One of the questions that most bloggers have is how to get ranked in Google. In this post I will share the most important practices for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
These practices will boost your posts to rank better.
The same actions apply to Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, just to mention the most important search engines.
So these are universal SEO tasks that will work for your ranking efforts.
Since most new blogs are created nowadays with WordPress, that will be the focus for some of the ways to apply these practices.
But they apply for any content, regardless of the framework.
What cannot be applied here via WP plugins, can be still applied via HTML, FTP, CPanel, or other platforms backends.
Let’s dive into the facts.
First And Foremost, “Content Is King!”
You’ve heard that before. Content is the blood of your blog.
Like the blood in the body, it has to be free of any bad.
Your content has to be of the best quality that you can possibly create, and improve more and more.
Why? Because the search engines are created to provide people with answers to their searches, and in order to thrive, they want to provide the best answers.
That said, for search engines to thrive the way they have done, they created complex algorithms that segregate the bad blood.
What is quality content?
Consider the following aspects:
1. Originality And Uniqueness
Content that is created from an idea, and written without copying any other content, is original. Some bloggers are literally lazy, or they just do not have enough time (something I consider is lack of organization).
Then they just go around copying the work of others, editing it and changing it and publishing it as if it is theirs.
Well let me tell you something, sooner or later, Google and other SERPs will bust you!
And not only that piece of copied content will be ranked down, but your whole website or blog will be punished for it. Write your own content, do not copy, do not spin, do not rewrite.
If you cannot produce content yourself, then outsource it, but make sure that is Copyscape passed, as a minimum requirement. Either way, you will have to edit a lot when content is not yours, only YOU can deliver your message!
The more unique your post, the faster and higher it will rank.
This is something really important, your blog posts, articles, reviews, have to be linked to your niche or interest displayed in your site.
If you have a blog about tech, it won’t be very wise to write posts about “yoga leggings”. Just to cite an extreme example.
The more relevant your content is, and the more it references to your niche and to your general idea of content, the higher it will rank.
3. Structure – Make It Easy To Read
Your articles need to be reader- friendly, easy to eye-scan, easy to understand. Organized by sub topics as much as possible and using other tools for ease of navigation through.
Also highlighting the most relevant topics.
Here are some elements to be used, if not all, most of them:
- Headings and Subheadings. Never use H1 Tags! That is only for your post title. Ideally do not have sections of your post with more than 300 words without a subheading separating them
- Short Sentences, unless a sentence really needs to say more. You can always make a stop and continue an idea. Consider it at all times
- Short paragraphs, to make reading easier and more interesting, try to keep ideas together in a paragraph, but do not make paragraphs too big, that reading becomes a nightmare
- Ordered and Unordered lists. That is bulleted or numbered lists of items or properties
- Your tone can be whatever suits your style, but remember that you are aiming to help people, that may not understand you if you get too technical. Always mind what is your intention, it may always be to help. Said that, use a tone that is conversational and opinionated, helpful and aims to solve the problems of the people who search your topic
4. Correct Grammar And Spelling – Make It Understandable
Big part of your content quality is that it is grammarly correct. Your sentences and structure has to make sense.
That is one of the risks of fulfilling your posts with content that is not original, it may include some nonsense words or sentences.
Or even being structured in a way that has “no head and no feet”, as they say. Common sense is the key to create an easy to understand blog post.
Also consider doing the appropriate spell checking, because grammar errors are common, and it may be just one or two. That would not affect your ranking, but is not nice to be noticed, is it?
Most editors have really sleek spell-check features, at no cost.
You can use WordPress Editor or any other external one.
I personally love Google Docs.
5. Quantity Is Also Quality
You can write “top quality” content, but if it is too short, it will be most likely ranked lower.
That is because there is a lot of competition for those high spots in the ranking, and so more and more detailed and in depth writing is produced. All topics can be interesting enough to produce a minimum of 1500 words. There are no set rules, but trust me, search engines love long and detailed posts. But the relevance and all the other aspects must be there, is not going to rank if you run out of ideas and start talking about something else in the same post.
6. Planning Is Essential – Use Ready Made Templates
When you use a certain premade structure, it saves you time. You will be streamlining your work, being more efficient but also your posts quality will be improved, and consistent.
That is another thing that search engines look into, how consistent are you with your style.
This is another reason to understand faking others’ content. Then your style goes up and down like in a roller coaster, and it is easily noticed by search engines.
Guess what? Busted again! Down the ranks and it all starts again from scratch. Even your best content will be relegated. Think twice. Plan wisely. Be the creator.
As a personal opinion, it takes me more time to edit someone else’s content than create a full post myself. It will be the same for you or anyone. Guaranteed.
There are more shades of grey to the content as such, but for now, if you stick to these few suggestions above, you will be doing good. And it will be helping you to rank a lot better.
But are these enough to rank high? Definitely not.
We are now going to talk about some essential parts of your content that need to be considered, before, during and after writing.
Keywords are essential for your content to rank. They are also known as Focus Keywords.
They are not just one word, but groups of words that make sense grammatically together.
Go on Google, and type one word, see what suggestions are dropped down, then, add another word, or a couple more, that will narrow down the search.
Your keyword selection will depend on how broad or how specific you want your topic to be seen. But for a general rule, the broader the topic, the more difficult it is to rank, especially if your site is new and does not have enough authority. We will talk about authority later.
