If you create content for your website, you most likely wonder:
How do I get my blog to rank higher on Google?
Then you are in the right place. In this article, we explain how to create SEO-friendly blog posts and get your website on the first page of Google.
Actually, we have been following exactly the same SEO tips. As a result, our blog posts rank high on Google and outperform many competitors.
1. Find niche topics (and relevant keywords)
What kind of article would you be more interested to read:
Digital marketing tips
How to use digital marketing to grow sales in B2B?
Most likely you would choose the second option. That’s why it’s important to identify niche topics in your field and create content around it. In this case, the niche topic would be how to grow sales with digital marketing.
Some ways to find niche topics are:
Thematic forums, such as Quora
Let’s say you create content about hotels. A quick search on Quora with the keyword “hotels” reveals that people are keen on reading about the most expensive and fancy hotels. Why not create a blog post about it?
Wikipedia’s table of contents and “see also”
When researching what to write about marketing automation, we looked up the “see also” section on Wikipedia. It turns out that demand generation, lead scoring, and other topics are also something that people are curious about.
Google’s “searches related to”
Let’s say you are planning to create content about digital marketing. Google’s suggestions at the bottom of the search results page can give you a hint on what to focus on. That is: digital marketing courses, PDF materials, and even salary in the industry.
Google Ads’ Keyword Planner
Log in to your Google Ads account and then go to Tools and choose Keyword Planner. You’ll find a bunch of keyword ideas and search volume trends.
Keyword suggestions in SEO software
If you deploy any SEO software, you can also use them to find keyword suggestions. That’s what MOZ suggests when researching the keyword “business marketing automation”:
Clearly, people are interested to learn more about marketing automation for small businesses.
Ask your personnel
Ask your sales people, customer support, and other coworkers what requests are the most common from your clients. The customer-facing people of the company know firsthand what they are being asked and what is trending.
2. Utilize Keywords
Found a set of relevant keywords?
Now it’s important to utilize them to their full potential. Some tips to keep in mind:
Use long-tail keywords
Let’s compare the following keywords:
Tomato soup: 236 000 000 results
Creamy tomato soup recipe: 55 300 000 results
Clearly, the longer the keyword is, the fewer Google results it has and thus the less competitive it is. Thus, long-tails are easier to rank high for.
Place keywords in titles
Putting relevant keywords to the titles of your blog posts will help Google to crawl your page faster. Thus, Google will decide how relevant your content is to a search query in mere seconds.
Look at the following example:
Use keywords in the first 100 words of a piece of content
If relevant keywords appear in the first 100-150 words of your blog post, this will help Google understand what your page is about way faster.
In this post about SEO tips for e-commerce, the relevant keywords are sprinkled in the first paragraphs:
3. Create Buyer Personas
The concept of a buyer persona can help you to better understand the needs of your audience and create more appealing content for them.
Once your content resonates with your target audience, it increases shareability and improves search rankings.
Here’s one example of a buyer persona profile by Neil Patel.
4. Publish long content
On average, long content is considered to start from the number of 1200 words.
Publishing longer content is beneficial in terms of SEO. Firstly, long content usually gathers more backlinks. Secondly, long-form content outperforms short blog posts in terms of shareability.
A ranking factors study by SEMrush confirmed that long content tends to rank higher:
5. Increase page loading speed
53% of mobile website visitors will leave if a webpage doesn’t load within three seconds.
In addition, page loading speed is an important ranking factor for Google.
All in all, you want to make sure your page loading speed is as high as possible. A good way to start is to analyze your page speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
6. Optimize images
Google does not just look for images. It looks for images with alt text. That’s why it’s important to add relevant keywords to your image name and meta description.
We use SEO features in LianaCMS to add meta descriptions to images we use in any blog post.
7. Increase dwell time
Dwell time is the amount of time that passes between the moment you click a search result and return back to the SERPs (search engine results page).
This time range should be as large as possible as Google considers dwell time an important ranking factor.
Some ways to achieve it:
- Ensure rich multimedia experience: try to use diversified types of content in your blog pieces, such as video files, audio, diagrams, charts, quizzes, games, and infographics.
