media update’s Aisling McCarthy takes you through 15 tips that will help you get your content SEO-ready.

Here they are:

1. Know your audience

Knowing exactly who you’re trying to reach is one of best (and most important) tips to keep in mind when creating content. Remember that your content can never do well if it doesn’t appeal to the right audience or consumer. Do your homework – it will pay off.

2. Start with a great headline

A well-thought-out headline gets your content seen. And that is critical. It sets the tone for your content and it’s what your audience sees first. Make sure you have good, strong SEO keyword in your headlines to attract the right people.

3. Use subheadings

So you have the reader’s attention thanks to your catchy headline – now your content has to deliver. Using subheadings can make your content easily understandable and, if it contains your SEO keywords, more discoverable. By making your article more ‘skimmable’, you’ll allow people to find just what they need as soon as possible (people like that).

4. Shorten your paragraphs

You might think that LOTS of information is good, and in some cases it is. But even when you have long-form content on your website, ensure you write it in short, easily-understood paragraphs. Stick to one idea per paragraph to avoid losing your readers!

5. Embrace long-tail keywords

When putting your SEO keywords together, don’t be afraid to use long-tails. These are more specific terms, which might catch fewer readers, but they will catch the right readers.

Instead of using common SEO phrases like “business ideas”, why not try out a more specific long-tail like “small business ideas for women”? While you might get fewer views, you’ll get the viewers who are specifically looking for your content. And those are the kind of viewers who are more likely to be converted into buyers.

6. Give people answers

This is another way to take advantage of long-tail keywords. Do a search about your brand/product type and find out the type of questions people ask most often. Once you know what questions people are asking, answer their questions with your content.

If people are searching ‘How do I start my own business?’, then why not write some web content that explains ‘How to start your own business’, ‘Things to do before starting your own business’ or even ‘A step-by-step guide to starting your own business?

7. Use powerful language

Try to avoid writing in the passive voice and using humdrum, run of the mill words. Using powerful language will get people interested in your content – and keep them coming back for more!

8. Say ‘no’ to keyword stuffing

Search engines are smarter than you think. Putting hundreds of SEO keywords in your web content will not make it rank higher. While it is important to include strong keywords in your content, no one want to read keyword-stuffed mumbo-jumbo. Don’t do it!

9. Speak your readers’ language

Does your web content match the tone and vocabulary that your target audience uses? If not, it’s time to change! Using the same kind of language that your target audience uses will make you more easily discoverable and more able to reach your audience.

Make sure to use words and phrases that will resonate with your readers – once your readership grows, search engines will pick up on it too.

10. Keep it fresh

Regularly updating your content is important – for both readers and search engines. Readers want accurate, up-to-date information and search engines want to know that your website is actively updated.

11. Write meta descriptions

Many businesses ignore meta descriptions because they take time to write. However, good SEO copywriting is pretty much pointless if you don’t have meta descriptions. They directly affect the traffic to a particular web page.

12. Pics get clicks

Content that includes photos, infographics and other visual elements receive way more views than content that doesn’t. Not including visuals is a colossal mistake. Plus, if you take the time to accurately name you visual files (by naming them what they are visuals of instead of ‘Picture1.jpg’) they can hold some weight in terms of SEO.

13. Say hello to captions

Including captions underneath your visual elements helps twofold; it helps people understand why that visual is important and it helps search engines index your website. SEO rankings can be improved by using thoughtful captions as it can enrich your content by using strong keywords that match the rest of it.

14. Sharing is caring

Encourage readers to share your content on their social pages. Why? Social sharing can bring more traffic to your site, earn some more backlinks and spread it further across the web (and the further it stretches, the more people know about it – and you).

Remember to make it easy for people to share from your website , so embrace share buttons and widgets.

15. Proofread, proofread and then proofread again

No matter how good your content is, if it’s filled with spelling and grammar errors – it sucks. Errors kill your credibility. Keep in mind that SpellCheck and Grammarly don’t always catch all your mistakes, so use an editor or ask a friend to proofread it for you. Once you’ve fixed the errors, proofread it again to ensure it is 100% correct.

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Need some more help with your SEO? Check out our article, Three easy steps to ace SEO – every time.