In today’s digital landscape, search engine optimisation (SEO) is more important than ever for businesses, bloggers, and content creators alike (yes, SEO isn’t dead yet).
The problem is; with so much competition online, it can be hard to make your content stand out in the eyes of Google and other search engines. But fret not, because, by the end of this article, you’ll be a pro at creating SEO-friendly content that will help your website or blog rank higher in search engine results.
Without further ado, here’s your answer to “what is an SEO-optimised article?”
So, what is an SEO-optimised article?
Simply put, it’s a piece of content that has been written and structured in a way that makes it more likely to rank well in search engine results. Achieving that can be done by focusing on things like incorporating relevant keywords, optimising headlines, and using internal and external links. If those terms seem confusing, worry not, as we’re going to explain all of them.
The question is, why do you need to create SEO-optimised articles and rank on Google?
Well, according to Search Engine Journal, the top result on the first page of Google receives 25% of the traffic, while the first five results combined receive 68% of the clicks. That’s a lot of traffic that you can convert into paying customers. That’s why you have to do your best to appear within the first results in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
What is an SEO-optimised article? Here’s how to craft one
Creating SEO-friendly content involves several different elements, and in this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most important ones.
Start with proper keyword research
Keywords are the backbone of SEO and the first step towards crafting an SEO-optimised article.
They’re the words and phrases that people type into search engines when they’re looking for something. By incorporating relevant keywords into your content, you can make it more likely that your article will rank well for those specific search terms.
But how do you know which keywords to use?
Well, the first step is to do some keyword research. There are several tools available that can help you identify relevant keywords for your industry or niche, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs (we’ve linked to relevant guides for those tools). These tools can give you an idea of how many people are searching for a specific term, and how difficult it will be to rank for that term.
Here are the basics steps to follow when doing keyword research:
- Open your keyword research tool of choice, be it Ahrefs, SEMrush, or any other tool you like
- Start by entering a seed keyword related to your business or niche into the Ahrefs or SEMrush keyword research tool
- The tool will generate a list of related keywords, along with data like the monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, and estimated organic traffic
- Look for long-tail keywords related to your business, as these tend to have less competition and be more specific to your target audience
- Sort and filter the keywords based on different criteria, such as keyword difficulty (should be taken with a grain of salt, since this is a subjective metric), search volume, or organic traffic
- Save the keywords you’ve selected and export them to use in your SEO strategy
For more details on how to do keyword research, check this guide by HubSpot.
Next, optimise the content itself
Here’s what to keep in mind when creating the article itself:
Organise and structure your article
A well-organised and easy-to-read article is more likely to be successful in the SERPs.
You can organise your article by using subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to break up the text and make it more readable.
Use the keywords you researched earlier
Once you’ve identified some relevant keywords, it’s important to use them in the right way. That means using them in the right places, such as in the title, headings, and throughout the body of your article. But be careful not to overdo it – using too many keywords, or using them in an unnatural way, is known as “keyword stuffing” and can actually hurt your SEO.
A good rule of thumb is to aim for a keyword density of around 2-3% (keyword density is the ratio of keywords to the overall word count. So, if your article has 1,000 words in it, having a keyword density of 2% means that your keyword appeared 20 times throughout the piece).
Check these guides for more details on how to implement and add keywords for the best results:
For more details on keywords and their importance in SEO, check this guide that we published some time ago.
Heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) help organise your content and make it easier for both visitors and search engines to understand the structure of your article.
The H1 tag should be used for the main headline (more on that later), and the H2, H3, and so on, should be used for subheadings. This creates a hierarchical structure that search engines can understand, and it also makes your content more readable for visitors.
The headline of your article is often the first thing that people will see. That holds true whether they’re searching for something on Google or scrolling through their social media feed. It’s the hook that entices them to click through and read your article.
Since headlines are also the first thing that search engines will scan (since it’s usually also the SEO title), and considering the importance of first impressions, it’s essential to make sure that they’re optimised for SEO.