- Think of the first sentences: make the intro to your blog posts as enticing as possible to make them want to read till the end. Leave a hook that makes it interesting to read until the end.
- Include a lot of subheadings: this improves readability and creates a more favorable user experience.
8. Reduce Bounce rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
You can check your bounce rate in Google Analytics reports:
The lower your bounce rate is, the higher Google ranks your page. In essence, lower bounce rates give Google a signal that users find your webpage interesting and, thus, it deserves a higher rank.
An average bounce rate for blogs is considered to be from 65 to 90%:
A good way to decrease the bounce rate is to display a pop-up with downloadable content when a user is about to leave your page. This is how Wordstream does it:
. Increase CTR in SERPs
Google search results with higher CTRs are getting pushed higher up the SERPs. But how to make sure your blog post will get high CTR?
Try to create featured snippets
Featured snippets are selected search results that are featured on top of Google’s organic results below the ads in a box. Like this:
To aim for featured snippets, you can make compilations of all sorts, such as best tools, best hotels, or best restaurants to have a New Year party. Here you can find other actionable ways to win featured snippets.
Come up with a catchy title
Spice up your titles with emotional adjectives. Also, numbers in headings drive a lot of attention.
- Here are some useful resources:
- 100+ Blog Post Title Templates That Grab Attention
- 200+ Awesome Blog Post Title Templates for Powerful Headlines
10. Optimize URL
A short and descriptive URL is beneficial for SEO.
Clearly, the second URL helps Google parse the page faster. As the second URL does not have any subfolders, it is clear that its content is about SEO. Thus, short and keyword-rich URLs can give you a lot of competitive advantage.
11. Utilize the “Skyscraper Technique”
The good old Skyscraper Technique is a brilliant way to gather more links and boost the performance of your blog.
In a nutshell, it means finding trending and well-performing articles, turning it into more detailed and appealing content, and reaching out to relevant people for outreach.
Here’s how the technique helped Brian Dean to increase his search traffic by 110% in 14 days.
Publishing high-quality content is only half of your SEO journey. The next step is to reach out to relevant people to promote your articles and earn backlinks. The two most effective ways of outreach are:
1) To the companies mentioned in your content
Referenced a blog post by another company? Give them a shout about it and ask them to share your piece with their audience.
2) To blogs that publish similar content to yours
The other day we received this email:
We were happy to complement our article with the guide. Thus, it was beneficial for both parties: we enriched our article with valuable and relevant content and they acquired a backlink.
Try out this strategy and see for yourself.
In case you receive a request like the one above, you can always take advantage of it. Simply ask to share your article on social media given that you add their link. This is exactly what we asked.
13. Utilize link reclamation
Mentions of your content on other blogs can significantly improve your search engine rankings. However, sometimes companies mention your publications without linking back to you. If you monitor your online mentions, you can easily find companies that mentioned your content without a link.
If you spotted a case like this, you can always reach out to the company and kindly ask them to add a link to your site. Look at the example below:
14. Write guest blogs
If you have enough resources, you can search for online media that would be interested in publishing your guest post and link to your site.
Here’s our real example of requesting a guest publication:
As a result, if you Google “marketing automation Middle East”, you will find our article on the first organic results position:
15. Actively share on social media
It has been proved that Google allocates weight to social media signals in the ranking.
Aside from using your social media channels, you might also benefit from sharing on other platforms:
- Share presentations on SlideShare
- Share documents on Scribd
- Share infographics on Pinterest
- Share on industry-relevant social media groups
16. Optimize for voice search
Google claims that one-fifth of the queries on Google are voice searches. The future is SEO is voice search.
Optimizing your content for voice is crucial. Here are some ways to do it:
- Aim for question-based queries, especially “how-to” or “how many”
- Optimize local search results. Asking for directions or nearby locations on Google make up a good amount of search queries
For example, this blog post can be perfect for a person looking for a restaurant in New York on the go.
17. Refresh your content
Updating your content and enriching it with up-to-date facts now and then is extremely beneficial SEO-wise.
Google loves fresh content. Also, you can fix broken links and improve the user experience while updating your content. As your previous SEO data is stored, such as page visits or CTR, it is easier to boost an updated blog post on Google rather than writing a new one from scratch.