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When it comes to ranking in search engines, the importance of quality content has increased over the years. Not too long ago, you would commonly see spun articles ranking across fairly prominent keywords. However, fewer low-quality articles slip through the cracks now, with various manual and algorithm checks in place.

Creating content that ranks is still possible for individuals and small businesses, though, but they should also follow some standard practices. While the following techniques can’t guarantee top search rankings, they help create a foundation for an effective SEO campaign.  

Keyword Research

Keyword research is a way of ensuring you don’t waste time trying to rank for low-quality keywords. Various keywords might receive a lot of search volume, but they are too broad and lacking focus. Alternatively, you might find a search term with small competition, but there is no buyer intent.

Using the Google Keyword Planner, brainstorm some ideas and start to search for keywords. You can also use a tool like Ahrefs to uncover more data, allowing you to find relevant terms that users search for online. If businesses are paying to advertise on a keyword, you can assume that it has some commercial value.

Analyze the Top Results

Before you begin creating content, it is important to look at the current sites in the top positions. You should see some common trends that can help shape the content you produce. For example, a search term might have some videos ranking, so it would be a good idea to create your own video content.

Additionally, you should aim to create something that has greater value than the existing content, increasing the likelihood that you can surpass the current results. Improvements can come in many forms, but they often include adding longer and more detailed content, more user-friendly design, and additional multimedia.

Structure Content

Good content will be structured to appeal to the search engines and readers. An article, for example, should have subheadings or bullet points to increase the readability. Much of the surrounding text will include related words and phrases to your main keyword.

Also, your title tag and meta description should appeal to searchers considering whether to visit your site. For longer content, consider adding a menu that allows easy access to every section of the article.

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Use a Readable URL

A readable URL can have some SEO benefits, while also encouraging greater click-through rates from the search engines.

Some URLs take the entire title tag or have their own unique structure. For SEO purposes, though, the URL should include the main keyword or possibly a slightly extended version. Readers should understand what the content is about, but there should no unnecessary words cluttering up the address.

Add Internal and Outbound Links

A major part of the browsing experience is the ability to move between one page and another, whether on the same site or an external one.

The search engines recognize this, making the importance of effective linking essential for SEO. Avoid trying to keep visitors on a single page when creating content for the search engines, using linking where appropriate. Add some links to relevant pages within your own site, but also link out to authority sites when you have referenced researched material or critical data.

Include Images or Video

Adding video or images to an article can enhance the content, creating a visual element that improves the experience. If you are building a page based on a video or infographic, also add text descriptions. The aim is to provide a comprehensive page that suits the needs of all types of visitors. However, ensure the content you add makes sense, avoiding the common mistake of adding irrelevant stock images that add nothing to the page.

The right piece of content, developed and promoted effectively, can bring search engine traffic for months or even years.

SEO has always been difficult, but there are fewer shortcuts than ever before. Taking the time to create content that has a purpose will offer best results, while research and development will ensure you provide what the search engines and your audience wants. Quality content has allowed businesses of all sizes to thrive, but it is vital that you give every piece of content you create the best chance to succeed.

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How to Research and Develop Content That Ranks in the Search Engines

Last Updated in May 2022 by Lukasz Zelezny