Is your content failing to rank high on Google? We know it can be frustrating. After all, we’ve been there too, especially when we first started. But as we work on creating and optimising content for SEO, we realise that following some best practices can help. These best practices have even helped us rank 3 articles on the first page of Google in 6 months. Dig into our SEO guide as we share with you on how to rank high on Google.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of free and organic traffic via a search engine.
It concerns every aspect of your website, from the number of times a keyword is used to technical factors such as how it’s organised.
How well your content ranks depends on what the search engine algorithms look out for, which can change from time to time. This is why businesses generally prefer outsourcing content writing to an SEO content agency, leaving SEO to the experts.
Why you should have an SEO checklist
Whether you own a blog or e-commerce site, SEO optimisation should be performed for every page on your website.
With a checklist on the best practices for SEO, you can ensure that each page is properly optimised, and that you won’t miss important steps that may affect your search engine ranking.
If you’re not outsourcing SEO and content writing to an agency, here’s a simple checklist for your use, with more elaboration below in our SEO guide.
|SEO Element||Have you…||Yes/No|
|1||Target keyword||Sprinkled your main keyword throughout your content?|
|2||URL||Kept your URL concise and included the targeted keywords?|
|3||Metadata and headers||Optimised your meta title, meta description, and headers?|
|4||Images||Compressed and optimised your images?|
|5||Links||Inserted internal and external links?|
|6||Call to action||Inserted call-to-actions?|
SEO guide: Best practices to follow to rank your content
Putting in keywords you’re targeting in your content is essential to rank your content on Google, but keywords aren’t the only things that matter in SEO.
In this SEO guide, we dive deeper into the best practices that have helped us rank our articles on Google so far.
1. Add your main keyword early on in the content
Keyword research is one of the first things to look out for in SEO. Before starting on SEO work, find out what are the top phrases that your target audience use, as well as which primary or main keyword you wish to rank for.
As you write your content, insert your main keyword naturally throughout the article. However, refrain from compromising on the coherence of your article with bad keyword placements or keyword stuffing.
It is a good practice to add your main keyword early on in your content as Google gives more weightage to terms that appear at the top of a page. Hence, we usually use the main keyword within the first 150 words or the first paragraph of our articles.
2. Keep the URL short and concise
A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the link or web address of your webpage.
You can improve the user experience of your website by keeping your URLs simple, accurate, and relevant by adding the keywords. By reading only the URL, viewers (and search engines) should have a good idea of what to expect in your content.
Avoid using long URLs as this can be intimidating to users. Remove stop words such as “the”, “to”, and “about” as they lengthen your URLs unnecessarily and hold no value.
For instance, if you write an article titled “How to Optimise Webpages for Better SEO”, your URL slug could simply be “optimise-webpages-better-SEO”.
3. Optimise your meta title, meta description, and headers for SEO
To rank high on search engines, you need to craft your webpage’s meta title and meta descriptions well and include the keywords. Since they’re the search result entry for your content, doing so allows search engines and users to know what the content is about.
For instance, if you write an article about business loans in Singapore, you may want to put the title as “Business loans in Singapore: A comprehensive guide”.
The main keyword should also be used in the URL, as well as subsequent headers in the content where applicable.
4. Compress your images to increase site loading speed
Another crucial step is compressing your images to improve the loading speed of your website. This is because site loading speed is an important ranking factor in Google’s page ranking algorithm.
Since images tend to make up the bulk of a page’s size, massive image files can affect your Google ranking.
For instance, if an image with dimensions 2500 x 1500 px should appear no larger than 300 x 300 px on the screen, you can resize it using tools such as ResizeIt and tinyjpg. A lighter, faster website will also create a positive user experience.
5. Optimise your images for SEO
There is more to image SEO than compressing images. Optimising images also involves saving them with descriptive filenames that include the main keywords.
This is because well-optimised images can help your pages rank higher.
Another tip is to add alternative text (alt text) to your images. Alt text is a short description that will be displayed if an image fails to load. For maximum effectiveness, include your main keyword in your image alt texts.
Where possible, add captions to your images — along with your main keyword — so that search engines can easily understand them.
You want your content to appear everywhere your users search, and optimising your images can help get your content on the “Images” section of Google. You never know if someone is searching for an image with your keyword.
6. Insert internal and external links
External linking refers to adding an outbound link to another website. External linking is an integral part of the SEO process as this is one of the ways search engines evaluate your site and its rankings. Quality external links will therefore give a boost to your website’s relevance.
In addition, sites and pages that link out tend to earn more links back in, which directly drives more traffic to your site from other websites.
Internal linking, which is adding a link from a page on your site to another page on the same site, is another important step. For instance, if you’re preparing a blog post, you should include internal links to other blog posts or landing pages on your site. This helps to signal to users and Google which are the related pages, increasing its chances of ranking.
As a rule of thumb, we usually include at least 3 internal and 3 external links for a 1,300 to 1,500 word-count article.
7. Insert call-to-actions
This is because CTAs help drive the action that you want your prospective customers to take while spending time on your website.
Depending on the project needs, we usually insert the right CTAs that resonate best with the audiences. Instead of pop-up CTAs which may annoy users and affect their reading experience, we recommend including non-intrusive but prominent CTAs.
For instance, we usually include a bottom-of-post CTA that encourages readers to take action after they finish reading a blog post, or in-line CTAs that direct them to a landing page.
As mentioned earlier, adding these CTAs with internal links allows Google to understand the relationships between these pages. Doing so allows Google to assign values to these pages and rank them.
8. Article length
Google tends to rank longer articles better. When an article is comprehensive enough, visitors tend to stay longer since they don’t have to visit another site to find the information they need. This means that your article should be substantive, more engaging, and useful to readers.
Longer content is thus a great way of demonstrating your authority. Your article is also likely to receive more social shares.
However, keep in mind that Google doesn’t decide on page rankings just by looking at an article’s word count. This is because longer pieces will hold no value if it has repetitive content or is of low quality.
We hope this SEO guide can help you optimise your content. Once it’s ready, post your article online and let your social shares and site engagement take off!