9 Steps Guide to Help You Create SEO-Friendly Content in 2021

Want to grow your business without increasing your budget for marketing? Then leverage the power of SEO-friendly Content.

However, creating SEO friendly content often requires time and effort. But, the benefits are worth it- if you do it right, SEO-friendly content will pay off in the long run.

Many people have the misconception that SEO-friendly content can’t be user-friendly. In fact, well-optimized, high-quality content essentially improves your chances of ranking higher in search results that attract more search users towards your content.

In order to help you, in this article, I’ve provided the answers for these below three questions:

  1. What is “SEO-friendly content”?
  2. What types of SEO-friendly content are there?
  3. How to Create SEO-Friendly Content?

Let’s get started!

1. What is “SEO-friendly content”?

Let’s break down the phrase to understand what SEO-friendly content is.

  • SEO stands for search engine optimization aka the process of optimizing a website, webpage, or content for search engines like Google so that people can easily find them on search results when they search for a similar website, webpage, or content.
  • Content refers to any information that lives on the web and can be consumed on the web

So, SEO-friendly content is any content created in such a way that it helps to attract search engine traffic.

SEO-friendly content brings unquestionable benefits to your websites like organic traffic and audience growth. Also, SEO content can be cheaper, more enduring, and sometimes more effective than paid advertising.

2. What types of SEO-friendly content are there?

The following are the types of SEO-friendly content that will boost your organic search traffic, conversions, and revenue.

  • Blog Posts –Blog posts are the effective and easiest ways to create a regular flow of SEO-friendly content. Generally, blog posts are more engaging and attract more links, so they can be a great way to build authority for your website.
  • Articles –Most of the magazine or newspaper style websites usually publish articles like a news article, interview, and featured article. Besides, these articles drive traffic to those websites.
  • Infographics –Infographics contain a lot of data on a single subject which can generate more page views and links. However Infographics have so much content embedded in one large image, therefore the Infographics are not readable as text by search engines, so it’s necessary to optimize the rest of your webpage for SEO.
  • Directories –Directories are a useful way to gain links to websites or resources around a given topic. For example, an herbal tea blog might create a directory of places to buy that particular herbal tea, from the main department stores to individual shops around the nation.
  • Guides –A guide is a longer piece of content that explains how to do something in detail. You can post an entire guide on your website or you can post an excerpt or summary and ask your visitors to fill out a registration form in order to read the complete guide. Putting up a registration form is a good way to generate leads but at the same time, most likely it will reduce the number of SEO traffic you can generate to that guide.
  • Videos –It can be easier to rank on the first page for a competitive keyword with a video than an article. Therefore, video is a great way to attract and reach more audiences, but the results depend on what type of business or website you’re running. So, consider creating videos on your business process or tutorial videos for how to use your products, besides, don’t forget to add a text transcript of your videos.
  • Product Pages –A good product page can serve as both SEO content and a PPC landing page for any retail or eCommerce website which gives both traffic and leads for the business sites.

The eight types of SEO-friendly content that I’ve listed above are proven to bring a lot of organic traffic. But don’t let this list limit your possibilities. There endless choices on the web to create SEO-friendly content.

Now, let’s look into the strategies to create SEO-friendly content!

3. How to Create SEO-Friendly Content?

If you have been creating content in a random manner, and hoping that some of your content eventually rank up on search results, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and commit to a more systematic SEO content strategy for the web.

Here are the nine steps to define and refine your SEO content strategy:

1) Begin with Keyword Research

While present SEO encouraging content makers to create thought-leadership types of content, Keywords still play a vital role. Finding the right keywords will help you to both satisfy your target audience and rule the search results.

While choosing your target keywords, consider the following factors:

  • Understand your search intent behind the keywords you want to use in your content
  • Research more resources to create content that competes with the content already shown up in the search results.
  • The volume of searches for a particular keyword in a given time frame, because using the wrong keywords will lead to a waste of your time and efforts.
  • Focus on long-tail keywords even though they might have a low search volume, they still give a high possibility to rank on the SERPs. As people often use longer phrases when they want to find out more specific information about a particular search topic.

