The golden piece of content is probably video, but your headquarters on the web will always be your blog.
Populating your blog with relevant, SEO content that people are looking for is crucial for a healthy blog.
In this article, I’ll explain how to do keyword research to determine if there is an audience searching for your message. How to study your competitors to see what works and if there’s anything they missed. Then, I’ll list and explain some basic SEO best practices.
Let’s jump right in!
How To Do Keyword Research for SEO Articles
Keyword research determines whether or not an article is worth writing. Since writing an article ranges from moderately time consuming to incredibly time consuming, it’s important assess whether or not this is worth your time.
For example, I find Shakespeare fascinating. What is so special about him that he has captivated the world in his writings! I thought “what makes Shakespeare a genius” would make a riveting article. Then I looked it up.
It looks like not many other people share my question. Probably everyone takes Shakespeare’s fame for granted. “What makes Shakespeare a genius” might not be an article worth writing, but since I am going for long tail search queries and I am trying to populate my website, I decide to write the article I had in my head anyway.
This brings me to my second point. Keyword research can help me decide which words to use. Often there are many ways of saying the same things. What words are people in general using? What words do my target audience use?
Not many people are curious whether or not Shakespeare is a genius. However I did find some people do want to know “why is Shakespeare so famous”?
This informs me which words to use more often in my title and headings. More importantly it clues me into the more common search intent.
Competitor Analysis for a SEO Article
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
To do competitor analysis certainly you can use the search engine itself and type the keywords you want your article to gravitate around. My SERP has extra data from a Google Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere.
In this case, I find that the first article is by Wiley, which seems to be for scholars. It ranks first with a short 5 bullet-point article intended for scholars publishing academic papers. So, if the searcher is looking for a more marketing geared article or a long-form article, I’ll probably have an advantage.
The second result is from Titan Growth, which looks like a marketing company. Immediately what stands out to me is that they chose a grey font that is harder to differentiate from the back ground. I think my font color is more readable.
But, at the end of the day, these domains have much more authority than little old me. And their number lists and succinct authoritative tips are swinging the competition deftly in their favor.
Another tool that can give more in depth analysis is Ubersuggest. Ubersuggest can show you under the hood a little bit into the estimated traffic your competitors see, their social shares, and most importantly, the number of backlinks they have.
SEO Article Writing Best Practices
To be consistent and helpful, I’m doing my best to demonstrate SEO best practices while writing this article so that the article itself can be an example, but there are two best practices I am not following right now due to cost. 1) I should have a SSL certificate for this site to encrypt data for users of this website & to demonstrate trustworthiness. 2) I should pay to speed up my website. Google takes site loading time into account when ranking search results.
Write On-Topic, Naturally, & Human Readable
Don’t be a hack. Don’t use the same color for the text as the background to hide words. Don’t keyword stuff. These strategies don’t fly.
Write in a helpful way the matches the intention of the searcher. In other words answer their question. It’s very important to seamlessly take your users from their search query to your search engine result to your website.
If you type in “get a dog wash”, and your location is Los Angeles, but you find a result from Montana, not only will you not click, but if you do click on the search result, you will find that it’s nowhere near you, and you’ll immediately bounce.
This location mix up probably will never happen. But I think it demonstrates the point that relevance is incredibly important.
Include Keywords in Your Title & Headings
Google treats the Headings with special weight because headings are usually what the article is about. This is one of the biggest improvement I have been making lately.
Using headings structures the flow of your argument, gives users the main ideas quickly and allows them to skip sections they aren’t interested in, and most importantly Google gives higher significance to the heading words.
Don’t go overboard. Still make the titles relevant, but definitely strive to include keywords in your title and headings when you can.
Video & Images Are The Way Things Are Going
This one is still a little out of my comfort zone. But I’ve read that people are 4x more likely to watch a video than read an article!
Video is the preferred medium of a lot of people. Increasingly even businesses are paying attention to video. YouTube is the second largest search engine in its own right. And growing fast.
Strongly consider making video content to upload on YouTube and embed on your site.
Images are second to video, but still important for the user experience. Users prefer articles with images to articles without images. This can impact user behavior which is taken into account by Google’s algorithm.
According to Devrix, 60% of people visit the source of an image they find on Google Images.
Using relevant images is a best practice for SEO articles. However, I’m extrapolating here, using images that are not relevant, and wouldn’t boost a user’s behavior, probably are worse than leaving your article without images.
Write Your Posts Close to 2000 Words
In this article Neil Patel explains that “long-form content reigns supreme.”
Data from serpIQ and Backlinko affirm that on average the top 5 SERP spots go to long form articles of about 2000 words. 2300 words was more successful in 2013 according to serpIQ and 1800 words was more successful in 2016 according to Backlino.
Additionally, long-form articles generate seemingly infinitely more social shares according to this MOZ article, especially on Facebook.
There are some exceptions. Articles in home and garden, gadgets, fashion, and tech can do just fine with much lower word counts (around 1000 and a little lower). But for these articles, know that videos and images will be that much more important.
The key takeaway is that long form is far superior. Articles should shoot for around 2000 words, plus or minus a few hundred.
Thank you sincerely for reading! My name is Evan River Welch. I’m a digital marketing learner with Simplilearn, a professional skills bootcamp provider. Feel welcome to write any comments that popped up for you. And do not hesitate to contact me!