website, you’ll have a clear direction for setting your content up for success in the SERPs.
Cover photo credit: Geoffrey Wiseman / Flickr