Writing content may not be your problem. But, if you’re anything like me, there’s a big difference between creating content and optimizing content so that readers actually see it. I can’t tell you how many blogs I spent hours on without understanding why nobody was reading them. Then I finally got smart and started learning. This post is dedicated to providing a few important tips on how to get better rankings in Google. I hope you find them useful!
Find a Low-Competition Keyword
I knew about keywords from the very start of my freelance writing career. Many of my first clients had strict quotas for keyword inclusion that every article I wrote had to meet (something like 2-10%, depending on the client). This is now considered ‘keyword-stuffing’ and the industry has largely moved away from this optimization strategy. But the need to find quality keywords remains.
Until I began utilizing Wealthy Affiliate for content creation, website hosting, and a variety of other services, I was largely oblivious to any techniques for identifying quality keywords. If you’re trying to start a niche blog, I highly recommend a free trial at Wealthy Affiliate. You’ll learn how to create a niche website to sell a variety of affiliate products and you’ll have access to a large community that will answer any questions you have along the way. You can click here to create an account today.
But that aside, keyword research requires a solid keyword tool, like Jaaxy. Once you have a tool like this, you’ll be able to identify low-competition keywords that will allow you to rank higher in Google’s eyes. Ideally, you want a keyword that has a QSR (the number of competing websites ranking for the same term) under 100 and an SEO score close to 100 (a higher SEO score means a greater likelihood of getting ranked on page 1 of Google).
But these two metrics should also be considered with the average number of searches that term receives per month and the average daily traffic you can expect to your site if you rank for that term. All of these metrics will be accessible with a Jaaxy account.
Proper Keyword Placement
As I mentioned briefly earlier, many of my earliest writing clients asked me to ensure at least a minimum number of keyword mentions per article. As Google has updated their ranking algorithm (and continues to do so), this technique has become known as ‘keyword-stuffing.’ From what I have learned, it’s best not to overload an article with your keyword, especially if it makes reading awkward.
Generally, you should be sure to mention your target keyword in the first paragraph of your article. It is not required to mention your keyword a minimum number of times after that, but you’ll surely do so because it’s the focus of your article. Just be sure to avoid placing your keyword in sentences where it seems like an awkward fit.
My early writing style was very academic. It was largely shaped by my undergraduate and graduate studies and tended to contain larger paragraphs and larger vocabulary words. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to discourage you from using your large vocabulary and inserting technical terms, especially if that’s what your niche demands.
But the most easy-to-read blogs that I like to peruse use small paragraphs and a very conversational tone. A good rule of thumb is to write as if you’re speaking directly to your reader. This is, honestly, something I’m still working on, but I know that the best feedback I’ve received on my articles is when I’m very conversational, honest, and up-front with my readers.
Add URL to Google
Once you’re finished with your article and you’ve thoroughly proofread it, whether that’s on your own or using a helpful app like Grammarly, there are several things you can do to speed up the ranking process. The first is to add your new URL to Google. You can do this by copying your new URL, typing ‘add url to google’ in your search bar, and pasting it into the box that will pop up at the top of your search page.
Another tip is to make sure you’ve added Google Webmaster Tools to your repertoire and uploading your Sitemap. You can learn more about how to do this by visiting the link above.
WordPress Back End Optimization
If you’re using WordPress to manage your site, you should have a plug-in that helps you optimize for search engines. I used a plugin called Yoast for a number of years, but have come to like the features in the All-In-One SEO Pack now. This plugin will allow you to set a keyword (or keywords) for each article you write. Without setting a keyword, Google may have a harder time finding the keyword you’re trying to rank for.
Additionally, many of your blogs or articles should include images that help you describe whatever it is you’re talking about. These images will offer a space to input a title, caption, description, and alt text. Generally, I don’t worry about two of these (caption and description), but I make sure that I input a title (typically just to help me keep my images organized) and alt text. Your alt text for all images should also include the keyword you’re optimizing for. This will help any images you use to be ranked higher in any Google Image searches for your keyword.
What’s Your Strategy?
If you’re a blogger or freelance writer, I’d love to hear some of your techniques for optimizing your blogs for Google’s rankings. I’m always looking for new ways to improve my craft and I also love to connect with others creating an income online and seeking a location-independent lifestyle.
Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond as soon as possible.
I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do! The point of social media, after all, is to be SOCIAL! I don’t need followers or likes, but I’d like to contribute to a real conversation about how we continue to improve as a society and as individuals.
Go Get Ranked!