Let’s say you’re looking for an answer to a question or a product to solve your latest problem. What’s the first thing you do?
If you’re like most modern users, you immediately turn to Google. Search engines are the ultimate resource for consumers, and they generate at least 30% of global web traffic. You type in your query, then scour the countless blog posts and websites that pop up.
It doesn’t matter what kind of company you run: you need to build a presence with the top search engines (predominantly Google). That’s where SEO-friendly content comes into the picture.
Google ranks content at the top of its search engine result pages (SERPs) based on certain qualities. By creating posts that heavily target these qualities, you can increase your brand’s online visibility and its chances of ranking on the first page.
Trust us – it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Here are four crucial steps any beginner can take to get their content SEO-ready.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Conduct Keyword Research
Even if you’re just dipping your toe in SEO strategies, you’ve probably heard of “keywords.” This is something you could spend countless hours learning about, but we’re going to give you a brief overview to launch your content optimization.
Keywords are words and/or phrases that describe your content and align with searchers’ queries. In a simplistic sense, they’re the bridge between searchers and your brand, connecting the themes between questions and answers.
For example: if you’re a sustainable pet accessory company, one of your primary keywords might be “eco-friendly dog collars.” This is an important phrase for your business, and it’s also a phrase that many of your customers might enter in Google’s search box.
All companies can benefit from researching and using the right keywords. Up to 83% of marketers say their main area of focus is currently using strategic keywords throughout their content. It’s that important.
How do you conduct keyword research as a beginner?
Here’s a quick, simplified walk-through of the process.
- Create a list of the words you (and your customers) frequently use and care about. Make sure they actually describe your brand and its offerings. Using irrelevant keywords just to rank highly on Google can get you penalized.
- Use a keyword research tool. There are easy-to-use, budget-friendly options out there that will help you build upon and tailor your original list with valuable, custom keywords.
- Pick out the keywords you can actually rank for.If you’re a beginner when it comes to SEO, focus heavily on keywords that are ranked as medium or low difficulty. That means there will be less competition for these terms.
- Check out your competitors. Chances are, they’re already optimizing for great keywords, so take note of the terms and phrases they seem to be focusing on.
After you’ve done your research, it’s time to incorporate the keywords in your content. Optimize everything from your website’s homepage to your blog posts. You may even want to use your keyword research to spark some great article topic ideas for future content.
Remember: keywords need to be used organically. Forced keyword stuffing will get you nowhere (and may even get your site penalized).
Step 2: Know Your Topic
To be SEO-ready, content needs to be authentic and credible. If you’re faking your way through a topic that’s irrelevant, inaccurate, or just plain disinteresting, Google’s not going to rank the article highly.
To write great content, do two things:
- Figure out who your audience is and what they care about.
- Fully research the topic and write with authority.
For SEO topic ideation, use your keywords to ignite your creativity. If you’ve done your research correctly, you’ll already have a strong grasp of what topics your audience cares about.
For example, if one of the primary keywords for your bakery is “vegan cupcakes,” why not do an entire blog post on “Ingredients That Make the Best Vegan Cupcakes”? You know your readers will care about that, and even better, the topic falls squarely within your realm of expertise as a baker.
Keep in mind that knowing your topic also means fully flushing it out. Creating surface-level 500-word blog posts just won’t cut it. Successfully ranked blog posts are getting much longer, averaging lengths of over 1,400 words.
We’re not saying you have to write full novels every time you create a blog post. However, you do need to expand upon your topics completely and credibility.
Back your claims up with links to high-quality sources. Provide actionable, accurate information to the reader. Show consumers that you’re not just creating SEO-friendly quality to rank well – you’re also doing it to provide your customers with something valuable.
Step 3: Incorporate the Right Multimedia
The written word is a crucial part of any SEO initiative, and it always will be. Still, it would be remiss of us to disregard the importance of multimedia in modern blog posts.
As Hubspot recently stated, Google’s search algorithms are trying to transcend text to images, voice/podcast, and videos. The search engine wants to get a complete picture of your content and its value, which means accounting for your text and your multimedia.
Why Do You Need Multimedia?
For starters, the amount of online videos watched per person per week has almost doubled since 2018 (according to Wyzol). People like to read informative blog posts, but they also love short-form videos and easy-to-interpret graphics that summarize the information.
Using a mix of visual media will help your brand convey more information to the readers. Even better, using multimedia increases your post’s shareability – which makes Google like it even more.
According to SEM Rush’s State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report, visual content is one of the key factors in the success of top-performing organic content. If you want to gain organic traffic, backlinks to other websites, and shares across social media, boost your post’s visual elements.
Start with simple eye-catching multimedia, such as:
Once you’ve got a little more experience under your belt, you can consider things like graphic design and video marketing services to really make your posts shine.
Step 4: Optimize the Structure
Finally, we come to the structure of your SEO-ready content. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re writing for or how long your blog posts are: there are certain must-dos when it comes to organizing your article’s flow.
Let’s talk about the first thing every reader sees: the title. This is your blog post’s H1, and it should be formatted as such. Make sure it’s attention-grabbing, but also clear and easy for people to understand.
Hot tip: use words like why, how, where, and what. These are great for garnering organic traffic via search engines. Articles with numbered “listicle” titles also perform well.
Once you’ve got your H1 in place, it’s time to consider the rest of the blog post’s organization.
What makes a well-structured SEO blog post?
If you remember one thing from this blog post, let it be this: Google and its searchers love organization. They both want to be able to quickly scan your blog post and walk away with a solid understanding of its content.
The best way to promote that is to clearly label your blog post’s various elements. No one likes reading a massive chunk of text, but they do like breezing through different sections and paragraphs until they find what they need.
Break up separate concepts into H2s, H3s, and maybe even some H4s. This will make the piece easier on the eyes, but it will also impress Google.
SEM Rush actually found that 36% of articles with H2 and H3 tags had higher performance rates in terms of traffic, shares, and backlinks.
Another great way to break up content is with bulleted and numbered lists. This can help you cover large amounts of content in a quick, concise form. Plus, these lists might even increase your chance of scoring a featured snippet on Google!
Long story short – break up your post and clearly delineate subject changes with H2/H3 titles and lists. These are great ways to ensure your post is actually SEO-ready.
Ready to Get Started?
Hopefully, we’ve given you just enough information to jumpstart your SEO-content journey, but not enough to overwhelm you. There’s an over-abundance of information out there on this topic, but if you stick to the four tips we mentioned, you’ll be off to a great start.
If you need any additional help with your SEO strategies, don’t hesitate to reach out to our website development company. Watermark Design offers free SEO website audits to companies like yours. Let’s get you on the right path today.
Contact our team now to schedule your free consultation.