Category Archives: SEO

How to write content for the Google RankBrain System

Content writing for Google RankBrain

Content writing for Google RankBrain

For a couple of years now Google has been using its RankBrain system to rank your content.

RankBrain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that helps the Google algorithm in ranking various links and websites.

Although it hasn’t totally taken over the Hummingbird algorithm (the current ranking algorithm that Google uses) many SEO experts are claiming that the Google ranking algorithm derives almost 30% of its influence from RankBrain.

What exactly is Google RankBrain?

What is Google RankBrain?

What is Google RankBrain?

It’s an artificial intelligence system, and just like any contemporary artificial intelligence, it learns itself. It sometimes writes and modifies the ranking algorithm on its own.

The overall ranking process at Google is handled by the Hummingbird algorithm. RankBrain is a component of that algorithm that contributes towards assigning ranks to different links according to their relevance to the searcher’s intent.

Just like RankBrain, there are multiple components in the Hummingbird algorithm that analyze content.

Panda, Penguin and Payday components are used to fight spam. Pigeon is used to improve local search results.

Then, there is a Top Heavy component of the Hummingbird algorithm that assigns negative marking to ad-heavy pages.

To reward you for your mobile-friendly pages, the ranking algorithm uses the Mobile Friendly component.

Copyright infringement is taken care of by the Pirate component (source).

Whereas conventional SEO is based on the type of keywords you have used when writing your content and the quality of backlinks, RankBrain calculates the relevance of your content according to its own interpretation, according to what it thinks should be ranked rather than according to how the web page of the blog post has been “optimized”.

You must have read it at multiple places – even I have mentioned it multiple times on my blog – that when you are writing content, focus on the “intent” of the searcher instead of simply creating content based on your keywords.

The intent is what matters to RankBrain.

Unlike conventional ranking methods, RankBrain doesn’t rank web pages according to predefined formula.

It modifies the rank according to the interpretive need of the user.

It practically thinks like the human brain. It interprets meaning and gives you the best search result according to your particular need.

For example, if someone searches for “what are the best shows this week on Amazon Prime?” RankBrain will show the latest results no matter how well an article or blog post you wrote on the topic last month and how many people have linked to it.

Even if in terms of SEO practices your link should show up on page 10 or page 20 of the search results, if it is fresh and fresh content needs to be shown, your link will appear on the first page, even at the top.

So, how do you write content according to the Google RankBrain system?

How to write content for Google RankBrain

How to write content for Google RankBrain

To be frank, there is no particular way you can optimize your content for the RankBrain system.

As mentioned above, RankBrain doesn’t rank your content according to some predetermined parameters.

But it doesn’t mean you cannot benefit from RankBrain.

Content writing for RankBrain is very matter of fact: does your content solve a purpose? If it does, it will enjoy good search engine rankings.

The age-old wisdom that your content should provide the needed information to your human visitors still stands as in fact, such systems are developed by Google and other search engines to make sure that content creators create content that is relevant to people rather than machines.

When content is specifically created for machines it is open to manipulation. This is why Google has incorporated multiple algorithmic components to make sure that people don’t try to game the system.

How to make sure you enjoy good rankings in the times of artificial intelligence?

Search engine companies like Google aren’t creating sophisticated algorithms to stop your content from ranking well. They’re creating the sophisticated algorithms to make sure that content that deserves to rank well, does rank well.

So, instead of worrying about getting good ranks, focus on the quality, the relevance and the purposefulness of your content.

Do keywords matter when you are trying to optimize your content for the Google RankBrain system?

Not necessarily, but it doesn’t mean you stop neglecting them.

What are keywords after all? They are part of the language that you use to write your content.

Take for example this blog post. I’m writing about RankBrain, so I’m referring to it repeatedly, not purposely, but contextually. I’m not trying hard to use it repeatedly. It’s just happening.

Another focus of this post is content writing. I’m trying to explain to you how to write content that can convince the RankBrain ranking system.

Obviously these two terms are going to occur in my writing more than once, even multiple times. This tells Google that the foci of my blog post are RankBrain and content writing. There is nothing wrong in that.

But don’t just focus on your primary keywords. Use LSI keywords. Use semantic keywords. Even use the trending keywords if they are related to your topic.

Keywords matter when you’re writing content, but just make sure that they are there naturally and not stuffed. Quality, is what matters the most.

Focus on a better user behavior vis-à-vis your content writing if you want to make RankBrain happy

Since RankBrain avoids depending on conventional SEO benchmarks, it depends more on user behavior vis-à-vis your content. It observes the following while ranking your content:

What is your bounce rate?:

How many people stick to your website after finding your links on Google?

