How to write an SEO-optimized article that can rank in Google?
Anyone who can write an article and likes it might think about having a blog. Of course, you want what you write to be read by more people than your own (social media) friends.
Unfortunately, writing a book or a nice article is not the same as writing an SEO-optimized article. If you want to get organic visitors through, for example, Google, you will have to make sure your article is ranked high in the search results.
The vast majority will not search any further than the first search results page. Fortunately, unlike user-generated content, you have a lot of influence on your ranking. Below I will explain how you can do that.
Table of Contents
What should you pay attention to when writing SEO texts?
There are 8 different factors you should pay attention to when writing SEO texts. They have little to do with what you say. It is about how you tell something so that Google’s algorithm can analyze and understand your content.
- The Keywords you use
- The structure of your article
- The readability of your titles and sentences
- The length of your article and paragraphs
- The content and substantiation of what you say
- The newsworthiness and relevance of your content
- The contents of other findable articles
- The location where you post your article
- The meta title and description
The importance of the structure of your article for SEO
When you write a book, you usually use a preface, and an introduction followed by structured chapters. You use the same structure when you give a presentation. You tell who you are, and what you are going to talk about in general, and then you go into depth per slide or per subject.
Google likes to see the same structure because the search bots can then understand your article (much better). A great story about what you have experienced today is nice, but without a logical structure, the ‘search bot’ does not understand that. This is how it works.
Step 1: The title of your article is very important
Just like with a book or a presentation, the title of an article is extremely important. The big difference between titles of books and presentations is that they are read by people, and Google uses an algorithm that is much less able to ‘think’ associatively.
Example: A book can be called “The Dark Days of Van Gogh.” People understand that this may have something to do with the painter Van Gogh’s depression or perhaps with the last days of his life. The search engines aren’t so smart that they can do that. Even though the dark days sound better, it’s more helpful to literally tell in the title what the article is about. For example: “The Depression of Van Gogh” or “The Last Days in Van Gogh’s Life.”
Step 2: For SEO, first explain what the reader is going to read
Just as with the introduction to a book or at the start of your presentation, it is necessary to make it clear what you are going to say. So if your title is about the depression of Van Gogh, tell what you’re going to say about it and why it’s relevant.
Search engines like Google want to see a direct link between your title and your introduction for their SEO. Be as specific as possible about your introduction, and don’t dwell on details or side issues. Als make sure to use words that people search for.
Step 3: Make a logical subdivision into chapters and subchapters
It is very creative or artistic when you can write an article in which you go backward and forward in time. It’s also great if you can write 2000 words without a chapter layout that keeps the reader captivated. Unfortunately, for search engines, this is a drama.
Build your article clearly, pragmatically, and above all, logically. Use lists or a step-by-step plan and remember that the ‘search bots’ are no smarter than a 10-year-old child. Don’t make it harder than it is and make sure they can understand what you are talking about.
Step 4: Tell per (sub) chapter what it is about for SEO
Just like you do with your introduction, each (sub)chapter needs a clear and pragmatic introduction. Tell what you are going to explain or tell it in the (sub)chapter.
Example: If your (sub)chapter is about “the nicest restaurants in Amsterdam,” you can start your text as follows: “When I walk through the streets of Amsterdam, I always look around to see if there is a new culinary place to discover.” You can also start with: “Amsterdam is full of nice restaurants, and I like to tell you which ones I like to visit.” Search engines can find it hard to make a connection between your title, which is about restaurants, and your text, which is about culinary places. By saying that Amsterdam is full of nice restaurants, Google is more likely to understand what the rest of the text is about.
Step 5: Use H1, H2, and H3s
The title of your article is your H1. You may only use one of these. It would be weird if a book has two titles. The chapters are all H2s, and the subchapters are H3s. They indicate as it were, a hierarchy of content. By using the H’s, search engines can scan your article faster and better and understand what the content is about.
The readability of your titles and sentences
One of the most overestimated qualities of search engines is how they understand words and phrases. Even though they are getting better at this, it is still extremely important to take this into account.
When you write that the woman with floating hair shone in a sea of happiness through the tenderness of the sound of the eyes of her boyfriend who, like her, bathed in joy in the evening light, declared love to each other, that sounds poetic to some. Unfortunately, Google does not understand any of these words and phrases for two simple reasons.
1. Keep your sentences short
To better understand the context and content of a sentence, it is important to use short sentences.
2. Tell what you want to say
Sentences such as ‘beaming in a sea of happiness’ have no meaning for a search engine. Are you talking about a glowing sea, a sea that is happy or… A search engine also doesn’t understand the meaning of ‘the sound of the eyes.’ Search bots are not creative or romantic and certainly have no poetic imagination.
The length of your article and paragraphs
If you want to score high in the search results, your article will usually need to contain more than 1500 words. If you search on many of the most frequently used search terms, you will notice that 80% of the articles contain even more than 2000 words. Unless it’s news value, but I’ll come back to that later.
On the other hand, paragraphs should be short again. A (sub)chapter with paragraphs of 500 words is better divided into smaller chapters.
The content and substantiation of what you say
It’s not that hard for someone who can write a bit to put 2000 words on paper. But SEO optimization is not about how much you write, but what the content and justification are. You can tell why you think something is important or fun. It is better to tell with facts and references to reputable sources why something is or can be so.
Do not express opinions but facts
You can write something about how nice a city is and what you experience, but a search engine has no use for that. It’s better to tell what research shows that a lot of people think so too.
