Building a website or web-based business that earns money is hard, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Before you can actually reach the point of profitability, though, you need to begin generating web traffic. That isn’t easy either, because there’s no such thing as a niche with no competition.

In most niches, companies can get web traffic by bidding on keywords via Google AdWords. If you’re in some industries, though – such as vaping, e-liquid, and CBD – keyword bidding isn’t available to you because AdWords doesn’t accept ads from companies in those industries. Keyword bidding also might not be an option for you if you’re on a tight budget and can’t invest anything but time into your website until it becomes profitable on its own.

In either case, SEO is your only option for marketing your website – and no aspect of SEO is more important than content. Great content is what makes it possible for your site to appear in Google’s organic search results, and getting organic traffic is the only way for your website to earn money without a financial investment on your part.

Creating great content definitely isn’t a matter of sitting down and writing about whatever comes to your mind; there is a method for writing content that ranks well on Google and generates organic traffic. Google uses a complex algorithm to determine websites’ rankings, so to get your site to rank well, you’ll need to learn to think like an algorithm.

This is your step-by-step guide to writing better content for SEO.

Start With Keyword Research

You should begin every new article with one core keyword phrase in mind. A keyword research tool can be helpful here because you want the article’s main keyword phrase to be one that people actually search for on Google. A keyword tool can also help you find closely related keyword phrases. Note any interesting secondary keyword phrases that you find; you’ll want to use those in your article if possible.

When you write the article, using your primary keyword phrase over and over should not be your goal. Rather, you should concentrate on using the keyword phrase in the right places to ensure that Google knows what your article is about. Make sure that your primary keyword phrase appears in:

  • The article’s title
  • The article’s meta title
  • The article’s meta description
  • The file name of the article’s headline image
  • The alt text of the article’s headline image

It’s also wise to use the main keyword phrase in at least one subheading and somewhere in the article’s body text. You’ll also want to use each of the article’s secondary keyword phrases once or twice throughout the article. Again, there’s no need to use keywords incessantly. Concentrate on making the best possible article for the reader, and keywords will flow naturally as you write.

Study Your Competition

Before you begin writing an article, it’s wise to examine the pages that currently rank well on Google for your article’s main keyword phrase. You need to know your competition because your goal is to create an article that does a better job of serving the user intent behind your core keyword phrase than any of the articles that currently appear on Google’s first page.

While you research your competition, make a note of any worthwhile information that you didn’t already know. You can use that information to enhance your article.

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Organize Your Thoughts

It’s wise to create an outline before you begin writing an article. It’ll help you keep track of your ideas and ensure that you’re structuring your article in a way that will make sense to readers. Write down everything about the topic that you think might be useful to readers.

Once you’ve done that, research the topic further by reading authoritative websites or visiting your local library. Your point of view is important, but to create an article that shows real thoroughness and expertise, it’s wise to study the topic from all angles and consider other points of view.

When you conduct research for your article, note any sources that deserve credit for their work. Link to those sources from within your article. It’s good to link freely from your website when those links will benefit your users. Linking to authoritative websites is also good for your site’s SEO. You should not, however, link to any of your direct competitors.

Write Your Article

At this point, you should know your article’s title and topic. You should have a list of the keywords that you want to use in the article’s text. You should have a full outline that summarizes everything you want to say in the article. Now, it’s simply a matter of writing the words.

Google is better than ever at reading and understanding natural language. That’s one reason why it’s no longer necessary to use the same keyword over and over in an article to ensure that Google understands what the article is about. If you write naturally, Google will have no trouble indexing your article for the correct keyword phrases. The article’s ranking on Google, however, is another matter. This is a case in which learning to think like an algorithm can be hugely beneficial.

These are some of the indicators of great content that Google wants to see.

  • Content length is an indicator of the thoroughness with which you’ve covered your topic. The typical article appearing first on Google for most keyword phrases is more than 2,000 words long.
  • Liberal usage of synonyms and closely related keywords tells Google that you are a true expert on the topic and that you know what you’re talking about.
  • Giving your article proper grammar and spelling – along with a good overall structure – shows Google that you care about the user experience. Google likes to see articles broken up with subheadings, paragraph breaks, images, and bullet lists. Those elements help you to hold the reader’s attention while making the information in your article easy to scan and absorb.