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How to Write an Article That Ranks in Google
Level 2 - Value Investor
Welcome Avatar! Today we have a guest post from BowTiedTetra focused on getting your articles ranked on search. For those that have accepted reality, you won’t be getting rich from your six-figure career. You will get rich from creating your own company (likely e-commerce or SaaS) and getting traffic is an important part of that game.
Getting Ranked on Google
There’s nothing worse than reading boring articles on the internet.
If you’ve searched Google for anything recently then you already know that most content is unhelpful, uninteresting, and uninspiring. In today’s article I’m going to teach you the techniques I use to create written content that ranks and converts in high-competition niches.
Big thanks to the BTB team for giving me the platform. You can read more of my writing at Second Income Strategies.
How to get your article to #1 in Google
Writing content on the internet isn’t easy. Since it’s so difficult and time consuming, most SEOs want to take short cuts.
This is a HUGE mistake.
Google’s recent updates have been heavily targeting poor-quality content. Sites that were previously ranking for thin, poorly spun out articles are seeing their rankings drop dramatically. People who put time and effort into their content are rising.
Deciding which subheadings you’re going to use is the first step to creating an SEO article that ranks highly in Google.
How to get your article to #1 in Google
For the sake of this article I’m assuming that you already have your target keyword.
Download the free SEO Minion browser extension (Chrome/Firefox).
SEO Minion is a crazy useful tool that you’re going to use to get subheading data from your competitors (I honestly can’t believe it’s free). Type your target keyword into Google and click “Enter”.
For the sake of example we’re going to search for “best crypto hardware wallet”.
Open up the top 3 search results in a new tab. Google is literally telling you what they want you to do. Since these sites are ranking highly they must be doing something right.
Chad tip: If you see a site that has a much lower DR/DA score than everything else on page one, include it even if it’s not in the top 3. If it’s ranking despite being low-authority then they’re likely killing it with their on-page SEO.
Now it’s time to gather the data. Go to one of the tabs you opened and click on the SEO Minion browser extension.
Click on “Analyze On-Page SEO” and then click on “Show all headings”
You can either work within the browser extension or export the data to an Excel file.
Repeat this step for all three sites.
The goal here is to choose a mix of subheadings from all three sites. Since each of these sites is ranking highly for your target keyword, it’s smart to base your content off of what they’re doing. If Google’s telling you exactly what they want you to do you’d be a fool to do otherwise.
Don’t copy the subheadings word-for-word. Modify them slightly so they still have the same meaning while using similar keywords.
Once you have your outline finished you can get started with writing your article (or assigning it to your writers if you’re at that level).
For more details read the following article: How to Conduct Research for SEO Articles.
Write an effective intro
There’s nothing that pisses me off more than a low-quality, poorly structured intro paragraph. People these days have the attention span of a fruit fly. If you can’t grab their attention INSTANTLY they’re going to leave and go to a site that can.
A good intro does the following (in a single concise paragraph):
Conveys expertise, authority, and trust
Uses the main keyword once
Is bolded (entire paragraph)
Empathizes with the reader’s problem
Avoids explaining the topic
If you can make it entertaining as well that’s definitely a plus.
Right now I want you to open up a new tab and search for a review of a product that you’re considering buying. Take a few seconds to read the intro. Did it inspire you to scroll down and read the entire review? Or was it so dull, boring, and uninteresting that you immediately hit the back button or closed the tab?
For most of you it’s going to be the latter (unless you stumbled upon the rare website owned by someone who “gets it”).
Readers are going to give you MAYBE a couple seconds of consideration before giving up and bouncing back to the search engine results page (SERP). If that sounds harsh then you need to toughen up before starting a website because readers are ruthless. Your intro is your one and only chance to grab your visitor’s attention and convince them to read the entire article.
I regularly come across garbage intros like this:
“Coffee tables are a type of furniture placed in living rooms. They’re very handy because they give you a secure place to put your beverages when sitting on the couch. The first coffee table was invented in 1824 by Dr. Coffee von Table who was tired of having to set his cup on the floor when relaxing in his living room. We are going to review x brand coffee table so continue reading for more info.”
The above intro is complete garbage (I almost slapped myself while writing it). But for some insane reason it’s the style that most writers use when publishing articles online.
Boring the reader is the #1 cardinal sin on the internet. And the above intro is BORING. There’s nothing to grab on to. The writer doesn’t demonstrate expertise or authority. Instead, they “explain the topic”.
“Explaining the topic” is the biggest mistake new writers make when writing intros. To understand why it’s bad, you have to think about the concept of search intent.
