Search engines are the primary source for many bloggers to get traffic. However, this is not an easy task to drive organic traffic from Google and other search engines. With the algorithms changing every day, you have to publish solid content in order to stand out from the crowd. If you are struggling to write a SEO optimized content, here is a checklist for writing SEO optimized content that ranks top in Google.
Checklist for Writing SEO Optimized Content
- Define the purpose of your article
- Use target or focus keyword
- Use structured content
- Insert keyword properly
- Check readability
- Keep the length per need
- No re-writing or copying
- Use media when required
- Add internal and external links
- Use call to actions
- Proofread before publishing
- Use schema in article
- Promote and review with tools
Let us discuss each point in detail.
1. Purpose of an Article
Before start writing, ensure that you have a purpose of writing and publishing an article online. The purpose should include the type of content and target audience. For example, we have written this article to explain the checklist of writing SEO optimized content targeting beginner level bloggers. Having a clear purpose will help you to structure the article better and articulate your opinions.
2. Find Focus Keyword
Once you have a purpose, decide the optimized focus keyword for your article. The easy way to find a keyword is to think of how you will search in Google to find the topic you are writing. Remember, there are gazillion blogs out there and each combination of keywords can result in different results. You have to use the most easy keyword people search to find your article. There are free as well as premium keyword suggestion tools available online. However, we recommend deciding the keyword on your own and one keyword of phrase to write the article surrounding that. For example, throughout this article we use the keyword phrase “SEO optimized content”.
The other aspect is to find a keyword that will generate more revenue more you. In this way, you can leverage the cost incurred with the revenue generated from the article. Though it is possible to use multiple focus keywords, we recommend using single phrase so that you can use with correct density.
3. Use Structured Content
Sometimes we hire freelancers to write content for us. The biggest problem with many of them is using structured way of writing.
- Using bold or italic is not the way to highlight the importance. You have to insert different levels of heading from H1 to H6 to structure and prioritize the article.
- Add introduction and conclusion to your article.
- Insert image or video in appropriate places.
- Content management systems like WordPress will show you the inappropriate use of heading so that you can easily correct them. Headings not only help users but also help search engines to understand the important part of your content.
4. Use Focus Keyword Properly
Many bloggers find SEO optimized keyword, as it should align with the purpose of the article. However, they miss using it appropriately throughout the article.
- Make sure title of the article contains the focus keyword.
- First paragraph has the keyword so that readers can understand what you are targeting to explain in the article.
- If possible, use keywords in headlines to highlight.
- Use the focus keyword in the conclusion part to reminder your readers about the topic.
- Add the focus keyword in meta description that will be shown in search results.
5. Check Readability
If you are targeting global audience, it is necessary to write article with simple and easy to read English. Below are the points to ensure you have a SEO optimized content with better readability:
- Use smaller sentences and limit the number of sentences per paragraph. There is no hard limit; it depends on your site’s layout and the topic you choose to write.
- Check spelling and grammar before publishing.
- Use direct sentences and avoid passive voice.
- Use connecting words (called transition words) to have continuous connection throughout your article.
You can use Microsoft Word to check the readability or use third-party online tools like Grammarly.
Below table show the Flesch reading ease score details as per Wikipedia that you can see in Word and other readability tools. Ensure to have the score above 70 and avoid having less than 50.
|90 to 100||Grade 5 or low||Very easy to read.|
|80 to 90||Grade 6||Easy to read.|
|70 to 80||Grade 7||Fairly easy to read.|
|60 to 70||Grade 8 & 9||Easy to understand.|
|50 to 60||Grade 10 to 12||Fairly difficult to read.|
|30 to 50||College Student||Difficult to read.|
|0 to 30||University Graduates||Very difficult to read.|
6. Keep Length of Article
You will get lots of expert advises to write 300, 600 or lengthy articles to rank top in Google. Unfortunately, none of these advises will work as it highly depends on the topic. You can frequently find mere 200 words lengthy articles are in top three positions of Google search while 2000 words articles are on out of first page. There are multiple reasons for this like domain weightage and user interaction. For example, if you are writing a glossary term, it can be simply 200 words and you do not need 1000 words to explain a glossary term.
In general, lengthy articles will attract more traffic as there are lot of possibilities to rank for different combination of keywords. In our opinion, do no keep any restriction for the length and try to write in a free flow to complete the article using focused keyword.
7. No Re-writing or Copying
Digital theft is no more different from stealing physical goods from others. No one likes thieves and hence your stolen content. Initially you may be happy that Google is not penalizing your website and you start earning revenue by stealing content from others. However, that does not work on long run. Be sure to write content on your own without re-writing or copying.
Remember, it is difficult to write everything on your own when your blog grows. You can hire reliable freelancers to write for you in such a situation.
8. Use Media When Required
You may be good at English; however, writing lengthy article without any image or video will make your reader quickly get bored. On other hand, using too many images will not slow down your site but also distract the readers. Ensure to use appropriate images wherever required to keep the readers on the page.
The other aspect is to use your keyword in alt text and caption of images.
9. Add Internal and External Links
Make sure your article has hyperlinks to connect your own and other author’s articles. Content without internal links will lead to dead end situation for users resulting in 100% bounce rate. This means a user landing on a page will leave from the same page without visiting any other pages on your site. You can reduce the bounce rate and retain users more time on your site by linking related content to your article.
Remember that hyperlinking is the heart of internet allow people to get necessary information. Though you can choose focus keyword, it is unlikely you can become an expert on that keyword. The decent idea is to express your content and linking to expert sites for additional reference. For example, we have linked Grammarly in this article as an external link.
10. Use Call to Actions
As mentioned above, sometimes you will be surprised to see very short articles showing top on Google search results page. In most cases, those pages will get good user interaction. For example, there could be a user review or interactive commenting that tells Google the page is very active.
Therefore, try to use call to actions like adding review or prompting users to leave comments.
11. Proofread Before Publishing
No matter whether you write content on your own or get from freelancers, ensure to review before publishing.
- Remove passive voices, bold sentences and use headings instead.
- Check readability and remove spelling/grammar errors.
- Adjust the content length and each paragraph length to fit for your site’s layout.
12. Use Proper Schema
Initially, we do not have this point included in our checklist. However, nowadays things are different when coming to SEO and we have to include this point. Google shows featured snippet, carousel, question and answers, rating and many other content types on the search results. These are called rich snippets added to content using proper schema. Along with advertisements, these result pages occupy almost all top tem positions on the first page. Therefore, it is like a make or break situation for bloggers to use these formatting in their article.
Remember, in addition to reviews you can also use schema for FAQ and How-to articles. This schema will help Google to understand the structure of your content and show it as a rich snippet in result pages.
13. Use Promotion and SEO Tools
Finally, after publishing your article ensure to test it for on-page optimization opportunities. You can use tools like SEMrush to find the suggestions to improve your content. In addition, promote your article in social media to get an initial reach that your article deserves.
Now that you know how much effort, you need for publishing one single article. This is the reality and even with all these efforts, you may fail to attain top position in Google. Though you will fail few times, overall you will get a successful blog in terms of traffic and revenue. We are in this blogging world for a decade and guarantee tell you that properly planning and producing SEO optimized content is all about running a blog.