By Sadia Tahsin
Writing used to be so simple once upon a time! But as everything else, writing evolved, and so increased their commonness, recurrence, and not to mention, quantity. Thanks to the internet, getting heard has become as difficult a task as it has become easy – meaning despite your write-up’s existence in the vastness of the Web, so is everyone else’s; and it’s up to you to add the necessary bells and whistles that will get you ahead of the race (or SERPs, in this case). As such, writing is no longer limited to only the words, but also extends to how you present it, how it copes with the reader’s requirements, its comprehensibility, etc.
Before we start, let’s do a classroom style initiation. What is SEO? SEO is what we call Search Engine Optimization, a method through which you enhance relevant and high amount of website traffic via expanding the visibility of your website or webpage. To put it simply, a process to drive as many appropriate individuals to your designation amidst this enormousness and endless other alternatives.
Search Engine Optimization, as many other things, has three segments – white hat, grey hat, black hat. White hat is, in essence, the legal way of doing SEO; whereas black hat is the opposite of it. While the topic of grey hat SEO is debatable, this article will mostly focus on white hat. But if you must, grey hat techniques are those which aren’t heavily recommended because they oftentimes seem like cheap tricks or morally wrong, such as negative SEO – where one uses black hat techniques against their competitors to rank them below, SEO squatting – purchasing relevant domains and placing backlinks which lead to your site, and writing negative reviews on competitors. It also includes techniques such as redesigning one’s website to trick the search engines into thinking it is new content, and plagiarizing from multiple sources to seem relevant.
With that out of our way, you should know that there are primarily two types of SEO:
- i) Paid SEO ii) Organic SEO
With money, anything is possible but today it’s all about achieving the goal but also going easy on the pockets. So, let’s jump right into how you can get your content ahead of the SEO game, the ORGANIC WAY!
Rule 1 – Use specific, targeted keywords
Don’t simply ‘write’ for the sake of writing! Take some time, and think about the type of content you are working on. Do some research on what kind of resources are already available, and the type of content that appear on the result pages when you look it up. The golden rule is to appeal to the reader’s wants – get into their shoes and think, “What words or questions could lead a reader to my article?”. The key is to frequently use words and phrases that a reader is likely to type into the search bar when looking for your content topic.
Rule 2 – Comprehensibility
Nobody wants to read contents screaming ‘wrong spellings’ and ‘bad grammar’! Most readers, like yours truly, open a plethora of links that appear in the first search result page, and quickly glance over each for barely more than five seconds to estimate whether it is worth their time and close the ones that do not pass the test. To make sure that your content is the last man standing, you have to make it as appealing to the reader as you can. The content has to be both meaningful, and simple, at the same time. Oh and, use short paragraphs with headers that will catch the reader’s attention, and lists and bullets for it to seem well written at first glance.
Rule 3 – Research, research, research
There is nothing as alluring as a well-researched article, with facts, credible citations and relevant quotations. Use however much of them as you can, so long as you don’t start to sound like a well versed yet, boring lecturer. Search engines are designed in a way that prioritizes heavy research, and reliable information. So write in a way that makes your content seem well researched and analyzed, focusing on topics that go deeper than surface level. You should also write long-form content, because search engines love that! Contents above 2000 words usually make their place within the first few results pages, but the actual word count primarily depends on the other articles that already exist.
Rule 4 – It’s more than just the words
You wrote an article. Well yes, but so did many others. In the end, readers will only read the ones that appear first in the search results. What do you do to stand out? Visuals! Multimedia! The smart SEO writer uses all their resources at hand. Readers don’t just want a well-researched, credible article. They want videos, pictures (please don’t use stock photos), infographics. Gone are the days you could just copy and paste stock photos on your articles. The game has changed, and that’s where you have the ability to get an edge, because not many have the will to go out and click original photos, or design images, or shoot a high-quality video. And so, that’s exactly what you will do. Just like anywhere else, effort is always appreciated. And in this case, appreciation comes in the form of your content ranking over hundreds of others!
With that, there’s no ultimate formula to be an SEO master. But with enough consistency and experience, you might as well just be able to get close to perfect. Remember, your main goal is to keep the readers in your site as long as you can – this signals to the search engine that the reader found your content worthwhile, and it keeps that in mind the next time someone searches something related to your content, making sure to push your article up the ranks to make it more easily discoverable in the SERPs.
This is written By Sadia Tahsin. Sadia Tahsin, besides being an avid writer & amateur street photographer, is a third year BBA student at North South University, majoring in Marketing and International Business.