When writing content for the web we always need to consider SEO. Of course SEO focused content is important as you want to rank as high as possible in the search engines. You might even think that it is all about gaming the system, but that isn’t the case when you are writing for user experience. You are writing to help search engines identify the topic of your content, but also to help your readers find what they are looking for.
When writing we can sometimes fall into some traps and make mistakes which can hinder the success of our content. In this post we are going to list some of the most common mistakes people make when writing content for SEO. Thankfully they are all easy fixes that can make a big impact to your content.
There are five common mistakes that people make when writing content for SEO
Not using keywords in the page title
This one sounds obvious but it is one of the most common mistakes to make. The page titles are the first thing that search engines display about your content. This is because the title acts as a short summary of what the page is about to search engines and users. It is incredibly valuable real estate, so it is important to be used effectively.
A title which does not contain any keywords won’t be indexed by search engines or help them understand what your page is about. This can have a detrimental impact on your rankings and the exposure your page gets.
You can easily check this using Google. Create a free account and use Google Webmaster Tools to find out how Google sees the titles of your pages. If they are not there, or are displaying incorrectly, it could be that you did not put any keywords in the title tag.
Not optimizing images
Similar to not having keywords in your page titles, images should also be optimized for SEO. To do this correctly you need to ensure that you have the right alt tags and file names for your images. Alt tags are the short text descriptions of your image that appear in place of the image when it cannot be displayed. File names should contain keywords relating to the content of the image too.
When you write posts with a lot of images, it can get quite tedious writing out alt tags and file names for each one. A simple way to deal with this is to write them out once and use a text expander program such as TextExpander for Mac or PhraseExpress for Windows to type them out automatically.
Not using keywords in the h1 tag
The h1 tag is very important as it is used for the title of your post. It can also be displayed in search results, particularly if you have a lot of content on your site and are targeting long tail keywords. Using the h1s to include your keywords in the main titles of your posts can make a big difference to how you rank.
It is important to know that there are specific rules that need to be followed when writing h1 tags. This includes making it no more than 74 characters long and including headings at various intervals throughout your post for readability purposes. You should not stuff keywords into these tags and instead let them naturally arise as the topic of your post changes.
Choosing the wrong content length for articles
The length of your content can have a big impact on your rankings. There is an ongoing debate about whether long posts or short posts are better for ranking. This isn’t something which can be said for certain because it largely depends on the focus of your site and the type of content you produce. Some posts will naturally be short, while others will need a lot more information and detail to fully explain what you are trying to say.
When writing for SEO you have to strike the correct balance between long and short, as if your posts are too long they may not be as easily read. However, if you write too short your content will not get the attention it deserves. You need to think of how people will likely be reading your content and write accordingly. Using a checklist such as this one can help with this.
No internal linking done
The secret weapon in SEO is internal links. This is because they are an easy way to pass link juice between your sites, which in turn improves the rankings of your pages. It is important to remember that you should not be creating links that simply say ‘click here’ or directing people to the homepage of your site. Instead you should try and create natural links which say more about what you are linking too.
For example you could make a link to your homepage and then follow that up with links to all of your most popular pages. This will demonstrate that you have a variety of content on your site and is a great way to show Google how much value you place on content.
Internal links are also the best way to rank better in search engines, as Google love when you promote good quality content throughout your site. You can easily look at the top organic results for any keyword by following this link.