Google suggests that you need to “think about the words and phrases that a user might search for to find a piece of your content.” For an article, you’d need to start your research with the right keyword. And for that particular article, you’d need to pick one primary keyword and up to 5-10 additional target keywords.

Select a Primary Keyword

When you’re writing a blog or an article, it’s obvious to feel the temptation to add as many keywords as possible and optimize your content for all those keywords. But, this practice will make your content less comprehensive.

Therefore it’s advisable to choose one primary keyword and dig deeper with it. Your primary keyword should be the main focus of your entire content.

Use Additional Keywords

Additional keywords should be closely related to your primary keyword so that including them in the content doesn’t change the main focus of the content. You can use free tools like LSIGraph to generate semantic, long-tail, and LSI keywords that are related to your primary keyword.

Below I’ve listed down some great ways to let you perform exceptional keyword research for your SEO friendly content:

1) Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SE Ranking Keyword Suggestion tool or AnswerThePublic.

2) Use Google’s Related Searches to learn more about your target audience and what their search intent is

3) Google Autocompletewill provides keyword suggestions based on real user queries that help you to select the keywords just the way people do the search.

4) Wikipedia is a high ranking and authoritative online resource made by humans that people trust, refer to, and use. You can search for topic-specific pages on Wikipedia to find the most related keywords.

5) Use Quorato to find new variations of your target keywords, as many people use Quora to discuss numerous topics that aren’t filtered by search.

6) Check out different Industry Forums in your niche to see what types of topics and questions your target audiences are interested in.

7) Watch out for your main competitors and find out which keywords are driving quality traffic to their websites.

Once you find out your primary keyword and other related target keywords, make sure to add them in the right places in your content, like in your content:

  • Title
  • URL
  • Meta description
  • H1-H6 heading tags
  • Image names and alt tags

Remember, over-using keywords will hamper your content readability, so avoid keyword stuffing and include your keywords throughout the content in a natural way.

Most importantly, create different types of content that answer questions or solve the problems of your target audience.

2) Define Your Search Intent and Identify the Format

Search intent is the why behind a search query means search intent is what users are trying to attain, and what they expect to get when typing or voicing a search query. Google pays a lot of consideration to educate its algorithms to evaluate users’ search intent correctly and encourages content makers to answer the search queries with relevant content.

Based on the search intent for a keyword, your content format, the message you convey in your content and the call to action you choose will vary. There are four types of search intent that we can categorize:

  • Informational –Searchers looking for specific information
  • Commercial –Searchers looking to purchase something or want to explore their options
  • Transactional –Searchers want to buy something
  • Navigational –Searchers looking for a specific website or webpage.

Here are some hints for keywords that you can use for the above-mentioned search intent types:

  • Informational –Question words like “how”, “what”, guide, tutorial, or list words like “top”, “checklist”, “best” in the title.
  • Commercial –Product modifying words like “review”, “cheapest”, “affordable” or “comparison”
  • Transactional –Words like “buy”, “discount”, “and price “, ” coupon”
  • Navigational –Names of product, brand, or service.

These hint words help you to determine the keywords for the specific search intent.

You can also use Google SERP features like featured snippets, People Also Ask, Google Ads, and Google Shopping ads to determine the keywords for the search intent.

According to the search intent and keywords, now you can identify the best format for your content.

3) Generate Well-Optimized Meta Title

The Meta title tag is an HTML code element that specifies the title of a webpage. Meta title tags showed on SERPs as the clickable headline for given search results. Therefore, the Meta title tag is one of the most important parts of both SEO and search user experience. That’s why it’s essential to create a well-optimized Meta title tag. Let see what are elements you need to focus on while optimizing your Meta title tag.

Primary keywords First – Primary keywords closer to the beginning of your Meta title tag may have more impact on search rankings. Ensure to always begin your title with your primary keywords to emphasize their relevancy and importance.

Meta Title Length – If your Meta title is longer than 50-60 characters, search engines may shorten it and could end up omitting important words from your title. Also, avoid writing your title in ALL CAPS LETTERS, they may be tough for search users to read, and may rigorously limit the number of characters search engines will show on the SERP results.

