This blog post will cover nine tips for writing SEO-friendly article to improve your rankings. But before we get into that, I have a PSA for all you digital marketers and content creators out there: When strategizing how to drive organic traffic to your Remember, for websites, content creation and SEO go hand in hand. SEO is not some magic skill that only technicians can do correctly. At its core, SEO is about writing content that's better than the competition—and yes, using on-page SEO best practices and technical practices.
So without further ado, here are nine tactics you can use to outrank your competition in search engine results:
Table of Contents
- Understand Search Engine Ranking Factors
- Use the Right Keywords
- Identify and Capture Search Intent
- Optimize your content to get Google Recommended Snippets
- Update Old Content
- Apply the Skyscraper Method
- Prioritize High-Quality Inbound and Outbound Links
- Increase user signals using best practices on-page
- Be Aware of Site Structure and Technical SEO Best Practices
Understand Search Engine Ranking Factors
Before you can beat the competition, you need to understand the basic signals that search engines look for when ranking and ranking your content. The four most significant ranking factors are content, links, site structure, and HTML tags.
Since the Panda algorithm update in 2011, Google has prioritized content as its number one factor. When you publish any content - whether it's a blog, website or main page - it should clearly cover a specific topic in depth, be well written and above all, provide value to the reader.
According to Search Engine Land's periodic table of SEO factors, the seven most important content ranking factors are:
- Quality: Well written and valuable
- Research: Demonstrates authority
- Keywords: Appropriately includes search terms
- Freshness: It is current and relevant
- Multimedia: Contains images, videos or audio files to enhance the user experience.
- Answers: Answers the search query directly
- Depth: Covers the topic thoroughly
Understanding what each of these factors mean and how to use them is the first step to writing content that is competitive.
Links, site structure and HTML tags
In addition to content, the second, third, and fourth most weighted ranking factors are links, site architecture (how your site is built), and HTML tags.
When a search engine crawls and indexes your website, it also looks at non-content factors such as incoming and outgoing links, URL structure, page load speed, time on page, and keyword usage in tags to understand what your website is about and how to rank your pages .
Search engine algorithms are designed to provide users with the best content from the best websites. Implementing links, site structure, and HTML best practices within your site content makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content. The faster and more accurately search engines crawl and index your content, the faster you can increase your rankings and traffic.
Use the Right Keywords
Although there are debates in the digital marketing community about whether or not keyword research is dead, keywords are still a key part of SEO.
Keyword research will help you:
- Determine what topics people are talking about.
- Identify topic search volumes.
- Be aware of how difficult grading can be for a topic.
Each piece of crawlable content should have a unique primary keyword target and also use latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords (natural variations of your primary keyword) throughout.
Before you start writing, think about topics you know your buyers are interested in. Then do some keyword research to determine the best ranking opportunity. The type of keyword you target will depend on the type of content you create.
Blog posts should focus on long-tail keywords with low to low volume and low competition, while comprehensive resources such as master pages can focus on shorter-tail keywords that have high volume and high competition. When creating blog posts, remember that keywords with lower competition have higher conversion rates and are easier to rank for.
Identify and Capture Search Intent
Once you've found a viable primary keyword target, validate and decide how you're going to write about it by examining searcher intent. Identify what a searcher is looking for when they type a query into the search box, and then cover the topic in a way that directly addresses their needs.
According to Google's Search Quality Guidelines, there are four categories of searcher intent:
- Know: The searcher wants to find information about a topic in order to answer a question.
- Do: The seeker wants to l3arn how to perform a specific action.
- Web: A searcher wants to find a specific resource.
- Personal visit: The seeker wants to find a place to go.
Before you start writing, determine which of these four categories your main keyword targets fall into. Then verify the category by looking at the current content ranking for the keyword. Are your competitors targeting the same type of search intent you specified for the query? See how they've structured their content to meet searchers' needs. Organize your content similarly and better.
Pro Tip: Use SERP Features to Provide Better Search Intent Than Your Competitors
How do you satisfy the searcher's intent better than your competitors? Identify aspects of the searcher's intent that top-ranked articles do not satisfy.
Are there any important nuggets that the competition is missing that your reader might want to know about? You can find out what those gaps might be by looking at the "People Also Ask" and "Related Searches" sections of your search engine results page (SERP). Include answers to relevant questions in your content.
