SEO friendly content to Outrank your Competition

SEO friendly content to Outrank your Competition
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9 SEO-Friendly Content Writing Tips to Outrank Your Competition

SEO (Search engine optimization) has come a long way over the past 25 years. Long gone are the days of publishing high volumes of low-quality, wafer-thin content and expecting your search engine rankings to increase. Today, SEO is as much an art as it is a science. It requires content writers and digital marketers (now one and the same) to understand search engine ranking factors, prioritize searcher intent, and publish valuable, high-quality content that appeals users and Google’s algorithms.

This blog post will cover nine SEO-friendly content writing tips to improve rankings.

But before we get into it, I have a PSA for all the digital marketers and content writers out there: When devising a strategy to drive organic traffic to your website, remember that content writing and SEO go hand in hand. SEO is not some magic skill only technical people can execute properly. 

At its core, SEO is about writing content that’s better than the competition—and yes, utilizing on-page and technical SEO best practices along the way. 

So, without further ado, here are nine tactics you can use to outrank your competitors in search engine results.

  1. Understand Search Engine Ranking Factors

  2. Use the Right Keywords

  3. Identify and Capture Search Intent

  4. Optimize Content to Obtain Google Featured Snippets

  5. Update Old Content

  6. Apply the Skyscraper Method

  7. Prioritize High-Quality Inbound and Outbound Links

  8. Boost User Signals with On-Page Best Practices

  9. Be Aware of Site Structure and Technical SEO Best Practices


1. Understand Search Engine Ranking Factors

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)


In order to surpass your competitors in search engine rankings, it is crucial to have a grasp of the fundamental signals that search engines consider when assessing and ranking content.

The top four factors that significantly impact rankings include the quality of the content, the presence of relevant links, the overall structure of the website, and the utilization of HTML tags.

Since the implementation of the Panda algorithm update in 2011, Google has placed a high importance on content as the main factor for ranking.

Whenever you publish any type of content, such as a blog post, webpage, or pillar page, it should thoroughly discuss a particular topic, be well-written, and most importantly, offer value to the reader.

According to Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Factors, the top seven content ranking factors carry significant weight.

  1. Quality: Well-written and valuable
  2. Research: Demonstrates authority
  3. Keywords: Incorporates search terms appropriately
  4. Freshness: Is timely and relevant
  5. Multimedia: Contains images, video, or audio to enhance user experience
  6. Answers: Directly answers the search query
  7. Depth: Covers a topic thoroughly

Understanding what each of these factors means and how to apply them is the first step toward writing content that’s competitive.

Links, Site Structure, and HTML Tags

Apart from the content, the next three most important factors that affect rankings are links, site structure, and HTML tags. Search engines analyse various non-content factors such as inbound and outbound links, URL format, page loading speed, user engagement, and keyword usage in tags to comprehend the nature of your website and determine the ranking of your pages.


2. Use the Right Keywords

While there has been discussion among digital marketing professionals about the relevance of keyword research, it is still an essential component of SEO.

  • Determine what topics people are talking about.
  • Identify search volumes for topics.
  • Understand how difficult it may be to rank for a topic

When creating content that can be crawled by search engines, it is important to have a primary keyword target that is unique for each piece of content.

In addition, using related keywords (LSI keywords) that are natural variations of the primary keyword throughout the content is recommended.

To get started, brainstorm topics that are relevant to your target audience and conduct keyword research to identify the best ranking opportunity. The type of keyword to target will depend on the type of content being created.

For blog posts, it is recommended to target mid- to low-volume, low-competition long-tail keywords.

However, for comprehensive resources like pillar pages, it is better to target shorter-tail seed keywords that have high volume and high competition.

It is important to keep in mind that longer-tail, lower competition keywords have higher conversion rates and are easier to rank for when creating blog posts.


3. Identify and Capture Search Intent

After discovering a suitable main keyword to target, it is important to verify and determine the approach to writing about it by delving into the intention of the searcher.

Determine the purpose of the user’s search when they enter the query into a search engine, and then provide information on the subject in a manner that specifically caters to their requirements.

  1. Know: The searcher wants to find information on a topic to answer a question.
  2. Do: The searcher wants to learn how to take a specific action.
  3. Website: The searcher wants to find a specific resource.
  4. Visit in person: The searcher wants to find a location to go to.

Prior to commencing your writing, determine the specific group that your primary targeted keyword belongs to out of the four categories. Subsequently, confirm the category by examining the existing content that is currently ranking for the keyword.

Are your rivals directing their efforts towards the same search intent that you have identified for the query? Observe how they have organized their content to fulfil the requirements of the searcher.

Construct your content in a comparable and superior manner.


4. Optimize Content to Obtain Google Featured Snippets 

The Google Featured Snippet is a recently developed search engine attribute that intends to provide an immediate response to a user’s inquiry.