Write For Your Customers – SEO-wise, Meta title tags are very important but don’t forget that your first job is to attract clicks from your well-targeted search users who are likely to find your content valuable. So, it’s important to think about the user experience when you’re creating your Meta title tags. Along with keyword usage and Meta title tag optimization, also, you need to focus on the attractiveness of your Meta title tag. Because the Meta title tag is a new visitor’s first impression and interaction with your content when they find it in a search result. Hence, it should convey the most positive and valuable message possible.

4) Write Catchy H1 Title

H1 title is an HTML heading tag that plays an important role in structuring your content. H1 Heading tag gives both the website visitors and the search engines a clue about the content’s hierarchy and relevancy. Besides, including keywords in the H1 heading tag can help you to boost your search rankings.

Practically, your web content has two titles: the Meta title tag presented in your search snippet, and then the H1 heading tag which is displayed on the page itself that defines a page’s main content. H1 heading tag should be highly related to the content and unique across your website, and a page may only contain one H1 heading. Besides, don’t add the H1 heading tag in the image, since search engines don’t recognize images very well, you’d be missing out on an opportunity to signal to search engines what your content is about.

5) Create a Perfectly Optimized Meta Description

The Meta description is a snippet of short text up to about 155 characters that summarize the content. So it is important to optimize it appealing and informative to encourage search users to click your content.

There is no direct ranking benefit from the Meta description, but, Meta description impacts your click-through rate (CTR). If more people click on your web link, Google considers your content to be a good result, and based on your present ranking position, it will move up your rankings. That’s why optimizing the Meta description is so crucial, as is optimizing your title tags.

6) Structure Your Content for Readability

For instance, imagine you’re opening one of the search results on Google and there you found one continuous piece of plain text. Would you continue your reading? Definitely not, right? That’s why it’s essential to have a good structure for your high-quality content.

Adding subheadings will make your content scannable and increase its readability. With H2+H3 heading tags you can boost your content performance in terms of likes, shares, backlinks and traffic. You can structure your content and improve its readability by breaking your content into paragraphs, adding visual images, videos, tables, charts, etc, and including H2 and H3 heading tags. Plus, you can use, highlights, bullets, and numbered lists to enhance your content structure and readability.

Always, make sure to optimize your content before publishing it. While optimizing your content ensure that it is written in an SEO-friendly style, has a consistent tone throughout the content, and has unique text. Also, add recommended keywords and optimize the content length and reading time.

7) Enhance Your Content with Visuals

According to research, people remember only 10% of the information they hear, but they remember up to 65% of the information when they see it visually. So, using visuals in your content make it more memorable for your audience and increases the chances of content shares.

Adding multiple visual media like images, videos, gifs, and infographics can enhance your content’s SEO benefits, keep your users engaged, and gives search engines a strong cue that it’s high-quality content. Also, this will make your content SEO-friendly and eligible for image search. Consider the following factors while adding visuals to your content.

Alt Tags Attributes – Alt tags are HTML codes that describe your image and amplify the context of your content. Even though they are not visible on the page, search engines can read them to better understand the images in your content.

Compress Media Files – Use standard image sizes/formats and compress your images before uploading them to your content. Compressing your image files will have a positive effect on loading speed and enhance the overall user experience.

Use Descriptive Names – Google does recommend keeping descriptive filenames for your images, it will enhance your content quality. Filenames should probably be a short version of your alt tags.

8) Create SEO-Friendly URLs

Both your website visitors and search engines prefer well-structured and consistent URLs. So, it’s a good idea to stick with them. Here are the steps to create optimized SEO-friendly URLs before you hit publish your content.

Use Keyword in URL – Include the primary keyword in your URL, as a keyword-rich URL can improve your URL’s click-through rates (CTR) in search results. Also, URLs are a part of your snippet, so having a keyword on your URL makes them more relevant and generates more clicks for your content.

Avoid Special Characters – Special characters and symbols can cause unwanted troubles in your URLs, they can cause your URL links to break and make them hard to read. So, avoid using special characters and symbols while writing your URLs.

