You’ve created the perfect content for your target audience, checked your spelling ten times over and devised a call to action that should convert prospects into customers. But if your SEO isn’t up to scratch and your keywords aren’t right, you’ll be losing out on high-value traffic and a chance at the top positions on Google and other search engines.
As we all know, content marketing and copywriting take time – and freelancers are busy people. With this in mind, we’ve put together some straightforward, actionable tips for boosting your rankings on Google.
1. Find a balance between keyword targeting and everyday language
Thankfully, the days of keyword stuffing and black hat SEO are a thing of the past. To keep both Google and your visitors happy, your content needs to be a good blend of targeted primary and secondary keywords and language that your audience naturally uses. This approach helps to ensure your copy flows well, improves optimisation for voice search and gives you chance at winning the Google answers box or featured snippets. Not familiar with this term? Find out more on Google’s featured snippet webpage.
2. Clean up your URLs and metadescriptions
Metadescriptions and URLs help Google understand what your page is about, and index it appropriately. Make sure you prioritise your top keywords in both and leave out any language that doesn’t need to be there such as ‘to’, ‘and’, ‘of’ etc – and any unnecessary adjectives and superlatives. Include a CTA in your metadescription as well as an honest, helpful summary of what your visitor will find on the page (with a little creative flourish, of course!).
3. Optimise for rich snippets and get the #1 spot on Google
We mentioned featured snippets above. As the number 1 spot on Google, these have been targeted by ambitious content marketers since their inception in 2014. Here are some ways to optimise for rich snippets.
1. Take a look at the featured snippets your competitors have won and ascertain which you could realistically attempt to win from them and which are still available.
2. Optimise your header tags and content to include key questions your audience needs answering. This approach will also help to improve your page structure and enhance user experience. If you’re not sure what questions to use, think about the kinds of queries your customer service team or you, yourself get asked. You can also check out Answer The Public or the ‘People Also Ask’ boxes on Google which are often included underneath the featured snippet.
3. Keep your answers brief to fit in the box. 40-50 words is a good amount to aim for.
4. Add an FAQ or how-to section to your website. Not only does this help you optimise for featured snippets but it also positions you as an expert in your field.
4. Deliver the best possible user experience
If your content doesn’t deliver on its promise or if your page is poorly formatted and hard to read, people will leave – it’s as simple as that. And Google RankBrain will be watching. If you aren’t familiar with RankBrain, now’s the time to change that. RankBrain is one of Google’s most important ranking signals. It uses amazing/terrifying (depending on your standpoint) machine learning to determine the most relevant search results. So, if visitors are consistently bouncing from your page your rankings are likely to suffer.
5. Set aside time to monitor your progress
Most copywriters and content marketers forget to check their website analytics from time to time – but doing so on a regular basis can reap rewards. To save time, and get you in the habit, consider setting up some Google Analytics custom reports that’ll give you an overview of key website metrics such as the average time visitors spent on your page, click through rates, referral traffic from other websites or social media platforms etc. Send them to yourself every week and use any insights to inform copy changes or shape your content strategy.
Best of luck and don’t forget to let us know how you get on!