Don’t preach sales talk but facts
The worst thing that can happen to a search engine is to make a sales pitch rank higher than an actual story with content. They would lose their reason to exist. Google is not an advertising platform. Unless you pay, but then they clearly show that you’ve paid for it. They want content and substantiation in all articles that rank high.
Fake news is punished
Don’t tell bullshit. In other words, fake news. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, but nobody’s entitled to their own facts. Google has become very smart in fact-checking. For example, they compare your content to what reputable sites say.
If you say something else, it doesn’t mean you can’t rank. It does mean that Google will be careful and wait until there are more people with the same opinion.
The newsworthiness and relevance of your content
If you are the first to write something about a very newsworthy event that the whole world wants to know about, you can quickly score on Google. At least if no one else with more authority writes about it.
But if you have a lot of social media fans and everyone shares your message, you can become more popular than a reputable news site. Especially if they take over your news.
Another way to get high rankings is if you’re very relevant. For example, by writing something new on the subject of losing weight or something happening in a particular city. These are usually subjects that do not appear in the news, but that are searched for.
The tips here are simple:
1. Be newsworthy for search engines
Write about subjects that people are currently searching for.
2. Be relevant by telling something no one writes about
Never copy what other sites write in the same way. Tell your own story and give facts if you want to rank and make the facts credible.
3. Write about topics that a lot of people want to know about
If you write a great article about why an average family has one or more pepper and salt racks, you can easily rank. But don’t expect many visitors because few people are looking for this. Who wants to know?
If you want to rank high in Google with a topic that a lot of people are looking for, you’ll have to take a topic that a lot of people are interested in. But remember to use “LSI keywords” because as you mention the topic, it doesn’t need to be searched by everyone.
The content of other findable articles
The articles that are now in the top 10 of search results are there for a reason. They meet the criteria set by the search engine. If your article doesn’t provide better or more information, why would a search engine put your article there?
If you want to provide your customers with the best information about an article, you want to tell them everything you know. Not just part of it. So make sure you provide more and better content than the search results in the top 10. You can do this by first creating a damn good content strategy.
Use Chat GPT to Generate Articles for Free
For some time now, there has been a free online tool called Chat GPT. This is a large language model developed by OpenAI. It uses machine learning algorithms to generate natural language text that is often indistinguishable from human writing. In the context of SEO, Chat GPT can be a powerful tool for creating content that is optimized for search engines. However, you will still need to apply the rules of SEO to the text yourself, but at least the text is already written in an SEO-friendly manner.
The location where you post your article
The subject location of your article is about more than just whether it is your own site, a site of another, or social media. It’s about domain authority, URLs, and menu structure.
1. Domain authority
Suppose your site is known within search engines as an authority on sailboats and sailing trips. Suddenly you decide to write an article about relaxation during the holidays. Search engines can hardly make the connection between sailing and relaxing as we humans can. There are also articles about sailing and stress, holidays and the best sailboats, etc.
If you write an article about a specific area, without explicitly mentioning the sailing trips in that area, it would be even more difficult. Search engines are not that smart. So only write about the knowledge domain you really know something about, have substantive information about, and what you ‘always’ write about.
2. The URL structure is important for SEO
The URL or also called ‘slug,’ makes a lot of difference in how Google can rank your article. The words and length determine how important a search engine thinks your article is.
If your site has a meaningless name like ‘unikombozalozini,’ then Google does not know what your site articles are about. If your website name is ‘fitness,’ then Google understands that you want to talk about fitness and want to say something about it.
It is crucial that you can keep the menu and site structure clear. Writing an article under unikombozalozini/our-offer/date/new/everything-about-shoes’ cannot be understood by a search engine.
Google wants to see the logic in your URL (slug) to understand what your text is about. If your slug is already unikombozalozini, at least make sure your menu is structured like:
3. Where you share your article makes a difference for SEO
When you write something, you want to share it. Because the more people read it, the more fun and the more chances you have for a like or customers. Still, it’s not always useful to share your article on other sites or social media. There are two reasons for this.
Few likes on social media influence your ranking
If you share your article with a relatively large group of people and you receive little likes, that is a signal for search engines. The reasoning is that if your own or a private group of people don’t appreciate your article, why would a search engine show it? The reverse is also true. Shared articles with a lot of likes rank higher in Google.
Beware of duplicated content
Unique texts and images score higher in the search results. But if you post an article on multiple sites, search engines see it as duplicated content. In principle, only the original article will rank within the search results in that case. But if you post your article on Medium.com and your own blog at the same time, the chances are that the article will rank only on Medium. It is due to the so-called domain authority of the platform.
The meta title and description
A common mistake is not to fill in a meta title and meta description. It is the title and the text that search engines display within the search results. It is essential for two reasons.
1. Additional information for the search engines
The combination of your title and meta title and description are the first indications for search engines to understand what your article is about.
2. Optimized promotional text
Your meta title and description can be compared to the back of a book. You first read the title on the cover, and before you begin to browse, you read the back. If you don’t fill in anything, Google will usually take the first few sentences under your title. These sentences will then be shown in the search results. But that doesn’t mean that this is the best promotional text that will make people click on your link.
You have a lot of influence on how fast and how high your article can rank in the search results. However, there is much more to take into account. For example, the underlying technology of your blog, the reliability and age of your domain, the frequency of posting articles, and so on. Still, the above rules are fundamental for ranking. If you don’t use those rules, you can write for years and never be found.