Avoid Unnecessary Words – Short URLs are better because URLs that are over 50-60 characters long will be shortened in SERP. Thus, long URLs can impact user experience, also shorter URLs are easier to share on social media. So keep your URL length to less than 100 characters and cut out unnecessary words around the keyword to give more clarity.

Avoid Stop Words and Automated Numeric Labels – Search engines often filter or ignore Stop Words like “and”, “but”, etc. Therefore, cut down on stop words to make your URLs shorter and more readable. Some CMS platforms automatically generate URLs that include numeric and awkward labeling, which can give a messy or confusing look to your URLs. So, avoid these numeric labels to make cleaner-looking URLs that your readers will understand and recognize.

9) Optimize Your Internal Linking

Internal Links are hyperlinks that go from one page on a website to a different page on the same website. Internal links are most helpful for building website architecture and spreading link equity across the website’s content. Also, internal linking passes authority from popular content to less popular content.

As you create new content, you should link to other relevant content, this way you can make your visitors stay longer on your website, and in return, they will gather more information from your website content. Adding a recommendation system is the automatic way to suggests content that is related to the one currently viewed. Plus, you can add internal links within your main content through various “read more” and “click here” suggestions. Internal linking also helps search engines to regularly discover contextually relevant content on your website.

Conclusion

Here you have it! As I mentioned above, sure, it’ll take lots of time and effort to create SEO-Friendly content. But, in the long run, it will be extremely beneficial. The above checklist of nine SEO content strategies will help you to make SEO-friendly content that ensures more shares, likes, leads, links, and repeat visitors for your content.

I’ve used these SEO content strategies to increase my blog’s traffic. So, I assured you that you will generate more traffic, improve your brand with these SEO content strategies.

If you’re not leveraging SEO-friendly content to improve organic rankings and captivate your target audience, I highly recommend that now is the best time to begin.

Do you have any other tactics to maximize the SEO friendliness of content? Or if you have any questions about creating and optimizing content for SEO, please, let me know them in the comments.

December 2020 Google Algorithm Update

SEOs are running to check their rankings after hearing about December 2020 Core Update rollout. Some SEOs thought we might not get another core update from Google in 2020 but we did. Google has launched the December 2020 Core Update on December 3. This is the third Google core update of the 2020 year; it comes after the May 2020 core update which was released seven months ago. Historically, Google has released a Google core algorithm update every few months or so. But this time it has taken a bit longer. It seems like the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the rollout of Google’s next core algorithm update.

The Roll Out Announcement

Google tweeted announcing the December 2020 core update rollout, where Google said “Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the December 2020 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before.”

Google December 2020 Core Update started rolling out at 1 pm ET on December 3, which is approximately two and a half hours after Google said it would roll out. As is typical with these Google core updates, the December 2020 Core Update will typically take about one to two weeks to fully roll out.” But some websites are reporting huge changes like over 30% or more in less than 24 hours since it began to roll out.

 

  • SEOs’ Reactions on the December 2020 Core Update.

Obviously, the instant response from the SEO community to the launch of the December 2020 Core Algorithm Update is anxiety and fear. Normally SEOs and website owners expect the worst when it comes to Google core algorithm updates. However, these core updates are also opportunities for websites to be rewarded for their SEO efforts over the past several months. It’s especially true for the websites that are negatively impacted by previous Google core updates.

With a new core algorithm update Google will reconsider how Websites’ content should rank after the changes made to the website since the last Google core update. At the same time, websites that have been attentively working toward improving their rankings may see misfortunes. In nutshell, websites’ rankings can move around quite a bit over the coming weeks.

  • What Search Tracking Tools Are Showing?

Here’s what SERP rank tracking tools are showing. There were lots of movements on the SERP in the previous few days. And it looks like most of the SERP rank tracking tools are spiking with the start of the December 2020 Core Update rollout. Let’s take a look at what these tools are showing. Checkout the SEMRush SERP volatility for the last 30 days:

  • What to Do If You Are Hit by The December 2020 Core Update?

