Tag Archives: seo content writing

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.

Why I’m recommending LongtailPro to my clients

LongtailPro logo

During the past couple of weeks I’ve been promoting the keyword analysis tool LongtailPro to my clients.

One of my clients suggested that since I’m recommending the link, why don’t I check if they have an affiliate program? If I sign up for that, he would rather subscribe to the service through my LongtailPro affiliate link.

They have an affiliate program. I joined and my client joined LongtailPro through my link.

LongtailPro is one of the first keyword analysis tools I’ve ever used, so may be that’s why I’m all excited about it, but I can see that information it gives you really helps.

As the name suggests, LongtailPro is to be used for analyzing long tail keywords.

It doesn’t just help you find long tail keywords you should optimize your content for, it also tells you whether it’s worth your effort or not.

Before you start creating optimized content for your website or blog, your competitors may have already gotten their links indexed and ranked and it might be very difficult to get good ranking for those keywords.

So, what do you do?

It tells you what low competition alternatives you should try for.

Once you have submitted your URL and the associated keywords it assigns a keyword competitiveness number to your website and individual keywords.

If the keyboard competitiveness of your keyword is less than or equal to 30 then it is considered a less comparative keyword, which further means that it is easier to rank for that keyword.

LongtailPro data chart

As the number moves up it is more difficult to rank at the moment and it won’t be productive to focus your energy and resources on those keywords.

Then, as more and more of your content begins to appear for less competitive keywords in the search engine result pages, your keyword competitiveness improves and you can begin to target more competitive keywords.

It uses the search engine data from Google and the AdWords keyword analysis tool to suggest further long tail keywords from your individual keywords.

That is, when you supply the software with your seed keyword (mine, for example, is “content writing services”) it takes out all the combinations of various search terms people use related to this seed keyword.

For me, the best use of LongtailPro is that it tracks the rankings of my various keywords in real time and it gives me a long list of less competitive keywords to work on for the time being.

It updates this data every 16-20 hours.

Whether you are tracking 2 keywords, 20 keywords or 120 keywords, you can check every day how your website is ranking for those keywords. Manually, it would be a herculean task.

It also tells you how much traffic individual keywords are drawing.

There are many keyword analysis and tracking tools available and I am pretty sure they are great.

I have started using LongtailPro because for the time being it is giving me the data that I need to optimize for various keywords.

Also, I feel it is not overpriced.

Initially you can go for the monthly subscription package so that if you don’t like it you can unsubscribe after a month.

They also have a free trial but right now, at the time of writing this, some Black Friday promotional campaign is going on so I couldn’t find information on the trial period but they do provide it.

As a content writer and a content marketer I also like the way they use educational content to make sure people are able to use their keyword analysis tool properly.

Many people stop using a tool because they cannot make out how to optimally use it. They don’t get the desired results and after a while, they lose interest, despite the fact that the features they need are right there.

LongtailPro has lots of YouTube videos and blog posts explaining how you can find low-competition keywords for your niche and start optimizing your website.

They are continuously sending you emails prompting you to make use of their tool and increase your search engine rankings.

I think this is a good post-sale content marketing example. Recently I wrote The benefits of writing content for existing customers.

Here is my link if you want to sign up for LongtailPro.


What is the importance of keywords in SEO content writing?

Importance of keywords in SEO content writing

What is SEO content writing and how critical it is that you know how to incorporate your primary, secondary and long tail keywords into your overall writing process?

SEO content writing means writing in such a manner that it’s very easy for search engine crawlers to access your content and make sense of it.

Why is it important that the search engine algorithms should be able to make sense of your content writing?

It is because if they cannot make sense of your content, they won’t be able to rank it for the appropriate keywords.

When you are writing SEO content you keep in mind the phrases, the search terms and the keywords people may use, to be able to find your website or one of its links, and then you create content using those phrases, search terms and keywords.

SEO content writing in no way means mindlessly using your keywords. These days, the quality and the relevance of your content is as important, and sometimes even more important, than your ability to use your keywords.

The importance of keywords in SEO content writing

Ever since the advent of search engines and it became important to get good search engine rankings, the importance of keywords to improve your SEO always invites heated discussions.

Content marketing and SEO have been combined. SEO content marketing has evolved into a branch in itself.

There was a time when keywords were important. Okay, they are still important, but there are also a zillion of other factors that are important for your SEO.

Keywords importance

Those factors are beyond the scope of this post because here I’m just focusing on the importance of keywords in SEO content writing.

Read 10 fundamental qualities of effective SEO content writing.

With so many changes occurring in Google’s ranking algorithms, do keywords still matter?

To understand this, you need to understand what are keywords.

Keywords may sound important and even intimidating when you feel that they can have a big impact on your search engine rankings and then these search engine rankings can have a big impact on your business, but they are not as intimidating as they seem.

Keywords are basically the search terms people use so that they can find your business (not particularly your business but something of that sort).

These keywords can have just a single word, a couple of words, a small phrase, a complete sentence, or a question.

Would you like to get better rankings for “where can I find handmade table napkins” or “handmade table napkins”?

The person using the first search term actually wants to find handmade table napkins.

The person using the second search term may be looking for handmade table napkins, but he or she may also be looking for just some sort of information on handmade table napkins.

You may target both the search terms but for you, if you are selling handmade table napkins, the first search term is more important.

So, how do you target the search term, or the keyword or, the longtail keyword “where can I find handmade table napkins”?

This is called optimization.

This is where the importance of keywords in SEO content writing arises.

To get targeted traffic you have to use the right language. In the above example, “where can I find” and “handmade table napkins” are very important parts of your main keyword if you are selling handmade table napkins.

Your text must suggest that your web page will tell the search engine user that yours is the place where he or she can find handmade table napkins.

