How to Write an Article for SEO in 2023 (Plus 2008 and 2015 Too)
Last Update: Dec 30, 2022
Partha writes a blog post - CHECK.
Partha receives 62,374 questions - CHECK
Partha replies to said question and one response turns into a blog post of its own - CHECK
Some things never change, right?
Okay, here it is.
So, yesterday’s blog post was to explain that if your choice of “keyword” (I'm really starting to hate the word “keyword”, as it is clearly becoming less-and-less relevant) is good, you should rank fairly quickly.
However, the beauty of this is that Google will then match your content to other search terms, which means that eventually ONE article ranks for a plethora of search terms.
The effect, traffic (hopefully) grows month-after-month, until that article has reached its FULL TRAFFIC POTENTIAL.
That said, one question I received was about the use of keywords within your article, i.e. where should I place my keyword? Should I use phrases relevant to my keyword? And so on.
Now, remember everything that you EVER read or watch online is merely ONE PERSON’S OPINION.
In other words, THERE IS NO PERFECT WAY TO DO THIS.
You would hope that this person practises and has experience in their OPINION.
You would hope that this person uses their OPINION THEMSELVES and still enjoys further success.
You would hope that this person’s OPINION isn’t years old and that they haven’t actually used their own techniques in a long time.
But, this is the internet, where people can be whatever they want, say whatever they want, and millions will believe them.
“Partha is the world’s greatest ballet dancer and holds the world record for eating the most avocados in an hour.”
Twinkle toes, I am NOT, and I once tasted an avocado in 1999 and have never gone near one since!
Anyway, back to the point.
Here’s MY OPINION on SEO and article writing in 2023.
Here’s part of the question I was asked:
"My question is while writing my blog post for said topic. Do I incorporate different variations of keywords/phrases into my post? I'm just trying to understand what or how to construct the blog post. I understand headings and paragraphs structure. My question is more about using the keyword/phrases within my blog post."
Here’s my answer:
To be honest, what you're asking is kinda what Google is trying to move away from in 2022, 2023, and onwards.
What I mean by this is the "Overthinking about keywords and Search Engine Optimization."
Now, I know that this is a bit of a contradiction, i.e. you want to write content completely naturally that helps your readers, but if you don't "do SEO" Google will never know and won't rank you.
So, it's almost like a catch-22.
That said, if your INITIAL CHOICE of keyword is good, especially if it is a question-focused keyword, then it is much easier to write naturally and rank.
What I mean by this is that it is COMPLETELY OBVIOUS what your article is about, and you have answered the "query posed in the title" within your article.
So realistically, there are times you can do this WITHOUT even using your keyword.
What I personally think Google is trying to get away from is “bloggers thinking about SEO”.
Let’s face facts, if you found a decent keyword, and then wrote COMPLETELY NATURALLY, you may or may not include that keyword again within your text.
As I’ve mentioned, as long as it is OBVIOUS what your article is about, you have the ability to rank.
And this is true even if you haven’t included your keyword AT ALL within the text (This is something that I have proven to you ALL time-and-time again ←-NOTE, I said “proven”, I have shown this to you in my WA blog posts and MMO site).
Here’s an example of (MY OPINION) SEO in 2023
Keyword - "Best Solo Travel Companies" (don't bother targeting this keyword, it's AWFUL, and yes Jaaxy will tell you it's a "GOOD KEYWORD", it's not, and I have pulled it apart on a recent blog post on my MMO website).
Here's 7 of the Best Solo Travel Companies That Will Blow Your Mind
I'm a massive fan of solo travel and I have visited over 50 countries all on my lonesome.
I get it, it's scary at first, but you'll also find it's extremely liberating and exciting too.
However, if you're looking to travel alone for the first time I understand that you may be confused as to how you should go about it.
So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to some wonderful solo travel companies, which in my mind are the best of the best.
This in my mind is SEO in 2023.
Have a small snippet of text, approximately 40-70 words, which ANSWERS THE QUERY POSED IN THE TITLE.
Make sure you BOLD every word in your “answer snippet” and like me, you can also use a coloured block to really highlight this.
Essentially, you’re saying to Google, “This is the most important information for the reader and it answers the query I set in the title of my article”.
Following on after the “answer snippet” I will now have 7 subheadings which will have a short review of each solo travel company.
At the end of my article, I would have a conclusion section which can be titled:
“Key Action Points”
“Key Learning Points”
This can be a bullet point list of the main takeaways from my article, and I would probably bold the text and use a coloured block again (remember, people have short-attention spans, and therefore it helps to “guide” someone through an article with “visual aids”, and a coloured block of text can achieve this).
Okay, just looking at the introduction and the “answer snippet”, let me ask you a question - is it OBVIOUS what my article is about?
Have I left any doubt in your mind, or another reader’s mind, that my article is discussing the 7 best solo travel companies?
