15 secret SEO rules you must follow
Writing a perfect SEO-optimized article is what we all want to write, especially in this era of digital content. The digital SEO optimization rules are mostly dictated by the giant search engines today. We have to abide by their rules and implement them in our digital content.
But besides the search engine optimization only, we need to follow some other important rules as well, for example, a concise and compact representation of the theme of the work. We need to continue the ambiance from beginning to end. Those are the excellency of the writer and grows with experience and skills.
Here we will discuss the characteristics of an SEO-optimized article. Please remember, you must first give the priority to the content, representation, and theme. Then comes SEO. Take an example where your article is very high scoring in terms of SEO, and therefore it comes at the first position every time I search. But if the content itself is not optimized for the readers, then it will create a whole lot of negative impacts on the mind of the valuable readers. And this will ruin your reputation as well as that of your site also.
I think you have already understood the two different perspectives that we need to take care of. One is that of search engines and the other is of the readers. And once again let me remind you of the priority, first priority is readers and the second is algorithms.
Now let us analyze what do you actually need to optimize your content.
Digital content is divided into two basic parts, one is the heading and the other is the main content itself.
Search engine preference
A search algorithm always tries to find out the content which the user would search for. The common search queries start with like “How to …”, “Why should …”, “What is …”, and so on. That means search algorithms will love to find content headings that start with those key phrases. On the other hand, the search query may be “bitcoin” only. In this case, “What is …” will prevail in searches to show you general information about bitcoin.
Thus, the actual search query would look like “What is bitcoin …”, to the algorithms.
Now, suppose you have chosen the heading as “Bitcoin: A phenomenon in modern world” and your chosen keyword was “bitcoin”. Here comes in play the ambiance of the sentence. Just compare the two headlines in your mind, “What is bitcoin? A phenomenon in the modern world” and “Bitcoin: A phenomenon in the modern world”. Which one would you have chosen when I ask you to let me give a short lecture on bitcoin? The “What is …” will be your first choice, right? And so is the algorithm!
Here is a conflict between the priorities. If you think the “What is …” phrase is not suiting your eyes, then do not go for it.
What can you do then? Add the “What is bitcoin?” in your content’s metadata. When you search Google, on the result page you will see that there are a few extra sentences shown below the main heading, right? That part is metadata. The metadata is also a great opportunity to balance your priorities between algorithms and readers.
Add the main SEO keyword
This is the priority of the algorithm. It is always a very good practice to add the main keyword in the title itself. As the search engines prioritize title and meta, especially title first, it is the best way to signal them what your content is about. Also, as a reader, it makes a positive first impression of choice in a search result.
The following are priorities targeted to the reader, not the algorithm. But still, a clever AI will take them into account.
Let the reader feel the urge
Use an authoritative or opportunistic tone while creating the title of the article. Let us take an example for simplicity.
“What is Bitcoin? A must read before you trade”, just watch the use of the word “must”. It directs and emphasizes on the mind of the reader that s/he would have made some serious mistake if do not follow the advice or information you have written. This fear of the dark drives the reader and guides them in an authoritative mood. This type of mood is a must when you are writing an affiliate article. This tone will force the reader to buy your product out of fear of taking an unknown risk.
A few of the similar authoritative and fear monger headlines would be like, “5 reasons of not using sunglasses you did not know”, “You always made these 5 mistakes while booking hotels”, “Why you should never choose OYO”, “This is why you never get lottery first prize”. The trick is, you reveal the consequences at the heading or title. Why and how to avoid that, is explained inside. This will urge the reader to open your content at least once.
But be a little bit sophisticated in adding positive or negative emotions in the title. For example, when you are writing an affiliate article on a frying pan, you should go for positive vibes, let them know what they will get. If you tell them what a frying pan buyer will miss in other products, s/he may then think that it was absolutely optional as most sellers do not offer those facilities. Thus you will lose the sale!
Try to add a number
Adding a number in the title is another great opportunistic mind game. A number in the heading creates a sense of genuine in the mind of a reader. It helps them to concisely understand the feature, characteristics, pros, and cons of a topic. This type of content (as promised in the number mentioned in the title) needs a very careful and well-crafted and thorough research and analysis.
When you put a number in the heading then that number becomes your point of sale. You have to convince and satisfy the reader fully within the mentioned number of points. Otherwise, the confidence which was build up in the mind of the reader may break and a sense of bad vibes may start pouring in. So be specific in the mentioned number and do your research.
Now, coming to the most important part of the article after your title is selected in the search result.
Even distribution of chosen keyword
Every article should have some targeted keywords. One of them is the main keyword and the others are the extra keywords. The main keyword must be evenly distributed in the whole article from top to bottom.
Here mind one very important keyword I have mentioned, evenly distributed. That means, say, in the first 4 paragraphs you have used your keyword “bitcoin” very often. But in the next 6 paragraphs, you have used them rarely or a lesser number of times. This is quite confusing to the search algorithms. they will think that your article is actually not about the chosen keyword. They then will try to find out the right keyword which is evenly distributed in all the 10 paragraphs. And that is a clear disaster.
