Like all great written content, your first step should be research. Research, research, and research again. Whether it is Google, an Encyclopedia, or your grandma Lucille, I don’t care what source you use, but be sure to run your topic through a rigorous test process to make sure your content will reach or even surpass your intended goals. Things to look out for:
Has someone already covered this topic?
- Not necessarily a deal breaker since every topic has a potentially unlimited number of angles an author can cover. It is good to get a gist of the content other related articles have on the topic. If you do not plan on making your article as comprehensive, maybe a different take on that subject might be more fitting.
Is my topic saturated with results already?
- The amazing World Wide Web has been around for a very long time. Take a moment to make sure your topic has not been beaten into a saturated pulp. Pick interesting angles, niches or even a related; more obscure field to increase the likelihood of your article standing out. Remember the absence of search results does not equal the absence of search queries.
Can I use related articles to round out my knowledge on my chosen subject?
In your research, you might discover some things you did not know about your topic. Take a moment to absorb this information, round out, and refresh your knowledge on the chosen topic.
Picking a Topic
Picking a topic is the first important step in creating quality popular content. For SEO purposes this topic is going to be synonymous with our chosen keywords. For this purpose, we are creating an article to add to our website. I am going to assume initial keyword targeting was done, and that two-word keyword targets have been adequately covered. We will focus on three-word keywords in this article, but if you are just starting out in your SEO journey, feel free to replace three-word keywords with two-word keywords.
Another reason to focus on three-word keywords is the sheer number of search engine results available with two keywords. Otherwise, the competition will be tough. This should not be attempted on a lowly side article but within the main page content of the website.
First things first, run the three-word keywords through your favorite search engine and ask yourself the following questions:
- Has someone already used these keywords? If so, are there more than ten results directly referencing them? Are they in the same order as I am using them? Ten results are not the end all be all final decision-making number, but it’s a good rule of thumb to use.
- Is my topic saturated with results already? You are looking for three keywords with less than three pages exactly referencing your chosen keywords.
The All Important Title
The title is the second most important feature of your article. This is what search engine users will see first. Consider it your book cover. Have you ever bought a book simply because its cover initially caught your eye? This is in the same league. Your title will reverberate throughout the world wide web, and represent your entire article in a few short words. There are several things you can do to ensure your article becomes the eye-catching gem that I am sure you wish it to be.
- Include numbers. For example “top ten”, “four reasons”, and other references to a list.
- Make sure to include your three chosen keywords.
- How to titles attract more attention (see this article you are reading).
- Run your title through a couple of search engines, and make sure someone hasn’t already used it.
Formatting is an important factor when it comes to whether those starry-eyed visitors you attracted stick around. It will be the difference between whether they read your whole article or just click on the next Pinterest picture. Formatting is equally as important to SEO. There are several guidelines to follow to ensure maximum reader retention.
- User proper grammar. Simple, but often overlooked on the Internet.
- Keep your paragraph length to a maximum of four sentences. Attention spans only get lower on the Internet.
- Have an instance where you bold, italicize, and underline the chosen keywords. This can be done up to twice per article, as too many formatting changes hinder reader attention.
- Link to your website from your article at least once. This can be to the index page or any other page where you wish to increase SEO rankings.
- Include a minimum of at least one picture in the article. There is no maximum when it comes to pictures, because those low attention spans absolutely adore images.
- If you have a video include it in the article. This can be placed anywhere during the length of the article, but the beginning, directly in the middle or the end seem to be most effective placement for video content.
Images and Pictures
Pictures are your ticket to retaining reader attention. Use them wisely by enveloping text around them wherever possible. Make sure to include an alternative image tag to each image to increase search engine friendliness. This is where you want to include your three chosen keywords in this text.
Original images are preferred, as they are loved by all the major search engines. But if originals are not possible, feel free to use any other source as long as it is legal. You want to avoid any copyright infringement for ethical reasons, as well as protecting your website’s reputation.
In the summary, after wrapping up your article make sure to link to the index page or main page of your website such as Webtivity Designs. This tells visitors where to go for more information. At the very end of the article, include a short sentence with your phone number and a link to your contact us page or email.
Now, what? You’ve done your due diligence, your article is up and live. What else can you do to ensure the maximum reach of your article? Hop on social media channels, and I mean all of them. Facebook, Twitter, Google+… all of them. Post a short snippet your article’s title and encourage readers or followers to check it out. This is an excellent opportunity to include an original picture that was included in your article. Or a video if your article contained one.
Social media updates with multimedia attachments do almost five times better than their plain textual alternatives.
The next step is an evaluation of the effectiveness of your article. Jump on to your website metrics system and gauge the impact your article has on your website traffic. Analyze and optimize, find out what your audience loves and what it hates. Adjust accordingly for future articles.
This is the most important step in this whole guide. If you do not have an analyzing step you are basically starting from scratch on every single article you write! I know people get busy, so even if you check on your previous articles progress once when you are writing the next one, please do it.
That one glance may be the difference between making a costly mistake and taking advantage of an otherwise unknown opportunity.