“Focus on the User”- Adam Smith, Xobni
Making your site more friendly for readers and Google is a really important part of gaining rankings, increasing traffic, and engagement with your site. Usability keeps users onsite and makes them interact more with whatever they read.
Your site should be focused around the reader. If it’s not, what are you doing it for? Serp manipulation?
Unfortunately pure SERP manipulation while ignoring your reader’s doesn’t work, and in the long-term, could get your site punished (especially if it’s at the cost of your users). A natural site that works for your users is also one of the best ways to optimize for the Google Gods.
Blog Writing And What to Change
Be cool, be natural. Natural content is one of the best ways to optimize your site, keywords, and keep people onsite. A page with your keyword listed 50 times won’t have the same impact as a page where that keyword is put in naturally and in a variety of forms.
That post isn’t just about car, it’s about cars, automobiles, automobile, vehicle, vehicles, and transportation.
It’s really easy to say stay natural, but hard in practice. If your focus is on how your audience is going to interact with this piece of content, it’ll come a lot more natural. Optimizing with links, suggested posts, and tags is way more practical than putting out a post that isn’t natural or made for the reader.
Address Your Audience
Talk to the people reading your blog. Whether you’re reaching out to female entrepreneurs or people who want to buy a wetsuit, relevance keeps people reading. And that’s a big for your rankings. If people think your article is the most helpful thing on the subject, share it, follow through onto other articles, then you’ve got a winning traffic flow (and that spells big wins for your rankings). There are a few ways to address your audience:
- You can write for them
- You can directly call them out in the title. Ex: Reasons Boss Ladies Should Join X Network
- Use designs and colors that match the mood of the article, your brand, and what the audience should take from it.
- Create a funnel for the reader of that article by directing ‘suggested posts’ and links to other relevant pages for that specific audience.
Make Yourself Useful
Make yourself the most useful that you can. People like to read things that will help them and improve their life.
Sometimes that things that will make people happier, more excited about their day, but a lot of times, it’s writing actionable tips. Things that can actually help someone make their life better, greener, easier, or more productive. Ask yourself. Will this article be useful for some reading it, will it benefit them to read it? Or am I wasting my time and theirs? Make your posts informational.
Google God Focused
Are people reading your blog and they love it, but it’s not helping your rankings? It’s probably because of larger technical issues. Things like poorly optimized tags, a bounce bot, or hidden features are all reasons you could be losing out.
Poorly Optimized Tags
This is one of the biggest reasons your content could not be performing. Distinctive title tags, H1 and H2 tags, and some meta descriptions should be in play on all your posts. It’s the summary that is read by Google, so using them right is a wonderful way to get ahead.
Title tags are there to title the page, they should be 50-60 characters and different from your other tags. This is one of the most important tags. You can see if your site has it across the board by using the free version of Screaming Frog, or you can pull it up on the individual page by searching for it in the elements. It’ll look something like this:
We get a pretty clear idea what will be on this page by the title. Cat pictures that are pure hilarious gold. If you dig deeper, your pages should also definitely have an H1 tag. Exactly one of those, that is very different from title tag. While 27 cat pictures doesn’t have an H1, a good one for that article, would be Funny Feline Pictures. It expands one the initial point with slightly different phrasing. You can also use this as a time to point to your branding, like BobsBlog Funny Feline Pictures.
H2s are great, but can be abused and overused. They are great to use as ‘chapter titles’ for different subheadings on the page. So some potential H2 tags could be: tiny kitten stuck in box, flour-covered cat who is clearly a demon, or reasons to get a goofy cat from the shelter.
Be careful not to use too many H2s. These are labels and too many can give each one less value. Plus can take a bite out of your crawl budget.
Are parts of your site hidden from Google?
Probably. And that means either Google isn’t looking at them or they aren’t getting crawled right. Images, short content, and content hidden by scrolling features can affect your rankings.
For example, infographics are wonderful for the user, but without interactive content that reads as content, Google will have trouble reading what’s on that infographic full of awesome information. It could read it, but that will spend some of your crawl budget, and it’s unlikely that it will. It’s the same thing for text hidden by sliding features or content hidden beneath a log-in.
Short content isn’t as big of a deal as it once was, but if it’s less than 500 words, you should probably reconsider the purpose of the page. If you don’t have at least 500 words of things to say on the subject of that page, consider combining it with another subject or just removing it.
Your pages have amazing content that’s exactly what your audience wants, labelled with all the tags, hidden content made visible as much as possible, and no SEO issues (duplications or a screwy robots.txt). You might have a bad bot messing with your site. There are a few ways to find out if you have bad bots or if you have traffic that is not yours messing with your site.
You can look at your server logs, high crawl times that are consistent and not Google could be a bad bot, you could also look at the audience portion of your analytics and see how much C-speaking traffic you are getting.
There’s a ton of ways someone could be bringing you down, this article explains it all in a ton more detail than I could here.
Whether you’re creating content for your blog, or trying to find someway to make your site rank a little better, creating user friendly content that Google can read too is the way to go. Be natural, be cool, and create for the people who are using your site.
After all, your audience will be the most productive on your site?