SEO, also known as search engine optimization is a technique used by bloggers and content developers alike to rank high on Google organically and showcase their content to readers, using rules and algorithms set by Google. SEO is easy and affordable to use when understood. We have created our own guide to SEO using multiple verified articles and resources at 12channels to educate our readers and clients alike on how you can improve your SERPs in no time. This guide will educate beginners and experts alike to bring forth an easier way to understand the model. Keep reading!
If your blog is about banana cake and you are writing about “How to bake a banana cake”, the keyword you choose should ideally have
- Avg. searches are the number of times the keyword has been searched by the users, monthly or yearly.
- Competition of the keyword is how many websites are using the keyword and ranking themselves. The more competition, the harder to rank.
- Search intent is the intent of the user. Does the user type, “how to bake a banana cake” more, or just “banana cake”?
- Conversion is how much the keyword is likely to generate sales or leads.
- CTR, also known as Click Through Rate is the number of actions users take.
Note – If a keyword is being clicked on but doesn’t yet generate sales, leads, branding gains, etc. then it is a high click-through but low conversion rate.
#2 Long Tail Keyword Vs Short Tail Keyword
The focus keyword or the primary keyword for your blog can be a long trail keyword or short tail keyword.
|Feature||Long Tail Keyword||Short Tail Keyword|
|Nature||More Specific||Less Specific|
|Traffic||Targeted Traffic||Broad Target|
|Search Volume||Easy To Rank||High Search Volume|
|PPC Ad Cost||Low||High|
|Search Intent||Specific Information||General Information|
|Example||How to bake a cake, bake a cake, how to make a banana cake, how to make a cake at home, etc.||Cake, banana cake, wedding cake, cheesecake, etc|
Note – A Long tail keyword contains short tail keyword (s) and help rank short tail keyword. However, a short-tail keyword generates higher revenue if ranked.
#3 Secondary Keywords
Choosing keywords like “banana cake” or “bake a cake is easier”, however, a focus keyword needs secondary keywords. So, how do you know the search intent of the user?
LSI Method – Latent Semantic Indexing
LSI method of searching a keyword includes a simple google search.
For example – If your browser is Google, and the focus keyword is “banana cake”, type banana cake in the search engine as shown below.
The above example shows the different search suggestions for the word “banana cake”. These suggestions are sorted in the Google algorithm depending on the search intent of the users. This means that the users searching for “banana cake” are also searching for “banana cake recipe”, “banana cake eggless”, and so on.
If you are looking for more specific words, you can type the word banana cake in the search engine and click enter. Scroll down to the end of the page and view more suggestions.
But if you are looking for the questions users ask more! Here’s where you should take a look!
Google Keyword Planner Method
If you would want to see more details on your selected keywords, this method will not only help you find more suggestions on your keywords but help you narrow down the keywords based on their avg searches and competition. Let us take a look at how that works!
Step 1 – Open Google Keyword Planner
Step 2 – Enter Your Keyword Ideas
Step 3 – Look at the results and narrow them down
In the above example, how to bake banana cake has 10 – 100 monthly searches and low competition. However, even the banana cake has low competition but a high search volume of 10k – 100k.
In such a case as the above example, “banana cake” can be a primary or focus keyword for your blog. But if you are going for a long tail keyword, you can choose the one with more search volume.
#4 Using Google Trends
To explore what the world is searching for and the trend words, you can also use google trends and compare your keywords.
Step 1 – Open Google Trends
Step 2 – Enter search words and adjust place, period, etc.
In the above-given example, the search word is “how to make banana cake”. The location is India. The period over which the word is searched is adjusted to 12 months.
Step 3 – Enter a word at the top right if you have a word to compare.
Step 4 – Compare both words
As you can see, how to bake banana cake itself has high search intent, but when compared with banana cake, the search volume is lower. Therefore, the word you choose can depend on your blog and the intent. However, long-tail keywords are preferably used to enhance focus and conversion.
“Now that you know what to write, and where to look, let us start writing!”
SEO Rules For Blogs
#1 Title Readability
- Page title should be < 60 characters
- Focus keywords should be used at the beginning of the SEO title.
- Your title should contain a positive or a negative sentiment word.
- Your title should contain a power word. Add at least one.
- Your SEO title should contain a number.
A simple rule of copywriting is to evoke emotions. If we were talking about a cake, we would tell you how soft the batter is, or moist the bread is, how amazing it smells, how the cream or the toppings look and taste, and how delicious the flavour tastes in the mouth.