Do they immediately leave your link and come back to Google or do they linger on your website because they find useful information on it?

If your bounce rate is low RankBrain likes your content and improves its rankings.

How many people interact with your content?:

If your content is useful people engage with it.

They link to your content. They share your content with their followers and friends on social media and social networking websites. They even sometimes re-purpose your content.

The more people interact with your con tent, the better rankings it gets through RankBrain.

How in-depth is your content?:

The days of highly narrow content pieces are gone.

Remember when people used to create dedicated web pages and blog posts for every keyword combination for the same phrase? It is no longer acceptable.

You need to cover all your keyword combinations through a single web page or blog post, and this means, writing in-depth content pieces.

When you’re writing on a topic, cover practically every aspect of the topic within a single blog post or web page.

Is your content writing conversational?:

Conversational content writing is important because a greater number of people are using voice search and when people use voice search, they normally use a conversational tone.

Write shorter sentences. Avoid writing very complicated paragraphs. Try to capture just one thought in a single paragraph.

All in all, the more human friendly content you write, the better it is suitable for Google RankBrain.

SEO Checklist When Writing Content for Your Website in 2018

SEO checklist for content writing for 2018

SEO checklist for content writing for 2018

Do you have SEO in mind when writing content for your website? Most do.

In fact, despite content being the most important component of one’s online presence, people are ready to pay less attention to the overall purpose their content should solve, and more attention to whether it improves SEO or not.

If you want to make a right balance between improving your search engine rankings and maintaining a higher standard of writing, you may find this SEO checklist for content writing helpful.

The idea of this blog post came to me when I was watching the latest Whiteboard Friday on Moz.com in which Rand Fishkin talks about the SEO checklist for the up coming year 2018 – what all you need to take care of to improve your search engine rankings.

Once you have taken care of the basic SEO necessities on your website, it’s mostly your ongoing content writing that has a positive, or a negative impact on your SEO.

So, when writing content for your website, keep referring to the checklist that I’m putting up in this post. If you are writing content on your own (instead of hiring a professional content writer), keep this checklist nearby.

1. Create an SEO friendly URL

Create SEO friendly URLs when writing content

Create SEO friendly URLs when writing content

If you are using a CMS like WordPress, it automatically creates the URL using your post title.

Although by default WordPress creates an SEO friendly URL (provided you have changed the default URL settings in WordPress), sometimes it can be too lengthy.

For example, if I let WordPress create a URL for this post automatically, it is going to create something like //credible-content.com/blog/seo-checklist-when-writing-content-for-your-website-in-2018, which, as you can see, is an unnecessarily lengthy URL.

Although there are a few plugins available that can create SEO-friendly URLs automatically, since I don’t want to install another plugin, I’m going to manually write the URL as //credible-content.com/blog/2018-seo-checklist-website-content-writing.

This way, a search engine like Google finds everything it needs to find about the blog post.

2. Do proper keyword research

Do keyword research before writing content for better SEO

Do keyword research before writing content for better SEO

SEO is incomplete without keywords.

It’s the keywords that tell Google what you are writing about.

How should you choose your keywords?

Whenever you are writing content for your website, always keep the searcher’s intent in mind.

What is he or she is looking for?

If he or she is looking for some information, is the content you are currently working providing that information?

Suppose you search for “SEO checklist for writing content”, or “SEO content writing checklist” and then you come to this blog post.

Are you getting the information you were looking for?

Does this blog post give you an SEO checklist that you can use for writing content?

Use the keywords people are actually using to find your content.

If it is difficult to find the right keywords use a tool like LongtailPro. Once you have supplied the base keyword (in my case it could be “SEO content writing”) it digs into the Google AdWords database and presents to you all possible keyword variations people are using. It also tells you how many people are actually using those individual keywords so that based on those numbers you can decide whether you want to put in the requisite effort or not.

It is very important that you find the right keywords before you start writing content because you will cleverly need to incorporate the keywords into your content writing.

3. Carefully study the links that are already ranking high for your chosen keywords

Study the links for SEO

Study the links for SEO

Search for your chosen keywords on Google and check out which links are already ranking higher.

Then go to these links and try to find out what is the reason Google is ranking them higher.

How have they arranged the content including text, images, and other components on the web page for blog post?

I’m not suggesting that you copy the content because it is ranking higher, but you can get some ideas from these pages about how to arrange your text and the keywords. Or even how many words and how many images to use.

