It’s much harder to rank for one or two-word phrases in Google. These phrases are generally very competitive. It’s much easier to go after a phrase that’s 3-words, 4-words, or even longer.
When you’re just getting started, it’s much easier to rank for low-competition, long-tail keywords. As your website gains more domain authority, you can start going after more competitive terms.
In fact, half of all searches are for terms with 4+ words. And 70% of all search traffic is made up of long-tail keywords. So while everyone else is fighting over the most competitive keywords, you can swoop in and grab super targeted, long-tail search traffic.
Long-tail keywords are a bit like the Wild-Wild west, where there’s still plenty of golden gems and hidden opportunities.These less competitive terms are much easier to rank for. But you still need to create the very best resource on that particular topic.
The other benefit of long-tail keywords is that they often have a much clearer search intent.
For example, if someone types into Google: make money online
First – that’s going to be incredibly competitive. But it’s also very broad. We don’t know if the searcher wants to make money with affiliate marketing, freelancing, blogging, surveys, as a virtual assistant, etc…
Which could lead to a lot of untargeted traffic coming to your website. Our goal is to scoop up
targeted traffic that converts.
So instead of going after the phrase “make money online”, we niche it down. Compare that to someone who searches for: how to make money with affiliate marketing
This phrase gets about 1,300 searches per month and it’s a lot more specific. Making it a lot easier to identify what the searcher is truly looking for.
You could also explore similar (lateral) long-tail phrases:
How does affiliate marketing work? (880 searches per month)
Affiliate marketing for beginners (3,600 searches per month)
Best affiliate programs for beginners (720)
Top paying affiliate programs (1,600 searches per month)
Notice how as we start going more long-tail, the search intent becomes much clearer.
When you know the searchers intent, you can create much more relevant (and therefore more valuable) content for your reader.
Google rewards those who provide relevant, valuable content that fully answers the readers question.
3. Put Your Main Keyword in the Title.
This is one of the most important places to include your main focus keyword. The keyword phrase that you want to rank for in Google. Your title is going to tell your readers and the search engines what your page is all about.
It’s also one of the first things people see in the search results page. So you want to create an enticing title that also encourages people to click through on your result.
The key to a great title is a combination of both relevancy and good copywriting.
Link Building for SEO: The Definitive Guide (2019 Update) WordPress SEO Checklist – 45 Tips to Grow Traffic by 571%Notice how each of these examples includes the main keyword at the beginning of the title. But they also include a description that drives people to click.
You can use numbers and benefit-driven headlines to catch people’s attention and increase your click-through rates. Just be sure to include your main keyword phrase at the beginning of the title.
Quick Note: Google is also looking at the CTR of your search result. Because a higher click-through rate most likely means that your website is more relevant if people are clicking on it more than your competitors.
A higher click-through rate can also increase your rankings. So the title is very important. Both for your readers and for your rankings.
4. Include your keyword in the url.
Inside WordPress, you can customize the url for each blog post. Also called the permalink.
This helps your readers and the search engines to immediately see what your content is all about. Always customize your url before publishing.But do NOT include any dates in the url. This would make your content less relevant after the date has passed and could also decrease your click-through rates as searchers are often looking for the most recent, relevant and up-to-date information.I find short permalinks do best. For example, if the title of your article is “10 Steps to the Ultimate SEO-Friendly Blog Post”.
The url slug would be:
Keep it short and sweet, while also including the main keyword phrase you want to rank for.
5. Optimize Your Headings.
There are three main headline tags. H1, H2, and H3. These headline tags help you to structure your blog post. They also help search engines figure out what your page is all about.
Your blog post should contain just one H1 tag. This is generally the same as your blog post title. Most WordPress themes are designed so that the title of the blog post is wrapped in an H1 tag.
The h2 tags are used for all of the individual sub-topics that you’ll be covering in the blog post.
And h3 tags are often used for a list of sub-items underneath the h2 tag.
Here’s an example of how we organize our blog posts. In fact, it’s the same blog post you’re reading now. The title is wrapped in an H1 tag and all of the main blog post topics are in H2 tags.
You don’t always have to use h3 tags on every page. Sometimes all you need is just H1 for the title at the top and h2 for your sub-topics underneath.
6. Optimize your images.
Did you know? You can actually optimize your images to rank in Google’s image search. We often forget that Google has a variety of content categories that you can search for. In addition to their web results, you can also search for images, videos, and news.