How to write SEO friendly articles
How can you find the right keywords?
Use a keyword research tool to identify the sort of search terms your target audience will use. The aim is to match your content to peoples search intent. You should also look at trends, and competition. Try not to get hung up on search volumes, this metric can be unreliable. We break keywords down into three types of intent.
Informational keywords where questions are being asked in searches. The most common searches start with “What”, “Where”, “How”, “Best” or “Near Me”. For example, “What is the best summer cocktail?”. Tools like Answer The Public are great for finding the questions people ask online. Look for questions that include your keywords, these can make great article subjects.
Customers use comparison keywords once they start looking at options. For example, “Levi 511 Jeans prices” or “Local restaurant reviews” are comparison keywords.
Buying keywords have the most obvious intent. “Samsung Galaxy S21 discounts online” is an example of a buying keyword. Use these in your articles to help answer people’s searches. This will make your article useful to people as well as being SEO friendly.
How to write your meta title and meta description
Your meta title and meta description are vital for making your article SEO friendly.
What are they? Meta titles describe what your web page is about. Meta descriptions provide a longer, more in-depth description of your page. Both the meta title and description appear in search results (see example below).
Optimise your headings (H1, H2, etc.)
Structure your article so that it has clear headings and isn't a wall of paragraphs.
Make sure to use keywords, phrases and questions in your headings. If you’re not sure what heading tags are then SEMrush has the answer. Contrary to popular belief, headings are not a direct ranking factor. They do help people and search engines understand your content though. Which then helps with engagement and rankings.
Add related key phrases
You may have several keyword terms that you want to rank for that are similar. Consider our “board games” example again. Your research may show that people also search “boards games for adults” and “board games for kids”.
These related key phrases make your article more relevant to these searches. Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension is a great free tool to find related keywords. Add the extension to your browser and type in the keyword you are targeting. A list of related keywords will appear on your screen, like this:
Are longer articles better for SEO?
Google tends to like pages with lots of words in them. That said, you should focus on quality, not trying to fill screens with words. A super long post will not rank if it’s garbled and irrelevant.
Long articles for some keywords will rank higher as more questions need to be answered but this doesn’t mean it will work every time. Focus on the purpose of the article and what needs to be written rather than the number of words.
Recent research from Hubspot has shown that a blog post should have 2,100 to 2,400 words to rank well. This was based on their 50 most read blog posts, but it’s worth pointing out that 16 of those 50 blog posts had under 1,500 words.
Article SEO Checklist
- Have you carried out effective keyword research?
- Are these keywords in your copy (without overdoing it)?
- Is your structure correct with headings (H1, H2 etc.) and paragraphs?
- Have you used synonyms?
- Do you have images with relevant alt tags?
- Are there internal links in your article?
- Have you written a strong meta title and meta description?
- Is your grammar and spelling all correct?