Since we develop a lot of content, and work with various writers, I've been compiling a list of guidelines, tips, best practices, etc.
Figured I'd share it here. Please share yours here too.
Also what tools do you use to manage content development & workflow?
When writing new articles or editing existing articles, as it pertains to ranking in SERPS it's important to understand the searcher's intent.
There are distinct differences between
- Intent to buy
- Intent to learn
- Intent to use
If a search term is a "intent to buy" or "intent to use" one, it will be hard for your informational content/article to rank, unless you build the content to align with the searcher's intent. So be sure to understand the search term's intent as you're building out your content.
User @BradleySPS shared some helpful info about intent here.
Instructions to new writers
- SEO-optimized articles
- All original content (no spinning)
- Copyscape checked
- Not bloated or keyword-stuffed
- Proper use of keywords/phrases and synonyms
- Research-backed, accurate content
- Proper of use of Heading tags (H2, H3, H4)
- Optimized for mobile reading (no long paragraphs)
- Include at least one royalty free photo
- Recommend compelling article title
- Recommend meta description
- Reference links to 1-2 authoritative sites
- No SEO keyword/phrase links (i.e. "sponsored links")
- You must be a native English speaker
- Writer must provide content in either Google Doc format, or as clean HTML (so we can copy/paste into Wordpress)
Editing Existing Articles: Optimizations (not all inclusive list):
- Check readability, grammar, flow
- SEO (If Yoast is available, use it as a guideline. No need to follow every recommendation)
- Good to use synonyms for main focus term -- ones that have good search volume
- Formatting (make sure it reads well on desktop/mobile)
- Update SLUG/URL (keep it short, but logical. if changing, make sure old page URLs auto forward to new URL via 301 redirect)
- Ensure Feature Image is present and of correct size (check other recently edited articles to see correct size)
- Create article excerpt if one does not exist (possibly shortened version of Meta Description)
- Determine whether we publish as new (i.e. notable article update), or keep original publish date (i.e. cleaned up formatting mostly)
- Use Headings properly, in logical hierarchy to break-up article
- Shorten long paragraphs
- Clean-up / Simplify Tables (also determine readability on mobile)
- Add photos if necessary (with alt tags)
- Add alt tags to existing photos
- Generally set photo alignment to None, and make them bigger to improve UEX of reading article. Many articles have images sized small and aligned right, left, or center.
Deleting Articles With Low Pageviews
I wrote-up some information about content purging in this Reddit thread in the r/bigSEO subreddit.
Other Tools & Tips:
- Use the term (and its practical synonyms) naturally. Do just repeat the term over and over. Google wouldn't like that ;)
- The idea is to understand the searcher's intent and write an article that addresses their search intent
- Use Google Auto Suggest to see what other variations of the term/phrase shows up when you type the above
- Possibly compare different terms in Google Trends to see which one has more relative volume
- Do the actual search, and see what websites/articles show up in the first 10-12 SERPS. See the type of articles/pages that show up, and let's create an article that provides better and more thorough information
- Make sure the article is easy to read (Flesh-Kincaid readability). Available in Yoast SEO and here > https://www.webfx.com/tools/read-able/
- Limit the use of passive voice (available in Yoast SEO) and other places online
- Readability Checker: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ (thanks @growthbites!)
Use Google Search Console To Grow Article Traffic
This is an important one.
Be sure to look at GSC regularly to see what terms are driving traffic to different article.
If the search term's intent is not addressed in the article, either:
- Update the article to include helpful/thoughtful information about the search term
- Create a new article that thoughtfully addresses the search term
I've done this several times, and it's resulted in a notable growth in search impressions and traffic.