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How to write an SEO-optimised article

How to write an SEO-optimised article

Writing articles is a key part in driving traffic toward your website and, sure, you know that content really does count – but when it comes to ensuring that content is SEO-optimised, things can start to feel pretty complicated.

The truth is, writing an SEO-optimised article can be a simple process. All you need is to have a basic understanding of how SEO works and a streamlined formula for getting there. 

Luckily, we know our stuff when it comes to SEO-optimised content and we’re ready to turn your articles into content that drives traffic, gets you seen, and is easy to churn out.

What does SEO mean?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It refers to the process of improving your site (or facets of your site) to increase visibility in people’s search results. People search for products or services related to your business. And the better visibility your pages have in the search results? The more likely you are to attract prospective and existing customers to your business.

How does SEO work?

Search engines such as Google use bots to crawl pages on the web, collecting information about different pages and putting them together in an index. This index is like a giant library where Google can act as the librarian, pulling relevant information up to help you find exactly what you need. 
Once information is in the index, algorithms then analyse these pages and take into account hundreds of factors on “ranking” to determine the order of the pages for any given query. Basically, Google starts off by cataloguing everything, and then it uses its algorithms to read each individual piece of information so they know exactly which information is necessary for readers.

Google catalogues everything and then uses its algorithm to give readers exactly what they need

Unlike paid search ads, you can’t pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings, which means SEO experts have to put in the work…

Which may sound pretty complicated, but it all comes down to the user experience: it’s how search bots estimate exactly how well a website or web page can give the searcher what they’re looking for. 

Things like relevance of the material to the questions people are asking, site speed, length of the article, backlinks, relevant keywords (these are your “search terms”) and more all contribute to your overall user experience and help boost visibility on Google.

What to do before you start writing an SEO-optimised article?

Step one: Research

Research is the core of making the SEO-optimisation process work properly for your business. You need to find out the relevant keywords, analyse existing articles for outlines, and basically get an inside-scoop into what you need BEFORE you start digging into the actual writing. 

SEMrush is the perfect tool for doing research on your topic and for proper optimisation of your keywords. They offer a free trial so that you can get an overall look at all the facets of the dashboard and features. It’ll even give you the secrets on how well your competitors are performing (and what exactly they’re lacking in!).

Research is the core of making the SEO-optimisation process work properly

Step Two: Keyword Search Intent

Keyword search intent is the user or audience’s purpose of a specific online search. Basically, search engines use intent to understand and deliver results they think the audience wants. 
What does this mean for you? Don’t forget to search your target keyword on Google to see what articles are currently ranking well. It’ll help you understand what kind of article Google likes and in what format for your specific keywords.

Step Three: Explore what people are asking

It’s not just about the articles that are coming up as a result of your target keyword, it’s also about the “people also ask” section that comes up with your relevant keywords.

people also ask section

Google catalogues these questions for a reason: because they’re asked a lot. This means you can give Google exactly what it wants by exploring the most relevant questions for your keyword. 

You can easily pick a question that makes sense to your article intent and answer it directly through your content. Better yet? Make it part of your outline and use one (or multiple) questions as your headings.

How to write an SEO-optimised article?

So, you’ve done all your research and know exactly what keywords to target, what kind of article performs best, and what people are searching for. Now comes the seemingly-complicated task of writing the article. 

This might seem like the hardest part, but as long as you follow a simple formula for SEO-optimising your article, you’ll be driving the right traffic to your site.

Cover these aspects as you write your SEO-optimised article:

1. Post Title and Meta Title

Your post title and post meta title are separate things and each should be utilised to optimise your article. Your post title is how your reader sees the title, whereas your post meta title is how search engines show your post in the search results. 

How to optimise your meta title? Ensure your target keywords are included – and it’ll help if you can put them in the post title too!

Hot tip: Keep your post titles under 66 characters for optimum results.

2. Post Meta Description

Every WordPress SEO plugin allows you to add meta descriptions to a post. These descriptions are super important when it comes to search engine ranking. 

It’s more or less a piece of sales copy for your blog post. In 156 characters, you need to include your keywords and create a description that convinces readers to click through to it from their search page. 

If you don’t have descriptions on any previously published posts? Go back and add one. It’ll ensure that every post you write has the potential to drive a maximum amount of traffic to your site.

3. Image Alt Attribute

Google can’t read images so text is how Google recognises any image you use in an article. To ensure that search engines can understand what an image is about, it’s best to use proper image names in your alt text. 

Many people try to leave, for example, their “image6” name up but this means you’re missing out on using your alt text toward your ranking. 

It’s handy to include your keyword plus a descriptor of the image. For example, if you have an image of a puppy misbehaving in an article about How To Raise Your Puppy (keyword being: puppy), you may want to label the image something like “puppy – misbehaving”. 

It’ll help Google crawl the image and ensure your ranking is optimised.

4. Backlinks

Backlinks are links in your article that direct the reader to other pages on your website or even other websites on the internet. Google loves (the right) backlinks as it builds authority and can help search engines re-crawl the old posts you link to. Ensure to include links wherever possible.

5. H1, H2, H3 Headings

Implementing the right heading tags is a super-important aspect of SEO copywriting. Using proper H1, H2, and H3 heading tags will help Google crawl it for keywords, while also correctly formatting your article in the search page to help increase visibility. 

By default, in any SEO-optimised theme for your website, the post title uses an H1 heading tag. So, for the following headings, you can use an H2 and then H3 as needed. Don’t forget to include your keywords in these headings where possible!

Implementing the right headings is a super-important aspect of SEO-optimisation

6. Keywords, keywords, keywords!

Okay, our sixth and final point may seem a little obvious, but when writing your article it’s crucial to include keywords wherever possible. Don’t overdo it as Google doesn’t actually like too many keywords, but it’s a good idea to include your keywords in the first sentence of your opening paragraph and for each following paragraph you have. 

Your goal should be to write extremely useful content for your readers, and use keywords in a natural way within that content, so that Google’s system gets the point.
Yoast SEO is a free WordPress plugin that will actually crawl each article for all SEO details. It’ll tell you if you haven’t used your keywords enough, if you’ve overdone it, and it’ll even analyse your post for readability – another factor Google considers in ranking.

You’ve probably heard many times that articles are a key part in driving traffic toward your website and getting seen, but SEO-optimisation isn’t always such an easy task. It can feel pretty complicated and, if you can’t afford to hire someone to work on your SEO, it may feel like there’s no chance. 

However, with a simple guide on SEO-optimisation, the whole process becomes a lot smoother. If you use this article as a checklist for what you need, you’ll be able to implement simple techniques that’ll have a major impact on your visibility. 

We hope this guide to writing SEO-optimised content will help you make the most of writing articles for your site.

If you need more support to start churning out SEO-friendly content that drives real traffic? That’s where we can help. Get in touch with us now to explore your options.