Wednesday, July 20, 2016

7 Easy Steps to Writing SEO Friendly Article

7 Easy Steps to Writing SEO Friendly Article
7 Easy Steps to Writing SEO Friendly Article
What comes to mind when you hear "SEO?" Most would answer KEYWORDS!

SEO and keyword is often nerve inducing for us content creators who don't have "SEO" or "keyword" in their job titles.

Good news! Keyword is only one piece of the SEO puzzle.

You don't need to be a whiz in the ever-changing Google algorithm or re-researching a mile-long long-tail keyword spreadsheet every month to win the organic traffic game.

Stuffing a piece of content with keywords no longer works as Google is getting smarter and evaluating various components in a piece of content to determine its relevance and ranking.

The various factors that contribute to good SEO also makes for good content consumption by HUMAN BEINGS.

If you look at the most popular white-hat approaches for driving organic traffic, such as Brain Dean's Skyscraper Technique and 16 SEO Copywriting Tips, there're a lot more to them than keyword research.

The gist is, gather helpful resources from reputable authority sites to support your content, provide information that's valuable & relevant to your audience and write in an engaging style so your readers will spend time reading your articles, bookmark your site and share your content.

Yep, just by doing that, you get to score SEO brownie points such as increased dwell time, bookmarking, social share, comments, reduced bounce rates, external links and more.

How to do that without spending hours producing content?

I ghostwrite long-form content for a few SaaS companies specifically for the purpose of generating organic traffic - aka boosting SEO for their websites, the white-hat way.

I turnaround about 3 pieces of 2,000-word articles per week on average, while I'm not working my biz, dealing with kids, or riding my bike.

I've honed in on a system that allows me to bang out high quality content under tight deadlines... (hey they're paying me... it's not some wishy-washy kumbaya guest posting thing.)

I'm NOT giving you a cookie-cutter process so you can write clone-drone SEO articles. You can go to fiverr for that...

I've baked in checks and balances to make sure you're not just regurgitating stuff pulled off the interwebs... you'll be writing SEO-friendly content while expressing your ORIGINALITY without reinventing the wheel:

1. Decide on keywords to rank for and come up with a title

If it's not your first time around the block, you probably have gone through the keyword research motion for your niche and have a list tugged in some corner.

You're also the EXPERT in what you do so even with your eyes closed, you know what's bugging your ideal clients and what questions and words your peeps would type into Google.

That means you don't really have to do any extra legwork. Yay!

First - what do YOU want to write about?

Then - what keywords are this topic you want to write about relates to?

Bam - you've got your list of keywords!

Play around with those keywords and what special sauce you want to bring to the table. Mix and match until you come up with a 5 - 10 headline options.

Your headline should grab attention, be unique, pique curiosity, be specific, communicate urgency and/or indicate usefulness.

(Bonus Tip: you don't have to chuck the rest after you pick the winner. You may want to use one with more personality for your own website, and one that's more straightforward for the version you post on LinkedIn Pulse. You can also repurpose a few others for social media graphics.)

Got a winner? Good! Now let's move on...

2. Ask THE Google

Let's reiterate... you're the EXPERT so you've a pretty darn good idea of the authority sites and trusted sources in your topic.

(If you're writing articles for niches you know nothing about to sell cantaloupe widgets just to make a quick buck, this may not be for you.)

Now pull up good ol' Google and input a keyword or a phrase.

Out comes a bunch of articles that rank high (obviously!)

These articles should come from pretty trusty sources, and linking to high-ranking content from credible sources in your article can boost SEO.

Plough through a few, and you should get a pretty good sense of what useful information you can gather from them.

Repeat for a few more keywords/phrases or related keyword/phrases...

(Note down the URLs as you go along so you don't have to wonder "where did I see this??!")

By now you should have VERY good idea what resources you have at your fingertips that are SEO-worthy.

3. Define your POV

Here's the thing - if you just follow a formula and aggregate a bunch of information, you may get the eyeballs but you probably won't get the following, be known for your unique positioning, build credibility or boost your expert status (which will all lead to clients, sales and all the good stuff.)

To make this whole content marketing thing really work for you - my maverick-preneur friend, you need to express a unique POINT OF VIEW boldly and unapologetically.

