Head of SEO & Content
By following a few SEO guidelines we can ensure that our content is Googlefriendly. No one can guarantee you a number 1 position in the search engine, firstly because we have no control over what the competition is doing, but what we can do is create content that is competitive and fights for the top positions.
In this article I’m going to give you 10 guidelines to follow when tackling text.
Of course, there is much more. The advent of Web Core Vitals has given even more importance to the technical side of SEO. If, in addition, we do international SEO, there will be other specific aspects to take into account.
But here I’m not going to talk about servers, programming languages or sitemaps in different languages. Let’s think that the challenge ahead of us is to write an article that ranks. And we are going to follow 10 SEO guidelines to achieve it.
We talk about SEO content, but we don’t forget to mention that the continent is just as relevant.
1. Position the right words
I went into this aspect in detail in my article on keyword research. And now I do it again because the key to any SEO article is to get the focus right. What do we want to achieve? Which people do we want to attract?
When writing for Google, it will be the wording we select that will give us this keyword. Where in the sales funnel process are we targeting? There are a lot of questions to ask before writing and a strategy needs to be finalised beforehand.
SEO takes time and effort, so not planning your strategy will mean throwing that time, which is also money, down the drain. Your content marketing strategy starts with getting yourself known and trusted by potential customers before moving on to more transactional keywords. Don’t forget this when making your keyword selection.
2. Consider the size of the images
Images are great allies when it comes to writing an article for Google. You know what the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words. So if you add several images to your thousand words, the information will be much more complete.
Of course, don’t forget to fill in the ALT field and title them correctly. If relevant, add a caption as well. Everything will enrich the text and make it more complete for Google.
At the same time, it also makes it easier to read for the person who lands on your page. Images offer a visual break and make the text appear lighter.
However, using images also has a drawback and that is the loading time. It is recommended that photos weigh no more than 100 KB so that the page loading speed does not suffer.
3. Create an internal link structure
Internal links are one of the greatest allies we have when it comes to linking our own content and enriching it. On a practical level, it also means that we don’t have to write the same thing again. It is enough to link to the article where we have developed this point.
I always comment that links work like academic bibliography. You say something but it is backed up by what you link to. When you use internal links you are also strengthening other content on your website, creating related content and hierarchising it so that the search engine understands it.
The structure, like the keywords, should be thought out in advance, knowing what you are going to target where and for what purpose.
4. Look for external links
The article does not end when you hit publish. Beyond making updates when necessary, it is also necessary to work on your linkbuilding strategy. Getting external links to your content will give it greater authority and will be as important as the text itself, especially in keywords where there is a lot of SEO competition.
Therefore, it is important that the links that other people give us are also worked. That they use the keyword we need or even that we use them to expand with related keywords.
It is very important that the external links are natural, otherwise Google will penalise us. If it suspects that the links have been bought or if they come from pages that are not related to our content.
Fortunately, with Google Search Console we can ask Google to disregard those links that we consider toxic, which will also help the positioning. So not only look for external links, but also remove those that do not benefit you.
5. Check the loading speed
The loading speed is also very important. It’s simple, we don’t have the patience today. It’s not that we don’t have patience, it’s that we don’t need it.
If a website doesn’t give you the result you are looking for immediately, you pogo sticking and go to a different one. And this is reflected in the position we are going to have.
So once you have your article ready, check how long it takes to load. Probably many of the aspects that slow down the most are out of your reach (number of plugins, server, etc… but there may be others that you can optimise).
Readability is also very important for ranking in Google. SEO tools such as the Yoast plugin calculate your readability index and can serve as a guide.
Even so, it is not advisable to take it to heart. For example, if we make a list, not having connectors, it may appear as not very readable when it is actually the opposite.
Even so, using short sentences and not making very long paragraphs will help us to position. It is not advisable to have more than three sentences in a paragraph, as well as introducing multimedia elements, titles and sub-headings to facilitate reading.
On the other hand, also pay attention to the typography and design elements of the website. If it does not read well, if it is uncomfortable or if it can tire the eyes, your article is not going to work, no matter how well the rest of the elements work.
7. Be useful
Not only do you have to be readable, you also have to be useful. An SEO article seeks to respond to a search intent. It seeks to solve a need that a person has.
So don’t write for the sake of writing and try to be as useful as possible. If it’s a how-to article or if it answers a specific question, explain the steps or answer the question. And do it at the beginning of the article.
I think it’s great that you want to expand your content and explain other related aspects. If they are sufficiently related, Google will love it too. But don’t lose focus.
Remember that the user wants to know something and if it takes them a long time to find it, they will leave. Nobody is going to read three thousand words for a simple query. Or a thousand. Start by answering and expand as much as you want.
This way, whoever finds the answer will leave satisfied (and won’t pogo sticking) and whoever wants to know more will continue reading and improve the time spent.
8. Use videos
If possible, use videos. We are living in an audiovisual age. Most of the people who consume your content will prefer to see their response in video.
It is also a way of offering related content and it will help you to improve the dwell time.
Host the videos on Youtube or Vimeo and you don’t have to worry about storing them on your website, as they will simply be embedded. It doesn’t have to be your own video, you can use a video made by anyone else to your advantage.
9. Be relevant
It’s the same thing I mentioned in my article on how to make a podcast to promote your business, if what you have to say is not relevant, don’t say it. An article has to provide something different from those that already exist.
It is difficult when we talk about very competitive topics but you have to look for a differential value. You have to offer something more. More information, a different approach, more links and related content, simpler or funnier writing?
Make your article, if not better, at least different and more suitable for a specific audience: the one you are targeting. It sounds easy, but it is not. However, it is the real key that will allow you to organically outperform your competitors. Be better than them. You can.
10. Have fun
As I said when talking about creative SEO, content is also culture and entertainment. Even if you are explaining how to carry out an administrative procedure or a legal consultation.
Make your content entertaining and fun. Try different tactics and enjoy yourself while doing it.
This may not be objective, but the mood you are in when you write is transmitted. Inspiration exists and when you’re having fun you’re more likely to have that brilliance that will make your content rise above the competition.
And with creativity, think that the game is not over. SEO is slow and there are many ways to make it work, with external links, internal links, with updates, with new multimedia, etc… Don’t get frustrated if you see that even if you follow the SEO guidelines you are not getting where you expected.
There is another one, which is time when it comes to evergreen content. Wait, work and let Google bots and user experience do their job. And if it doesn’t work, try again.