Google’s guidelines regarding the core update remain the same as it always has been where Google has given guidance on what to consider if your website is negatively impacted by a Google core update. There aren’t any specific actions to take to recover if website rankings drop after a Google core update. But, Google has provided a list of questions to consider if your website is hit by a Google core update. Google Core Algorithm Updates are intended to improve the overall quality of search results and to provide the best possible results to the searchers. Therefore, Google always recommends webmasters and SEOs to make their website content the best it can be.

So, keeping Google’s guidance in mind, improve your website’s content, SEO and E-A-T. In my previous blog about May 2020 Core Update, you can find effective ways to improve your website’s content, SEO and E-A-T.

Conclusion

Whenever Google releases its search ranking core algorithm updates, it means that your website can do better or worse in the SERP results. Knowing when Google makes these core updates gives us the chance to monitor our websites and do the needful changes to improve our website’s ranking and performance on the SERP. Now, we know Google started rolling out its December 2020 Core Update, so keep an eye on your analytics and rankings.

We’ll need to wait to see the full impact of the December 2020 Core Update, In the meantime, let me know how you did with this core update so far.

EAT & YMYL – Actionable Tips to Boost Your SEO in 2020

With Google’s ever-evolving algorithms updates, many of the old SEO practices become outdated quickly. Also, it’s becoming harder to outsmart the artificial intelligence and the machine learning technology set up by Google.

If you’re really serious about SEO and want to build websites that are profitable in the future, you must keep yourself up-to-date about Google search algorithms and the changes taking place in them.

Post-BERT algorithm update, EAT (Expertise, Authority, and Trust) and YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) are the two crucial elements that have a significant impact on search rankings.

This post will explain to you about E-A-T, as well as YMYL, and provide actionable tips for how you can use these elements to boost your SEO.

Let’s have a look at how to boost your SEO with EAT & YMYL.

  1. All You Need To Know About E-A-T

EAT is an acronym that represents Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These three metrics are used by Google’s Search Quality Raters (the human raters employs by Google) to quantify whether a content creator, webpage, or website is a leader in its respective niche.

Makes perfect sense, right? Google wants to reward the sites that are producing high-quality content with better rankings and sites that create low-quality content get less visibility.

Now let’s look at each of these three metrics individually.

 Expertise

Are subject matter experts creating your content?

Experts are people who possess the necessary understanding and knowledge related to the specific field that they can discuss the particular topic deeply. This knowledge can be very general or highly specialized.

Even Google is OK with something called “everyday expertise.”

What exactly does it mean?

Let’s see what Google said about this term:

“Some topics need less formal expertise. Many people write extremely detailed, comprehensive, and helpful reviews of products or restaurants. Various people share tips, guidelines, and life experiences on forums, blogs, etc. These normal people may be considered experts in topics where they have life experience. If it appears as if the individual creating the content that has the type and amount of life experience to make him or her an ‘expert’ on the topic, we will value this as ‘everyday expertise’ and not penalize the person/webpage/website for not having ‘formal’ education or training in the field.”

In nutshell, Google wants to offer links to websites that have published helpful content that is relevant, comprehensive, accurate, and useful.

People are coming to Google to find answers to important questions. Therefore, Google doesn’t want to send its users to incorrect content or websites that deliberately misinform users. So, offering inaccurate, outdated, or unhelpful content on your website is a formula for SEO disaster. Especially, it’s important to validate your expertise in certain niches like medical, legal, and financial.

So, you must ensure the people who create content for your website possess subject matter expertise.

Also, do the necessary research and fact-checking of any content before you hit publish.

 Authoritativeness

As stated in Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines, Google has used PageRank to understand authoritativeness right from the start.

“Our ranking scheme is specifically designed to recognize sites with high indicia of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.”

This “smoking gun” sentence from the guideline indicates that backlinks have been one of the top signals for authoritativeness; especially the quality of those backlinks is a top-ranking factor.

For many years now, we’ve heard people compared votes to links, where the more votes aka links your webpage or website get the more authoritative/popular it is.

Expertise means having the required knowledge and skills, whereas authority is what happens when others both within and outside of your industry recognize that expertise.

This recognition can come in the form of shares, mentions, links, reviews, or any other type of citation.

