We are aware that content marketing is all about getting the potential viewers in, but what gets the content to rank itself on top? If you ask this question to your self the answer would be, SEO! Yes, this is what gets the targeted users to get to us. So, you have come across anything and everything related to SEO if at all you are into content marketing.
Writing content is pretty easy to do but, to write a piece of article to satisfy Google’s algorithm could be a difficult task if you are not aware of the process of SEO! Yes, dealing with the whole process could be like interpreting Latin, Greek, and gibberish. But worry not, there are a set of guidelines you would want to consider adding to your content checklist.
It is a fact to consider that Google’s algorithm is pretty intimidating, but we don’t have to worry about this since every door comes with a key to open. There are methods to look up to, to make the SEO process fairly easier.
30 Best Practices to Get Your Content Ranking
Here is a content checklist, so that you can plan on what is to be done each time while you work on content!
First Comes First! Choose a Keyword
The very first step is to choose an obvious keyword that is likely to be most searched or preferred among people and forget not, keywords are those that are very relatable to the content and the topic you choose! For example, the keyword for content related to feminine health might be menstrual hygiene but the keyword Adam’s apple might not be a keyword to this particular topic. It is a very important point to be added to your content checklist.
Create a Unique Headline
Headlines are like the cover page of a book. Anybody ends up judging a book with its cover page, similarly, the heading says a lot about the article and the mindset of the writer. So, it is essential to create a unique and catchy heading for your piece of writing. This might be the most underrated aspect of your content checklist, but this matters a lot in the whole process related to SEO.
Know Your Purpose
Before you start an article, you must make yourselves clear about your intentions behind doing so. Without a clear idea of what you write and the purpose behind it, it is difficult to go ahead further.
- Educational- an article that focuses on educating a targeted group of people is an educational article. For example, an article that speaks about machine learning is meant to educate a group of people that are interested in knowing what machine learning is all about.
- Emotional – is it an article that targets the human mindset. Most people like reading those that are quite relatable to their human minds. Topics such as mental health and love are all that a typical human mind would want to read or contemplate. So, you need to make sure if your article is meant to target people emotionally, and this aspect inversely has a lot to do with the content ranking.
- Promotional- are you trying to promote a particular product or service through your article. Then you need to make it seem like an article that tries to be informational but with an unobvious hint of the product that you would like to promote. Make sure you don’t sound too obvious about promoting something.if you keep stressing on and on about promoting an article this would get the reader annoyed and as a result, the reader would exit and move on to a non-biased article.
Have you thought about your target audiences already? If not then do decide who your people are going to be. If you do not decide about the target audiences your content might end up being vague. The target you might want to achieve will be impossible. There is a reason why it is important you decide the target audience.
Knowing your target audience will give you an idea about the common characteristics they possess. Knowing the common characteristics will help you plan a clear outline regarding what could be done to draw the targeted people into your piece of content. Not knowing their common characteristics will make you unaware of the expectations of your readers.
For example, readers who read articles related to beauty and wellness would want a review of natural products that might not cause side effects. If you are talking about beauty through cosmetic surgery then your target people won’t be the ones that belong to the normal household.
Knowing the mindset of the people is how you understand the type of content you would want to produce. If you do not choose your content according to your target audience’s expectation the content has the least chances to get a decent ranking. Point number six that speaks about the searcher’s intent has elaborated this aspect from a different angle.
Tools are What You Need to Use
To be able to find relatable keywords for the content in concern you ought to use keywords such as Ahrefs or SEMRush as well. This helps you choose the primary keyword of your choice! You might want to pick up 2-3 keywords that are relatable enough for the topic you have chosen to deal with.
Search Intent is all that Matters
Determining keywords related to the topic you are dealing with is not the end. Search intent matters too. Search intent explains the intention of the searcher while they search something on the search engine using a keyword. Google algorithms are smart enough to determine the intention of the searchers as well.
Also, it is smart enough to evaluate if the article you create is fit enough to serve the searcher’s intention. For example, when a searcher searches on a weight loss routine the intention behind the search is to “Lose Weight”, so your article must serve the purpose of the searcher’s intention.
