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23 February 2023
How to write an article that ranks well in Google
Getting content to rank in Google is what we do but for the uninitiated, it can seem like an impossible task with the sheer amount of content that is produced on a daily basis by companies and websites that have had years to build up their credentials.
Whilst it is true that it is hard to rank for general short-tail (popular high/volume) keywords and phrases, targeting more niche terms within those topics by producing good content can get tremendous results, and is always put forward as one of the key areas to optimise within our audits.
This week we look at how you can write content that ranks in Google covering the structure of the article, how to go about research and how to make sure it is driving valuable traffic to the site.
A full guide on writing content that ranks in Google
1. Start with keyword/topic research
Starting with the topic and keyword research will help you determine what content areas you want to cover, it will also give you insight into the number of keywords worth targeting and if more articles will be needed to go fully in depth.
Look at your website and focus on informational and question based keywords, these are great places to start and will give you insight into what your audience are asking Google, you can then position your content to be the answer!
Use tools like SEMRush and other software providers to find out the associated search volume with given keywords so you know which ones to target within the article and which ones may be too difficult to go after.
2. Ensure the content is structured according to Google’s guidelines
Ensuring the content is structured in the right way will help you to make it clear to Google and it also makes it easier for the user to read. The following best practices will help you create an article that is accessible to search engines and will help it rank well within Google.
Follow logical heading conventions with the correct H1 and H2/H3 tags for the main heading of the site and the subheadings of each section
Where appropriate use the keyword/phrases you want to target within the headings, but do not be overly spammy
Break up the text where possible with line breaks and alt-tag optimised images, this will make for a better reading experience
Where possible ensure infographics are formatted as text to make them easier for Google and other search engines to interpret
Ensure the content is long-form enough to answer the user’s queries, but do not write loads of text for the sake of creating a longer article
Make sure the URL of the article is succinct logical and where appropriate contains the target keyword/topics phrase
Use a mix of written and video content where appropriate: different people learn through different mediums so having a mix of the two will help you create useful content and increase the chances of it getting good organic traffic
3. Drive internal and external links to the article where appropriate
Driving internal links and where possible external links to the article will support its ranking within search engines. If for example you run a clothing site and have written an article on how to build the perfect winter wardrobe, where it makes logical sense on other pages link back to that article, and use logical and optimised anchor text to better signify to Google as to the subject of the content.
4. Make sure the content is unique, especially when using AI generated content
If you are going to use AI to help with the article, use it as a starting point to develop ideas, then go into depth with further research and locate trustworthy sources to back up your content. Including links to these sources will also help build the article’s credibility. Ensuring the content is unique will help it rank and avoid manual action penalties within Google that arise from duplicate content.
Make sure you are being helpful to the user
Whilst it may seem obvious, making sure your content is helpful to the end user/person reading it (and not just Google) is essential.
Rather paradoxically, writing content just to rank in Google is actually against Google’s guidelines, so if you are doing so you are unlikely to see any real results in the long run. Instead focus on the content and making it useful, this will help it rank in Google and drive results for your business no matter what the purpose of the content is.
Get in touch with the Varn team if you would like to learn more about SEO for long form content and general website search marketing strategy.