Though, this alone won’t help you with better rankings because one’s rankings also depend on many external factors like how many quality incoming links the domain has, and what sort of buzz it is able to create on social media. But, it will give you some basic idea of with what you need to compete.

4. Select an appropriate person to write your content

Use an experienced and trained content writer

Use an experienced and trained content writer

Content writing for your business website is serious stuff. People will decide whether they want to do business with you or not, after reading your content.

Just imagine, missing all those business opportunities simply because you didn’t care enough about the quality and effectiveness of your content.

Tragically, I’ve seen many entrepreneurs losing their businesses because they didn’t invest in an experienced and able content writer.

Do you think people are going to do business with you just because you have setup a website and written a few things about your awesome product or service?

Well, guess what, there are hundreds of businesses like you for your prospective customers and clients to choose from, and on the Internet, it is just a matter of going from one website to another.

On your website, it’s just your written text that can convince people to do business with you. Take it very seriously.

5. Write a compelling title and description

Create optimized titles and meta descriptions

Create optimized titles and meta descriptions

A major part of your visitors will come to your website drawn by the title of your web page or blog post. The entire essence of you message is captured, and even immortalized, by your title.

Your title is as important, and in terms of getting attention and clicks on search engines and social channels, even more important, than the remaining body text.

No matter how great your body text is, if you have a very uninspiring and meaningless title, few people are going to pay attention to it.

Therefore, a big part of your SEO is affected by your title.

Make sure you use your main keyword in your title. Don’t repeat it, just use it once, preferably at the beginning.

Rand says that the “description” meta tag still matters and can affect your search engine rankings.

Many SEO experts say that the description doesn’t matter these days, but if Rand contradicts them, we should take him seriously.

Besides, it’s your meta description that shows up below your hyperlink in the search results, not just random text, so it should have some bearing on your search results.

An update about writing meta descriptions: Conventionally, you can use 160 characters when writing a meta description for your website, web page or blog post. According to the recent updates I’m getting and I have also seen it myself, Google is now allowing 360 characters for meta descriptions.

6. Strategically use the keywords within the body text

Strategically use keywords within body content

Strategically use keywords within body content

Your body text, yes, the main component of your content writing – the actual content writing.

Everything said and done, the ultimate impact is made through the main body of your web page or blog post.

Whatever you have to say, whatever you must deliver, you do it through the main body content.

The Google ranking algorithm carefully studies your body content to assess its meaningfulness.

Every message needs words, and words give meaning to what you are communicating. Without words, there is no message, there is no communication.

Keywords are the indicators that tell Google what you are writing about. If they are important, you use them more frequently than other words.

For example, if I use “content writing” multiple times in this post Google will have some idea that it is one of the main points of my write-up.

If I also mention “SEO checklist” Google may deduce that the post contains some SEO checklist for content writing, and consequently, may decide to rank this post higher when people look for some “content writing SEO checklist”, or something of that sort.

How do you use your keywords within your body text?

I generally keep in mind the following rules of thumb:

  • Use your main keywords within the first 100 words. Use them as they are, and then break them in various parts and use those parts individually.
  • Use a smattering of LSI keywords. LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. These are the keywords that are related to your primary keywords. Sometimes people mistakenly think that LSI keywords are synonyms of the primary keywords. They are not, they are related keywords, keyword that the Google algorithm thinks should be present in the vicinity of your main keywords.
  • Use your primary keywords every 200-300 words.
  • Use your keywords or their combinations within headings and subheadings – not every heading and subheading, but at least a few.
  • Use your keywords in the last paragraph.

7. Make sure your web page loads fast

Make your web pages fast loading

Make your web pages fast loading

Although this has less to do with content writing and more with the general SEO configuration of your website, while using images for your current piece of content, you can make sure that the images are optimized, and they are made as light as possible.

For more information on this you may like to read How to use images for link building.

8. Connect with influencers to spread your content

Connect with influencers

Connect with influencers

You write this great content so that the maximum number of people can benefit from it, right?

People can benefit from you content only if they can find it.

If your content enjoys higher search engine rankings and if people are actively looking for what you have published, then you can easily reach your target audience.

What if your rankings are not good yet?

What if people don’t know how valuable content you are writing and publishing?

Influencers in your niche can help you spread the word.

If you enjoy a good rapport with your industry influencers, they will gladly share your content on their social media and social networking timeliness.

They may even link to your content from their websites and blogs.

Connecting and networking with industry influencers takes time, effort, and above all, persistence.

But once you have created a solid network of industry influencers, it will be a lot easier for you to distribute your content.