THIS is what I mean about making it OBVIOUS what your article is about and also ANSWERING THE QUERY POSED IN THE TITLE.
Now, you might say that as the “answer” is so near the beginning of the article, many visitors will read this and then click back and move on.
This is how the internet works, and you KNOW you’ve done this yourself many, many times before.
You’re not going to keep everyone on your page, but if someone is genuinely interested, and your content provides value, they will stay.
LIFE LESSON - You CAN’T force people to do something that they don’t want to do, you can only be helpful, supportive, and provide value to another’s life.
Now, in terms of SEO in 2023, if you’re constantly thinking about keyword placement, using your keyword with the words in an exact order, placing your keyword in headings, using your keyword multiple times throughout your text, YOU ARE NO LONGER WRITING NATURALLY.
The SECOND your mind STOPS thinking about writing the article and you START thinking about use of keywords, keyword placement, and “SEO rules”, YOU’VE LOST!
Write naturally and make it OBVIOUS what your article is about - That’s IT!
SEO in 2008
Are you ready?
This is how you ranked this same article in 2008.
“Today I’d like to talk to you about the best solo travel companies. I’m sure you’ve spent a long time looking for the best solo travel companies. But, look no further, as I will provide you with the ultimate list of best solo travel companies. I will also provide my personal recommendation of the number one best solo travel companies, but you still have 6 other best solo travel companies to peruse. So, without further ado, here’s my list of the best solo travel companies.”
Can you see just how awful this article is from a HUMAN PERSPECTIVE?
However, this is the s*it that Google was ranking back in 2008.
Plus, if you choose a more competitive keyword, you could hop over to WarriorPlus, see my old friend JK (formerly a Wealthy Affiliate member too), pay him $50 and he would send 30,000 FORUM PROFILE backlinks with the EXACT anchor text “best solo travel companies”, and within a week you’d be ranking number one in Google and raking in the $$$$$.
Just in case you weren’t aware - IT’S NOT 2008 ANYMORE.
SEO in 2015
Here’s the article again:
Today I’d like to discuss the best solo travel companies.
If you’re anything like me, you love a bit of independent travelling.
I mean, you can be completely yourself, and you have no-one else to worry about.
However, finding a great deal can be hard.
And this is whyI’m now going to introduce you to the best solo travel companies.
(Your subheadings would be as follows)
Best Solo Travel Company 1 - Exodus Travels
Best Solo Travel Company 2 - G Adventures
Best Solo Travel Company 3 - Intrepid Travel
Best Solo Travel Company 4 - Himalayan Travels
Best Solo Travel Company 5 - Lappat Safaris
Best Solo Travel Company 6 - Singles Travel International
Best Solo Travel Company 7 - The Vacation Project
Can You SEE It?
Can you see how the 2008 and 2015 (which many people STILL use) versions are trying to MANIPULATE Google?
Simply through the use and placement of the main keyword.
THIS IS NOT NATURAL.
You have completely forgotten about your reader, and you are now pandering to Google.
In effect, SEO used to be all about “attention seeking”, e.g. “Look at me, Look at me, I’m doing what you want!”
Whereas, in 2023 and onwards, Google is gearing up to ranking content that actually provides value without OVERLY manipulating or attention seeking (you can be subtle you know).
Let Me Wrap This Up For You!
The MORE you're thinking about what Google wants, the LESS you’re thinking about your reader’s requirements.
Now, while you MAY initially rank using these “old tactics”, as many people are finding out, it won’t be long before Google catches up.
So, trying to manipulate Google is a “short-term ploy”, which means you’re STILL looking for that MAGIC BUTTON.
Do some of you remember me saying around 18 months ago that these websites that are ALL product reviews are going to wither and die over the next 2-3 years?
Hmmmmm…. Say no more, LOL (it’s happening, isn’t it!!! See, Partha and his crystal ball, Hahaha!!)
If your choice of “keyword” or “article topic” is GOOD (people in your niche are INTERESTED in this topic, and there are “weak” web pages currently ranking on page one of Google (I have explained “weak sites” over-and-over again in my WA blog posts and on my website), as long as you make it OBVIOUS what your article is about, and then provide value, YOU WILL RANK!
This is where your “NICHE RESEARCH” comes in.
Personally, I think that far too many people choose a niche, hop onto Jaaxy AND GUESS!
And then they find WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS A GOOD KEYWORD (did you do your checks or did you put your complete trust into a PIECE OF SOFTWARE? Same here, I allow my microwave to make ALL important family life or death decisions!!), and they write the article, while using 2008-2015 SEO tactics!!
“Why Am I Not Ranking?”
Eeerrrrm, because you couldn’t care less about who reads your article and whether it actually helps anyone, you are obsessively focused on “beating/tricking/manipulating Google” and earning some dollars!!
