#1 - Article Title
It All Starts with Optimizing the Article Title
The first thing that the users see is the title. Without an appealing and relevant title, users will drift away, plain and SIMPLE.
Forget about the technicalities for a while and think like a searcher looking for the appropriate answers to their problems. If you are the user, what would you type in the Google search box?
For example, you wanted to know how to write content that is SEO-friendly. You will probably type in the following: “SEO copywriting guide for beginners,” how to write an SEO-optimized article,” or “tips in writing SEO-friendly blogs.”
Start formulating different ways of stating what you want to find and you’ll have an idea of what possible titles you can use for your blog. Once you have your list, try running those search terms in Google and read through the other titles you find in the SERPs. This will give you an idea of other relevant terms that might be a good fit for your title.
Insert Relevant Keywords in Your Title
Brainstorm and formulate a couple of titles that you think will relate the most to your audience. Once you select the winning piece, start reviewing the words or terms you are using to see if there are better terms to use.
One way of knowing this is to perform a quick keyword research to get a feel of how much volume do your key phrases generate on a monthly basis. Keep in mind that a high search volume means a lot of people are searching using the term while a low search volume means only a few people are using such terms.
You would want to be somewhere in between, wherein the keyword is not too generic, but still provides a good monthly search volume. The reason for this is that generic keywords tend to have the highest keyword difficulty. Simply put, it would be harder to rank these types of keywords due to the massive competition.
Insert Title Modifiers
Title modifiers will help users understand your content better. Is your content a list? Is it a How-To article? Is it a guide? You’ll need to put it in your title explicitly so they’ll know what to expect.
(indicates a list)
…on How To…
(indicates a how-to article)
…A Beginner’s Guide
(indicates it is a guide)
All these modifiers above clearly describes your content to your target audience.
#2 - Meta Title or SEO Title
Another very important title that you need to think about is the Meta Title, also known as the SEO Title.
This is the title that appears in the SERPs when users search for something. If we compare it to a sales funnel, this title is your Trip Wire.
This is the #1 deciding factor if a user will click your link or not. This has to be super convincing and informative at the same time.
You have to be able to convince the searchers that your page is the most relevant page on the list within 55 characters, more or less.
You can’t just copy your article’s title in here. Due to its unique purpose, you’ll have to modify your title in order to fulfill the SEO Title’s purpose, which is to attract the users into clicking your link.
Your Article Title:
8 Simple Steps on How to Write an SEO-Optimized Article: A Guide for Beginners
Your SEO Title:
8 Surefire Ways on How to Rank an Article in Google: A Beginner’s Guide
The SEO Title is definitely shorter, more concise, and more convincing. You’ll get the hang of writing meta titles as you write more articles.
#3 - Meta Description
So if the Meta Title is the title that you see in the SERPs, you’re right! Meta Description is the description that you see below the Meta Title.
Your Meta Description should be able to support your Meta Title’s claim. It should not be contradictory and it should flow smoothly as users read it.
Simply put, this is your second chance of convincing the users that your link is definitely what they are looking for, in case they are not convinced with your SEO Title.
So How Should You Structure Your Meta Description?
Basically, you can fit around two sentences in the Meta Description section (around 160 characters in total). You can use the first sentence to support your claim and use the second sentence as a call to action.
Why Is It Important to Put a CTA in the Meta Description?
Putting a Call-to-Action in your meta description directs the users into performing that action. Because if you don’t tell them what to do, they will definitely NOT DO anything! Hence, be confident in telling them that they should click your link, contact you, or call you.
#4 - Article Body
Before reading this article, you might have thought that writing the article body is the most important thing. After seeing its weight in the overall optimization guide, you’ll see it’s only 10%.
This doesn’t mean though that you can take it for granted.
In fact, it is the most crucial part of your sales funnel – CLOSING THE DEAL.
It is the moment of truth. In the article body, you’ll deliver to your readers what you promised to them in the SEO Title and Meta Description.
If you’re writing a guide, this is the part where you lay it all down, from start to finish.
What Are the Technicalities?
Since this guide is for beginners, we’ll simply break it down into 5 steps:
1. Keywords – Before writing an article, an SEO specialist typically performs a keyword research. This generates a keyword list that they can use throughout the article.
2. Images – Visualization is a very important aspect of your content. It can’t be all just words. The images you embed should clearly reflect what the article, or a section is all about. You can use your own photos or look for stock photos from different free stock photo websites such as pexels.com or pixabay.com.
A screenshot of the SEO process from neil patel’s blog.
3. Formatting and Spacing – Let’s all admit it, nobody wants to read a “heavy” article. It’s just tiring to the eye and very stressful to do so. Hence, you need to break your content down into small chunks of paragraphs. Utilize white spaces to make it easier for your readers. Ensure you have clear headings for easy skim reading, and make sure you emphasize important sections of your article.
4. Links – There are two types of lining – internal and external. Internal links are links going to your own website’s pages, like a link to a related blog, explaining in-depth topics you touched in your current article. External articles on the other hand are links going out to external sources, like surveys, statistics, and other authority websites that support your claim.
5. Call-to-Action – Lastly, you should always think of what action would you want your readers to take during and after reading your article.
Lastly, the most important thing to remember is to write for the readers, and not for the Search Engines’ crawlers. Your article needs to make sense and it needs to provide a solution to your readers’ problem. It needs to be what the readers expect it to be.
Is it True that Google Favors Long Content?
This is definitely a myth.
It doesn’t matter how long your article is. What matters the most is the use of your content to your readers. If your article fulfills what it promises to the users, then that’s good enough.
As a proof, multiple online tools exist and provide services to their users. These tools’ pages don’t contain that much content, but they are still ranking good in the SERPs, all because they provide the service that the users are looking for.
In your case, you provide the solution that they are looking for. As long as you fulfill this, then you don’t have to worry about stretching your article to meet the “required” number of words.
Google values in-depth, well-structued content that is relevant to the users’ queries.
However, it doesn’t mean that a writer should put all emphasis on the technicalities of the on-page optimization process. Afterall, what Google truly favors are the users.
As long as you deliver value to the users through your content and speak to them as you would face to face, then you’re well on your way.
Remember, the heart and soul of your article is best expressed without constraints.
So what are you waiting for? Start writing the best article for your audience now!