07 Tips to SEO Top Google
1. Think Like Google!: Google looks at a) your headline and b) your first paragraph to determine your content’s subject matter. Google matches your content with the user’s request (i.e. the user’s search query) and pairs your story with what it has gathered. This is why writing for SEO is so important to discoverability. It’s also why headlines and first paragraphs need to be keyword-rich (as well as your meta data) in order to be noticed by the Google Search Crawler (GSC).
2. Find the Key(word)s to the Kingdom: It’s essential to identify the right keywords for your content both on the backend (in metadata, info the reader doesn’t see) and for use on website stories and content. Three easy ways to identify keywords and keyword phrases:
- Google it! Search your keyword to see how high it comes up in SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) or whether a phrase is auto-filling. If a term is having significant search traffic, it’s going to auto-fill when you search it, and will have high return volume in Google, whereas less searched terms won’t return either.
- Free Keyword Tools: There are several keyword planner tools online that let you search keywords and allow you to enter urls to extract high volume relevant keywords from a website including
- KW Finder
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- Google Trends: Shows you the most-searched keywords on Google over time; reveals if a subject has gotten a great deal of search traffic
3. Grab ‘Em by the Headline! Headlines must be keyword-rich, and frontloaded with the keywords and keyword phrases you’ve identified as being search-strong in the first 55 characters (roughly 5 words). Think: Is there a phrase my audience would search included somewhere in this headline?
Optimized: “The Best California Beaches for Kids, Ranked.”
Not: “We Ranked the Very Best Beaches in California to Visit With Kids”
4. Make Your First Paragraph SEO ‘Perfect’: The opening paragraph must be at least 100 words and longer than once sentence—Google will not index shorter primary paragraphs because it will assume it’s incomplete content. The first paragraph should also include a keyword phrase (identified in the above process). This keyword phrase can be hyperlinked to high-search-ranking relevant content—that will help your content by connecting it to a source recognized by Google.
· Examples of keyword phrases:
- “California Beaches for Kids"
- “Wellness retreats”
- Example of keyword phrase use in first paragraph, linked:
- “California has an abundance of wellness retreats that offer mind/body programs that range from losing weight to finding more joy, often in stunning, luxurious settings.”
- Note: Hyperlinks cannot begin stories, so do not hyperlink before 5 words in the first sentence of your story—your ranking will be hurt if you send traffic off your page before your story starts. Don’t link the whole sentence, but the keyword phrase only (no more than 8 words linked).
5. Adhere to Story Structure Best Practices. Write meatier, more substantial sentences; avoid 1-2 word sentence paragraphs (i.e. “Love it.” or “No.”). All stories must be at least 200-250 words so Google doesn’t deem your story too short to be indexed.
6. Repeat Keywords, Repeat Keywords. Repeat keyword phrases throughout the piece if possible. The more times Google understands what the story is about, the higher you will have a possibility of ranking.
7. Share the Link Love, Smartly: Continually link back to relevant content on your own site as well as other high-ranking sites. The more often you can do this, the better your chance of enhancing SEO. If something is not relevant—i.e. a funny picture or video—click “No Follow” if you have the option, this will prevent you from being ‘punished’ by Google for linking to unrelated content.