Another quick point that someone else brought up in yesterday's blog post is about ranking in Bing and Yahoo, but not Google.
To be honest, I explained that I’m quite active within a number of communities, BUT Wealthy Affiliate members are the only ones who seem to have this issue.
I can’t even get any Bing or Yahoo love, and yet Google treats me like their only child.
Bing and Yahoo have a completely different algorithm from Google, so it is highly unlikely that many of your articles will rank number one of all 3 search engines (if you think you, sorry you’re not, you haven’t completed your searches correctly).Personally, I think that Bing and Yahoo are still very much into this technical and robotic style of using keywords in “special places” (title, first paragraph, subheadings, conclusion, image alt text, etc.)
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use RELEVANT phrases throughout your article, and even in your subheadings, but this SHOULD come completely naturally anyway.
If I’m talking about “Best Solo Travel Companies”, I’m going to use the phrases “travel company”, “travel companies”, “solo travel”, “solo travellers”, “best travel company”, etc. automatically anyway.
BUT, they will come completely naturally as part of my text, i.e I'm NOT trying to manipulate it
If you HAVE TO, and I really mean HAVE TO, you can use the following LSI keyword generator to get some relevant phrases (use it for IDEAS, don’t follow it robotically).
But, even this is slightly unnatural, and the very fact that some smartarse came up with the phrase “Latent Semantic Indexing” also shows how many SEOs are always trying to sound smarter than they are, or simply trying to confuse their audience by sounding clever.
Latent Semantic Indexing = using words that are related to the original topic of your article.
WOW!!! That was hard!!! Clearly, I’m not smart enough to use the term “LSI”.
Really, what I’m saying is that EVERYTHING comes down to that initial choice of “keyword”, “search term”, “article topic”.
If you get that right, you’re set, just write naturally, and make it obvious what your article is about.
Ain’t no SEO plugin, using “keywords” in specific places gonna catapult you to the top of the search results.
My PROOF - Come on, scroll through my blog posts.
Did I not get a website to 200,000 MONTHLY VIEWS in (over 2,300,000 views 22 months) by using ZERO SEARCH VOLUME KEYWORDS (keyword tools said there was NO traffic), and WITHOUT using an SEO plugin?
Yes, it got smashed too in the Google updates. Why? Because I didn’t listen to my own advice, and a lot of the EARLIER content is 2015 SEO!!
If you’re still using 2008-2015 SEO, enjoy your “rankings” while you can, you’re living on borrowed time.
Thank You For Reading
Message received and applied into my MO for blog writing Partha!
That is also the core reason why I took down two of three of my blogs as I got too hung up on the technicalities of blogging and trying to write for SEO instead of people.
On my Pet niche website (dogs), I didn´t focus that much on SEO, but wrote from experience as a dog owner knowing well which "pains" you will or can encounter as a dog owner
"Blinded By The light..." to quote Manfred Manns Earth Band
It is so easy to get hung up on the technicalities of blog content writing and forget who we write for.
Keep them coming, Partha. You are doing tons of good for your fellow bloggers and marketers with your advice! 💪💯😎
Hi I am new and I have a couple questions, I got here thru another website called Commission Academy. On there they said to register my Domain is this correct?
They also said when I am getting my website sat up would be best if I chose Generate Press I looked at it and I am unsure can someone help please?
Happy New Year to all
As a premium member, you got a free .com domain with that upgrade. So now you can go to Site Domains, search for the availability of the domain you'd like using the big green box, and when you find an available one you like, you add to cart and register and purchase that domain using the credits option at checkout.
You can use any theme you like. Generate Press is a very popular one, but there are thousands to choose from.
Kindly let us know if you were able to manage.
However I believe you should wait till you have figured out your niche and name before registering your dot com domain, as you cannot edit the URL once registered. unless of course you are certain where you are heading, that's fine.
Super welcome to WA, Connie and good to have you here with us.
Another great article, Partha. Thank you!
I too am hating the word "keyword" and especially "focus keyword", a phrase often used by SEO tools (as you know very well) that is rarely explained properly.
I often attempt to explain that "focused keyword" is simply a topic, around which the writer needs to focus their writing in order to deliver an article that's as useful as possible to a reader.
There is simply much too much out of date and misleading training online about keywords that beginners especially find really confusing.
I love the way you outline an example here of how you structure an article.
Good morning Partha,
Thank you for another in-depth SEO post, I know where you are coming from!
I believe it's one of those subjects that gets very much overcomplicated! I guess the best thing to do is to keep it simple and write useful information.
Have a great day.
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Plenty to think about here. I have been thinking that I've not optimized some of my more recent articles enough for search engines but reading this is definitely a relief. I mean actually, my traffic has totally flatlined since the last google update. I am just going to continue working till something gives hopefully will happen sooner rather than later. Think maybe site speed is my biggest problem and maybe once I fix that I might see some good results again.