SEO Basics for Writing Articles
SEO Basics for writing articles is a great skill to hone if you want to do this yourself. I remember when I built my first website around 15 years ago (possibly longer because Google wasn’t even around), I was excited to have the prospect of a business online 24/7 where everyone could find me.
I publish my website using frontage, and I was in business, and the number of visitors I had was unbelievable! It was zero!, that’s right, it’s not a typo, I had nil, nothing, nada, zilch!
So what better vision to have than to index the internet and thanks to Google, we now have a fighting chance of being found, and search engines enable us to compete with the big budget of a corporate.
If you get your on-page SEO Basics right, you will not have to spend a penny on online advertising so that it will come down to knowledge, skill and the right content and that makes us all equal. I will take longer to get your SEO Basics right, but you will get better results over the longer term.
For example, if you’re getting your leads from online advertising and stop paying for advertising, your leads will stop. Good onsite SEO will help create regular visitors without the direct cost of advertising.
What are the SEO Basics you need to get right?
- Research and target the correct Keywords
- Your article heading must have your keywords in it
- Make sure your URL has your keywords in it
- Your written content needs to have your keywords
- Your meta description has your keywords in it
- Have at least one image with your keywords in the ALT tag
You need to decide what keywords you are going to target. So let me explain what Keywords are. Keywords are pretty much core to getting your SEO basics right.
It could be a word, a few words or little longer like a key phrase, there are some subtleties around phrases, but for this article, I will keep things simple. Here are two examples of Keywords which could be two words such as life insurance or you could target a key phrase such as best life insurance broker in New Zealand.
The first thing I do is find a keyword or phrase that is not too competitive, but one which is being searched on Google enough times that it will create traffic/visitors to your website. To learn about keyword research and free keyword tools, you could use Google Keyword Planner
Your article heading needs to have your keywords in it, it’s pretty simple, so take a look at this article. Try to use heading as if you were speaking to someone in a natural language.
Make sure your URL has your keywords.
If you use blogging software such as WordPress, then this is pretty easy to do. Take a look at the screenshot below so you can see what I mean about making sure your URL (the full website address which shows in your web browser address bar) has your keywords in it. In this case, the article keywords were “life income cover.”
Write content with your keywords in mind.
You need to write at least 300 words for Google to recognise it as credible enough content. If you can write over 1000 words, then Google see the article as being Authoritative, and you will jump in the rankings. I will keep the topic for building Authoritative sites for another time, and we will stick to SEO basics for now.
Do not just stuff keywords into paragraphs because it will backfire on you because this is keyword stuffing and Google and other search engines will penalise you and your site. Keyword stuffing is using your keywords too much, and your content is not making any sense.
There is such a thing the Flesch–Kincaid readability test which determines how easy your content is to read. You get the message; your content needs to be well written and have the correct keyword density.
Keyword density should be at least 1% which is one keyword/phrase for every 100 words of written copy. However, some think it should be higher than this and up to 3%, but it should be at least 1%, and I think the longer your article you should head to the higher percentage of keyword density.
Your metadata must have your keywords
Your metadata is an essential part of getting your SEO basics right. Your metadata is a brief description of what your content is, and it is a maximum of 160 characters. It is what people see when their search results are displayed.
Take a look at the screenshot provided by a Google search for best widgets. How you create that metadata will depend on what platform/software you use to write your content, so you will need to investigate how your software does this.
By default, Google will look at the first 160 characters on your web page, but quite often you want to tweak your metadata to improve your search engine results.
In the image below, the yellow highlighted words are the words I searched for in Google, the red rectangle is the Meta Data from the web page and the yellow rectangle is the URL.
Notice in search result #15 the words I searched for Best Widgets shows in all three areas;
● The title.
● The Meta Description
● The URL
Have an image with an ALT tag
In every article, you should have an image with an ALT tag. What is an alt tag? ALT means alternate, so it is alternate text which you should add to the image, so search engines know what the image is. Search engines are intelligent, but not smart enough yet to know what your image is about (Yes!) so the ALT tag tells the search engines what your image is.
I am using WordPress so in the image below, I can add an ALT tag to the image and the ALT tag, in this case, is SEO Basics.
No one gets to see the tag; it just resides in the background code. So don’t add the word ALT to the images itself. Notice in the image above that my alt tag is SEO Basics which is the keyword/phrase I am targeting by writing this article.
If you need help with writing content or want to get your adviser website, contact us and we will be happy to talk to you.