It’s easier to publish a blog post than making it rank on Google’s Top Pages. All it takes is optimization or SEO. As a freelance writer, you get to know hell when you are asked to write SEO optimized articles. But don’t panic. When you figure out how SEO works, writing Google-friendly articles becomes your cup of tea.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, it’s a set of things that help rank your blog posts on top of Google’s first page. It helps Search Engines to figure out whether your content is of good quality or not. On a keyword tracking basis, the search engine’s algorithms check your article and determine whether its content can be useful.
Let’s assume you wrote an article about How To Make Money Online. When a reader types Make Money Online, the Search Engine’s algorithms check their database and look for every web content containing the keywords “Money Online”, “Money”, “Make Money Online”, the list goes on. Then, it checks which contains the right keywords you type. Depending on how consistently the writer used the keyword in the article, the latter can rank first, second, third, etc. In the blogging jargon, you’ll hear “This article is SEO Friendly”.
Now, if your article on the same topic doesn’t rank first, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your content is poor. At the same time, not all ranking articles are rich. Most articles rank first because:
- They’re useful for readers and SEO optimized
- They’re SEO optimized and not useful for readers.
So in case you think your article is rich and should rank first, you just have to edit your article and strategically insert keywords. But, SEO is not just about keywords. It’s about pictures, internal and external links…
Why is SEO important?
When you make SEO your friend, lots of great things come your way. It goes from simple traffic to high conversion rates.
SEO drives traffic to your blog
Studies have shown that 80% of internet users tend to read only the top 5 websites of Google’s first page. It literally means that these websites drive the most traffic. Unless you are writing for passion, you know how important having high traffic in your blog is.
Your blog traffic gives you authority. When you rank first for a given range of keywords, your readers tend to read only your blog. Additionally, when you have huge traffic it becomes easier for you to sell your products.
SEO boosts your income
One of the several ways to make money in the blogosphere is advertising. When you make it to the first page of Google, it becomes easier for advertisers to find you. It goes without saying that you can make an extra income from that. It can also happen that someone reaches out to you for a sponsored post. Either way, you make money from that.
In our case, ranking first on Google’s first page can attract more clients. Most clients are looking for social proof and skills. SEO handles both. You’ll be surprised to receive emails from clients proposing you work on some of their projects.
SEO encourages quality
Because of SEO, blogging has become competitive. Everyone out there wants that top position. At some point, it compels writers to produce good and well-written content. This being said, it doesn’t mean SEO doesn’t or does put readers first. This is a multifaceted topic.
How to write optimized articles?
You can write SEO optimized with or without a plugin. A plug-in is that tool you install on WordPress and it does some magic work for you. It can either handle your blog’s loading speed or take care of your newsletter. Plugins do a lot of things.
Using A Plugin
While there are plenty of plugins that can make the SEO job easier for you, I’ll only focus on one. YOAST SEO. Yoast is a plug-in made by WordPress which automatically fixes some bugs in your blog when you install it.
To install Yoast, just log in to your WordPress dashboard by typing www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin. Insert your credentials. Once in, select “Plugin” in the menu on the left side. Then, select “Add New” and you’ll be taken to a page where you’ll see a search bar. Type “Yoast SEO ” in the search bar and wait until it finds it. Now click on the “Install” button below the icon of the plug-in. Afterward, click on the “Activate” button and you’re all set.
Yoast SEO uses two colors for telling you whether your article is optimized for SEO or not. The red color means SEO is OK but there is still room for improvement. The green one means SEO is good. You can also check your SEO status on the editing page on the right side. Your goal here is to activate the green color.
Set up a Key Phrase
A Key Phrase is a sort of keyword. It’s a set of keywords you set that help you optimize the article. For instance, if you set «freelance writer» as a key phrase, you are compelled to use it everywhere necessary for SEO. It’s also that key phrase that will help people find your post on Google.
To set a key phrase, all you have to do is to scroll down to the bottom of the article editor. You’ll find an empty box with a «Key Phrase» Label.
Work at your Headline
You should spend at least 10 minutes every time working on your headlines. Ask yourself ‘’what kind of headlines can have me read an article?’’ “What kind of topics is my audience interested in?”
SEO requires you to use your key phrase in the headline. Make sure your title looks great with the key phrase. Also, make sure the headline isn’t long. Remember, you’re writing for your audience, not for SEO.
Write A Meta Description
A Meta Description is what appears when you paste your articles’ link in Whatsapp, Facebook or any other social media.
Once your article is in the editor and it’s ready for being published, scroll down to the bottom. Click on “Snippets” at your left. You’ll see “Meta Description” with a box right below. Write a meta description in between 150-180 characters. Make sure your Meta Description contains the key phrase you set before.
Insert internal and external links
This is another crucial requirement for SEO. Internal links are links from your blog. They might be links to previous articles. External links unlike the previous type of links are links from other websites.
It’s really simple to add links to your blog post. All it takes is to click on a given word in the article and click on the ‘’‘Hyperlink’’ button at the top of the editor.
Use the key phrase at least 4 times
SEO has some requirements when it comes to key phrase density. The minimum is 4. Please don’t overuse the key phrase. Google has a BS detector that figures out whether your post is good for trash or not.
It’s recommended to use it in the introduction of the article, in the conclusion and section titles. But you can also use them in sentences, it might also do some good.
Inserting a picture in your post is as important as naming the picture with the key phrase and putting the key phrase in the Alt Text. Besides their usefulness in SEO, pictures are what captivate your readers. Make sure you use high-quality images.
Importance of SEO
- It gives you authority in your niche
- It drives traffic to your blog
- It helps you earn money
- It encourages you to write high standard posts
How to optimize an article using Yoast SEO?
- Set a key phrase
- Work on the headline
- Insert links
- Use pictures
- Use the key phrase at least four times in the article
- Write a meta description.
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