Google and the Search Engines are now looking for keyword rich ‘Semantic Copy’ when it comes to content. The way you used to write blogs is not as powerful for SEO as it once was. Instead of concentrating on a keyword or specific content you now need to take into consideration the context of what you are writing. ‘Semantic Content’ has the following characteristics:
- Search Intent – Google is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words.
- Semantics - Enhanced search results due to knowledge of the underlying meaning of the query - how the subject of a search relates to other information in a wider sense (aka its contextual relevance) rather than a string of keywords.
- Keyword and Anchor Link Text - Product URLs are often indexed and linked to by other websites. Important keywords are present in URL and serve as the anchor text. Placing product and category specific keywords within anchor text that points back to your website is the one of the main drivers to the top of search engine rankings.
- Long Tail Exact Match - Exactly matching keywords in the URL to those on page used to be a big driver for positioning (Exact Match SEO). Google has placed less priority on that, but is looking for content and context on the page and it starts with the URL. A URL string that has the same keywords as the title tag, H1, description and on page content is much more likely to rank for the relevant search query.
Blogging is the perfect vehicle to address conversational and direct questions for SEO. Below is a checklist to review while writing and before publishing your blog.
- Keywords – Target the keywords you are trying to rank for and, more importantly, surrounding subject visitors will want to read. Use contextual content to support the keyword.
- Long tail – Use your content to address questions and conversational content
- Headline – Write a strong headline by utilizing the keyword in questions or statement form. If your CMS uses the headline as the title tag, make sure to keep it short and impactful.
- URL – Be sure the URL (permalink) contains both the keyword and elements of the title.
- Title and H1 – Write a title attribute that uses your keywords and terms within the headline.
- Meta Description – Write a Meta description to entice a reader to click on your link and read the blog. Again, use key terms and supporting copy from the article.
- Subheading’s – Make your post easy to scan and index by creating bulleted lists using H2/H3 style elements. This shows Google and your readers the important sub-sections of the article.
- Content – 1,500 characters is typically recommended for an effective, ranking article. However, a recent study from serpIQ (see below) shows longer blog posts actually ranked better. Thus, a length of 2,500 characters is considered acceptable.
- Internal Links – Create links to related posts, to your site, to social profiles, and/or to external resources that will add value to the article. Use keywords in the anchor texts of these links.
- Category – Select the appropriate category in order to connect the post to similar posts written in the past. A library of well-written content leads to higher subscription rates and readership.
- Tags / Cloud – Your CMS may auto-create tags through a keyword cloud rendering, but be careful to enter only the tags most relevant.
- Featured Image or Video – Include a compelling image, infographic, or video to support your article. Make sure to use ALT tags and/or captions to add emphasis for indexing purposes.
- Social – Add social links to make your content easy to “like” and share.
- Author – Choose the correct authors / co-authors.
- Grammar and Spelling – Proofread your post and proofread it again. Then, have someone else edit it. Nothing turns a reader off more than poor grammar and spelling errors.
- Review – Look at a live web preview to ensure the formatting is correct.
- Take a break – Walk away from your post, take a break, eat lunch, etc. Come back, re-read, make final edits, and then launch.
- Publish – Don’t forget to confirm and publish.
Want a printable version of this checklist? Download it below!