Let’s face it, with nearly two-thirds of the market share, Google is the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to search. It’s not that other search engines should be ignored; however, the importance of ranking high on Google cannot be overstated. In fact, according to Search Engine Land, 51% of website traffic comes from organic search.
And, while SEO has been around for over a decade, the tactics used to achieve an optimized website have changed dramatically. It’s no longer about keyword stuffing, link schemes, or tons of mediocre content. In fact, these outdated techniques can lead to penalties that hurt your ranking. The days of writing for search engines are over. [bctt tweet=”Today, the best SEO advice is simple—write for humans. ” username=”nugrowth”]
Website content should engage readers, position you as an industry expert, and build trust with your audience. In other words, it should answer the questions people in your industry are asking. And, if done right, it can also boost your search engine ranking.
Here are a few tips to maximize the SEO value of your content.
Publish High-Quality, Useful, Relevant Content
According to Google’s webmaster guidelines, the single most important thing you can do to create a Google friendly site is provide high-quality, useful, and relevant content. Google suggests that you “create a helpful, information-rich site, by writing pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic.”
Include Targeted Keywords Naturally
Keyword research is essential for SEO success. It is important to know which keywords or phrases are used when searching for a product or service related to your business. You can then create content with those keywords that provides the information searchers seek.
A variety of tools exist to help you discover which keywords and/or phrases are important to your audience, and how often they are being searched, including Google Keyword Planner. Just remember to write for humans, and include the keywords naturally—no stuffing!
Refresh Content Regularly
Google loves fresh content. Regularly updating your website results in more frequent crawling and indexing of your site. Blogging is one of the most effective way to consistently add new content to your site. The publication of new content provides new opportunities to include more keywords on your site in an ongoing, natural way.
Properly Format Content
Google relies heavily on signals to tell them if your content is relevant to a search. Opinions vary on the value of formatting for SEO; however, most agree that you should make it as easy as possible for Google to determine relevancy quickly. And, proper formatting will help you readers too! Keep these formatting principles in mind when writing/publishing content:
- Ensure keywords appear in the first 100 words of page content
- Include keywords in the title tag and H1 tag
- Use headings and subheadings (H1, H2, H3, etc)
- Bullet points or numbers make content more user friendly
- Create relevant anchor text
Ensure all images have a searchable description in the file name, and include keywords if you can (for example: SEO_copywriting.png). In addition, use alt text on images. Alt text describes what the image is about if the image is not displayed, and helps Google understand your images and if they are relevant to your content.
Use Meta Description Tags
Meta tags are the snippet of text that appears on Google search results. It serves two purposes. First, it helps Google understand what your page content is about. Second, it should engage searchers and entice them click. More clicks = more traffic which leads to a better rank. Meta descriptions can be any length; however, anything over 150- 160 characters will typically be truncated by Google. Don’t forget to include your keywords!
Organically Build External Links
Google uses external links to determine the quality of your content. If other websites link back to your content, it boosts your credibility. Guest blogging, original research with stats cited by others, and linking to other blogs in your blog are great ways to gain external links. For more information, check out this Inbound Link Building blog by Hubspot.
The Big Takeaway
While there is no magic bullet to achieve a page one rank in Google, with consistent and targeted effort you can use content to boost your rank over time. [bctt tweet=”The secret to SEO success today is to create content for humans that is optimized for search engines.” username=”nugrowth”]Ready to boost your Google rank? Need help creating search friendly content? Contact us at 800-966-3051 or fill out a short contact form to discuss your goals, and explore how NuGrowth Solutions can help.
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Traci Warga is a Content Marketing Strategist for NuGrowth Digital who is passionate about helping her clients tell their story, create engaging content, and execute a strategy that drives profitable leads.