5 Easy SEO Tips That Will Make You Less Like Waldo
If you asked me that question when I was young, I may have answered, “At the dentist!”
I loved going to the dentist’s office when I was a child. And it was not at all because I liked to get my teeth cleaned. It was because of the lobby—my dentist had tons of Where’s Waldo? books. Since we didn’t have them at home, I could hardly wait to look for that elusive man with the striped shirt.
Do you ever feel like Waldo? Like one tiny blip on Google’s radar, lost in a sea of hundreds of other search results?
You may think it’s too hard to keep up with all of Google’s algorithm changes, and next to impossible to actually get found. But while it may be tough even keeping up with news about the search engine world, ranking is really not as impossible as you think. It all comes down to how you format your articles.
We know that you already have a ton on your plate, so we’ve come up with some really simple things you can do to get started. Check out these five, super easy SEO tips that you can begin using right now.
5 Easy SEO Tips
1. Identify who you want to find you.
This group of people is your target audience. You want to know everything you can about them—not only their general demographics, but what challenges they come up against, what their goals are, and even how they search for solutions to their challenges on the internet. Check out this post for more details on how to go about this kind of research.
2. Brainstorm article topics that will resonate with your target audience.
It’s time to let the creative juices flow! Choose your topics wisely. Your articles can’t be about just anything—they need to be topics that will provide solutions to challenges your target audience faces. You want your topics to answer their questions.
It’s a great idea to create a “content inventory.” (That’s what we call it at Nectafy.) In one column of a spreadsheet, list all the potential questions you know your target audience may be asking about challenges they face. (We call these “buyer questions.”) Then, as you brainstorm topics that would answer those questions, add your ideas in the next column (specifically, next to the question that the article will answer). If you already have articles and content written, plug those in, too! This helps you keep track of what buyer questions you’ve answered, and what questions you haven’t—the ones you need to address.
3. Write your articles the right way.
Yes, there is a right and a wrong way to write an article.
First, you need to make sure your article is laser-focused on one topic. Believe it or not, writing about a single topic (as opposed to a lengthy article that addresses many different subjects) is better for SEO. Here’s why.
When someone enters a search into Google, Google will scan through millions of articles that may be relevant to that person’s search. Let’s say you wrote an article that would be perfect for their search query, but your article hits on a couple other topics, too. Google will “see” those other topics and will be uncertain about what the main idea really is. Even if your article would give that person the best answer, because the main topic of your article isn’t crystal clear, Google won’t rank you as high.
So, when you’re writing, if you find that you could really make two articles out of what you’re working on, do that! First of all, it will make your content more focused, and second, you’ll have another article already in the works!
The second thing that goes into writing the “right” way is using the right language. This involves some keyword research—learning exactly how your target audience phrases what they type into the search bar. It’s not as complicated as you might think! If you have a Google AdWords account (it’s free), using Google’s Keyword Planner tool is a good place to start.
You’ll want to use one or two of the phrases you discover from your keyword research in your article. But, remember—always write for people first, and search engines second. Don’t force certain words and phrases into your article just because you feel like you’re supposed to… include them as naturally as possible.
If your article is littered with keyword phrases just to get them in there, people will notice and may be less likely to continue reading. Google will notice, too. If you use the same keywords and keyword phrases too many times in an article, you can get penalized, which will affect how you rank. So, just try to use your keyword phrase several times throughout your article without sounding like a broken record. (And if you need some assistance with keyword research, here are the best keyword research tools out there.)
4. Attract attention with a great headline.
What is really going to make the difference on the Google results page? Your headline. This part has less to do with search engines and more to do with the people you’re trying to attract. People usually determine which article they’ll choose based on which headline sounds like it is most likely to answer their question.
So, when creating a headline, make it interesting! Work your keyword phrase in there as well.
How To Outperform Your Google Search Position By 132% gives you even more reasons why you should carefully craft your headline.
5. Create a thoughtful, intriguing meta-description.
A meta-description is that sentence or two that appears below the headline on a Google search results page. It shows just a little bit about the content in your article (155 characters or so).
If you don’t manually craft the meta-description, Google will automatically pull parts of sentences that have the entered search query in them. The searcher will see that their search term appears in the article, but it really won’t give them any more insight as to what the article is about.
Utilize your meta-description as a teaser—to make searchers really want to click through and read what you’ve published. (Oh, and don’t forget to insert your keyword phrase into this section as well!)
The secret is really just focus. Focus on what your target audience wants to learn about. Then, focus your writing—touch on one topic (and one topic only), and use the right language.
When you do these things consistently throughout the articles you publish, you will get found. (A lot easier than Waldo.)