If someone ends up on your product review it’s because they want information about that particular product. If someone types in “x brand coffee table review” then they don’t need information about what a coffee table is because they already know that. They want to know if that particular brand is worth buying.
If you were writing an informational article titled “What is a coffee table”, then explaining what it is would be more understandable (although still not ideal in the intro). For a product review all it’s going to do is increase your bounce rate and lower your conversions.
A better version of the above intro would read:
“Shopping for a coffee table can be a nightmare. The tables all look similar and it’s hard to separate the quality brands from the duds. Our team of expert furniture reviewers spent 27 hours researching and testing x brand to find out if it’s worth buying. Scroll down to read our full x brand review and find out what our final verdict is.”
This intro does the following:
Empathizes with the reader’s problem (nightmarish shopping experience)
Conveys expertise (expert furniture reviewers)
Conveys trust (spent 27 hours testing and researching)
Includes the main keyword (x product review)
Uses less formal-sounding words (duds)
If someone was in the market for this particular coffee table then that intro would inspire them to continue reading the rest of the article.
Pro tip: Write your intro LAST. Most people write it first, which is a HUGE mistake because the beginning of the writing process is when you have the least amount of knowledge about the topic. Once you complete the entire article you’ll have a much better understanding of what the reader is looking for and will know what to say to hook them.
Read the following article for more info: How to Write Intros That Don’t Suck.
Use the ‘Inverted Pyramid’ writing style
You need to immediately solve the readers problem at the BEGINNING of the article (underneath the first subheading and after the intro).
Most writers do the opposite: they hide the most important info at the bottom of the article.
Everyone knows what it feels like when you’re frantically scanning for an answer to a question and can’t find it anywhere because the writer decided to use “what is x?” as the first subheading instead of ANSWERING THE DAMN QUESTION.
In journalism they call this “burying the lead”.
The reason why burying the lead is so common is because it’s how the educational system brainwashed you into writing. Academic papers are designed thoroughly explain the topic while boring the reader to tears.
You’re not writing an academic paper. You need to forget everything you ever learned in school and start from first principles.
People who end up on your site don’t care about you. They don’t care what your goal was for writing the article. The fact that you have a grand vision of growing a WiFi money business to escape the system and improve your life means nothing to them.
The one and only thing they care about is value.
The second someone lands on your page they immediately begin scanning for value. They rarely sit down and read each and every word from left to write in descending order like they would when reading a book.
People don’t “scan” because they’re stupid. They scan because that’s the nature of the medium. You still use the “scanning for value” approach even if you’re someone who reads books regularly. It’s just how people read on the internet.
A lot of SEOs worry because “if they get the answer to the question they won’t have a reason to read the rest of the article”.
This is a completely insane way of thinking.
Using the Inverted Pyramid Method does the OPPOSITE. It calms people down. Since they can tell that you “get it”, they’ll stop the frantic scanning, slow down, and actually read your entire article. It’ll actually lower your bounce rate, not increase it.
If you need to include fluff to meet your word count and to fit in additional keywords and phrases, then put it at the bottom of your article. Never lead with fluff.
Read the following article for more info: The Inverted Pyramid Method: How to Structure SEO Articles.
Create unique images
There are two reasons why you need to use unique images: 1) Google’s algorithm favors it and 2) You can avoid copyright claims
Google’s LOVES anything “unique”. That’s obvious when it comes to written content (I really hope you aren’t dumb enough to plagiarize) but it also applies to the images you use as well.
Using unique images is especially critical when it comes to product reviews. Google has been heavily optimizing their algorithm for product reviews over the past couple of years. They’ve released multiple algorithm updates targeting review content and they’re going to keep refining it further, making it harder to get way with shady tactics.
When writing a product review you CAN NOT use unedited stolen images. Google can easily detect it and you won’t get away with it. If you’re going to rip pictures you have to edit them. You may be able to skate by on informational content but for reviews you have to make everything perfect.
Step 1: Rip an image
Find a product photo you want to rip and save it to your computer.
Step 2: Upload to Canva and remove the background
Upload the photo to Canva and choose “BG Remover” to get rid of the background
Step 3: Add a new background
Search the “Photos” section for a new background and drop it into your image.
Step 4: Edit the image
Use a Duotone filter and play around with the settings. Use other tools within Canva to edit the image in different ways (color, size, etc.).
Your goal here is to edit as many different aspects of the image as you can so you can fool the algorithm.
Step 5: Add your logo
Upload your logo and add it to one of the corners of the photo.
You now have a “unique” image in Google’s eyes.
Read the following article for more info: How to Make Your Ripped Images Look “Unique”.
Include both pros AND cons (product reviews)
Most affiliate site owners think that the point of a review is to convince the reader to buy the product.
