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How to Write and Optimise Content That Ranks High in Google

Content that ranks on the first page of Google are those that are deemed most relevant. It used to be that you could create content that was “good enough” and rank it for target keywords with a handful of links.

But those days are long gone as quality standards are now much higher than ever.

This is largely due to the fact that Google’s ranking algorithm has become incredibly sophisticated over the years. Algorithms are able to detect instances of keyword stuffing and duplicate content, and penalise those sites accordingly. If you want your site to rank you cannot simply spam your way to the top of the results.

The key is to focus on providing engaging content that provides value. In-depth posts and other comprehensive tutorials are far more likely to rank in the search results. They also tend to attract more relevant links in the process, making them less prone to future algorithm updates.

Here we look at some of the strategies you must employ to write and optimise content that ranks in Google.

1. Target Frequently Searched Topics

What is your target market searching for?

To get the most out of your content and attract traffic from the search engines, focus on some of the burning questions that are common in your industry. Doing so helps your site rank in the search results for a wider range of keywords. It also establishes your brand as an authority in the industry.

Use the following resources to identify potential topics to target:

  • Forums
  • Social media
  • Q & A sites (e.g. Quora, Yahoo Answers, etc.)
  • Analytics data

Keyword tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner can provide additional keyword ideas as well as traffic estimates. The resources above should give you plenty of topic ideas that you can create engaging content around.

2. Cover the Topic In-Depth

It sounds obvious but it’s worth mentioning.

What makes content engaging and more likely to get visitors to read through the whole page is its comprehensiveness. Simply throwing up 500 word articles with a certain keyword density is no longer effective. A better approach is to choose a topic to cover (as outlined in the first step) and do so thoroughly.

According to data from serpIQ, pages that rank higher tend to have more content.

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If you are providing tips on a certain topic, cover each one in complete detail. Add your opinions and provide resources that your readers can refer to. The focus is to provide value at every step for your visitors.

3. Optimise On-Page Factors

Your content is finally written and ready to publish.

But don’t hit that button just yet.

Google pays attention to different aspects of your content to determine what the page is about. Optimise the following on-page factors to increase the visibility of your content in the search results:

  • Title tags: Titles are perhaps the most important on-page factor as they are the first thing that visitors see in the search results. Be sure to include your target keywords here and make your titles enticing to increase click through rates.
  • Meta descriptions: These are short snippets of text that are displayed beneath the titles and give visitors an overview of what the page is about. Again, include your keywords here and include a call to action to get more visitors to click through.
  • Headers: Headers are beneficial as they improve readability and give search engines a better idea of what your content covers. Instead of your target keywords, include secondary keywords.
  • Body: Aim to include your primary keywords throughout the content as well as related terms. This helps your content rank for long term keywords. But be careful not to over-optimise your content as it can lead to a ranking penalty.

If you use WordPress, be sure to install the Yoast by SEO plugin to help with your on-page optimisation.

4. Increase Engagement With Relevant Images

No one wants to slog through large blocks of text.

It looks unappealing and gets visitors to quickly leave the page.

So how do you engage more of your visitors?

Use images.

Content with images get 94% more views and get shared on social media networks far more often than plain text. Either use stock photos or create your own. If you use images that you find online, be sure to link to the resource so that visitors can click through for more information.

Conclusion

Quality matters.

Throwing up content that offers little value is no longer effective. Google has made it clear with the Panda and Penguin updates that quality content is a major ranking factor. Cover a topic comprehensively and optimise all on-page factors to increase its visibility in the search results. Quality content is exactly what Google rewards in the search results.