Your keywords are like the building blocks. They help you stay focused when you are writing content, especially content that needs to rank higher on search engines.

Consider the above example again. You know what keyword to be found for.

So, when you are writing SEO content for this particular search term you know that you don’t want to write about the technique of making handmade table napkins or what are the benefits of using handmade table napkins.

Although you can touch upon these issues, your primary concern is telling the search engine users that they can find handmade table napkins on your website when they want to know where they can find them.

Should you over-obsess over your keywords?

Keywords are important but let them not dominate the way you write your content.

Focus on providing the right answers to the right questions.

When you provide the right answers, you are automatically using the keywords or the search terms being used by your prospective customers and clients.

I want to draw people to my website who are looking for a content writer or a content writing service.

So, if I write and publish content about “need a content writer”, or “looking for a content writer” there is a small chance that I will be focusing on “how to become a better content writer”.

This is because I’m not selling educational material on how to become a better content writer; I’m selling my content writing services.

Even such small changes can make a big difference.

How can you avoid such costly mistakes?

You can avoid such costly mistakes, again, by focusing on the questions and search terms people may use when searching for your services, rather than obsessing over your keywords.

Remember that your prospective customers and clients may use a totally different language for your business than what you use.

Yes, it is important to prepare a list of your target keywords and search terms, but once you have created the list, focus more on solving problems rather than covering all the keywords.

I always suggest my clients that when they focus on solving problems they automatically cover their important keywords.

How to use keywords when doing SEO content writing

keywords and SEO content writing

Keywords are important in SEO content writing. The search engine algorithms look for your keywords at certain locations of your web page or blog post.

Although these laws are not written in stone, SEO experts and experienced content marketers suggest that you use your keywords

  • In the beginning of your web page or blog post title
  • Within the first 100 words of the body text
  • Once every 200 words
  • Within H1, H2 and H3 tags at least once
  • In the last paragraph

As I have written above, your rankings may depend on many external factors, so you don’t necessarily need to adhere to these guidelines regarding where to put your keywords while doing SEO content writing, these are better practices to follow.

If you are targeting a longer phrase, it isn’t necessary that you always have to use the complete phrase. Use the complete phrase, if it is possible, within the title and then a couple of times within the body text.

After that, you can use the various parts of the phrase, creatively, in different ways.

For example, if I want to optimize for “SEO content writing services” I can use the exact phrase in the title and a few times within the body text and then at various places I can use individual words “SEO”, “content writing” and “services”.

There is always a danger of over-optimizing so always be careful of overusing your keywords.

Overusing your keywords can be more damaging than not using them at all.

The importance of keywords in SEO content writing is going to prevail for many more years not because there is no other way but to rely on this, the so-called “outdated strategy”, it’s just that, using them makes perfect sense. This is how you speak. The keywords are a part of your language. They are always going to be important.

Should you always be writing optimized content to improve SEO?


You publish content on your website or blog for a reason, right?

Out of scores of reasons, one of the biggest reasons why people want to publish content regularly on their websites and blogs is to improve their SEO.

Many SEO experts and content marketers suggest that never publish a piece of content without optimizing it for search engines.

Here, I’m assuming that when they say “optimizing” they don’t mean needlessly stuffing your blog posts and web pages with keywords.

What they mean to say is, make sure that you publish something, you target your effort in such a manner, that it helps to improve your SEO.

There are some great tools available that can help you search-engine-optimize your content.

For example, if you manage your website and blog with WordPress, you may be using one of the SEO plug-ins. I use SEOPressor. People also use Yoast SEO and All-In-One-SEO.

They are great tools to help you publish posts that are optimized for your chosen keywords.

A great thing that I like about SEOPressor is that it helps you see if you are over-optimizing your content.

Since I don’t intentionally overuse my keywords, when I use them, it is unintentional.

Sometimes, just in the flow, I tend to use the same expression again and again, mostly to sound lyrical.

This optimizes my content and consequently, my SEO suffers.

SEOPressor tells me when I have used the keywords more times than necessary.

But this small post is not about optimizing or over-optimizing for better SEO; this post is about not getting bogged down by the fact that you have to optimize every web page and blog post just because you have got tools with you that help you optimize.

For example, the SEOPressor tells you whether the web page on the blog post you are working on is well-optimized or not. If it is well optimized, you see this nice green response:

SEOPressor screenshot

The problem here is (it has nothing to do with SEOPressor) that sometimes one tends to get psychologically bogged down by the fact that, that icon has to turn green. The entire focus is shifted on optimizing the web page instead of delivering the message.

Optimization is needed.

If you want to draw targeted traffic from search engines, there is no other option but to optimize your individual web pages and blog posts.

But you don’t need to obsess. You shouldn’t let your need to optimize every possible web page and blog post stop you from expressing yourself.

Optimize when you really want to, need to, optimize, but otherwise, let yourself be free.

Don’t dilute your content by writing about everything under the sun – stick to your core competency (in my case it is content writing and content marketing) – but sometimes if you don’t want to pay attention to the optimization aspect, don’t.

You don’t always have to write more than 1500 words.

You don’t always have to use your keywords within the first 100 words in the last paragraph.

No need to always worry about keyword density.

No need to worry about an optimized title.

Just write and publish.

This is very important for you as a professional and a professional who promotes himself or herself through his or her writing.

Your writing begins to get stunted when you focus more on optimization and less on your core message.

Again, yes, optimization is necessary and unavoidable but keep it a mix of free flow and optimized content.

Let it be like, in every 10 web pages and blog posts, don’t bother for optimization for 2-3.

Remember that what is important is that you publish regularly.

Don’t feel discouraged that right now you cannot come up with a completely optimized web page or blog post.

Publishing something is always better than publishing nothing.