My personal suggestion for writing content in 2018 and beyond

Focus on quality and purposefulness. Whenever you create a web page or a blog post, it should solve a purpose. It should have a reason to exist. It should deliver something solid.

As I’ve mentioned above, the idea of this “SEO checklist when writing content” came to me when I was watching Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday on creating an SEO checklist.

He talks from the perspective of an SEO expert in the video.

In my writeup I have mostly covered these SEO checklist points from the perspective of content writing because content writing and content marketing is what I do, and I help my clients improve their SEO with this very service.

Blurring the lines between content marketing and SEO

Blurring the lines between content marketing and SEO

Blurring the lines between content marketing and SEO

If you want to spend money, if you need to allocate budget, what do you do? Do you invest in content marketing or SEO? Or both?

Frankly, the lines between content marketing and SEO are constantly blurring and a greater number of SEO companies are focusing more on content and less on the conventional “SEO tactics”.

Read How content marketing actually improves your SEO

What is SEO these days?

After the various source code optimizations have been implemented, there is nothing much an SEO company can do on your website. After the on-site optimization process, 99% of SEO work involves getting you high-quality links.

So, conventional SEO has pretty much turned into getting you high-quality links. Of course, these companies have their own sources from which they can get you good links and if you try it on your own, it will be very difficult.

SEO also involves keyword research. An SEO expert can use various tools at his or her disposal to tell you which keywords and search terms you should target for.

Through ongoing SEO analytics, he or she will also tell you which of your keywords are performing better and which need more focus.

Content marketing and SEO are two sides of the same coin

Content marketing and SEO: two sides of the same coin

Content marketing and SEO: two sides of the same coin

A big difference between content marketing and SEO is that content marketing doesn’t always focus on search engines.

SEO, on the other hand, means “search engine optimization” so the entire essence of SEO is to improve your search engine rankings.

Content marketing gets you quality traffic from different sources. You can totally ignore search engines and still do well on the web by driving traffic from other websites, email marketing, and blogs and social media and social networking platforms.

In that sense, although SEO completely depends on content marketing, content marketing doesn’t necessarily depend on SEO. But that’s just an academic topic.

We need to be realistic.

Everybody needs search engine traffic.

In fact, 99% of our clients hire our services because they want to improve their search engine rankings.

Why they want to partner with a content marketing and content writing service rather than a full-fledged SEO company is based on the fact that more and more people are realizing that it’s primarily the content that has the greatest impact on SEO.

If, theoretically, content marketing can totally sidestep SEO, then why do I say that they are both two sides of the same coin?

Because just as SEO depends on content marketing, content marketing too has to apply the principles of SEO to be effective.

The changes in the Google algorithm in the past 5-10 years have been constantly shifting their focus on content quality and content relevance. Your search engines depend a lot on the quality of your content, and the sort of experience people have when they access your content.

Even your CTR can have an impact on your existing search engine rankings. Your current search engine rankings of your particular links can move up or down based on how many people click your search engine listings.

Further, how much time people spend on your website after finding your link on Google also has a direct impact on your future rankings.

Suppose you have good rankings now, but when people find your link, click it, go to your website, and then immediately come back to carry on with the same search, your rankings are degraded because Google takes it as an indication that you don’t have the right information for the search term your link is currently ranking for.

So, no matter what route you take, ultimately you reach content marketing.

How content marketing improves your search engine rankings

Importance of content marketing in SEO

Importance of content marketing in SEO

Let me explain it in points:

  • Google gives lots of importance to quality, relevance, and context of your content.
  • Although its ranking algorithms can analyze the keywords and phrases that you have used when writing your content, they cannot analyze the intent and the relevance of your content.
  • This is why the Google ranking algorithm depends on the human feedback that your content gets.
  • If more people share your content from their social media and social networking profiles, Google thinks that your content is valuable, useful, or relevant.
  • If more people are linking to your content, then your content must be good.
  • If, after finding your content in search results, people go to your website, stay there, and explore your website further, the Google algorithm thinks that you satisfy the search intent (why people are searching for that particular phrase?) and hence the keyword for which your content is currently ranking, is relevant, and consequently, may further improve your rankings.
  • In fact, Google attaches so much importance to the human reaction to your content that even in its Google AdWords program, if your advertisement draws more clicks, you pay less, per click.
  • The more content you publish, the more frequently Google’s crawlers crawl and index your content, sometimes featuring your content in the search results within seconds.
  • If you publish your content using multiple platforms (guest posts, social media and social networking updates, news websites, other niche websites and portals) it becomes easier for Google to find your link and through that, reach your website.

I have used “Google” for every search engine.