Articulate your values, beliefs, POV, personality... and why all these matters to your readers so your can create content that truly connects, resonates and converts.

What's your ANGLE on this topic?

How are you going to FRAME your POV?

How can you weave a NARRATIVE using the information you found in your research (step 2) that will lead to and support your POV?

4. Outline your framework

Now you've the raw materials, let's give your narrative a framework to arrange the talking points in a way that makes sense.

First, define the problem - what's the biggest problems or challenges your readers face in this particular topic that also highlight your expertise?

This will help you frame your content to answer the most important question your readers have - why should I care?

No matter how thorough your research is, how good your content is, or how smart you are... if the readers don't think the article is RELEVANT to them, THEY DON'T GIVE A CRAP.

(If they don't give a crap, you don't get click through, dwell time, or other SEO-boosting interactions.)

After you get clear on what's important for your audience, you can plan out your subheads and then slot in bullets under each based on the information you find in your research.

By now, you should have a very good grasp about your content.

Before you fill out your outline and write the meat, you need to first set the tone for the article...

5. Don't skimp the intro

People have an Internet attention span of 6 - 8 seconds, really - that's shorter than that of a goldfish.

Your intro needs to grab their attention, be captivating and pique their interest enough for them to stay and read your stuff.

Reminder - you're the EXPERT and you know your people. Don't let other "gurus" who know nothing about your biz tell you what to say. Say something relevant to YOUR peeps.

You can earn SEO brownie points with a well-written intro by (1) making your visitors want to keep reading, thereby increasing dwell time and (2) using keywords you want to rank for.

Here are a few ideas for the intro:

- Carrot - present compelling fact-based benefits of learning about the topic of your article.

- Stick - present compelling fact-based downside of not knowing about the topic of your article.

- Sugar - our brains fire up differently when we hear stories, and we pay attention. You can use your own story, your clients' story, or other people you know and your readers can relate to. The more relatable your story is, the better. Here are some storytelling techniques.

- Spice - make a bold, controversial statement that reflects your POV. When you take a stand, readers perk up. You show confidence, and become charismatic... making the readers want to know more about you, and what you've to say.

6. Write up the meat

After you set the tone with the intro, it's time to write the meat based on your outline.

From YOUR perspective, interpret the information and SYNERGIZE them to form opinions that are USEFUL to your readers.

You're not a parrot. Make something useful.

Be concise. If you find yourself going down the geek rabbit hole without referring back to how your readers can utilize the information to create tangible benefits promised by your title and intro, WAKE UP... delete the self-gratuitous stuff and keep typing.

Link up to those reputable sites you've found during your research for SEO juice, and make sure they open up in a new tab/window so your readers don't navigate away from your site.

Also include internal links (i.e. links within your site) - this will boost your site's SEO by link building, increasing dwell time and reducing bounce rate.

7. Conclusion & Engagement

You know how people like to flip to the end of the book to read the ending? A strong ending might very well pull those folks back to actually read your stuff.

Your conclusion is a great place to sum up a couple of valuable takeaways for your readers, and reiterate your unique POV.

This is also a good place to put a call-to-action (CTA):

- Feature a freebie that's related to the article to grow your list - the more relevant it is, the better.

- Ask readers to share your article on social media - although SEO juice from social shares have been debatable, if it drives quality traffic (i.e. those visitors stick around to read and interact with your post) you'll look good in the eyes of Google.

- Ask readers to leave a comment - comments boosts SEO, and if you use social commenting plug-ins like Disqus or Facebook, you may again additional exposure and traffic.

BONUS TIPS:: Format for easy reading

Wouldn't it be a pity if you've great content but visitors leave your page before they get to read it? (Remember low dwell time = bad for SEO?)

It happens ALL THE TIME when people run into a wall of text.

It looks like too much work and the click away. Buh-bye.

Here's what to do:

- Write in short paragraphs

- Embrace white space

- Use lists and bullets

- Use subheads (H2 and H3 tags) - not only do they make skimming easy, but they also get you SEO points when you incorporate keywords in these tags

- Use images that are optimized (e.g. make sure they're the right size to reduce load time, and keywords are included in the alt text)

Don't get sucked into writing for Google and lose sight of WHY you write... to share your values & convictions, provide values and captivate your ideal clients.
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