SEO 101: How to optimise for search traffic?

Here we try to outline the basics with regard to what SEO techniques can help your newly crafted article perform well in Google search. If you're going to have your work published on Japan Travel, likely you'll want as many people as possible to find it and read it. Read on to find out more:

What to write?

It's essential to think about what kind of topics might interest foreign visitors to Japan. Tools like 'Google Trends' can give you insights into how many people are interested in a particular subject, which can provide a hint as to the potential audience of your intended article. Unique content that fills a niche has the potential to rank well, but only if people are looking for it.

Quality content will always perform well, so making your article as useful and helpful as possible should be a central goal. Try to get into the mindset of the 'searcher' by answering not just their search query, but also the follow-up questions they might have, like 'how much is the entry fee?' and 'how can I get there by train?'

Related to the above two points, it helps to do some core due diligence. Should the article be on Japan Travel? Does it already exist on the website? Does such an article fulfill a clear user need? Start with a basic question a user might be searching for, and think about the intent behind it and what related information they might find useful.

Catchy, informative titles

Visitors coming through from a search engine will often be browsing multiple search results at once and at speed. Try to make your title stand out by being catchy and attractive, but it should also make sense by itself and be informative. Above all, it should be accurate, providing a seamless transition from search engine to the article introduction.

Internal links

In the course of writing, you may find yourself naturally talking about related topics. This is a great opportunity to link to a related article on the website. Internal linking is essential to building in relevancy to your article, because it will help readers explore related useful content which tells search engines your article is highly relevant. With this in mind:

  • Try to focus on 3-5 internal links to other articles that are highly relevant to the current topic
  • There is no need to overdo internal links – some elements like locations are automated via our site templates (e.g. breadcrumb), and it can be distracting to encounter so many links.
  • Vary and intelligently select the right keywords to include in the text anchor. There are many kinds of anchor links, but generally variety and proximity to relevant keywords is considered key.
  • Reciprocal links from related articles can also help build the ranking of your own article – our internal team will look for ways to link to your new article the moment it is published.

Keyword Research

Before writing, it's important to research what keywords are relevant to your chosen topic. Think about the main keywords that see the most search traffic (again, Google Trends can assist here), but also think about the 'long-tail' of related keywords. These can all help in bringing in different types of readers.

Keyword placement is not typically something you need to worry about, as long as you're writing in a natural, informative and helpful way, likely this will be taken care of automatically. However, there are some general rules of thumb that can help you out:

  • Include the main keyword in the title and URL/slug
  • Mention the keyword close to the start of the first paragraph/sentence.
  • Include the keyword in the article headings that break up different sections.

Use Headings to Create Structure

You might think any article should have a natural introduction, middle and end — but many articles forget this.

Creating a clear narrative structure is important to keep the reader onside, so it is important to set up the article with an interesting but useful introduction. Often witholding specific details until the right moment is a strong storytelling device, but there are many different approaches.

The longer your article is, the more the need for section headings every 5-6 paragraphs. This makes it much easier for readers scrolling at speed, who may be looking for specific information.

Think About Readability

This last point kind of draws all previous points together. Think about the reader's overall experience, and make sure your article is as easy to read as possible. Some reminders include:

  • When writing for the web, use short, simple paragraphs to break up text into bitesize, meaningful chunks.
  • Readers often skim articles at speed, so it helps to break up articles into clear sections. This not only helps readers find where they were in the text, but also return to an article at later date.
  • Embed images at relevant points – again, this can act as visual signposts and help illustrate what you are trying to say.

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