Most articles are discovered when someone types a question into a search engine.
If your website pops up and successfully answers your reader’s question, then you're onto a winner. If not, they'll exit quick-sharp and Google will punish you for wasting their time with a lower search ranking.
A lower search ranking is bad news for your site because it means your page will disappear down the search engine results page, or worse, onto that barren no-man’s land that is page two and beyond.
But don't panic too much, because this is all fixable.
First things first. Yes, you should always write for humans. But a thoroughly SEO’d website can really help your rankings.
Here are three essential things to remember.
Step 1: Keyword research
Ranking for a keyword term or phrase that gets at least a few queries each month earns you bonus visitors. You probably don’t want to tackle competitive phrases where you’ve got little chance to rank on page 1. But you also don’t want to be ranking brilliantly for a search term no one ever types.
In general, phrases with fewer searches are going to be less competitive, so aim somewhere near the top, but be realistic.
Google’s Keyword Planner Tool is still the best one out there to show volume levels.
Psssst…. Another useful keyword research source is Google’s autosuggest. It often illuminates keyword ideas that you may not have seen through AdWords Planner.
Step 2: Headline
Once you’ve found a few keywords that might work, modify your blog post’s title to include it if you can. But remember: a lot of a post’s potential success is based on its ability to get in front of the right eyes.
A title that’s optimised for keyword placement but doesn’t resonate readers and sharers isn’t worth compromising.
Step 3: Length
500 is the magic number.
That’s at least 500 words, including headlines and subheaders.
This is how long search engines think a blog post should be if it contains information that’s worth reading.
And if you have more to say? Go for it. But remember: don’t just jam in a load of keywords. Make sure you cover your topic and include plenty of niche-relevant vocabulary.
So now we've told you how to rank higher and become more discoverable - why not check out our article on 'Nine traits of a bad writer' so you can find out what to avoid!