You can see that for every SEO aspect, you need content.

Not just content, you need to market that content. You need to make sure that people are able to find your content, and not just find it, but, react to your content.

In some way it should change people’s behavior, only then Google thinks it’s good quality content.

SEO principles, when you fully apply them, make you implement a good content marketing strategy.

Content marketing principles, when you fully apply them, make you implement good SEO strategy.

What do you rely on then, content marketing or SEO?

What to use? Content marketing or SEO?

What to use? Content marketing or SEO?

I’m not advising you to pick one thing in favor of the other, but by the end of the day, if you have your content marketing strategy in order, your SEO is automatically taken care of.

Follow the fundamental SEO rules of thumb when creating and distributing content:

  • Creatively use your keywords and targeted search terms in the title of your web page or blog post.
  • Use your keywords and targeted search terms within the first 100 words of the body text.
  • Use your keywords and targeted search terms after every 150-200 words, as exact expression or as individual parts (for example, “content marketing”, and then somewhere “content” and somewhere, “marketing”).
  • Once or twice use your keywords within headings and subheadings – <h2> or <h3> tags (the <h1> tag should be used just once, for the main heading of your web page or blog post).
  • At least once, use your keywords within the hypertext, linking to another relevant and related blog post or web page, from within the body content of your current blog post or web page.
  • Try to use an image after every 300-400 words.
  • Try to make every web page or blog post at least 1100 words.
  • Use your keywords in the last 100 words.

All these steps are within your hand. You are in total control. You can keep these tips in mind and implement them when you are writing or creating content for your website or blog.

After you have created optimized content, you need to market it, distribute using all the available channels.

You can use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ to showcase your content in front of your followers and friends.

You can use your mailing list to send an update to your subscribers that you have published new content or when you have updated your existing content.

You can repurpose your existing content by creating slides, PDFs, videos and infographics, and short-form social media updates.

Also network with your other industry influencers so that they can easily discovered your good quality content and share it on their own timelines and even from their own blogs.

When you follow these fundamental content marketing steps, your search engine rankings automatically improve, and you don’t have to do your SEO separately.

How to double or triple your traffic by using long tail keywords in content writing?

Increase traffic with long tail keywords

Do you know what are long tail keywords? How can you use them, incorporate them, into your content writing? What are the benefits of using long tail keywords when writing content for your website or blog?

In terms of improving your SEO, the concept of long tail keywords isn’t something new. It has been around for many years, but you come to know of it only when you do some careful reading, some persistent reading.

What are long tail keywords?

The phrase “long tail keywords” originates from the dragon-like long tail the traffic graph of long tail keywords generates.

Long tail keywords are those keywords that are low competition, that is, not many people are searching for them, but if some people are searching for them, and if you have optimized your web page or blog post for those long tail keywords, your link can be found by them easily.

To understand better, look at the image given below:

Long tail SEO benefits explained

As you can understand, it would be very difficult for me to rank for the phrase “content marketing”. Aside from the fact that it makes no sense to optimize for this particular phrase for me right now simply because no intent can be attributed to the phrase “content marketing”, since thousands of people are already ranking above me, it wouldn’t be worth it for me to spend so much effort trying to rank higher for it.

Although this keyword or phrase is very competitive and may generate lots of traffic for websites ranking high for this keyword, in terms of competition and conversion, it has no value for me.

“Content marketing for my website” on the other hand is a clearly-defined phrase that I would like to rank higher for. A person who wants to use content marketing to promote his or her website should be able to find my website.

But again, it is a highly competitive phrase, though, it can be termed as, by definition, a long tail keyword because it contains more than three words.

Still, thousands of businesses might be looking for “content marketing for my website” because, well, one, almost every business these days has a website, and two, almost every business wants to promote itself some way or the other, and among these businesses, who are aware of the concept, would like to use content marketing to promote themselves.

Now we come to “content marketing for my web design website”. It’s an out and out long tail keyword because fewer people (compared to the two phrases described above) are searching for it and hence, it is not as competitive as the keywords mentioned above.

So, it is easier to rank higher for this phrase and since it is easier to rank higher, even if fewer people are searching for it, it can generate decent traffic.

This example can be applied to any business.

Suppose you sell “handwoven socks” from your website. Although it is a very attractive keyword or key phrase, thousands of people might be searching for “handwoven socks”. On the other hand, if you try to rank for “handwoven socks for babies” or “blue handwoven socks with white pattern” it will be easier to rank higher and get very specific traffic with greater conversion rate.

Such keywords or phrases are called long tail keywords; they are normally 3-4-5 words long and are very specific.

