Digital Marketing Strategy, Conversion optimization, Growth Hacking

How to do SEO for your blog articles?

I promised in a previous article that I would get back to you with the steps you need to take in order to optimize an article for Google. To make things easier, we are going to make a checklist of these steps.

But before we get started, just let me point out that although these rules are important and necessary for Google to categorize and index you article correctly, therefore bringing you relevant traffic, they won’t help much if the article itself can’t bring value to your readers.

What does bringing value mean? It solves an issue, gives an answer, a solution, shows how to get things done, enlightens one’s day, awakes emotions, troubles someone, brings someone towards something and so on.  All in all, the reader has to benefit from going through your article. This way you get to show your expertise and one way or another, you get to also show them a side of you.

In a previous article I wrote all about finding topics for your articles How to organize and select good-quality information for blog articles.

In order for you to see how the people interested in what you would have to offer actually do their research on Google, use Keyword planner. It is a Google tool which allows you to see the search terms, an estimated monthly average of these queries, the seasonality of these queries, similar expressions – all of these for a series of keywords that you put in. You could also use Google Suggestions, what comes up when you start typing something on Google.

So you type a few words/expressions from your field of activity in Keyword planner and hit search after similar keywords. Look for expressions which are made up of 3-4 words (so as clear as it gets) with a medium or low search volume and preferably a low level of competition (the competition is for paid links on Google, still it is more or less similar to the organic one) and it should also be a seasonal topic at the time – if this is the case.

Now that you have a clear list of keywords/expressions relevant for your topic, you start writing your articles.

You pick out a first expression and start writing your draft, keeping to the following:

1. The title of your article must include this key expression – if it is possible it should be at the very beginning. When you start building the headline go by the principle: WIIFM (What’s in it for me? – for your reader). Make the title H1 (it is a tag used for the most important title in a page); when using WordPress, it will turn it automatically.

2. The platform on which you have your blog and where you add articles should allow friendly URLs – meaning it should take the title of the article and put it in URL using “-“ between words and no other numbers or symbols. Preferably it should look like blogname.ro/name-of-the-article.

3. The meta title should include the main key expression at the beginning and, if it is possible, the name of your brand/site. If you’re using WordPress, it will automatically take your title and also put it in your meta title, which is a good thing if you choose your title keeping to the hints given at point no. 1 and if it has less than 55 characters.

This meta tile is actually the text that comes up in the browser, above the URL and as title of the page in the search results, moreover on other sites where the link is shared, like Facebook.

Meta Title blog article

Source: moz.com

Meta title search results

It is a vital element for Google, as it helps him “get” what your article is all about.

4. Use the key expression in the first paragraph of your article. The more it is at the beginning, the more Google pays more attention to it and sees it as relevant to the topic of the article. You can use it also bolded or italic written, in order to stand out in the text. This key expression should come up another 3-4 times during the article – it’s actually obvious come to think of it, because let’s say you talk about something for an hour, you are bound to repeat it a couple of times.

5. Add an image, a screenshot or a video to your article. It doesn’t affect directly the way Google will position your article on a page but it will most certainly influence the way the reader will interact with that page – signals that count for Google.

6. Use external links to websites with authority and credibility. For example, you could make a link to a webpage which is widely known in your field. When adding this external link, it would be better for you to set it up to open in a new tab (do this when adding the link by making a tic – in WordPress).

7. Use words/expressions that clear up the intention of the article. For example, if your article is about the movie Star Trek, using words like: Warp, enterprise, space, speed of light, spaceship, time travel, last frontier, aliens etc. will make it clearer for Google that your article is relevant to the topic Star Trek.

8. Meta description – is the text that comes up in the search results, just beneath the title and URL:

Meta description blog article

It doesn’t have a direct influence on Google ranking, but still, it helps a great deal in improving your chances of people accessing your page from Google- this means more targeted traffic  for free.

When it comes to articles, one phrase will be used as a meta description. So you will write a description (with WordPress you can do it with the help of a SEO plugin that you can install) which should highlight a benefit and offer and advice – something like an advert.

9. Add internal links (1-2) if you have the chance. These links should lead to pages in your website, pages with articles, products, services, worksheets, trainings and so on. This kind of internal linking will make the web pages and the site more relevant to the topic.

However, keep in mind that the internal links should have an anchor text relevant to the topic of the landing page. Take for instance, when redirecting a blog article to an online marketing training page, we could use the phrase learn online marketing, and on it we will put the link to the training.

