If you’ve been writing posts, pages and articles for your WordPress website and wondering why Google isn’t ranking them highly and so your customers aren’t finding them, read on.
1/Write Long Posts of 2000 Words or More
In the past decade you will have seen articles of 500 words or less on subjects but these no longer rank highly by Google on newer blogs and websites. If your domain is not considered a highly ranked authority (which is likely as only big brands typically have the resource to achieve this), then your article scores weighting advantage by writing good long articles. If a reader spends a few minutes on a page, this is known as dwell time. The longer the dwell time, the better chance that your post has answered the reader/vistor’s question well.
How long does it take to write a 2000 word blog post, I hear you ask? On average, about 3-4 hours if you know your topic well.
2/Think about what keywords your customers and readers are likely to type into Google
Keywords are the questions and words people type into Google when looking for your website. Single keywords, or even pairs of words will rarely lead to showcasing your article on page 1 of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages. This is because there’s a lot of competition for these simple searches and to rank for them takes a hugh effort or a unique word that belongs to your brand, eg ‘Sonos’. The more specific you get, the higher the chances to find your niche audience.
What do I mean by being more specific? Well take “logburners” as an example. That word alone could mean the searcher is considering buying one, or wants to know how to light one, or wants an image of one. Who knows. It’s ambiguous. But when the googler types “log burner installer high wycombe” we know they’re looking for someone to install and fit one, in the town of High Wycombe. This is where we want to rank on page 1 of Google. If you go look you’ll see one of our client’s Steves Stoves is ranked on page 1 of Google.
What tools can I use to research what keywords people are typing into Google?
Good question! The keyword research tools I recommend are:
Google Adwords Keyword Planner. This is a superb SEO research tool to work out what to write your articles on. This lets you see how many searches a month are done for your initial keyword ideas plus they suggest a raft of other similar phrases that come up. You can see what the typical volume of impressions are for an ad but also click rates.
Answerthepublic is completely free. It uses Google Suggest data to discover questions, comparison-based queries and keywords containing prepositions.
RankTracker. Their free version gives you access to its keyword research feature. It uses around 20 different keyword research sources, including Google Ads Keyword Planner, Google Suggest,Wordtracker, SEMRush and more.
3/Headlines should be short and descriptively punchy
You should only write 50-60 character headlines for your posts and they should describe truthfully what the visitor is going to see when they click through to your page or post.
4/ Internal links should keep your visitor reading on your website
Generally, when a visitor is reading your main post that hooked them, they will have many follow on questions. An internal link is a link to another page or post on your website. If your website doesn’t have the answer, guess what? They will go back to Google search results and add some more keywords or rewrite their next question. To keep the visitor on your website, you need to think of what your article will make them ask next. For example, I know there’s a good chance you’re reading this because you’re interested in how to write posts that will rank highly in Google. If you are, then perhaps you’ll find the following article (internal link) useful on how to optimise images for SEO
5/ External links should be treated like your favourite unhealthy foods
As the name suggest, external links are those that lead your reader to another website. It could be another website you own or one that covers another related topic in greater depth than you can do justice to. We say they should be treated like your favourite unhealthy foods because you should use them sparingly. If you’re bothering to show-off your knowledge of where to go next, give them a taste of their satisfying “chocolate” links, but only the occassional bite!
Put these links near the bottom of your article so you don’t lose your valuable visitor within seconds of them coming to your website. Also be careful not to point them towards a competitor. Ideally, you want to write your own versions of the articles you’re directing visitors to. So if you don’t have that article yet, put it on your blogging planner (list of articles and posts to-do).
6/ Update old posts
If you have old posts that are ranking highly but slipped down to page 2, you can update them. But do it carefully. You cannot simply update the publishing date or swap an image if you want Google. For example, if you have an article titled “The Best Free Image Editing Software Used by Us”, it’s quite possible that you’ve changed what you use since then. I spoke to someone the other day who was using “Paint” in Windows to do some image recolouring and cropping. They’d mentioned it in an article they wote. Now, an alternative software is “Paint.net“. This means they need to go back and update the old article with this new insight and push it back up the rankings. In general, a 20% change is sufficient to warrant doing it.
7/ Title your URLs Appropriately
When you go to a webpage, the link that shows up in the web address bar is known as the URL. These are also words that describe your articles. The bit after the last forward slash ‘/’ is called the slug. For this page it is “10-seo-tips-on-how-to-write-articles-search-engines-love”. This tells you and Google what the page is about. By default it is the page title. But you can change it to something more relevant. Particularly if your website originally had numbers after the domain, which mean nothing to anyone.
You change this URL slug by opening the post in WordPress and on the right-hand side you should see a sidebar with Document and Block tabs. Under the Document tab you’ll see a box titled URL-slug.
8/ Title your images
A good blog post has a number of images and/or videos to balance your articles. However, many people don’t bother giving their images suitable titles or alt-tags (alternative tags). Google indexes images and shows them to people in search results. Good images can lead people to your website. This is how to do it in WordPress. Open the post with the image in it. Click the image and on the right hand side you’ll see the Alt Text image box. Put the description in there.
This also helps visually impaired visitors who listen to their Reader software tell them what the images are.
9/ Find angles for your articles
When people search in Google, they will often come across big media brand sites, news brands, big brand retailers links. However, you can rank your article higher if you choose a niche that isn’t properly answered by everyone else. For example, one of my clients is in the niche of showcasing the world of amenity bags you get on airlines. His media company ranks first for “amenity bags awards” travelplusawards.com and amenitiesmagazine.com
So what is your niche? If the earlier keyword search shows your audience are looking for articles on a related topic that isn’t covered well by the “big boys” then write for that.
10/ Local SEO – are your customers local to you?
If you primarily offer products or services to people within your village, town, city, county, they you should focus some energy on capturing those local searches. Google will show maps results before anything else with businesses registered with Google My Business. If you haven’t done this yet, we can help or you can visit Google My Business and register your business there yourself.
Additionally, you should write your website title, description and contact page info to clearly show the region you serve. For instance, one of our customers Gardens for Good is a garden designer with a current focus on customers in Oxfordshire. Here you can see their page 1 search result clearly highlighting they are based in OXfordshire.
We hope this has helped you understand some of the things you can do to improve your google ranking with these useful 10 SEO optimisation tips.
Thanks for reading.