Today I’m unpacking the actual SEO steps I take when writing a page of web copy or publishing a new blog post. Follow the 6 steps and make your own web content more Google-friendly.
PS: if you hire me for a content writing or blogging job, these are the same 6 steps I’ll use to write your content too.
The very first thing I do when beginning a new blog post or article is to consider which part of my business I am trying to promote, that way I can look for keywords to support those services.
REMEMBER: nearly every piece of content (including the blogs) you publish should directly support (and link to) at least one product or service on your website.
You’ve probably worked out already this post is promoting my SEO and blogging services, and because I don’t want the article to compete with my existing services pages, I’ll try to find a keyword phrase I haven’t used before.
Google’s Keyword Planner is free and the perfect tool for identifying suitable keyword phrases. If you look in the image below I typed in 5 different variations of SEO to see how often people are actually doing Google searches using those phrases.
I decided on the phrase ‘SEO steps’ — even though it’s quite competitive — mainly because I have never used it before. You don’t want to be using the same keyword phrases for every piece of content.
Now I know that ‘SEO steps‘ is my focus keyword for this post I get started and write the copy. I want the text to be authentic and natural, and hopefully you (my reader) will feel like we’re having a conversation.
I certainly won’t be stuffing the keyword phrase into every sentence and once I finish writing the entire article, I’ll go back and look for places where the phrase ‘SEO steps‘ will add meaning to the text. Maybe I’ll begin section 6 by saying … ‘My last SEO step is to …’. I could probably get away with that once, but you’d be rolling your eyes if I did it in every paragraph.
Even though I have listed headlines as the third step in my SEO process, I usually write the headline before I start writing an article. Often it’s the very first thing I do. Whatever your process, make sure to always review your headline (and the sub-headings inside the copy) once the article is finished.
NOTE: did you notice in the images it says 5 SEO steps? While writing I realised there needed to be an extra step, so all the heading tags + the headline needed changing.
Make sure the keyword phrase is in the headline (as I have done here) and then check the sub-headings throughout the text. Is there a way to use the keywords in one of the sub-heading in a way that sounds natural?
In this article I didn’t think there was, so I didn’t. As much as I want to prime my article with the keywords, my first priority is always you (my human reader).
REMEMBER: always use proper heading tags in your articles (don’t just bold stuff and change the font). Heading tags (ie, <h2> <h3>) are recognised by the Google algorithm.
Linking to other posts and pages is an important part of SEO, so I always find a way to include 3 x links in my articles. My general rule of thumb is:
- To the product or service I am promoting in the article. Eg, in this article I have a link to my blogging services page.
- To an earlier post (on a related topic) that Google has already indexed. Eg, in this article I have linked to an article I posted a few days ago explaining how a business website gets found by Google.
- To an authority site to confirm one of my claims. Eg, in this article I’ve linked to a page on the Google Help Desk that confirms what I have said about ‘snippets’ in section 5.
Three links is plenty for one short article. It’s awkward for the reader if you have links in every paragraph, and the reader always comes first.
Metadata refers to the page titles and meta descriptions (also knowns as snippets) that Google displays in their search results. I write this text last so it sums up everything I’ve covered in the article.
The two pieces of metadata you can write yourself are the:
- Page title: for most blogs this will be the same as the headline, but for static webpages you may use something slightly different. Always use the keyword phrase in the page title.
- Snippet: I try to write my web snippets as a complete sentence, making sure to use the keyword phrase at least once. Snippets display up to 160 characters.
A lot of people discount the SEO power of the images on their website — either embedded in primary content pages, or displaying on individual blogs and articles. My last SEO step is to optimise the images in the post. Here’s what I do:
- Give the image a descriptive name (rather than IMG_695.jpg). Eg the image in this post is named ‘5-SEO-Steps-by-Melinda Irvine.jpg’. When I started writing the article there was 5 steps, but I added an extra step during the writing.
- Reduce the file size so it’s no more than 100kb.
- Give the image an Alt-tag which includes the keywords or text that supports the theme of the article. Eg, the image below has an Alt-tag ‘demonstrating how to SEO images’.
Taking some SEO steps
Well here I am at the end of the article and I’ve just found a way to squeeze’ SEO steps’ into a heading. Does it sound a bit corny? Probably. But it does help me demonstrate another step in my writing the process — adding a clear call to action for the reader.
At the end of my articles I remind my reader that I’m a professional writer who lives and breathes writing, text, books, blogs, and web copy. Then the last sentence is an invitation to get in touch to discuss the service I have been subtlety promoting all along, and if possible sneak in those keywords one last time.
PS: do you need some help optimising your web content or writing blogs that help your clients AND green-tick the Google boxes? Just fill out the contact form below and I’ll be in touch (usually within a few hours) to help you take the best SEO steps.