Why you can ill afford to ignore long tail keywords

Long tail keywords are also important because most of your traffic is already coming, or is going to come, from mobile devices. On mobile devices, since search is supported by voice, people tend to use phrases or common sentences to search for information.

Long tail keywords are important for mobile search

There is a greater possibility of someone searching for “content writing service for my boutique website” then “content writing service”.

So, it is better to optimize for search terms and keywords your prospective customers and clients are actually using.

Another big reason is, the more specific the search is, the greater is the chance of the person buying from you.

This is where “intent” comes in.

If someone is searching for “content marketing” you never know what she is looking for.

Does she want to learn about content marketing? Does she want to find websites on content marketing? Is she a journalist writing an article? Maybe she is looking for books, articles and blog posts on content marketing? You can never be sure.

Even if someone is searching for “content marketing for my business” you cannot be sure whether she is looking to hire someone, or she wants to do it on her own.

“Content marketing service for my business” is more targeted and it means someone is looking for a content marketing service for her business.

“Content marketing service for my interior design website” is even more targeted. You know precisely what she is looking for.

Targeting for long tail keywords gives you an edge because it sends you highly targeted traffic that in turn, improves your conversion rate.

How to improve your SEO and double, or even triple your traffic with long tail keywords

As I have already explained above, since long tail keywords are less competitive in terms of SEO and may attract even less traffic, since they are more targeted, they enjoy better conversion rate and easy, higher search engine rankings.

You can either use common sense to create a list of long tail keywords pertaining to your business, industry or profession, or you can use something like LongtailPro (disclaimer: affiliate link) to find the long tail keywords in your niche.

With LongtailPro, you can enter a “seed” keyword and based on that, the app will suggest all the combinations that you can optimize your content for.

A good thing about LongtailPro is that along with giving you all the possible suggestions, it also shows you how competitive a particular phrase is for your website, specifically, and how many queries are done using the phrase for the long tail keyword.

If you don’t want to use LongtailPro, you can also use the Google AdWords tool. Just be wary, since Google would like you to bid on maximum number of keywords and phrases, it throws at you all sorts of keyword combinations that may confuse you. It is better to use the tool to get the ideas but eventually, create your own list, manually.

Remember that the amount of search engine traffic that you get is not important, what is important is, how many people do business with you. For that, you need to target very specific keywords and search terms.

Once you have created the list, start creating content around those long tail keywords.

The best thing to do is, create a web page or blog post with the title having your long tail keyword. For example, I can have something like “How to use long tail keywords for content marketing?” or “how my content writing service can help your restaurant website?”

If you have a TV shop in Lajpat Nagar it doesn’t make any sense trying to optimize for “Sony TV”.

On the other hand, you should optimize for “TV shop in Lajpat Nagar” or better, “Sony TV shop in Lajpat Nagar”, or even better, “Leco Sony TV Lajpat Nagar”, because this is how people search when they really want to buy.

Below I’m summing up how and why optimizing for long tail keywords can improve your search engine rankings as well as conversion rate:

  • Long tail keywords are less competitive in terms of SEO and hence, you can easily rank higher for them
  • Since you can easily rank higher for them, even if fewer people are searching for them, they will come to your website
  • Since search terms for long tail keywords are very specific, the traffic generated through these keywords have a clearly-defined intent and this is why, they enjoy a greater conversion rate

In fact, while writing content for my clients, I have experienced that writing content for long tail keywords is a lot easier than writing content for generic, high competition keywords because, since long tail keywords use logical phrases, it is easier to write conversational, engaging content for them.

This is how you use your blog to improve your SEO

Publish a blog to improve your SEO

Content marketers and SEO experts often advise you to start publishing a business blog. Even on my blog I have often written about the benefits of regularly publishing a business blog.

Although publishing a blog can seem like a daunting task, especially considering the prospect of having to write quality content regularly, you can use your blog to tremendously improve your SEO.

Actually, for many years people have already known that if you regularly blog, it is good for your SEO.

Why is a blog good for your SEO?

It is the very nature of the blog that is preferred by the search engine ranking algorithms.

What do search engines like?

They like to crawl and index lots of fresh content.

On your blog, provided you update it with new content regularly, the search engines (let’s say Google for clarity’s sake) get to crawl new content repeatedly.

Every blog has a theme, preferably. For example, my this blog deals with content writing and content marketing.

Since almost all the blog posts are about content writing and content marketing on my blog (blogging is a very important component of content marketing), Google deems it as an authority place for these topics.

There is a greater density of keywords pertaining to my profession on this blog.

