writing for SEO

How to Write Content that Ranks Well

Writing great content doesn’t automatically mean it will rank well in search engines. There are guidelines to follow if you want your content to be visible in relevant organic searches. Here’s how.

Know Your Keyword

The first step is to know what your content should rank for. These days, that is usually “keyphrase” rather than a keyword, since most users search for something more specific than a single word. Do some research using a keyword tool or even just some online searches to understand how your target reader searches for content like yours. You want to know the best keyphrase to use.

Good places to find the right keywords include Answer the Public, SEM Rush’s Keyword Magic Tool, and Google’s Keyword Planner.

Use Keywords in the Right Places

To rank, you need to place your target keyphrase in all the right spots through the text, while being careful not to use too much of it. Too many uses of the keyword is called “keyword stuffing” and that is something that will actually hurt your search rank.

In general, use your keyword:

  • In the title of your content
  • In the first sentence or two of your content
  • In subheads
  • As link text
  • In the alt text for any images
  • In the meta description for the content

Make Sure Your Text Is Worthy

Keywords alone will not get your text a high rank. It needs to be something that people value – that they click on and read. Make sure that you are saying something that is worthwhile. Write your content in a way that is easy to read and understand online, especially on small screens.

The other day I needed to find out if the buttermilk in my fridge was still fresh enough to use. (True story!) I did a search, picked a top result and scrolled and scrolled. Never did get a good answer to the question. There were a lot of words and keywords used, but the content was valueless. That content won’t be highly ranked for long.

In addition to the content, pay attention to your writing style. Keep your writing to the point. Use words that are easy to understand. Keep punctuation to a minimum. Don’t justify text and make paragraphs short. Make sure your content is easy to read.

Add Links

Be sure to link your content to related content for readers who want to know more, and for search engines that want to understand where your content fits in the world wide web. Link to content within your site (internal links) that is related and enhances the content. Link to external authoritative sites when you think such links will help the user get what they need.