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How do you think certain web pages end up on top in the results of keyword search leaving several thousand pages behind?
You might shower praises on its content. And I really wish it were true being a content writer myself. But the reality is slightly different from that. Having great content is indeed relevant for ranking since impressive content receives rapid and heavy traffic ie; visitors, via social media likes and shares. But the quality of the content can only affect ranking when it gets caught by the human eye.
That's when SEO or Search Engine Optimization is needed. It is the process of applying certain techniques while developing the content of a webpage so that the page earns a higher rank in the natural results of a search engine.
In this post, I will explain to you some of the aspects you could use in order to make your article SEO-friendly.
- Usage of keywords
- Choosing an SEO-friendly URL
- Quality of the content
- Yoast SEO plugin
Usage of keywords
Using a keyword is an important factor in search engine optimization. The logic behind keyword use is pretty easy to digest. The majority of the web searches are done using keywords compared to URL. Therefore when you use a keyword that's most searched related to your article the chances of your article getting listed are high. Thus while writing an article try to employ keywords in its title, headers, tags, and main text.
Choosing the most appropriate keyword
Using keywords frequently in your article isn't enough, you should use the most appropriate keyword as well. So, how do we choose one? You can choose keywords based on the results of planned keyword searches or use a keyword research tool to do it. If these options aren't possible for you, you can pay a market service to do this for you. It is always better if the URL of the post comprises the keyword.
Choosing an SEO-friendly URL
An SEO-friendly URL should be easily readable by both users and search engines. The URL should be able to convey what the content is about. Try to include the keywords inside the URL, as it also helps in increasing the readability of the URL.
Dynamic parameters aren't very SEO- friendly, but it can't be fully avoided either. Thus try to use it only when it is really necessary. And try to include more static parameters in your article.
Try to keep your URL short. The search engine shows leniency toward a shorter URL than the longer one. The optimum number of characters would be less than 50 to 60 words and when the number of characters exceeds 100, try rewriting them.
If it is possible try to match the URL to the title of the content.
It is not necessary to use stop words(and, or, for, but, etc.) in URL just because they are in the title of the page.
You can avoid them if it lengthens the URL. But at the same time, it shouldn't hamper the readability as well. So it's your call to use them or not.
Editing URL in WordPress
If you are writing an article using WordPress you have the option to edit the URL which was autogenerated while entering the title and to alter the format of the URL.
You can quickly edit the URL from the page you are writing your article itself.
Click on the edit button.
Edit the URL the way you prefer.
Then click ok.
For customizing URL, go to your WordPress dashboard then click on Settings > Permalinks.
Here is the screenshot of the page.
On this page, you can customize the URL of your post the way you prefer using any of these six options.
Quality of the content
As I have mentioned in the introduction the quality of the content is a must for higher ranking. Compromising on quality would only result in your content being undetected by the search engine.
Quality comprises of,
- Authority of the content
- Word count
Authority of the content
You might have a certain idea about how people sought after information on topics in the pre-internet era? They went on looking for people or books possessing deeper knowledge on the topic because the deeper the knowledge the higher the chances of getting accurate answers. The principle is quite the same even now except we are looking for the authority of the web pages instead of people since most of us go to the internet for getting our queries answered quickly. Thus your blog/article will only be read by visitors if it is sufficient to answer their queries. Therefore make sure your article will be one of the best sources of information on the topic.
An article filled with content in a disorderly manner won't help in bringing any traffic to your website no matter how authoritative content it has. Readability of the content plays an important role in the comprehension of the subject matter. If the content is easy to digest, it will be liked and shared many times which will, in turn, increase the traffic by many folds.
Thus in order to improve the readability of your content, you should pay attention to many things while writing it up. Like, dividing your article's content to include shorter paragraphs and more subtitles, avoiding passive voices and long sentences in your article, adding as many transition words as possible, highlighting important words, etc. Keeping all these things intact in your article will lure the visitors to it.
If you are given a long article and a short article on the same topic which one would you choose to read first? if we are like-minded you will go with the shorter one. Then if you found the article's information inadequate you will move on to the longer one. It is the case with most people. But when it comes to search engines, they adore long articles. Then what is the appropriate word count of an article?
Thus, I recommend choosing the word count on the basis of the topic of the article. If the topic requires covering a lot of data, go with a lengthy article. If not, try to keep it at a readable length.
Links can be an easy way to gain more traffic and ranking. But how does link improve the traffic and ranking of your web page/site? In order for that answer to make sense, you first need to know everything about links.
Links are the way we direct visitors from one web page to another. In some cases, both web pages will be of the same person or the same company. Then those types of links are called inbound/internal links.
When we employ these links on our web page visitors will move from one webpage to another but won't leave our website for a long time thereby decreasing the bounce rate (The percentage of the number of a single page and non-engaging visits made on a web page by visitors.) of our website. A lower bounce rate is indeed an SEO-friendly aspect.
Outbound links/external links direct visitors from your webpage to another webpage of some other organization. Thus employing outbound links might seem unwise because it causes your website to lose traffic. Still, many websites give outbound links on their website. why?
When you employ outbound links to a high authority higher ranking website your website receives a small portion of its authority and traffic.
Images play a crucial role in making the webpage attractive and luring people into your web page/site. If the image is closely connected to the content, visitors would be able to kind of grasp an overall idea about the content of your web page without going through the whole article. Which will, in turn, result in attracting only those people who are interested in the topic and in eventually decreasing the bounce rate.
While uploading an image you need to make sure that it is optimized by adding keywords and alt tags in the image file. You should optimize the size of the image as well since pictures of larger size slow down the loading time and affect SEO badly.
Yoast SEO plugin
If you are using WordPress for your website or blog I recommend installing the Yoast Seo plugin, which is a great tool for all SEO - related issues. This plugin monitors all the text and images you are entering in your webpage and gives you instant suggestions on improving your content for SEO.
Here I will show you the screenshot of the basic version of the SEO plugin. This plugin analyses both readability and keyword.
The screenshot of the analysis of readability is given below. It is the analysis of the article you are reading.
Here in this analysis of readability, I don't have any problems listed which is a good thing. But, I have a point to improve. If I improved its good points will change to 6.
Now the keyword analysis of the same article is shown in the screenshot below. Take a look at it, it has been divided into three parts snippet preview, focus keyword, and analysis.
The first box snippet preview has two tabs. By clicking the Edit snippet tab you can edit the entire snippet ie; The title, URL, and description(meta description) of the content which appear in the organic results of a search engine. You can check out the beginners' guide to SEO
The other tab will let you know how the mobile preview and the desktop preview of your article will look like. If you aren't satisfied with the preview you can customize it further.
The next box provides a text box to enter a keyword that you have been focusing on throughout the article. In the analysis part of the keyword, the entire analysis will be given in bullet points categorized into problems, improvements, and good like the analysis of readability. The good points will increase as you correct problems and improvements. If you want to add multiple keywords you will have to upgrade to the premium version of Yoast SEO plugin.
It is not going to be easy following all these SEO rules together and skipping a few won't deny good results either. But keep learning and improving your knowledge regarding SEO if you want to stay on top.