Whether you are writing multiple articles for a new website you are building, or writing a blog post for your site, there are some things you can do to maximise your chances of that article coming up in the Google search results for your target keyword. This is called SEO article writing.
As covered in our information architecture page, it is good practice to target a keyword topic with every page on your website. Our keyword research page shows you how to discover the keywords your market is searching for.
This article just covers the things to include when you write. We wont get into actual optimisation when you publish your article on your website. This will be covered in a later article.
Here we will cover the important elements to include in each article so that you are maximising your chances of Google liking that page and ranking it for your focus keywords. This is not so much about writing clever sales copy. It is more about including some elements that will greatly increase the chances of Google noticing your page. Here is what you need to know:
Semantic Terms in SEO Articles
Back in the good old days Google would just rank the pages in their search results that had the most occurrences of the search phrase. This led to low quality, “keyword stuffing” articles which provided little value to the searcher. In an effort to provide a better results, Google has incorporated semantic terms into it’s algorithms.
Semantic terms are words related to the keyword. Articles which contain a large range of these semantic terms in them are more likely to rank. Google has not released these terms to the public, and they are likely continuing to evolve as terminology changes. Semantic terms can still be identified however by programs that analyse the top 10 web page results for a given keyword and then identify the common terms within these articles. It’s a clever way to reverse engineer the Google algorithm and signal to Google that your article is a quality article that should be considered highly in the search results.
Thankfully there is a great free tool for identifying Semantic terms. This tool is called LSI Graph. Simply input your keyword, and you will see a bunch of semantic terms generated. All you have to do is naturally include these semantic terms within your article where possible. SEM Rush is a paid tool which can also generate semantic terms and is our preferred choice.
Keyword and Variations
After reading the above point you may be wondering, should I include the keyword at all? The answer is usually to include the keyword 2-3 times naturally within the article. Don’t overdo it. In fact err on the side of caution by including close variations of the keyword that are grammatically correct rather than the exact keyword many times.
If your keyword includes a location, don’t include the location in an unnatural way. For example, let’s say your target keyword is Copywriting Perth, don’t force the term “Copywriting Perth” throughout your article. Instead use “Copywriting in Perth” so that it is grammatically correct. And only use it if you are actually talking about Copywriting in Perth. If you are just talking about Copywriting, don’t include Perth or in Perth. Google understands location and there are other ways you can indicate to Google you are a relevant result for service in a particular location.
Not so long ago many experts were saying that any article you want Google to notice should have at least 2000 words. Naturally this led to lengthy and visually horrid websites as people tried to write a lot of waffle in order to rank. Google has now factored in engagement metrics which measures how people engage with a page. Things like how long people stay on a page for?; and do they continue to search after visiting that page? Google looks at these metrics much more to determine if the article is quality and therefore should turn up in the search results.
Despite all these changes, article length still has a part to play. It’s best to write at least 300 words for your article. The optimal article length differs for each industry and topic. The best way to know how much to write for your keyword is to search it in Google. Look at the average length in the top ten results. You will rarely find a page with less than 300 words in the top ten organic results. Make the length of your article a similar length to the top results for your keyword.
Headings, Titles and Text Decoration
Headings and Titles
Your article should include a main title which will be your H1 heading (used when you publish your article on your website). Include your keyword in the heading or a close natural variation of it. Then include sub headings within the article which will be your H2 Headings. Any sub headings of these are H3 headings and so on.
Writing with lots of clear, descriptive headings and sub headings helps Google understand your content. It also looks much more presentable to the visitor on your page who is scanning through your article looking for specific information within it.
Other Text Decoration
As well as having lots of well placed headings, it also helps to decorate your content with bold, italics, underline where appropriate. Where appropriate decorate your semantic terms or variations of your focus keyword for extra points. Another good thing to include is unordered (bullet points) and ordered (numbered lists). Lists are good because
- Google looks for them as a structural element in your article
- Google readily adds lists to their structured snippet information
- Because of the above, they are likely to be a signal of quality to Google
- The human brain can quickly process lists
See what I did there 😉
It’s good to include images throughout your article. Generic stock photos are a good start. Aim for 2-3 minimum. If you don’t have a budget you can source some good quality free photos. The problem with generic stock photos is that Google recognises they are stock photos. If you can include some original photos of your work, or even get a relevant infographic made on Fiver, you are going to get some extra points here.
In fact if your industry is highly visual such as home improvement or flooring for example, your article could includes lots of images and fewer words and Google will probably love it. We had a client write about 200 words and upload a heap of photos of the different jobs they did for a particular service and they have been on page one for that service for 5+ years!
Within your article, mention or refer to authority websites on the topic where appropriate. When you actually publish your article, look to link to one or two of these sites. Certain industries may warrant more than a couple of references such as medical journals.
What is an authoritative website? Good question. This is a website that is an authority on the topic. This could be a government website, industry association website or educational institution website. If your keyword includes a location, try to include a link to an authoritative website that operates or is based within that location.
Industry Specific Terminology in Your SEO Article
This is a bit of a new one. Not quite the same as Semantic Terms. Google is developing something called a knowledge graph where it is learning terms that are prevalent in certain industries. If you are targeting artificial turf, there are likely many different types of Artificial Turfs, brands and products. Include these terms in your website for some more bonus points.
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