Pick Niche Topics
It’s easier to be successful if you write about niche topics that people are searching for. Narrow topics generally have less competition so are easier to rank on Google.
For example, The Best Beaches For Kids To Swim in Majorca is easier to rank for than Things To Do In Majorca.
If you write about a general topic, such as 26 Things To Do In London, you will never rank on the first page of Google for that article. However, if you write an article on the 10 Best Fashion Museums in London or Museums in London for Fashion Lovers – it’s going to be a lot easier to rank.
The thing I need to emphasize is the blog post topic needs to be something that people are searching for. There’s no point in writing an awesome article that features on the first page of Google if nobody is searching for it.
Rank for the niche topics first as they are easier. As your website grows in size, it will gather more authority in Google’s eyes and then you can start aiming to get traffic for broader search terms.
Here are some examples of niche topic blog post titles for travel blogs:
- The best vegan restaurants in Madrid
- 10 things to do for teenagers in Oslo
- The top 5 eco friendly holidays in Mexico
- What to pack for a solo female trip to Zambia
- The best hotels for families in Helsinki
Check the Competition
Do a quick Google search for your article topic before you write it. Check out the competition. If Google is featuring articles for websites with top authority rankings in the search results such as Wikipedia or top travel websites such as Nomadic Matt or the Lonely Planet it’s going to be more difficult to rank those kinds of keywords.
If the search results come back with smaller websites and chat forums on that topic you are much more likely to rank.
Include Keywords in Your URL and Headings
You need to tell Google and the reader what your article is about.
Google will use keywords in your heading and in your article to determine the article content.
The title (or h1 heading) has more weight than any other part of your article when Google is deciding what the content is you’re writing about. This is why it’s very important to have keywords describing what your article is about in the heading.
You also have to make sure the heading is appealing to the reader. Then they are more likely to click on it. Don’t just write for Google.
It’s also important that your keywords are mentioned in the content of your article. However, don’t keyword stuff your article. Google will recognize this and will rank your article down. Write naturally for your reader.
Also include the keywords for your article in the URL.
Google Ranks Articles By How Long Readers Spend Time in the Page
Google gives a lot of weight to how long readers spend on your page when they get there. So you must do the following to keep the reader engaged with the content:
- Write so it’s easy to read. Many readers will skim content. So use lots of subheadings, bullet points, images and white space.
- Longer content is better. If you’re writing articles that are 300 words, it’s going to be very difficult to rank on Google. Google likes articles that are at least 1000 words or more. Some of my highest ranking articles are 2000 to 3000 words.
- Make the page easy to navigate with a table of contents
- Provide high quality content, that’s useful to the user. If the content is good, they will read it and spend time on your website. Read ,pre below…
Content Is King
High quality content is arguably the most important factor when writing a blog post. Not only does it keep the reader on the page for longer. They may bookmark it go come back and read it again at a later date. They may share it on social media or send it to a friend.
Don’t hold back when writing quality content. Link to other resources that are useful. Also, include links to other articles on your website with more useful information.
Share your best nuggets of information. Don’t hold it back for another time or article. Make it better and easier to read than any other article you can find on that topic.
If your website is full of the best content, people will read stuff and move onto other articles.
Google Looks at the Whole Website
When Google looks at which articles to feature in the top 10 search results, it looks at the content and quality of the whole website and not just the article in question.
So if you have only five short articles on your website, you’re not going to rank in the top 10 search results.
Google likes websites that have numerous posts but they also have to be high quality. Google will analyze the time visitors spend on the page to see they read the articles.
Google will also look at the general topic of your website when deciding whether to feature your post. It’s going to be easier to rank your posts if you have a niche travel website with content on a specific place such as Salou (or any other place in the world) than a general travel website. It’s not impossible to rank articles on a more general travel website but it will take you longer.
Use SEO For Images
Using images with SEO is a place where a lot of travel bloggers fall short, so it’s a great way to get extra traffic other bloggers aren’t picking up.
When you save the image file name, make sure you don’t use a generic file name like IMG_113333. Change that text to reflect what the image is about. If you have a picture of a beach, save the image file name as the name of that beach. If you had a picture of a small museum in Italy, use the name of the museum as the image file name.
You can also use the image file name to reflect what this article is about. So the image I have for this article has the file name “SEO for travel bloggers”. Therefore, if somebody does an image search on SEO for travel bloggers, it’s more likely my image will pop up.
Not many people are going to do an image search on an SEO topic. However, image searches can be very useful for getting traffic to a travel blog, as people may very well use Google images to search for pictures of places they are interested in. And there is much less competition on Google images because people don’t label their images correctly. So it’s a great way to get extra traffic.
Image Alt Text
The other thing to do is to make sure the alt text for the image also uses keywords to reflect what that image is about.
Optimize Your Links for Keywords
You should also ensure that any inbound and outbound links to other pages use the correct keywords.
For example, if you writing about Australia and linking to a site featuring a travel guide to Australia. Use the words “travel guide to Australia”. This will help Google understand further what the content of your site is about. On a side note, make sure you link to relevant high quality content which is useful for the reader.
The same applies to inbound links. If you are linking to other articles on your site about Australia, don’t write something like “read more here”, include keywords explaining exactly what you are linking to. Make it as descriptive as possible such as “the best places to visit in Australia”.
Another factor Google uses when ranking your website is the site speed. If your pages load slowly, it will count against your blog articles. Site speed will be better if you do things such as:
- use a good hosting
- optimize your images (compress them so they load more quickly – there are plugins that will help you do this)
- delete unnecessary plugins
- keep it simple – video backgrounds and complicated themes will take longer to load
There is a lot more you can do, but it gets technical. Start with the simple stuff first. You can check your site speed at GTmetrix.com
Write Compelling Meta Descriptions
The meta description is often used by Google as the snippet text underneath the title in the search results.
Therefore, it’s the extra piece of text that Google uses to determine what your article is about. It also might be the text that readers use to decide if they want to click through and read the article.
Therefore, it’s worth writing a compelling meta description.
In my meta descriptions, I use the following formula:
Problem – Article Description – Benefit
I describe the reader’s problem. Then give a brief description of what my blog article does and finally give a benefit for the reader.
For example, a meta description for an article about finding the best family holiday for teenagers in the UK could be:
Want the perfect family holiday where the teens won’t be bored? We have tons of ideas. Your teenager will not want to go back home.
Use Google Analytics
Once you get some traffic to your website, use Google Analytics to see which pages your visitors are reading and what is the most popular content.
If you understand which articles are getting traffic to your site, it will help you decide the articles to write next. Write more articles like the ones you have written.
You can also update the articles that are getting traffic, so people spend even more time reading them. This will help Google see the quality of the overall site which should mean higher rankings and more traffic.