To optimise your headlines, make sure to include your main keyword. Furthermore, keep them short and sweet – around 60 characters or less. You can also use numbers or lists, as these types of headlines tend to perform well. For example, “10 Tips for Creating SEO-Friendly Content” is a much more compelling headline than “Creating SEO-Friendly Content.”
Here are more details on how to create a great page title and description for your content.
Linking is another important aspect of SEO-friendly content. Internal linking is when you link to other pages on your own website, while external linking is when you link to other websites. Both are important for several reasons.
Internal linking is important because it helps search engines understand the structure of your website and how the pages are related to each other. It also helps visitors navigate your site, and can increase the amount of time they spend exploring it.
To optimise internal linking, make sure to use descriptive anchor text (the clickable text in a link) and link to relevant pages.
External linking is also crucial because it helps search engines understand the authority and credibility of your site.
To optimise your external links, make sure to link to reputable and relevant sources, and avoid linking to spammy or low-quality sites.
We explained the differences and similarities between internal and external linking in detail in this article.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
That’s true, even for SEO (wow, that actually rhymes).
Images and videos can make your content more engaging and increase the amount of time people spend on your site. But they can also help with SEO. By optimising images and videos with descriptive file names and alt tags, you can make sure that search engines understand what the visual is about, and that it’s related to your content.
Need more tips on how to create content that ranks? Take a look at this guide!
Prepare a meta description for your article
The meta description is a brief summary of the article that appears in the SERPs. Including relevant keywords in the meta description can help to improve the article’s ranking and increase its chances of being clicked on.
Don’t forget technical and off-page SEO
Besides optimising the article itself, you should also optimise your website as a whole. That can be done using technical SEO and off-page SEO, both of which are ranking factors.
Here are some important aspects to focus on (non-exhaustive list):
Page load speed
A slow-loading page can negatively impact the ranking of your article.
Use schema markup
Schema markup is a way to add structured data to your website that helps search engines better grasp the content on your site. This can include things like reviews, ratings, and other information that can be used to create rich snippets in search engine results.
Optimise for mobile devices
More and more people are using their smartphones to access the internet. In fact, 92.1% of internet users access the Internet using a mobile phone of some kind. Moreover, Google also has a “mobile-first” indexing policy. That means that it will primarily use the mobile version of your site to determine its ranking. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure your site is optimised for mobile.
How to do that, you ask?
Well, by focusing on elements like responsive design, fast loading times, and easy navigation. We also covered this topic in detail in our guide “7 Best Ways to Improve SEO for Mobile”.
Backlinks are simply links from other websites to your article, which can help to improve its ranking.
Here, it’s crucial to focus on getting high-quality, authoritative links from reputable websites rather than just any link.
For more details on backlink building:
Promote your article
Don’t forget to promote your article on social media and other channels, such as relevant forums and online communities. That way, you can increase its visibility and drive traffic to your website.
What is an SEO optimised article? Extra resources
Here are some extra resources that you should check if you want to master off-page optimisation:
- The Complete SEO Off-Page Checklist
- The Complete SEO Guide for Beginners
- SEO-Friendly Website Design Tips
- 10 Tips To Improve SEO Of WordPress
Finally, monitor your rankings
SEO is a never-ending endeavour that requires frequent adjustments. That’s why you should monitor your rankings to understand what’s working and what isn’t.
To do so, use a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to track your article’s ranking in the SERPs and see how it’s performing over time. This can help you to identify any areas for improvement and make changes to your SEO strategy as needed.
For more details on monitoring SEO rankings, take a look at this guide.
We can help (if you want us to)
Creating SEO-friendly content can seem like a daunting task, but by understanding the basics of what makes content search engine-friendly, and by following the strategies outlined in this guide, you’ll be on your way to creating content that will rank well in search engine results.
If you find yourself without the time to do so, worry not, as you’re not alone. Just book a discovery call with us, and we’ll handle SEO optimisation for you.