10. Add the main expression in the image file name and as an alt attribute for an image. The required alt attribute is an element that will help Google understand what the image is about and it will also enhance the relevance of the web page itself.

Still, pay much attention! You could either buy the images from websites of stock photos, you could make them by yourself, use free photos from several websites, or you could also simply use photos but stating their source and the link. The most important thing to do is set yourself a couple of guidelines which you will have to stick to when picking out your images. Of course, they will be according to what you want to get across: for instance, one rule could be a decision of only using images with people. Another one: the people in the images will always be happy. Another one: on each and every image I shall apply an Instagram like filter which should say… and so on.

11. Use Call To Action (or a simple question) at the end of the article or some kind of hint to your readers to make them register to your newsletter or a webinar you intend to make so they can learn more about a service you have to offer – with a link that leads to that page, or whatever other thing you want your readers to do that can end up helping them and you as well.

It doesn’t influence the SEO directly, but it will help your readers to come closer with your web page and this is a signal very relevant for Google.

12. Use share buttons for Social Media. Just by giving your readers the chance to share with others your articles, you will get links on other websites or “votes”, as Google would call them. More votes mean more chances for your web article to get a high ranking in Google researches on the main phrase you used.

13. Make your article easy to follow by adding subheadings (H2, H3…) and/or check lists, bullets. Use a plain language and avoid as much as possible jargon. Granted, it all depends on your audience. If you address specialists in a specific field of activity, you are bound to use jargon. If your audience is made out of potential clients, then it would be better for you to use less jargon. What does this have to do with SEO? A long, light, interesting article will keep the readers on the page and send Google yet another message that your text is truly relevant.

Taking into consideration each and every point made just above you will seriously increase your chances of your web article ranking very high in Google search results for those key expressions that you picked out.

If you are interested in getting more similar info, subscribe to my blog.

Best of luck!

How do you organize and select good-quality information for blog articles?

In my previous article – Online needs more qualitative content from people just like you – I promised I would get back to you with two ways of organizing information for articles on the blog. But before we get there, there is one more step to take – gathering your information.

After picking out the topic you want to tackle in your article (which will offer an answer, a solution, show how things are done, prove a point, stand up for a cause or urge someone to take action, etc.) where do you get your information from?

You will find it in studies, articles/ whitepapers/ books/ e-books (all of which of course have been written and approved by authorities in the field) documents, interviews.

This way you will gather up tones of information, which you will later on have to organize and pick only that which is relevant for the article you intend on writing. Still, pay much attention: this reference material that you have just gathered up, will help you with future articles, so keep it just the way it is in a safe place (as safe as it can be), on your laptop, email or in Google Drive.

Now, going back to organizing and selecting the information that you need for building your article – keep only that which is actually part of the message you want to send. The article needs to have one main idea and it is this idea on which you will have to build. Any other kind of related or complementary information that you feel the need to add simply because it is of high-quality, I would personally recommend you to approach it in an entirely new article.

One first very good and easy to put at work method, which will help you select your information after gathering it, is Mind Mapping. It is actually more of a visual technique, which plays a great part in generating and systemizing your ideas on a specific object, by making associations between your main idea and its subordinate themes. It is widely used in several fields, wherever brainstorming is needed.

Mind Mapping is all about putting your theme/main idea in the middle of a blank page. From there on you start building around it, writing phrases, concepts, keywords, statistics, data etc – all of which have to do with your topic. Therefore you will have categories of information and subtopics that are related to your main idea in several ways.

Here is an example of mind mapping, which I “drew” out on the topic of writing articles on the blog:

Mind Mapping for blog articles

This main topic is very generous, so as a consequence of my mind mapping I came up with several subtopics which will later on become articles (or at least some of them). I started out from a general idea for an article, which led me to other related topics, that come to think of it, seem clearer not only to me, as now I’m focusing on a single subject that doesn’t offer me so many ways around it but keeps me still on an idea, but also for my readers, who will get a very detailed answer for a rather simple question.

Also, mind mapping is a fast technique, because it helps you to organize your information without having to go through all that gathered reference material once more. Count on what you already know and all what you read during your research period. Pick out only what you consider important for your topic and write it down in your mind map. So, when time is not on your side and you want to write an article for which you already have in your mind the categories and the associated information but still need to organize them so as to find a way, by all means, use the mind map.

Another technique of generating and organizing information, which I frequently use, is the summary or the selection of relevant information for the main idea out of the entire research.

It will take up much more time, but you will have a clear view of the subject at hand and it will help you identify important details. Consequently, this will lead to making your article more valuable and relevant.