Authoritativeness sounds like your online reputation, right? Because in a way it is. So, creating useful content is the best way to build your authoritativeness online.

Trustworthiness

It requires tons of hard work to earn the trust of both the people and the search engines.

Your efforts must be able to make people trust your brand or business and be willing to buy from you or endorse you.

You can increase the level of your trustworthiness by highlighting your content creators’ credentials as well as your website. Awards, endorsements, and testimonials are some of the trust factors to improve trustworthiness.

  1. How to Check Your EAT Score 

With checking your website’s domain authority, you can also check your EAT score by the ratio of your website’s bounce rate, the number of search queries related to your brand, your brand’s social media impressions, favorable to negative reviews that your brand has received and so on.

Unluckily, you must check your performance in every category to evaluate your EAT score, because there isn’t just one tool to check your EAT ranking.

Simply, people need to feel they can trust and rely on all the information they find on your website. In the same way, Google wants to give high-ranks to the websites and content that it can trust.

  1. YMYL: Your Money or Your Life.

As mentioned in the title YMYL acronym refers to Your Money or Your Life. That means YMYL pages consist of information that might have a significant impact on a user’s wallet or wellbeing. WebMD and eTrade are great examples of YMYL sites.

According to Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines’ section 2.3, YMYL pages have a potential impact on the happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.

As mentioned in the above image: Ecommerce, legal, financial services, and healthcare are some of the industries that fall under the YMYL category.

Google gives the highest standard for these kinds of YMYL sites because this type of content holds extremely high stakes. So, when it comes to YMYL, just make sure that any content on the website will help and not hurt the people who consume the content.

Simply, if you take great care of the users, Google will take great care of you.

  1. Why Are EAT and YMYL Important for SEO

For as long as I can remember, there is a clear relationship between what Google considers high-quality content and what appears in the Google SERP results. And EAT and YMYL playing a role in determining high-quality content. Hence, there is a correlation between EAT, YMYL, and SEO.

Google works with more than 10,000 human search quality raters worldwide who work with real search queries and evaluate how accurate and useful Google’s SERP results are. Also, they evaluate the impact of Google’s search algorithm updates and verify if the changes are functioning correctly.

In short, raters define EAT scores of web pages and help to ensure that pages that demonstrate high EAT, as well as meeting all the YMYL requirements, are ranked higher on SERPs. That’s the reason EAT and YMYL can have a direct effect on your SEO and rankings in the SERPs.

  1. How to Boost Your EAT & SEO

Here are some of the effective steps you can start doing right now to improve your Website EAT that boosts your SEO and SERP rankings.

Update your website content regularly

Have a well-designed website

Have a well-written and updated “about us” page on your website.

Make sure every webpage has authoritative content

Get backlinks from relevant and high-authority domains.

Offer valuable and trustworthy advice on your website

Have good credits for your website content by mentioning the author’s name, date, and more.

Provide clear and accessible contact information.

Provide all the significant legal pages on your website.

Maintain a good online reputation.

  1. Boost Your EAT & YMYL with Your Content

You always need to provide authoritative content on your website that is written by professionals who do the required research and write well. Here are a few key points to be considered if you’re really keen to boost your EAT and YMYL with your content.

  Audit your website content to demonstrate expertise, authority, and trust.

  Make sure that there is no duplicate content or plagiarism.

  Create good author pages in your website articles.

  Ensure your content is written or reviewed by credentialed experts.

  Add cite authoritative references for your scientific topics

  Make sure your scientific-related content represents the accurate scientific consensus.

Conclusion

EAT is really important for SEO, especially if you cover YMYL topics. Improving your website’s EAT and YMYL is a two-steps process:

  1. Have values, be legit, and hire experts. Take care of your customers and do real company stuff.
  2. Work to signify your expertise and values to Google.

It just takes some effort and time to do it.

If your EAT and YMYL scores improve, you can easily reap the rewards of professional SEO, and gain a much better ranking in Google’s SERPs. So, pay heed to the important EAT and YMYL factors and boost your SEO in 2020.

Finally, remember, based on users’ expectations of search, Google’s guidelines are constantly changing, and so do you.