Want to know how to write content that ranks?
To get your content to rank, there are a number of issues you must address.
- Your content must be relevant and useful.
- You must employ on-site and off-site SEO techniques, and
- You need to develop an effective workflow.
I discuss items relevance and SEO techniques in this article.
This post will address establishing an effective workflow.
In almost any creative campaign, whether photography or copywriting, a workflow is essential.
Developing a headline
Let's start with what to write about – our content concept.
You've identified and verified a keyword phrase to which you would like to rank. You'll also have to identify some LSI terms. LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, but it really is just other keywords that mean essentially the same thing.
A simple example, use auto and vehicle as LSI's for the keyword “car”.
Your work has just begun.
You need to put this keyword phrase into a catchy title, preferably at the beginning.
Once you've developed a few headlines, you might want to run them through something like the free Emotional Marketing Value Analyzer.
Writing passionate catchy headlines is difficult. In many cases, the results may even be counterintuitive.
Why so much attention to the headline?
Most people scan headlines. If the headline doesn't grab them, they'll simply move on.
Additionally, your headline is the basis for the rest of your article – all of your meta tags and content is derived from your title.
Don't start a post without a solid headline.
Develop your meta tags
As soon as you've nailed your headline, it's time to finalize your Meta Title, Meta Description, and Featured Image Alt Tag, as well as your initial headline and first and last paragraph.
All of these are based upon and should include your keyword phrase and your headline title.
Write them as naturally as possible and ensure you're using LSI terms. Google is smart enough to connect the dots, so the writing shouldn't be stilted.
Develop your content
That's the core of my workflow.
All these programs are free or quite inexpensive.
I'll start by outlining. I use MindMode which is available for Mac but you may want to review what options are available to you.
The purpose of using a mind map application is to do a brain dump on the post you're developing. After getting as much as you know out on the mind map, you can then do a rough organization to lay out the sequence. This also will reveal sub-topics that you may need to do further research and areas where you can add value. Remember, you're trying to create quality, relevant content that meets the user's intent (what are they searching for?).
The next workflow process is to start writing in Hemingway. This application is great since it contains just enough of the markups necessary for a WordPress post. You have bold, italic, headings, quotes, bullets, numbers, and links. Simple and straightforward.
What's nice about Hemingway is that you concentrating on readability level and overall readability.
You're going to strive for a readability level of from 6th to 8th grade. I know this is beneath you but your goal is to communicate not try impress by using obscure words and complicated sentence structures.
Hemingway's readability relates to a number of concepts. Avoid the use of passive voice, use strong verbs instead of weak adverbs. Also, using simpler word forms – like “use” vs. “utilize”. Finally, rewrite sentences which are hard to understand.
Of course, rules are made to be broken and Hemingway allows for some discretion by stating limits which are relative to the length of your post.
Once completed, you can Publish the article directly to your WordPress site as a draft post.
If you have any difficulties with this, a quick workaround is to export your Hemingway document as a webpage (HTML) and copy and paste directly into your WordPress post. To retain all the markups, be sure and paste into the “visual” vs “text” tab.
Also be sure to save your work as a draft until you're ready to publish. You also need to be aware of caching and clear any caching before publishing.
Touch up and publish
The next content stage is to touch up using Grammarly, which works automatically in WordPress.
Grammarly will check for spelling and grammar errors, and even the free version is totally adequate for most editing needs.
The goal of the final content stage is really to ensure that all your meta tags are in place and that the alt tag has been placed into all of your images.
Check out the reviews and standardize on a good SEO plugin. Just be sure, if you're changing, that you transfer your data to avoid having to re-enter all of your meta details.
You're almost ready to hit publish.
Read your post a few times, out loud if possible, and make all the fine corrections that invariably pop up.
Publishing a blog is similar to publishing any quality content but there are differences. You need to ensure that you are adding value. Make the article unique and deliver interesting content. Ensure that you've placed your keywords in the right locations and that you use enough LSI words to make the article not seem repetitive.
Your first goal is to help Google identify what your article is about – that's on-site SEO.
Your next goal is to show how valuable your content is – that's off-site SEO. That is a topic for another post.