Give What they Need
Now that you have the keywords and are aware of the searcher’s intention, it is your responsibility to deliver what the searchers want. The task is to deliver what is wanted and not what is possible to be produced. The content producer is expected to think from the searcher’s perspective and not his own. Do thorough research on the topics that have been or are already ranked for the keyword, this will help you find the right fit for you.
Write Until You Make It
You need to spend a good amount of time producing content that satisfies various factors. The content has to be something that keeps the readers engaged. The reader must be hooked to the piece you work on until the end. If the reader feels like going back to search for a better article than yours, that’s where you fail.
Most of us focus on writing articles that are excellent in terms of grammar and strong in terms of language, but the main aim of a writer should be to write pieces that are legible enough for anybody with basic language knowledge. We must produce something appreciable by anybody around us, not that which is appealing only to the people with extreme knowledge in the particular field. In other words, be simple enough to teach even a layman.
Stuffing Keyword is a Big NO
You might be passionate enough to rank on top of that famous website that is hellbent on pushing anything below it in terms of ranking. The passion drives you to stuff keywords into your article, but slow down before you think about doing it because there are chances that you end up being penalized by Google for trying to outsmart them. Google bots are smart enough to understand, so any unfair play is a big NO.
Does It Stop at Writing a Piece of Content?
No, it doesn’t end there. It has more to it. yes, the checklist does go on and on. You might be of the idea that stuffing or using the right keyword into your content is the only best thing to do to get your content on top. You must optimize your title tag and URL as well. Also, make sure to keep your URL as short as possible.
Too Big an Image Makes Loading Slower
Optimizing your images is essential for SEO. This means you should avoid uploading oversized images as it makes the loading of your page as slow as a crawling crocodile.
Including Internal Links is a Great Idea Though
Whenever you find an opportunity to link another piece of content to your website, do not think twice just go ahead and do it because this could make the users stay longer on your website. Also, it is important to use descriptive anchor text too. For example, a lazy cat pounced upon a bowl of milk. The anchor text should be a lazy cat and “Not Pounced Over”.
Make Sure to Have Quality Backlinks
Internal connections are valuable for sure, but backlinks are potentially no less important. Google would be elated to award your content greatly if you have enough reputed websites to connect with.
You can earn backlinks in a few different ways. One such way is to send visitors to other websites and connect them to your content. You may also reach out personally to ask them to connect to you.
Did you know that Google rates pages based on their mobile format, and not their desktop format? This means that anything else on this SEO content checklist would be in vain unless you use responsive design. Make sure that it looks fine in both formats for any piece of material you write.
Slow Loading Pages? NO
You need to make sure that your website loads fast. Most people expect pages to be loaded within two seconds, but you don’t want your website to be the one that doesn’t. You can optimize this in a few different ways. As mentioned earlier, make sure that your files are compressed. You can also cover the website pages and place script references at the bottom of the page.
Analyze with Google Tools
It can be hard to tell if the page is configured without the tools to analyze it. Fortunately, Google has some free resources that help you to do this. Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Lighthouse allow you to view different site metrics related to page speed, user traffic, and more.
Get Rid of those with No Value
For some time now, SEOs have seen big benefits from the pruning site content. Essentially, this means getting rid of material that doesn’t rate or add value, or something that isn’t meant to be on the web. We cannot emphasize enough that the time spent conducting a content audit and pruning thin, redundant, or low-quality content is vastly underestimated. If you don’t want any content that doesn’t bring value to your web, it has to go.
Fixing Multiple H1 Tags is Necessary
The H1 page tag is the main title of your content, and there can only be one on a page. The site audit report ends up flagging sites that have more than one H1 tag in place, so you must take time to address them and ensure that only one tag remains on each page.
The most common explanation for why numerous H1 tags exist is that the emblem of your site is bundled in one. Primarily, the H1 tags should contain the main target keyword of the website. Hence, verify if you have the correct content tag.
See If Your Contents Are up to Date
If the material of your website includes out-of-date details then it is time you start making changes. After all, content that’s old usually doesn’t give users the best experience, so why would Google decide to rate it unless it’s up to date?
