If you’re going to take the time and effort to write a blog, you want people to read it. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) steps in. When it comes to measuring the success of your content, organic traffic is the gauge. Unfortunately, 52% of marketers said that creating the content to bring in that traffic is one of their biggest challenges.

Creating SEO-friendly content is a multi-faceted game, but it’s one that you can master by keeping a few things in mind. Here are eight tips to help you create top-ranking viral content.    

1.Great Writing

We know, we know… pretty basic observation, right? That may be true, but you might also be surprised how much you can elevate your search engine visibility by focusing on the actual content quality. Google’s algorithm has one basic function: share the most helpful information with the most relevant people. Search engines are incredibly sophisticated and ever-evolving. With that in mind, don’t try to write for the algorithm ahead of the people it’s meant to serve. 

There’s no “SEO trick” that will turn a sloppy blog post or landing page into a great one. Putting effort into delivering an enjoyable experience with relevant and useful information is the key to everything. For starters, that means cohesive storytelling, good grammar, and appropriate imagery. Keep it original and value-driven — Google will reward you for it.   

2. Pay Attention to Alt Text

For your content to gain the attention of millions, you need to make sure that as many people as possible can interact with it. This is all about accessibility. “Alt text” is a written description field that you can fill in for any image you upload. The best advice for how to write alt text is to describe the key information that an image is conveying as though the audience cannot see it. Because in reality, that is exactly what you’re doing. Alt text is predominantly an accessibility courtesy for those utilizing screen readers, but it also appears if an image fails to load for a user and is an important component in SEO ranking. Be sure to write unique alt text versus repeating the page’s main target keywords or other images’ alt text. 

3. Research Relevant Keywords

Keyword research is the cornerstone of SEO-friendly content. Without an idea of the search terms you want to target, you are essentially shooting in the dark. But be aware that a recently launched personal blog is going to struggle to rank for a phrase like “dating advice” against a powerhouse site like eHarmony or Oprah.com. Be realistic about your site’s clout, and choose your keywords appropriately. This is where long-tail keywords can help you zero in on the unique information you can offer. Instead of choosing a broader term like  “dating advice,” what about “dating advice for millennials” or “post-pandemic dating advice”? The competition for long-tail keywords is typically less intense.

There are free keyword research tools out there to get you started, but if you want to dive in deeper with something more robust to tackle technical SEO gaps, competitor research, and more, SEMRush or Ahrefs will take your SEO game up several levels.

4. Don’t Overdo it!

So you’ve done your research and found a couple great keywords and long-tail phrases. It’s only natural that you’d want to work it in wherever you can finagle it into a sentence. Resist that urge and remember tip #1. Top quality content trumps all else. So leave the stuffing to that sleeve of Oreos you’re digging into as you write and sprinkle those keywords and phrases in where appropriate.  

5 …Or Skip the Metadata

It’s always a little heartbreaking when a service page or blog post with captivating content and visuals has left their meta description up to chance. It’s so simple, but people do this all the time. Take the extra two minutes to sum up your post or page with a keyword-rich description that is under 160 characters and 920 pixels (on-site SEO tools like Rankmath and Yoast have indicators that will tell you if you go over). Other than that, just ensure your permalink and title tag are within ideal range, and you’ll be in good shape! 

6. Get Backlinks

A backlink is when another site links to your page. When this happens, Google takes it as evidence that you have published something worth sharing. This can help to build up your clout and ultimately boost your visibility. There are strategies and tools for requesting them, but one of the best ways to get backlinks is to simply write content that people organically feel is valuable enough to share. See how it always comes back to quality content?

7. Track and Learn

Pay attention to your data. Are some pages performing while others fail to show up in search the way you’d like? The answers are in the numbers, so dig in! You don’t even have to dissect the nitty-gritty to discover some overarching trends. Have you noticed that certain style choices or topics seem to do better? Even a cursory assessment of the content you’ve published over time can give you a clue about what’s working and what’s not, so you can find opportunities to repurpose content and expand on high-performing topics.  

8. Update Your Content

Let’s say you wrote a blog post called “The 10 Best Memphis Bars in 2021.” Obviously, that title is not going to draw as many clicks in 2022 as it did when you wrote it. Simply hopping into your editor and revising the blog with updated content can breathe life into old posts and allow you to get a lot more mileage out of them. 

Need Help With Your SEO?

Keeping up with SEO best practices is a full-time job. Even with the help of an expensive monthly SEO tool, the time investment to optimize for each individual page and widespread technical errors can be substantial. Working with the shyft team means you get the technical experience and dedicated SEO strategy that will let you focus on what you do best. Contact us today to discuss your content goals.   

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