Optimize your content to get Google Recommended Snippets
A relatively new feature of the search engine is the Google Featured Snippet. This SERP feature aims to answer the user's question immediately. You can optimize your content in a way that increases your chances of getting this feature. How to do it:
- Use SEMrush or another SERP analytics tool to see if there is a featured snippet for the keyword you are targeting. Only 12.3% of searches have one.
- Find out how the selected excerpt is structured. Is it a paragraph, list or table?
- Ask the question the excerpt answers in one of the subheadings of your blog post.
- Answer the question immediately after the subheading. Write a short answer that is better than the current one in the selected passage. Make sure you use the same structure as the current snippet.
More Tips for Obtaining the Featured Snippet
There are a few other tactics you can use to increase your chances of getting a featured snippet:
- Optimize content you're already highly ranked for by responding to a featured snippet; 99.58 percent of snippets come from pages already on the first page of SERPs.
- Use facts and figures in your answers.
- In the content, answer some questions that "people also ask themselves". Ahrefs found that most featured snippets are triggered by longer keywords like those found in this section of the SERP.
Update Old Content
Search engines prefer fresh content. As previously mentioned, freshness is the fourth most weighted content ranking factor. Updating old blog posts with better, more useful and authoritative information can significantly increase rankings and traffic.
In fact, when HubSpot made updating old content a priority on its editorial calendar (optimizing more posts per week), it saw an average increase in organic search impressions of 106 percent per post.
Here's how to do this strategy yourself:
- Identify blog posts with the potential to rank higher for keywords that have significant search volume.
- Update or correct your post to improve accuracy and completeness.
- implements on-page SEO best practices and optimizes conversions with relevant inline and his CTAs on posts.
- Publish an optimized article - remember to change the publication date so that search engines crawl and index the content again.
Apply the Skyscraper Method
The Skyscraper Method is the process of identifying the content you want to surpass and creating something better. This is both a content writing strategy and a link building strategy, but for the purposes of this blog post, we're going to focus on how to do it from a writing perspective.
Once you find the content you want to overcome, you should:
- Think about why Google prioritized this page in the results. It is likely that the rated content is comprehensive, in-depth and provides high value to the reader. Understand why your content is performing well so you can take your content to the next level.
- Create something better than a review article. You can do this by adding length, depth, freshness and enhancing the user experience.
When it comes to improvements, be strategic and intentional. Above all, everything you create should add value. Ahrefs warns the authors that “Adding 25 bad tricks to an existing list of 25 great tips is not an improvement. Sure, your new version might be longer, but you're not adding any real value.”
When done correctly, the Skyscraper method generates results. Brian Dean of Backlinks was able to double organic traffic in 14 days using this method.
Prioritize High-Quality Inbound and Outbound Links
Links say a lot to search engines and users about the value, reputation, and quality of your content. When linking to outbound sources in your blog posts and pillar sites, make sure they link to trusted and quality sites. When looking for backlinks, focus on websites that are authorities on the topic you are writing about.
Remember that backlinks to your content are one of the most heavily weighted factors in Google's ranking, determining 20.94 percent of what gets ranked versus what doesn't. High quality links can increase rankings and traffic, just as low quality links and spam can hurt your ranking ability.
Increase user signals using best practices on-page
Over the past few years, Google has begun incorporating user experience signals into its search algorithms. How you use HTML tags in your content can indirectly affect these types of signals.
Since HTML tags are one of the first things search engines look at to understand what your content is about, content creators must understand the importance of using your target Keywords and LSI keywords in the first 100 words of titles, meta descriptions, headlines, and content. Placing keywords in these HTML tags can improve user experience, bounce rates, dwell time, and click-through rates. Higher performance in this area has been shown to correlate with higher search engine rankings.
Be Aware of Site Structure and Technical SEO Best Practices
Although optimizing your website structure and improving technical SEO isn't necessarily part of a content writer's job, it's important to be aware of how these factors can affect your content's ability to rank.
How your website is built, page load speed, security, and crawlability all directly affect a search engine's ability to quickly and accurately index and rank your content. For example, in the last few years, search engines have begun to favor sites that use a site structure driven by cluster topics—a structure that links blog posts targeting long-end keywords with comprehensive resources or main pages targeting shorter, high-volume seed. Keywords.
If you have poor site structure and technical errors in SEO, it's almost impossible to get your content ranked - no matter how well written it is. If you're having trouble seeing organic traffic results from your well-written content, work with a developer or technical SEO expert to monitor your site's health and fix the errors that can have the biggest impact on crawling.