Write Articles with 1500+ words
Articles with more than 1500 words have an upper hand compared to the articles with lesser depth and words. Articles with a greater number of words tend to be more knowledgeable and informative for the readers.
Try Adding Value
Most of us focus on what we have to give rather than what people expect from us, but for the articles to be engaging enough, we must write something that adds value to the lives of the readers.
For example, Writing an article on mental health that deals with a story of someone that dealt with all the odds and still managed to raise in life might sound inspiring enough to someone that is undergoing depression or stress in life. the piece of contents that tend to add value to the life of the readers in any way tend to gain popularity.
Usage of Active Voice is Much Preferred
To keep your piece of content more engaging you must make use of active sentences to the maximum possible. Passive voice sentences could make the article sound too blunt and less engaging and this affects your content ranking for obvious reasons. Also, does it make the sentences less understandable for anybody with a basic level of knowledge in a particular language in concern?
Keep It Simple
To show our supremacy or language quality, most of us tend to write articles that sound pretty fancy, but we must write articles that are google friendly. Articles that are understandable and interpretable by anybody with basic English knowledge is much preferred by google. So, try your maximum best to keep it simple.
Keep it Unique
The Internet is flooding with numerous articles on different topics. We don’t have to go search for anything offline since everything is readily available at a click of the mouse. It makes us even lazier to go about searching and researching on anything. The easy availability of everything online tempts us to copy what is already done. It stops us from creating something of our own.
This is the reason why the younger generation finds it extremely harder to produce anything unique or to think anything out of the box. The presence of anything online has conditioned their brains and caged their thoughts. Amidst all this, the task is to create content that is unique without the influence of another author’s ideas. So be unique and don’t be a copycat.
Use Subheadings for Better Understanding
You would not feel like reading something that is written without proper paragraph/line spacing. Anybody that sees a big long paragraph written at a stretch will feel bored to read it any further. To make the articles more legible and readable we must use proper subheadings. Subheadings make the articles look presentable. The reader can easily anticipate what the article is all about next. This allows the readers to stay tuned with the article till the end. The way an article is structured has a major impact on your content ranking.
Get It Measured
This is where quantity works so that consistency is met. Production of material does not stop until the piece is fully written. Pat on the shoulder, and get back to work! You need to keep track of whether or not your content is working before you take action towards your next piece of content. You ought to understand and estimate the return on investment (ROI) that your content offers.
Publishing During Peak User Activity
The peak of user activity is the time of the day or week when the user’s activity level is high. Conduct thorough research on the peak activity hours to understand the best time to publish your content online, or there is a chance for your content to go unnoticed. For example, when an Instagram post is uploaded during a time when most of your target audiences are offline, there are chances for your post to go unnoticed, as a result, the level of engagement in your post might decline.
Hijack Their Brains in the Beginning
Most of us do not Pay attention to this factor. It is important we create a curiosity among the readers at the beginning of the article and give them a constructive solution at the end, otherwise, the people who chose to read your articles, in the beginning, might feel your articles are of no use at the end after they finish reading it. So, we must see to it that the head and the tail of the article are intact, otherwise the content fails to serve its purpose.
Never Forget the Buttons that Lead them to Your Social Accounts
This is one way to improve your credibility and closeness with the people that read your content. Knowing you better as a person would want them to read more of your content. It’s an unpopular fact that we don’t sell our talent rather we sell our personalities. So, to intrigue, people’s brains into what you post and write it are necessary you let them know who you are and what purpose you serve.
When you don’t provide your readers with access to your social media handles, chances are that they end up getting blocked within the ideologies your contents deal with. Hence including your social media handle below your content is an important point to consider in your SEO checklist.
Too Many Links Make it Hard to Read
Last but not the least, and you might want to consider this to your SEO checklist, does your post contain too many links? Too many links leading the readers to different pages might get them annoyed and, this might impact your content ranking.
Remember, the purpose behind producing something should not only focus on getting it ranked on the search engine but also to add some value to the people who have come with a hope to learn something from what you have written, so stuffing too many links in your piece of content in a big NO. We suggest you score it off from your SEO checklist.
Above are the 30 points you might want to consider as a part of your SEO checklist if you are aiming to improve your content ranking.