Suits Google’s ranking algorithm.

On majority of blogs the home page is simply a collection of the most recent blog posts, arranged time-stamp-wise descending order with the latest blog post appearing at the top.

So, the home page is constantly updating, the side bar is constantly updating, the new blog posts are constantly being added, new images are constantly being added. It’s a never-ending party for Google crawlers.

Even the structure of blog posts is by details search engine friendly. The title appears within the <h1> tag in most of the cases. There is meta data to give extra information to the search engine crawlers.

Hence, an averagely updated blog is anyway search engine friendly.

Does having a blog automatically improve your SEO?

more lead generation with blogging

Data Source

Something, is always better than nothing

Even if the SEO benefit is not apparent, just by existing, your blog improves your SEO.

The benefit doesn’t bring you much profit because it has to compete with other blogs in your business.

If I don’t see any improvements in my search engine rankings even when I blog regularly, it’s because there is too much competition in my field. There are some established content writing and content marketing blogs that are miles ahead of my blog.

So even if my SEO is improving, I’m constantly being pushed behind by more prominent blogs.

This is true for every niche that has competition.

If you blog regularly and still your SEO doesn’t improve it doesn’t mean it actually isn’t improving, it’s just that your competitors are undoing your effort by being better than you.

So, does it mean there is no use trying to improve your SEO with your blog.

This recent Search Engine Land blog post explains what changes you can make to your blog to get an SEO edge over your competitors.

Using your blog to improve your SEO

As I’ve explained above, the very nature and structure of a blog is such that search engines prefer them over regular websites.

But, since all the blogs are by default SEO friendly (unless you’ve chosen a really terrible theme or template), even your competitors’ blogs must be optimized.

So how do you make your blog more SEO friendly.

These are some of the things you can do to improve your blog SEO, according to the above SEL post…

Name your blog appropriately

What does appropriately mean? The post above says create a compelling name, but I would add that create an appropriate name.

It means try to have your main keyword in the title of your blog.

For example, the title of my blog is “Credible Content Blog”

If you want to add some more spice (you’ve got 70 characters to play with) you can add more words.

The page <title> tag of the home page of my blog is “No-Clutter Content Marketing and Content Writing Advice – Credible Content Blog”.

Of course, you can be more creative, and there is nothing wrong in being more adventurous.

Just keep in mind that when someone comes across the title of your blog somewhere (assuming you are not a well-known brand like Samsung or Accenture) he or she should immediately be able to know what it is about.

The above SEL post suggests you keep the following pointers in mind while coming up with the title of your blog:

  • What is the overarching theme of the blog?
  • What would be a compelling description in my industry?
  • Can I incorporate important SEO keywords in the blog’s title or name?
  • Specifically, whom am I trying to reach?

Target on narrow audience with every post

When you focus on a narrow audience it is easier to optimize your keyword targeting.

Every business has different narrow sections.

In this blog post I’m targeting people and businesses interested in using a blog for SEO.

This is very easy. Before creating a new blog post, always have the intention in your mind.

What do you want to convey?

What particular problem you should solve?

Who would be best served by this upcoming blog post?

This can be done by focusing on just a single topic.

If you want to publish your blog posts in question-answer format, answer every question in a separate, dedicated blog post.

Don’t try to handle multiple questions in a single blog post because this dilutes the focus of your blog post, which is not good for your SEO.

Follow an SEO-friendly URL structure

Well, this is something I need to pay close attention to because I normally tend to use the default URL that is generated by my WordPress setting. My URLs are normally very long, which is not good.

If you are using WordPress to manage your blog, it is a given that we don’t use its default URL structure which is something like yourblog.com/?p=48.

Normally the words contained within the title of your blog post are concatenated into a string and a URL is generated.

If your blog post titles are shorter and to the point, the URLs can be used as they are, but if your blog post titles are very long and contain lots of words, it is always prudent to shorten your URLs.

For example, when I publish this blog post, the default URL generated by WordPress is going to be /this-is-how-you-use-your-blog-to-improve-your-seo/, which is not very SEO-friendly.

On the other hand, if my blog post URL is something like /how-use-blog-improve-seo/ it is shorter, and it uses all the main keywords of the blog post.

If you use WordPress, there is a plug-in that automatically takes care of this issue.

Optimize your blog post content continuously

There are two ways of doing this: take care of all the optimization issues when you are publishing your blog post for the first time, and then, revisit your blog post whenever you get a chance and see if it can be optimized further.