1. Research Keywords
There are many techniques to research keywords to be used on a piece of content, or blog post. We could discuss “Alphabet Soup” technique or other ways to research, or free sites, dedicated to giving you tools for Keyword Researching.
But nowadays, there are tools that really facilitate your keyword research efforts and give you a big advantage over your competitors.
So my recommendation for this post, is to find that tool that not only finds suggested keywords for you. They must also give you metrics to determine whether a keyword is worth it or not.
I personally use and recommend Jaaxy.
It provides searches for keywords, competition analysis and important metrics, such as how many searches, how much traffic and how many other blogs are using one exact keyword.
2. Keyword Placement
Once you have made your research, you need to place your keywords strategically.
Consider the following good SEO practices:
- Use only one keyword per piece of content
- Exact keyword placed in your title
- The keyword is also included in your first paragraph, if in your first sentence even better, that way you establish the topic right away.
- The keyword included one more time if it is suitable, but not really necessary, somewhere towards the end of your post. In the conclusion for instance.
- Do not use the same exact keyword anywhere else
- Stuffing keywords is something that search engines like Google do not appreciate and rank you low.
- Some SEO plugins offer keyword density suggestions. I do not see the necessity to follow them. If you focus on that more than in your content quality, you will get “caught”again.
Linking your content is a must. Again going back to the blood, if there are no channels where the blood circulates, then your blog is not an “organism”.
That is a bit complicated to understand perhaps, at first. But once you grasp that concept, it is easier.
Simply put, the better your content is linked, the better the Google bots and spiders will crawl it, and if the roads are clear, the higher you will rank.
Consider the following:
- At least one external link (a link to an external site, affiliate links do not count as such). You can use references such as Wikipedia. Set your external links to open in a new tab, so your visitors can stay on your site reading your content till the end.
- At least one internal link, from your content to some content related to it or to a specific part of your post. Relevance takes place again as you can see.
- It is also convenient and very much appreciated for search engines with an inbound link to the content you are creating, from other posts or pages in your website.
- Back-links are links from external sites to yours. Many SEO companies offer to place back-links to your site, however, this may be seen as a bad practice. Although there are professionals that know exactly how to back-link, there is always a risk. If back-linking is doing with Black Hat SEO practices, your site is doomed to low rankings. It is much better and this is my suggestion, that your back-links grow organically with your site authority.
- Affiliate links: As a rule of thumb, place your affiliate links wherever it is relevant.
- Consider no more than one affiliate link for every 300 words minimum, and more better
- Keep the affiliate links relevant too and include them subtly and in context
- As these are external links, set them to open in a new tab, and consider no-follow for them too, although is not strictly relevant to ranking, as per experts
Images – Embellishing Your Content
As per the saying, “one image worth more than a thousand words”.
Images give life and color to your content. They are very much liked by search engines. Consider the following:
- Always use images that are Royalty Free. Do not copy any image from Google unless there is a clear permission to be used
- Choose relevant images to match with your content in different parts
- Again they must be images that illustrate your topic
- Use Alt Text on all your pictures. Use your Keyword in one or two of your Alt Texts, but no more, and only if the Keyword is relevant to the image
- Your Alt Text must be either way always relevant to the image overall
- Try to keep a standard maximum size for your images, and use an appropriate plugin to compress them
- Banners with affiliate links, be subtle and do not over do
All the above mentioned, altogether, are what is called On Page SEO practices.
You may think this is too hard, but it is actually an integral process. With every step of your content creation, you are setting the space for each element.
In a short time it is easy to master and becomes second nature.
Follow these practices when creating your content.
Off Page SEO – Main Considerations
Off page Search Engines Optimization is done in the back end of your site. It is necessary to be done for each piece of content you create.
This post was dedicated mainly on how to get ranked in Google by using some on page SEO effective techniques and rules.
However, on page SEO and off page SEO go hand on hand together and here are some of the most important practices.
On a future post, I will be going in detail through each one of them.
- Meta Title: Use your keyword in your meta title. Do not exceed the words limit
- Meta Description: Include your keyword in your meta description
- Featured Image: If you use a featured image for your posts, include your keyword in the Alt Text
- Slug: Consider it shorten it, use your keyword.
- Categories: Assign a category to your posts. Otherwise they will be unassigned by default
- Indexing Your URLs in Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster, etc
There are some other more advanced customizations to do off page, but the above are the basic and most important.
For more customizations off page, sometimes you require the use of special plugins, such as a review plugin if your theme does not include it.
You can also optimize Social and Rich Snippet features, these are a bit more advanced but for the very basic and really necessary we are done for this post.
Final Thoughts And A Word On Authority
In simple terms, you earn authority in time.
A site or blog gains authority when it is consistently following good SEO practices, while earning visitors increasingly over time and keeping them engaged.
When a site has high authority, it is highly productive in terms of monetization.
Following the rules above will not automatically give your site a high authority, but it will keep increasing it through time.
I hope this post helps you to improve your rankings in Google and in search pages in general.
By following these steps consistently, you will manage to grow your blog posts ranking, and as you may know, the more visible you are, the more visitors you get, and if you are monetizing your site, the more money you will get.
If you want to learn more from experts about Blogging and SEO, and how to create profitable niche websites, my recommendation is that you check on this post.
This is the best online university for affiliate marketing on the planet, and you can become very successful by specializing yourself in very easy to follow lessons.
At the same time you will be creating websites and learning all the process of SEO in real practice. So if you do not have a blog yet, and you want to have one, you know where to start!
Thank you for being here!