And, If you’ve browsed Facebook or any other social platform, you might have come across several posts that have titles similar to – “7 life-hacks that will blow your mind, 4th one is the best!!!”, etc.
The word “best” and “blow your mind” are considered emotions and the same should be used in your title.
Like sentiment words, power words also carry the weightage of making users click your links. Words like “Important”, “Essential”, “Quick”, etc, are known as power words.
#2 Content Readability
- You should use short paragraphs (Preferably <120 words)
- Your content should contain images and/or video(s)
- Add a table of contents
- Length of the content should not be < 600 words.
Table Of Contents
If you are writing a long blog post, it is important to make the navigation of the post easier for the readers to understand quickly. Not all users will be looking for the entire information that your post provides. Some users might be looking for a very specific answer that is written somewhere in the post. Hence the navigation comes in handy!
The easiest way to help your users is by introducing a table of contents in your post.
Note – If you are using WordPress, you can use a table of contents plugin to break down your text.
There have been many studies that have shown that content length and higher rankings have a positive correlation as Google is shown to prefer pages with more content.
- > 2500 words: 100% score
- 2000-2500 words: 70% score
- 1500-2000 words: 60% score
- 1000-1500 words: 40% score
- 600-1000 words: 20% score
- < 600 words: 0% score
#3 Basic SEO Requirements
- MUST use Focus Keyword in the SEO Title
- MUST have only one H1 (Header 1)
- Focus keyword MUST be used inside SEO Meta Description
- Meta description should be < 160 characters
- Focus keyword should be used in the URL (Permalink)
- Focus keyword should appear in the first 10% of the content
- Focus keyword should be found in the subheading(s)
- Focus keyword should be found in image alt attribute(s)
- Keyword density should be 1% to 3%
- URL should be <75 characters long
- Content should have outbound links
- At least one external link with DoFollow found in your content.
- Preferably you haven’t used this focus keyword before in your other content
- At least one internal link
URL of the blog is the unique URL of the page, displayed below the post title in the search results.
Preferable, to rank better, your URL should be less than 75 characters long with the focus keyword in it. You can edit your URL in a snippet preview.
In the above example, “Auto loan approval with bad credit” is the keyword.
Image Alt Attribute
The images you add in the post have an alt attribute. The alt attribute of the post should preferably be the focus keyword to improve ranking. If you are editing your post in WordPress, this is how you do it.
Step 1 – Add an Image to the post.
Step 2- Click on edit as HTML
Step 3 – Add the focus keyword in the Alt attribute
In the above example, “Annual Percentage Rate” is the focus keyword.
Keyword density is the most important part of the content. An overused keyword, also known as keyword stuffing or poisoning will ban your site overall. When you use a keyword too many times, Google will flag you as unsafe, hence warding the readers away from your site. Therefore, the density of the keyword in the content should be 1% to 3% of the content size.
However, 1% to 1.15% is the most ideal. I.e for every 1000 words of content, you should repeat the focus keyword 10 times in intervals, to achieve 1% density.
Outbound & Inbound Links
Outbound links are external links. When your content has a URL from a different site, it is called an outbound link.
The link to IRDAI in the above example opens a new tab to the link. The blog is however not written by IRDAI.
Inbound links are internal links. It is when you link to your own site or a part of your own site.
Words highlighted in the green are internal links of the site where you will navigate to a different part of the site discussing those words.
Note – If you are using WordPress, activate the DoFollow button for outbound links to achieve greater ranking.
Search Engine Optimization Summary
- You should add a page title <60 characters
- The focus keyword should appear in the page title
- Put the focus keyword at the beginning of the page title
- You should add a meta description <160 characters
- The focus keyword should appear in the Meta description
- You should add an H1. Only one.
- The focus keyword should appear in the H1
- Your text length should be >600 words for blogs
- The focus keyword should appear in the first paragraph of the text
- Keyword density should be 1% – 3%
- You should add an image (≥ 3)
- The focus keyword should appear in the image name
- The focus keyword should appear in the image alt tag
- Add relevant links to improve user experience and internal link structure
By now you must have realized that there’s a lot to SEO than just optimizing your website for the search engines. It’s an ever-changing field, which is why it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices. However, by following the tips in this guide, you can give your website the best chance of ranking high in the search results.
Note: In this article, the information mentioned has been thoroughly researched using multiple articles and resources. We have mentioned the sources below.
An agency can help you with an SEO strategy customized according to your business type and needs. And when you’re ready to take your SEO game up a notch, contact us at 12 channels and our subject matter experts will be more than happy to help your business reach new heights!