Writing

Increase Your Rankings? Improve Your Copy and Your Site’s Internal Linking Structure! – BlogHer

Sponsored by Yoast

Ranking high in the search engines is something you can accomplish all by yourself. You don’t need an expensive developer or a website builder. If you use an SEO-friendly platform – like WordPress – and install a kickass SEO plugin – like Yoast SEO -, the technical aspects of SEO are pretty much-taken care of. The real difference in rankings can be made by writing awesome, SEO-friendly content. In addition to that, improving the internal linking structure of your website is a quick and easy way to improve your ranking. In this article, I’ll describe how to write the best SEO-friendly text and how to upgrade your internal linking structure to increase your rankings.

SEO-friendly text

Writing SEO-friendly text isn’t that easy. But with a little bit of help, everybody is able to write a great article that is well-optimized for the search engines. I’ll talk you through 4 steps on how to create SEO-friendly copy. 

1. Always start with keyword research

Every SEO copywriting strategy starts with keyword research. If you want to rank in the search engines and attract traffic to your site, you should focus your SEO strategy on those terms that people are searching for. You should try to get in people’s heads and figure out which words they use for their searching. What questions do your audience have? 

If you execute your keyword research properly, you’ll end up with a long list of terms you want to be found for. This list should function as a guide for you to choose from. You should write content surrounding these keywords. A keyword is not yet a topic, though. You should make sure to come up with an original idea for your blog post. An idea in which the desired focus keyword (or keyphrase) could have a prominent place.

2. Write useful content

The most important thing about writing awesome content is that you make sure that your content is unique and useful to your audience. Your article or your post should contain unique information. You should write something that your audience will want to read. Google’s mission reads: ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ So, in order for Google to rank your content, you should write something that is accessible and useful for your audience. You should write something that is new, fresh and unique. 

In order to write appealing articles, you need to know who your audience is.  Should you write texts that are difficult or very easy to read? Which topics will interest them the most? Which search terms do they use? What blogpost will make them come back to your site? These questions are especially important if you want your audience to become regular visitors of your website or if you want them to buy something in your online store. 

3. Write readable content

Reading from a screen is hard. If you want people to understand what your text is about and if you want them to buy your products or subscribe to your newsletter, you should make sure that your text is nice and easy to read. Check whether the structure of your text is clear and easy to follow, write short paragraphs and add lots of subheadings. That’ll make it much easier for a reader to understand what your text is about.

Yoast SEO offers a readability analysis in which we assess whether your text is an easy read. The readability analysis also offers feedback on how to improve the readability of the text, for instance, by adding an extra subheading.

4. Optimize your content for your desired keywords

If you’ve written a text that is appealing to your audience and easy to read and understand, you’re almost there. You just need to make sure that your text is well-optimized for the search engines. This means you should use the keywords you want to be found for. The SEO analysis in the Yoast SEO plugin helps you to optimize your text for the keywords you want to rank for. 

In recent years, Google has become much smarter. Google is very able to understand that the words ‘book’ and ‘books’ are pretty much the same thing. In the old days, you could stuff your text with keywords to make sure people would find you. Google does not like that anymore. Content stuffed with keywords does not rank high any longer. You’d better use synonyms and related keywords in your content to make it a pleasant read and to make it rank. That’s why, in the premium analysis of Yoast SEO you can set synonyms and related keywords and it will take different word forms (plurals, past tense, word order etc.) into account!

Improve your internal linking structure

Internal linking is an important factor for Google and other search engines. Google follows links. The Googlebot comes to your website because another website linked to your site. Google follows those links, comes to a page and saves the information on that page. After that, Google continues to follow links. It follows external links, but it also follows all of your internal links. 

With your internal linking structure, you can determine on which pages the Google bot comes regularly. Your internal linking structure is a guide to Google, a way of telling Google which pages are important. Pages with lots of internal links pointing towards them are deemed more important by Google than pages with less links. Let’s look at some quick fixes on how to improve your internal linking structure to give your ranking a boost!

1. Decide which pages are important

What are your most important pages? Which pages are the ones you really want to rank with? Before you start improving the internal linking structure of your website, take a little bit of time and think about these questions. What are the pages that offer the most valuable information to your audience? What are the pages that you make money with?. These should be ‘on top’ of your website. These should be the posts and pages that should get the most internal links.

The text link counter in Yoast SEO will show you which of your posts get the most internal links. Are these the right ones? You can find the text link counter in your post overview and quickly check the number of internal links pointing towards a certain article.

2. Link in context

Links should make sense to your user. They should help your user. Otherwise, Google will figure out you’re just spamming internal links. Remember: Google is able to read and understand text. If you’re just adding random internal links to your site, this won’t work. That means that if you’re writing a post about ballet shoes, a link from that post should be in context. Linking to a post about ballet lessons, or hiphopshoes makes sense. Linking to a post about SEO link building probably does not. Yoast SEO premium contains the internal linking tool which comes up with suggestions for contextual internal links. That’ll make it so much easier to get your internal linking structure optimized! You’ll find the internal linking tool in the Yoast SEO sidebar.

3. Keep checking that internal linking structure

As your site grows and changes, it’s essential to keep checking your internal linking structure. Do you have orphaned content – content without any internal links on your site? If there are no (or very few) links pointing towards a certain article, Google will (hardly) know of its existence. You should solve that. 

Regularly check whether your most important articles contain the most internal links. And, if you add new content: make sure to give those new articles some links in order to be able to compete in the search engines. 

Conclusion: content SEO is king!

WordPress out of the box is an SEO-friendly CMS. Add Yoast SEO to your site and the technical aspects of SEO are pretty much covered. However, you can really make a difference and outrank your competition if you invest in content SEO. And that means: writing awesome, SEO-friendly and readable articles and building a kickass internal linking structure. A lot of work, but it will pay off for sure. Good luck!

This article was created by BlogHer for Yoast.