If you want to know how to write an article that readers will find and read, make a plan.
As with almost any types of writing, having a plan or an outline before you start writing is the key to success.
This is vital for an article because you need to order your thoughts to be able to craft a highly informative piece.
The true value of a great article is measured by the amount of new and relevant information you can give readers.
If you are submitting an article, you must provide very high reader value.
However, unlike tapping out a quick personal blog post, good article writing needs to be structured to meet the needs of both readers and search engine crawlers.
If readers can’t find your article, they won’t read it. A good article writer knows how to try to please both search engines and readers.
It involves wearing two writing hats. First, you obviously need to write in a style that is easy to read, yet highly informative to keep a reader interested.
Second, you need to be able to write for SEO. (Search Engine Optimization)
If you can achieve a balance between the two, you will be writing good content for both man and machine.
Writing a good article always starts with sound research.
Researching your ideas
If you decide or need to write something about shoes, you might research the latest fashion trends or sales data.
You could take a more focused angle and write about children’s shoes, and how expensive it is to keep buying new shoes for growing feet.
There are probably hundreds of topic ideas related to shoes. But after narrowing down your subject choice, make some notes of your key points.
A good idea is to make a short list of six or seven and use them as your possible paragraph headings.
You can flesh out the detail when you start writing your first draft.
Now that you have a basic outline for an article that will inform and interest readers, it is time to plan your SEO so people will be able to find it.
Doing your SEO research
It all starts with a finding a keyword.
But using the example above, shoes would be a terrible choice for a keyword. You would never stand a chance of ranking on Google.
What you need to find is a long tail keyword that is less competitive and is more clearly targeted. Perhaps, shoes for growing feet, or how to save money on kids shoes.
Ranking for single word keywords is impossible. But for a short phrase or long tail keyword, it is much easier to rank high and to get organic traffic.
Finding a suitable main keyword is very important to the potential success of your new article.
You can research using Google and look at the number of results there are for your keyword ideas. The less the better as it will be more narrowly targeted.
Once you have decided on your keyword, look at the top ten pages in your Google search.
Now go to each page in turn and quickly scan read each article.
This will give you many more ideas to write about. It will also give you a rough guide as to the total word count you should be aiming for.
Also look at whether images are included, and which article gained the most comments.
With the information, your goal is to use your writing skills to write an even better article than all ten.
One last SEO task. You need a list of semantic keywords.
These are short phrases or word combinations that are related to your topic. They are usually only verbs, nouns and adjectives. Look again at the top ten articles and note down common phrases used in the articles.
You might find, shoe size, summer sandals, one size larger, hand-me-downs, buy on sale and real leather on a number of pages.
Write a short list of at least ten, but preferably twenty.
You need a fantastic title to attract interest
The last step in your planning is to find a great title.
It must include your main keyword phrase, along with a reason to read your article. It should be a close to, but no more than sixty characters long.
How To Spend Much Less On Shoes For Kids Growing Feet
I tested this title on a headline analyser and it scored very high, so it is a good one.
One of the common mistakes some article writers make is to only have one title. You need two.
One for the main title and usually also the URL. The second one is for the SEO title which will be displayed on Google listings and also social media shares.
My SEO article notes
Before I began writing this article, I did exactly as I have explained above. Here are my notes.
I am fortunate because as I write a lot, I use Semrush to be able to research my keywords and semantic ideas.
It took me less than ten minutes to list my SEO and content ideas because Semrush can extract all the information from the top ten ranked pages in less than a minute.
Writing your article
Now it is time to write, using your notes.
Group some of the semantic keywords under your proposed paragraph headings. You don’t really need to use all of them. Choose the ones that best fit what you’re writing about.
Start writing your article in your style, but try to naturally incorporate your semantic keywords as you go. Don’t forget that you’re writing for readers.
The only thing you should be careful with is not to use your main keyword too many times in your text. This is called keyword stuffing in SEO speak and it will reduce your ranking chances considerably.
Once you’ve written your text, do a thorough grammar check and also check for spelling mistakes.
If you have the possibility, also get someone else to proofread your text.
Once you publish, check your Google ranking in a week or two, and see how well you did. If you have access to SEO analyser tools, you can always make a few edits to improve your article.
Before you write any new article or even blog posts, don’t write anything until you have done your research and drafted an SEO plan.
If you are publishing articles on your own site, you are in control. If you can, use SEO tools to help achieve higher rankings and with it more readers and site traffic.
However, if you are submitting articles to external sites, you can improve your chances of being accepted by helping the webmaster.
Along with your terrific article text, include two titles as well as your 160 character SEO description.
Online as in the real world, those who plan well succeed more often.
My recipe for article writing is not always guaranteed to win the number one ranking on Google and Bing.
But it does work in getting more than fifty per cent of my articles on the first two pages of a Google search for my keywords. That is more than enough to get a steady stream of organic traffic, and readers.
Post publishing report
One big advantage I have with using Semrush is that I can quickly check if I have covered all the SEO basics in a new article.
For this one, here are the results of two reports I ran a few minutes after publishing.
First is the keyword report.
As you can see, I missed one. But a quick edit is all I need to do to fix this.
The second report is for overall SEO.
All green lights!
So I have done all I can. Now I need to wait for Google to crawl this new article and hope it gets a decent ranking, and lots of readers.
Further reading: The right way to guest blog.