When using this method, I gather up in one single document all what I find on a subject and after that I start taking out pieces of information that are not directly related to the brief message I want to send out. After that I start building my article solely based on the information left and my personal notes.

To put it shortly, these two methods hand you out the parts of a topic and you can turn these parts into paragraphs of an article or in several other articles. The important thing to keep in mind is that if you want others to read your articles with interest, you have to keep one path. You have to have one, two main ideas tops on which to elaborate.

Arguments, powerful words, clear and useful message for the reader, clear, concrete text without clichés or slang language, with a specific purpose – all of these are essential parts which will significantly raise your chances of making an article that will be read, liked, put into practice and shared.

Feelings, examples and personal experience – all are very important into making an article more human-like and creating a real connection with your reader.

It’s not easy to write articles. But it is the best way of sharing what you’ve already learned and experienced, so that others can also benefit from this. And only writing – today one article, tomorrow maybe another – will it become easier for you and in due time you will improve your own style, the one that represents you and with which, those who read and follow you manage to connect.

In my following article I will tell you how to optimize your articles for a blog, so that they are relevant not only for the readers but also for Google.

The online needs more quality content from people just like you

The online needs quality content from the people that have something valuable to share: starting from understanding and successfully applying specific techniques according to different fields, recommendations based on professional experience, ideas or advices from others for whom something worked like a charm, views on things, until to self life experience and lessons you have learned on your own.

All of these can teach someone how to do something similar, what to expect, how to prepare themselves when engaging in a certain professional or personal path. It takes one’s ease simply because they will feel supported in their steps and see they are not alone.  It will help them to know they can rely on somebody for an advice, even if the certain somebody is behind a blog and the help that is offered comes throughout articles written on a blog.

By helping you bring your contribution to transforming this world into a better version of itself. And it is not a cliché, because you will be forwarding knowledge, which is the basis of our evolution as human beings, as a society and mankind.

quality content for your blog

Image source: unsplash.com

At the beginning of this August, I attended a training session for trainers and it was about how to promote yourself online by using the skills and knowledge you already have.  Just before starting the actual training, I had a brief moment when I said exactly what it’s written just above:  “the online, especially the Romanian one, but not exclusively, needs more quality in content from people just like you, who have valuable things to share”, just like the trainers that were present at that moment.  Then, just as every time I say this out loud, emotion strikes, only because it is something I truly believe in. I honestly believe there is a great need for good information, for educational content and it brings me great sadness to know that people that have qualitative information to share, don’t do it online.

On the one hand, I get the reasons, because good people think and ask themselves over and over again if their short piece of content brings across an interesting and important message, if it truly helps somebody, or is it just yet another article like many others, written every day online, that lack target and meaning. Sometimes, more than once, they will stop writing simply out of fear that they can’t reach some standards –most of which are self set- and that they might set someone up for disappointment.

How to get over these fears and how to make your voice be heard online? By starting to write content.

You make yourself a blog- on wordpress for example, because you build it up fast and you don’t need any kind of special technical knowledge. After that, you start writing. In an ideal world, you would write every day. In the real world, do it at your own pace.

If you’re thinking you don’t have any experience in writing, stop it. You have (the) information, you only need the exercise to put it down in writing. When you start to write, just make believe you have somebody next to you and you’re trying to send him/her a message, a clear piece of information that will help them. Clear up what it is you have to say and focus on that subject. Don’t lose your way in details trying to say too much.

How to pick out topics for your articles? Firstly you have to settle upon your audience. Who do you want to benefit from that information? It will make it easier for you to see yourself as the person reading your articles and asking yourself: “why would I read this?”.

Next week I am going to share with you in a new article two more ways of finding your topics and organizing your information. I’m devoting them an entire article because they’re worth it and you’ll see why :).

In order for people who are interested in the topics you tackle to actually find you, use one of Google’s tools, keyword planner. It will help you find out what people research on Google. Here put in the words and expressions that have to do with your field, pick out the language and the geographic area. This tool will give you back information about what people are looking up on Google related to those words and expression and other similar expressions that are being looked up by those interested. Another place to find this kind of phrases is Google Suggestions, more exactly, we are talking about the phrases Google offers you when you start typing something in the search box.

Use these phrases in your own articles, one phrase per article. The purpose of this would be for you to be found by exactly those people that are interested in your content. In order for this to happen you will have to optimize each of your articles for the search engines.

Tell me now, have you also found yourself face to face with this kind of fears before actually starting to write or if you don’t have a blog yet, but still feel like you have something to share, what is holding you up?

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