By optimizing your content, you can enhance your likelihood of acquiring this feature.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Use SEMrush or another SERP analysis tool to identify if a featured snippet exists for the keyword you’re targeting.
  2. Identify how the featured snippet is structured. Is it a paragraph, list, or table?
  3. Ask the question the snippet answers in one of your blog post subheadings.
  4. Answer the question immediately after the subheading. Write a concise answer that’s better than the current one in the featured snippet. Be sure to use the same structure as the current snippet.


More Tips for Obtaining the Featured Snippet

To enhance your chances of obtaining the featured snippet, there are various strategies you can employ.

One approach is to optimize content that you are already ranking high for with a featured snippet answer. It is worth noting that 99.58 percent of snippets originate from pages that are already on the first page of a SERP.

Additionally, incorporating facts and figures in your responses and addressing multiple “People also ask” questions within your content can increase your chances of being featured.

Ahrefs’ research indicates that longer-tail keywords, such as those found in this section of the SERP, are responsible for triggering most featured snippets.


5. Update Old Content

Fresh content is given priority by search engines.

As mentioned earlier, the freshness of content is one of the most important factors in determining its ranking. By updating older blog posts with improved, more informative, and authoritative information, it is possible to significantly improve rankings and increase traffic.

In fact, HubSpot experienced an average increase of 106 percent in organic search views per post when it made updating old content a priority on its editorial calendar, optimizing multiple posts every week.

Here’s how to execute this strategy yourself:

  1. Identify blog posts with the potential to rank higher for keywords that have substantial search volume.
  2. Update or rewrite the post to improve accuracy and thoroughness.
  3. Implement on-page SEO best practices and optimize for conversion with relevant in-line and end-of-post CTAs.
  4. Publish the optimized article—making sure to change the publish date so that search engines re-crawl and re-index the content.


6. Apply the Skyscraper Method

The Skyscraper technique involves finding content that you wish to surpass and generating superior material. It is a strategy that encompasses both content creation and link building, but for the sake of this article, we will concentrate on its implementation in writing.

Once you find the piece of content you want to outrank, you should:

  1. Think about why Google has prioritized this page in its results. Chances are, the ranking piece of content is comprehensive, goes in-depth, and provides high value to the reader. Understand why the content is performing well so you can take your piece of content to the next level.
  2. Create something better than the ranking article. You can do this by adding length, depth, freshness, and improving the user experience.

It is important to approach improvements with a strategic and intentional mindset.

The focus should be on adding value, rather than simply increasing quantity. Ahrefs advises against adding mediocre tips to an already excellent list, as this does not truly improve the content. When done correctly, the Skyscraper method can yield significant results, as demonstrated by Brian Dean of Backlinko who was able to double organic traffic in just two weeks using this approach.

7. Prioritize High-Quality Inbound and Outbound Links

Links provide valuable information to search engines and users regarding the reputation, value, and quality of your content.

It is important to ensure that when you include outbound links in your blog posts and pillar pages, they are from reputable and trustworthy websites.

When seeking backlinks, it is advisable to target authoritative websites that specialize in the topic you are writing about.

It is crucial to remember that backlinks play a significant role in Google rankings, accounting for 20.94 percent of what determines whether a page ranks or not.

Having high-quality links can positively impact your rankings and drive traffic, while low-quality and spammy links can negatively affect your ability to rank.


8. Boost User Signals with On-Page Best Practices

In recent years, Google has begun incorporating User Experience Signals into its search algorithms. The utilization of HTML tags in your content can indirectly impact these signals.

It is crucial for content writers to comprehend the significance of including the target keyword and LSI keywords in the title, meta description, headings, and first 100 words of their content.

By placing keywords in these HTML tags, user experience, bounce rate, dwell time, and click-through rate can be enhanced. Research has demonstrated that strong performance in these areas is associated with higher search engine rankings.


9. Be Aware of Site Structure and Technical SEO Best Practices

While it may not be directly the responsibility of a content writer, it is crucial to understand.

The impact that site structure optimization and technical SEO can have on the ranking of your content.

The way your site is designed, its loading speed, security, and ease of crawling all play a significant role. 

How quickly and accurately search engines can index and rank your content is very important. 

For instance, search engines now prioritize sites that utilize a topic cluster-driven site structure, which involves linking blog posts targeting specific long-tail keywords to comprehensive resources or pillar pages focusing on broader, high-volume seed keywords.

Without a solid site structure and proper technical SEO, it becomes extremely difficult for your well-written content to rank.

If you are struggling to see organic traffic results despite having well-written content, it is advisable to collaborate with a developer or technical SEO expert to monitor the health of your site and address any errors that may have a significant impact on crawlability.


Start Executing an SEO-Friendly Content Strategy Today

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