And just like that, we’re halfway through 2019 and the technocratic search engine uprising is afoot. We’ve made quantum leaps in index designs for merge factors, storage techniques, lookup speeds — we’ve seen the whole gauntlet of Google algorithmic rollouts, from codename Panda to codename Penguin, RankBrain and beyond, smashing black hat search engine optimization (SEO) and returning the internet to a place of peace, authenticity and, some might even say, human decency.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s perfectly fine. In fact, I want us all to gaze upon the landscape of modern SEO and the entire search engine complex with the eyes of a lay marketer, totally devoid of concepts like “longtail keywording” or “meta-tag stuffing” and able to see your articles and blog posts for exactly what they should be: informative, engaging and focused forays into the subject matter at hand, written by you, the subject matter expert.
Here, I want to look at a few ways in which we can navigate the ever-changing waters of your modern search engine results pages (SERPs) and get your content up near the fold while keeping your pieces fresh and voice-driven. Despite the methods and data from outdated Google algorithms and the intimidating canon of Complete Idiot’s Guides and For Dummies books, there are a few intuitive and equally important things you can do to get eyeballs on your ideas without running people off the page with a whole minefield of backlinks or awkward keyword cadences. Let’s get started:
1. Make time for titles.
I could spend this entire article on the importance of a strong title (and maybe I will in another piece) — and then spend twice as long trying to come up with a title for the article itself. In all seriousness, there are a few things all writers should keep in mind while crafting content for the ever-expanding cluster realm of the World Wide Web:
• Write for those who don’t like reading.
• Write for those who don’t like thinking.
• Write for those who want to be entertained.
Ergo, if you cannot tell me about your piece in a few quick-witted and captivating characters, I’m not interested, clicking, reading, engaging or converting — and neither is anyone else. Even if your article is stacked with all the meta tags and linked keywords you can think of, if you can’t get traffic to your page, you’ve got nothing.
One thing everyone does have is 15 minutes, which is about all it takes to pepper that header with strong action verbs, colorful adjectives and a provocative premise. Think about the last title you came up with and how much time you gave those five to seven words versus the time you spent hacking away at the content. Did you do your piece justice?
2. Know what you’re talking about.
More and more, who is saying what is becoming just as important as what is being said. With Google’s new Core and PageRank algorithms, authority analytics can be applied to your content to determine if you’re the right person to answer any questions posed in the search bar.
These days, it’s increasingly important to approach content with a focused TAR objective and foundation, even before starting your keyword research or filling out your content calendar. TAR includes the three most important traits of any successful blogger or business:
If it were up to me, I’d have probably reordered that acronym to ART, but at least it isn’t RAT. Anyway, if you’re going to climb the ranks of any SERP, you need to show the search engines that you’re a reputable source of information and that you’ve got some experience in your respective field of expertise. There are a few ways in which you can achieve this.
Having a focused and consistent presence online is key. You want to build an association between your online persona and your products, services or expertise by writing consistent, informative and relevant content on your field.
Having an author page is another great way to associate yourself with your work. Publishing anonymously on your website won’t give search engines a reason to trust who’s behind the content. If you’re quoted in other websites or featured around the internet on topics relevant to your own site, you want to use that reputation as leverage to give your own articles the authority they need to rank well. If you have any reputation, always tag your articles with your byline and author page.
Perhaps the best way to improve your reputation is to get out there and show the world that real people care to speak with you about whatever it is you purport to know. Show up in some guest blogs. Get quoted in relevant news articles. Change your LinkedIn or Behance account details to reflect that you are the go-to source of all things related to what you do.
3. Know what you’re good at, and get after it.
This last piece of advice may seem a bit obvious, but it’s one of the biggest ways in which you can either scale and curate useful content in a meaningful way or burn out and earn yourself a “learning opportunity.”
Chase what you’re passionate about. Write about what you know. This way, you’ll be coming from a place of offering genuine value to your readers, and you can set a regular and consistent posting schedule that you’ll be excited about. When you find something worth doing well, it will pay off — not only in your content, but in the way you feel about your work and your products.
There you have it: three easy ways you can optimize the SEO of your web content without ever having to open a how-to book or know what a semantic analysis is.