SEO can be Intimidating, Take Your Time and Learn the Basics
On-page SEO (search engine optimization) is essential if you want to put your best foot forward for a successful InfoBarrel writing career. There is a lot of bad and outdated information out there surrounding SEO. To an extent, this can't be helped as Google is forever changing the criteria that they use to rank websites and articles. Social trends and ways that people search for information are also constantly evolving. I am not the first to offer SEO tips to InfoBarrel writers but I hope you will benefit from my unique, simple approach.
I am by no means an SEO expert, but I have learned that it's one of those 80/20 rule things. It takes 20% of the time to learn 80% of the information, and 80% more time to learn the last 20%. I don't bother going too far into SEO but rather, follow a basic system with a few fundamentals that are working for me and repeat the process with each article. This process has achieved me several #1 and first page rankings for my articles in Google. Make a short checklist including these items and ensure that you run through it prior to publishing each new article.
Your ultimate goal for each of your articles is to get to the #1 position in Google for your keywords. This means that when you type your exact keyword or phrase into Google search your article will be the #1 ranked result. It's not as hard as you may think if you follow a simple set of rules for each article you write.
Here's the list I recommend checking before publishing an article.
1. Make sure you have chosen good keywords
There's no substitute for this. You may be the best article writer on earth and produce amazing, useful content. However, if you haven't optimized your article to be found by somebody searching for a certain keyword, it will likely never be read. The Google Keyword Tool is a great free way to do your keyword research. If you're serious about article writing for passive income, you will likely want to upgrade to a professional keyword tool such as Market Samurai.
2. Write outstanding-quality evergreen content
If you want to build a business out of your article writing, it's important that you're writing evergreen content. Evergreen content is basically information that will still be searched for in 1, 5 or 10 years. Writing an article about a current event for example, may not land you any traffic in 5 years. Try to choose topics that are likely to stand the test of time.
Ensure that your content is top-notch. Write your article, proof read it and then have somebody else proof read it before you post it. I know this is hard, and I don't always do it myself, but every article writer should. Proof reading is essential as it's easy to miss small spelling and grammatical errors even after proofreading your work a few times. A new set of eyes can pick up on that stuff very quickly. There's no substitute for taking your time here. It's easy to feel like we need to rush to get our articles up as fast as possible, but in the long run 10 well-written, properly optimized articles are going to serve you far better than 100 poor quality ones.
3. Write for people, not search engines
Remember who will be reading your content. People read articles, it's people who share information on Facebook and Twitter, and people who leave the site if your content sucks. Make sure that every article is first optimized for readers, and then optimized for search engines. I can't stress this enough. Google can be temporarily fooled by little tricks like keyword stuffing but their search algorithm gets better ever day and if your content relies on black hat techniques to get ranked, it's days on the first page of Google are numbered. Make sure every article is easy to read and you will build solid, steady traffic over time.
Don't over stuff your article with your keyword. It should only ever appear where it's natural. I try to make sure it shows up in the first and last paragraph but if it's not natural for it to show up in the body other than this, then I will only use it twice. This is crucial. There are so many poorly written articles out there that are just jammed with keywords. They're irritating to read and will not stand the test of time.
4. Use media
Google loves to see things other than just text in your articles. Embed relevant YouTube videos and add lots of photos to each article. There's a practical limit to how many videos and pictures will look good and be easy on the reader so check out some artcicles from experienced writers here and see what they have done. Use ONLY photos and videos that you own, or that you have permission to use. There are lots of free photo sites out there that allow you to use their images if you give them credit. Do a Google search on these sites and bookmark them for your use.
5. Alt tags
Alt (alternate text) tags can be used on photos that you add to your articles. There is some debate on the SEO value of alt tags but it takes about 5 seconds to add them to your photos so why not? I use my alt tags to add my primary keywords to my photos. To do this in InfoBarrel, click the "html" button above your writing box. Find the "img" tag in the text. It should be followed by a tag that looks like this - alt="". Insert your keywords between the colons for each picture and you're done!
6. Use an H2 tag
Again, the value of the H2 tag is debated. Like the alt tag however, it takes only seconds to add and if it has even potential value then it's worth it. I would caution against using your keyword again here if you already used it in your title. This is a sub-heading so make it relevant and make sure it flows well. I usually use a second keyword here.
7. Break up your article
This ties in with #2. Articles that are just one, solid block of text are tedious to read and Google knows that. Break your article up into bite-size pieces like I have done with this one and ensure that it flows naturally and is easy to read.
Treat your writing like a business and develop a routine for publishing. Going through these things now takes me about 5 minutes prior to hitting the "publish" button and saves me the embarrassment of catching a spelling error after 500 views. Be as professional with this as you are at your day job and you will produce excellent content. Give it time and this will be reflected in the search engine rankings.
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