The initial optimization steps can be like

  • Use your main keyword or search term in the first 100 words of your blog post content.
  • Make sure your main keyword is present in the title of your blog post, preferably in the beginning.
  • Use your keywords and their variations every 100-150 words (don’t over use your keywords because this will invite SEO penalty).
  • Use multiple optimized images. Normally there is a tendency to use just one image in the beginning as featured image. But, if your blog post is 1200 words long use at least 4-5 images. I don’t do it myself, but ideally there should be an image after every 300 words.
  • Write longer blog posts. Longer blog posts are considered good for SEO because they are difficult to write. You can have more information on a particular topic. You can use your keywords and search terms more often when you write longer blog posts. Even Google thinks that longer blog posts are better than shorter blog posts. The ideal length these days is 1200-1500 words.

How do you optimize your blog post after you have published it?

Keep checking its rankings every week. If it doesn’t show up in search, you need to optimize it further.

You can use the SEOPressor WordPress plug-in to analyze your blog post. It tells you whether you have under-optimized or over-optimized your blog post – both are bad for your SEO.

In this blog post titled Should you always be writing optimized content to improve SEO? I have talked more about the SEOPressor WordPress plug-in.

Another way of improving SEO of individual blog posts is by turning selected blog posts into “pillar posts”. You may like to read What are topic clusters and pillar pages and how they improve your SEO?

Cover your individual keywords and search phrases by dedicated blog posts

One of the greatest SEO benefits of publishing a blog is that you can write blog posts on keywords and search phrases that you haven’t been able to cover on your main website.

It would seem off-topic if I try to explain how to use your blog to improve your SEO within my main website because on the main website I mostly talking about my services and how I can serve well my clients’ interests.

The feel and the language of the main website is different from your blog. On your blog you can be more conversational and informal and it is easier to talk about related or slightly related issues.

Use optimized images and videos for better SEO

As you publish more and more, your blog posts are going to be a mix of images and videos.

Do you know Google prefers lighter images? I recently read in a blog post (I can’t find it right now) that Google probably prefers PNG files to JPG files. Ever since then I have started using PNG files.

A good thing about using PNG files is that by little tweaking you can considerably reduce their size without compromising on visual quality.

You can optimize images and videos by supplying appropriate text around the images and videos.

You must already know that whenever you use an image you need to use the ALT tag to supply the alternative text for the image.

The text that you write around the image is also taken as an indication of what the image represents and this information is used when the image is shown in the image search engine result pages. The same holds good for videos.

Use proper markup for your blog posts

Markup gives extra information to the search engines which helps them rank your blog posts accordingly.

Markup is just like the old HTML tags that contain specific information like <title> and <meta name=”description” content=”” />.

Markup is just the extra information that helps search engines like Google know more about the nature of your content.

I will give you a simple example of how your markup information can help Google decide whether to show your content or not…

Suppose you create a blog post titled “Review of The Godfather”.

In the “genre” markup tag you can mention whether it is the “Movie” or the “Book” you are talking about.

Here is a nice explanation of what is schema markup and what is the benefit of using it.

If you’re not very comfortable with the intricacies of the source code, I will again refer to the WordPress plug-in SEOPressor that allows you to enter markup information.

Promote your blog posts on social media and social working platforms

This may not seem like specifically using your blog to improve your SEO, but it is.

Although the search engine crawlers, especially Google crawlers, may start crawling and indexing your content sooner or later if you persistently publish new content, you will start getting SEO benefits faster if you promote your content aggressively.

Recently, CognitiveSEO has published a very big study on how various social signals can boost your SEO.

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Your social media and social networking profiles are ready-made platforms for you.

Use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to promote your new links.

In fact, it is rumored that by merely posting your content on Google+ you can have a positive impact on your search rankings.

To improve your SEO you need backlinks. People should link to your content voluntarily, but for that, they should be able to discover your content.

Since most of the influencers are on social media these days it is easier to put your content in front of them rather than leaving everything on serendipity.

Many clients approach me to get content to improve their SEO. Sometimes they want to use content marketing solely for its SEO benefits.

I don’t appreciate the approach but it is definitely better than doing nothing. It’s after all fresh and relevant content that keeps you ahead of your competitors in search engines.

But if you are really interested in improving your search engine rankings and you don’t want to get embroiled in some “SEO tactics”, publishing a regular blog is the best way of doing it.

Search engines love blogs. Blogs have focused, targeted information. They are centered around specific keywords and themes. The content is organized in such a manner that it makes total sense to search engine algorithms.

If you don’t have a blog, start one now, and if you have it but it has so far remained in doldrums, dust it off and give it a nice push. Let me know if I can help in any manner.