How to make your SEO plug-in happy (and work harder for you)
Updated: Dec 28, 2020
There’s a lot to think about when writing your business blog. Your SEO plug-in – be it Yoast, Wix SEO Wiz, Rank Math or some other extension – is there to help you maximise your blog’s reach, but no software can do it alone. Careful thought about how to use these tools to optimise your content will quickly help improve engagement with your audience.
Two billion websites are competing for attention
The Google search engine is the go-to platform for 92.71% of all online searches, and captures information from an estimated 2 billion websites. That’s a whole load of competition, but this is where clever use of your SEO plug-in, and a targeted approach to writing copy, will help focus your online efforts. Most importantly, that focus will ensure you spend less time trying to turn those red crosses – the problems your plug-in flags up – to green checkmarks, allowing you to post more quickly and effectively. Some of the common issues an SEO plug-in might flag up include:
· Use of the passive voice
· Lengthy sentences
· Overly long paragraphs
· Lack of subheadings
· Strength of your focus keywords or phrases
· Broken links
· Website load times
Writing more effective copy and avoiding some of those red flags really is fairly simple. Here are just a few tips to keep your plug-in happy and make sure your blog works its hardest for you.
Writing better copy
One of the first things to eliminate is the passive voice where possible. If you’re not sure if a sentence uses the passive voice and you want to avoid your plug-in telling you off, add the phrase ‘by zombies’ to the end of your sentence. If it still makes grammatical sense, you’ve used the passive voice. Example: ‘A question was asked’…’by zombies’. That’s the time to turn your sentence into the active voice, for instance: ‘He asked a question’. (Or, if you’re writing a zombie apocalypse novel, ‘The zombie asked a question’.)
Something else to think about is ‘the rule of three’ that novelists, graphic designers and professional communicators often use. The premise is that the human brain most easily grasps ideas in threes: ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’; ‘Ready, Steady, Go’; Three Little Pigs. Short, effective, memorable. The rule certainly isn’t hard and fast, but structuring your blog post this way will focus your writing. Keep it simple, sharp and to the point.
While you’re thinking about keeping it simple, consider the following from George Orwell: “Never use a long word where a short one will do”. Clean, clear sentences help your reader find the information they need and pinpoint how you can offer a solution to their problem.
Holding your audience’s attention
Sentence length is another red flag for a plug-in. The best writing uses a varied sentence length: too many long sentences in a row can be tiring for the reader. Too many short sentences can make your text feel disjointed. The same is true for paragraph length – you’re more likely to lose your audience if they can’t find the main idea quickly. You only have a short time to capture their attention – around eight seconds – before they move on. A little variety enhances your post and keeps your reader on the page.
Subheadings allow your audience to zero in on the ideas and solutions they’re looking for and will help you clarify the message you want to convey. Strategic subheadings capture attention and also make it more likely your reader will stick around to read your post for longer than those precious eight seconds.
Don’t forget the keywords
A plug-in will allow you to test out the keyword you want to use for your post, help you find related keywords and see how many searches a particular word or phrase garners on Google. Once established, it’s important to use these keywords throughout the post. Having the freedom to quickly play around with this saves you valuable time while boosting your chances of increasing your post’s ranking.
It’s the little things
The writing tips we’ve described above are just a few simple ways to optimise your content and boost your online presence. A bit of careful thought really does go a long way to maximising how you use those helpful plug-ins and makes a big difference in your search rankings. If you’re still feeling unsure about how you can enhance your blog’s reach, we’d be happy to check your draft before you upload to your website, and before your plug-in bears its red flag.