Google says Hummingbird, their revamped search algorithm, can not only “read” keywords but is also able to understand their context in a long sentence. Forget about strings of keywords. Hummingbird is more about having a conversation, whether it is in writing or talking. These are 8 good practices that will help your content to be SEO friendly in this new search era:
1. Do you pay close attention to Keywords, Title, and Url?
These are the 3 most important things you can do for SEO. The 3 things that can never be decided in a rush, and yet they are most of the times:
- Define your keyword(s). See how people use it to search for content like the one you provide, and decide if this is your best option.
- Write a good title. Your keyword needs to be in the title. You would be surprised of how many times we writers hide amazing content under a vague title.
- Build a good url (Your title should decide your url but some systems work differently. I have found this post about url optimization that you may find useful.
2. Are you conversational enough?
Writing styles depend on many things and I would not change it just so a machine can rank me, but I would always take into consideration the digital dimension that any writing can have.
If you are a professional writer or a journalist you need to take into account the new technologies and how people get your content.
Even if you give a speech as an expert from your company or you make a presentation, you could decide to put all your speech in the web. This will be useful for a wider audience, and will give you good inbound links and great authorship value. So take always SEO into consideration (be conversational enough) whatever type of content you are writing or producing. Everything is web material.
3. Do you have a clear structure?
Use a clear semantic structure, divide with paragraphs using paragraph html tags, and don’t forget to place your keywords (sometimes we use them in the title and completely forget about them afterwards.)
Know the power of short sentences, and I don’t mean a sentence with 3-5 words, I mean a sentence with less than 50 words (ideally less than 30). Provide good flow avoiding telegram style but also avoiding overuse of adverbs and relative pronouns.
A well written story is not only good for SEO but key for your reader, and this should always be your priority. A story that has been well crafted for a reader will surely get a good SEO. Write in a way that is natural and enticing so your readers want to keep reading.
4. Research your keywords
Keywords are essential in the body of your content. Inside paragraphs and in paragraph titles. But you must know which are the keywords that will make you win the SEO battle. Use Google Adwords, Google trends, Ubersuggest… any tool that will provide you with the most used word by your audience. Then:
- Keep them relevant to your content at all times.
- Avoid too much ellipsis.
- Do not use irrelevant adjectives.
- Think of good descriptions that stay always relevant to your keyword.
- Use your adjectives to define your keywords instead of adding them as a filling.
- Be as detailed as possible. Like red shoes for parties, instead of amazing shoes for parties
5. Layers: How deep can you go?
What are the different approaches, how many different angles of a story can you provide? How many examples will you use to make your writing clear and useful? This will provide rich related keywords that could indicate search engines they are on the right track when crawling your copy and indexing it.
Add keywords to the image alt field. This is the only way to provide some information to Google right now about images -Bing says their search engines read other information of the image like pixels.
6. Mention your sources
In some types of content, like an article or an expert post, quotes or references to different sources and experts that have something to say about the information you are providing and give it more relevance. They can either confirm what you say or open to a related piece of content. This will always give extra depth to your content and make your information more reliable.
7. Got authorship?
Being a respected source of information is important for SEO. Mainly, you want to have inbound links from other respected sites. Building your authorship with Google won’t hurt either.
8. Miss… Pellings…
Review your copy very carefully. The pressure to publish is always high, you just want to have your content our there. But think on how you judge a text that has many misspellings. It immediately makes you question the writer. It loses ranking for you and it probably will for search engines too if you want to come across as an expert.