They’re wrong (as usual).
Remember that you’re writing a review, not a sales letter.
When people read a product review they want to feel like they were the ones who made the decision to buy. When reviewers make every single product seem like it’s the best thing ever it paradoxically has the opposite effect: people won’t trust you and won’t click on your affiliate links.
Including drawbacks in your review makes you seem more honest. It won’t scare your readers away but instead will have the opposite effect and make them more likely to buy the product.
More importantly, Google’s algorithm requires it. In their product review guidelines, they clearly state that they want you to list both pros and cons for each product you review.
Including both positive and negative aspects of the product in your reviews both improves your conversion rate AND helps you rank higher in the SERPs.
If you’re not doing it then you’re going to get left in the dust by your competitors.
Adding a FAQ section at the end of your articles is a great way to rank for additional long-tail keywords. It also increase your chances of getting a featured snippet (box that appears at the top of the SERP).
Most people use subheadings and paragraphs for their FAQ section. Using subheadings for your questions isn’t terrible, but it’s much better to use FAQ schema instead. Using schema markup makes it easier for the Googlebot to crawl your page and scan your content.
The easiest way to add FAQ schema to your site is by downloading the Yoast FAQ plugin (if you’re on WordPress).
Yoast FAQ schema makes it easy to enter the questions and answers directly in the WordPress editor.
Read the following article for more info: Scoop Up Long-Tail Keywords and Rich Snippets With FAQs.
A web page isn’t just a web page anymore
The days of ranking huge walls of text are over.
SEO articles used to be considered commodity content. Most site owners would outsource their writing to the cheapest writers they could find and hope for the best.
Nowadays you have to put A LOT more effort into your articles.
You need to break up the walls of text with different elements. These elements make your content both easier for your readers to read and easier for the Google spider to crawl (hence why I call them “spiderfood”).
Break up your content with the following:
Table of contents
Bullet point lists
Anything dynamic that you add to your page makes the Googlebot very happy. Walls of text without images, subheadings, lists, or any other dynamic content makes your article unreadable and unrankable.
Embedding a YouTube video in your article is HUGELY beneficial in two ways:
First, the video helps your article rank in Google. People aren’t getting any smarter and they’re gravitating towards visual rather than text-based content. Google is even featuring videos above the normal results for some queries. This trend is only going to accelerate as people get dumber over time.
Second, your page’s authority helps your video rank in the YouTube SERPs. Most YouTubers don’t have websites, so this gives your videos a major competitive advantage on the platform.
There’s no downside to adding videos to your content and you should do so whenever you can. Even if the video is short and basic it’ll still help quite a bit.
How to write the article
To actually write the article I recommend using a tool called Surfer SEO. It’s not cheap, but in my opinion it’s a must-have for content writing in 2022.
Log in to Surfer SEO and click on “Content Editor”.
Enter all of the keywords you identified during your keyword research phase (see my Stack for more on this) and click on “Create Content Editor”.
It’ll take about a minute or two to load.
When it’s ready you’ll be presented with a blank screen. On the right-hand side you’ll see data with a recommended word count, subheading count, paragraph count, and image count. It’ll also tell you the exact phrases you should use to help rank that particular query.
Surfer also has a browser extension you can enable so you can write in Google Docs if you prefer.
The days of churning out poorly-researched and poorly edited commodity content are over.
Organic SEO is becoming more competitive as time goes on. This is partly because people are becoming more aware of WiFi money (many started businesses when they were stuck at home during the scamdemic), because existing corporations are starting to see the value of organic traffic, and because Google is increasing the difficulty level with recent algorithm updates.
You have to be on top of your game if you want to rank in a competitive niche.
Take your content seriously and you’ll leapfrog your competitors who still think the game is the same as it was a decade ago.
Creating SEO content is time-consuming and boring. If you’re going to do it then you might as well do it right. If you work hard enough and long enough then you’ll eventually get to the point where you can hire writers so you can focus on higher-level tasks in your business.
Putting maximum effort into your articles is the only way to get there.
Note: If you are a paid subscriber who has paid $100 or ten months of $10 we’ll also send you all our old books from our old blogging days (100% digital PDFs). Just respond to the *SUNDAY* paid email and it will be sent out on *Monday*. Check all folders Spam, junk, trash, inbox etc. It will be there on Monday night if you asked for it from a *Sunday* paid email response (already sent first batch). The Title of the email will be FWD: Books
Disclaimer: None of this is to be deemed legal or financial advice of any kind. These are *opinions* written by an anonymous group of Ex-Wall Street Tech Bankers and software engineers who moved into affiliate marketing and e-commerce. We’re an advisor for Synapse Protocol and on the JPEG team.