How to create unique, readable and search engine friendly articles.

The following article offers best practices for content going on external websites. This should be especially useful for blogger outreach or content marketing, but many points translate to general on-page content improvements as well.

— A good article answers a question.
— A good article is linkable and share-worthy.

Titles & Sub-Headings:
The title of your article is one of the most important features of your post.

So what articles titles work? Top 5, Top 10, and Best-Of list titles such as:
“The Top 10 Best Beaches In The Southern Mediterranean”

Ensuring that the reader will get something from reading your article offers a great title in itself.  Ask yourself – What is your article answering? What is your article providing? Now sell the topic:

Important: Use Subheadings!
An effective article can take advantage of and feature eye-catching sub headings to keep the reader interested and breakup the information there-in. Subheadings are also the perfect place to include various keywords or keyword variations.

Content & Body:
The first paragraph of an article will either make it or break it.

Consider the subject you are writing about and start your article with a bold statement or question that you will then go on to discuss, answer or expand upon. Try to keep the sentences of the first paragraph short and sweet.

Avoid writing in the style of advertorial!

An advertorial or infomercial is an advertisement designed to simulate editorial content, while at the same time offering valid information to your prospective clients.

Because you have to find the perfect mix between a useful, readable article and incorporating keywords (SEO); advertorial is the easiest style to write in. It is also the most likely writing style to produce an article that is not unique, and not useful. Worst of all, advertorial style content in the 2013 landscape of Search Engine Optimisation screams loudly that paid-back-links are involved (A violation of Google webmasters guidelines).

Writing Styles:

Press Release – writing should be easy to read and engaging. It should also remain reportorial, and not opinionated.

“Today, <business> announced it will launch a new <website> offering a variety of <products> < services> for the <demographic>.”

Essay – Standard academic style of writing. A formal essay has an opening paragraph that tells the reader what you’re going to discuss, evaluate or answer. It has at least 3 paragraphs moving forward to justify the opening paragraphs claim.

To speed up the process of writing a web-article in an essay style consider the following steps:

1) Choose a topic.
2) Decide on your statement, question or argument.
3) Write the main body paragraphs answering the above.
4) And then write your introduction and conclusion.

Make sure to:
Write an article that is informative, subjective and useful. The more informative the article is, the more unique it will naturally be.

Take advantage of other information resources on your subject. Get statistics. Do Not Copy!

Keywords & HTML Code:

Always try to incorporate a keyword and back-link in the first or second paragraph.

Avoid incorporating keywords in an effort to sell something. Try to incorporate keywords and back-links in an impartial manner. The sentence containing the keyword phrase should read as a natural, flowing, and informative part of the article. The article should read consistently throughout despite the introduction of target keywords.

Avoid Google alarm bells by differentiating the anchor text hyper link code:

<a href="http://www.[website]/">[keyword]</a> <a href="http://www.[website]">[keyword]</a> <a href="http://[website]/">[keyword]</a>

* Always double check there is a permanent redirect on the non-www version of the target website.

If the way you have incorporated a target keyword is absolutely genius make the sentence bold by using either:

<b>I want this sentence bold.</b> 
<strong>I want this sentence strong.</strong>

Apply the same formatting to other key sentences or statements in your article  – not just the sentence incorporating keywords and back-links.

When using Images, make sure you tell the Google crawl bot what the image is and in doing so always include a keyword. The Google crawl bot is blind and can’t see images.

<img alt=”[keyword] [article title].” src=”http://www.[website]/[wheremyimageis].jpg”>

Great Content Checklist:

1.       Do I have a great, unique and specific topic?
2.       Do I have an engaging, eye-catching must read title?
3.       Is the subject of the article in the title?
4.       Does the first paragraph inform the reader what the rest of the article is about?
5.       Are there sub headings that breakdown the article’s contents?
6.       Have I found or researched statistics and related factual information?
7.       Have I incorporated keywords without selling anything?
8.       Have I included a keyword in the upper-most part of the article?
9.       Have I used different varieties of hyper link html code?
10.     If I included an image have I included a keyword in the alt image tag?
11.     Does the article end with a conclusion?

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