So, I’ve seen many people claiming they can write a search engine optimized article. I have contracted some of these persons only to find out that just a few of them can write good articles close to being ‘search engine optimized’, whereas a good number of them can’t even churn up a readable content not to talk of coming up with a search engine optimized article. I’m not so sure if they know the full meaning of SEO… that’s by the way though.
My main reason for writing this article out of my tight schedule is to help all writers/bloggers with the best practices of SEO. Ordinarily, some people will put up this info for sale as an eBook, but I’m sharing it to us without charge.
To begin with, you should know that if you claim to be a writer, but you don’t make use of Grammarly, then you need to stop writing ASAP! I have received so many annoying contents from writers that one will wonder if the content is written by a human.
Many people don’t read the content they claimed they wrote, they just copy from different websites, put them together, move straight to the spinner tool, spin and send to their client. If you do such a thing then I advise you to stop writing immediately or register for a course on content writing.
That been said, find below the list that needs to be ticked, all of it, for your article, to be qualified as search engine optimized.
1. Outbound links: In simple words, outbound links are links from your content that directs to another webpage outside of your website. For example, if you’re writing an article for nairaland.com, you can link a person let’s say Seun Osewa profile on Wikipedia. In essence, when someone clicks on the name ‘Seun Osewa’, it will take them to Seun Osewa’s page on Wikipedia.
2. Internal links: Internal link is almost the same as outbound links. The only difference is that when someone clicks on ‘Seun Osewa’ (using the above example), it will take them to another page on the same website, nairaland.
3. Set a keyphrase: If you’ve heard of keyword, eventually, you should know what a keyphrase is. For your content to be search engine optimized, you should have a focused keyword or keyphrase. For this article, my focus keyphrase is “search engine optimized article”. I could have used Search engine optimization, but that would give me a 0.1% chance of ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs). This is another broad topic on its own, so my take home from this point is, use a long-tail keyphrase, like four words.
4. Keyphrase length: Using longer focus keyphrases will automatically optimize your post for the long-tail. The longer your keyphrase is, the fewer competitors you’ll have.
5. Keyphrase in introduction: Whenever I receive an article from freelancers, the first thing I look at is if my focus keyphrase appeared in the first paragraph. With this alone, I qualify or disqualify you as a search engine optimized article writer.
6. Image alt attributes: If you are going to write a search engine optimized article, then you have at least one image in your article. Regardless of whether your client’s requests for it or not, to prove your worth, always add an image in your article and as well providing the alt attribute. The alt attribute is mainly used for image SEO. Hence, for a musician image attached in my post, I will an alt attribute “image of a musician-focus keyphrase”. If I have up to 10 images in my post, I’ll add the focus keyphrase in at least 4 of the 10 image attributes. Don’t add it in all of them, 40% is good practice
7. Text length: For your content to rank better on the search engine, then you should have a text length of above 1000 words. In as much as this may seem small or big, some people believe having up to 3000 words per article is the real deal.
8. SEO title width: Your SEO title width must be H1 if you are so hungry to rank better on Google. Most CMS like WordPress, SMF machines, blog platforms like blogger, have this automatically set. So, if your blog is running on any of these platforms, lucky you, you have nothing to worry about on this.
9. Keyphrase in subheading: If you can, have your keyphrase in up to 60% of your sub-headings. However, this is not as important as it can be overlooked. Yeah, whoever uses Yoast SEO can confirm this.
10. Keyphrase density: Your focus keyphrase should appear at least five times within your content, but that does not mean you should use them improperly.
11. Keyphrase distribution: While it is a good SEO practice to have a good number of your focus keyphrase in your content, packing them in one particular part of your content should be avoided. You should be able to spread your focus keyphrase evenly in your content.
12. Subheading distribution: A section of your content should not be longer than 300 words. Instead, separate them with sub-headings.
13. Transition words: Make use of transition words always. However, this should not be to the detriment of your content reading ease. You should have up to 40% or more of transition words in an article. For examples of transition keywords, check this threadhttps://www.nairaland.com/5129903/examples-transition-words-spice-up
14. Reading Ease: Your content should be easy to read as well as flow naturally. Avoid using big grammar.
15. Passive voice: There should be at least less than 10% passive voice in your sentence. Writing in active voice makes you writing much stronger.
16. Consecutive sentences: Avoid starting consecutive sentences with the same word.
17. Paragraph length: Your paragraphs should not be too long, make it as simple as possible.
18. Sentence length: Try and make your sentence as simple as possible, avoid using long sentences.
If you can abide by the above, your clients will always come back for more and you won’t be the one begging for writing jobs. Also, you’ll have your fixed price, as you now know your worth. The truth is that no one can be perfect, but at least try to be able to come up with something close to perfection.
If you are a WordPress blogger, make sure you are using Yoast SEO premium. If you can’t afford the premium package, use the free one. Or visit my blog to see how you can get one.
May I also say that search engine optimization is a dynamic one; make sure you study online to keep up with the latest practices.
I hope this helps someone.