The trick is that you should try to use the chosen keyword(s) few more times where you think it is used not in a very evenly manner. You can create a few more extra sentences containing the chosen keyword(s). Or you may replace the use of “it”, “this” etc with your chosen keyword(s).
Add chosen keyword(s) in subheadings
Though it is not always possible, but you should try to use chosen keyword(s) at least in one subheading in your article. Using chosen keyword(s) in subheadings signals the algorithm that you have at least one dedicated section relating to your keywords.
This also helps readers to find out a relevant topic easily.
Add chosen keyword(s) in the first paragraph
Adding keywords in the first paragraph indicates that the mentioned keyword is the prime or supreme target of the following article. When you focus on a particular keyword, then the algorithms, as well as the reader, expect that you should talk about it at the very first beginning.
But not using the keywords even at least once in the first paragraph is considered bad SEO. You may very likely confuse the search algorithms and may not get the desired result even after writing a great article.
Search engines, especially Google do not like keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is the malpractice of adding keywords multiple times irrationally to give weightage to content. This is considered a serious issue in terms of search engine optimization. Your content is very likely to attract a penalty from the search engines if you really have considerably higher keyword density.
What could be an ideal keyword density?
It is a good practice to keep the density to 1-2%.
How can you measure the keyword density?
Simple. For example, if your keyword appears 5 times in an 80 words article, then the density is (5/80)*100 %, which is almost 6%. And this is a very high ratio. It can then be considered as a case of keyword stuffing.
Simply divide the count of the keyword by the total number of words, and multiply by 100 to get the percentage.
It implies that you should have 10 to 20 counts of the keyword in a 1000 word article content.
Use active voice, avoid passive voice
Search engines consider active voice sentences as authoritative. Passive voice is a great turn-off for them.
The estimated approximate percentage of passive voice is 20 to 25%. That means in every 100 sentences, you should not have more than 20 to 25 passive voice sentences.
To make it more authoritative, add more active voice sentences.
Limit number of words per heading or subheadings
It is estimated that the optimal number of words per heading or subheading is 300. If you want to write more than 300 words under a heading, then try to add a subheading after 300 words.
Flesch Reading Ease
This is a score between 1 and 100 calculated from your content. A rating closer to 100 is easier to read. It was first formulated by Rudolf Flesch, Associated Press.
Nowadays, this is a very popular and widely used metric.
How to calculate Flesch Reading Ease?
It is calculated by taking into account your sentence length and syllable length in the article. A longer sentence is difficult to read than a short sentence. As our patience is low nowadays, that is why we can not follow the longer sentences and consume along.
A Flesch score at 80 means that it is quite easy to read along. And even an 8th-grade student can understand the content fairly easily. This is the standard of sentence construction that we should follow. This will make it readable to all the literacy grades.
|90-100||very easy to read, easily understood by an average 11-year-old student|
|80-90||easy to read|
|70-80||fairly easy to read|
|60-70||easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students|
|50-60||fairly difficult to read|
|30-50||difficult to read, best understood by college graduates|
|0-30||very difficult to read, best understood by university graduates|
The following is a link where you can calculate your Flesch Reading Ease:
Calculate Flesch Reading Ease
Add an image, video, or other rich media
Always try to add at least one rich media inside your content. You can find free images from Pixabay, Pexels, iStock, and many other similar websites. Just add the alt text of your image including at least one of your chosen keyword(s).
Choose a featured image also. If you are using the open graph, then adding an open graph image is important for a good SEO.
Add inbound and outbound links
Add external website links, as well links from your own domain. These external website links are considered as a good citation by the search engines. Also, remember that the backlink is the heart of the Google search algorithm (though has changed a lot very recently). That is why Google always wants you to add other site links in your content for reference.
Adding links from your own domain (or the same website) is another good SEO optimization. Here you can build a chain linking among all the available URLs from your website. When search engines crawl your page then they will discover more internal links inside the content and thus increasing the number of indexed pages from your website.
Do not add many do-follow external links
Never add many external do-follow links to your content. The best practice is to make all the external links a no-follow.
But never forget to make all the internal links as a do-follow. This will not harm your SEO but will bring a great link-juice effect. If you make internal links as a no-follow, then the pages from your own websites will also be prevented from crawling from inside that content. Though they will be crawled if present on other pages.
Write a good meta description
Meta descriptions are the perhaps most important of all. It contains a summary of your content. Search engines read the title and the meta description and show them to search results. Never forget to write a great meta description containing the chosen keyword(s).
Meta is the next big thing after the title. The reader first read the title and then go for the meta to finalize the click. This is the section where you compel the reader to click on your link.
In WordPress, this meta description is called Excerpts.
If you go through the above article carefully and try to follow all the advice that I have tried to accumulate, I am sure that your content will rank in every search engine on the first page.
Just keep in mind that your readers are the first target. Then comes SEO.
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