Illustration by Sydney Rae Hass for TIME
By Jessica Willingham / Avelist
September 21, 2015

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the key to getting your online content read by real people. The sites and clients I write for are happy with their traffic numbers not because they’re simply lucky, or well-staffed and churning out hundreds of articles a week. They aren’t offering up sacrifices to the Google gods or consulting a mystical search engine oracle. They see huge numbers because we are meticulous with article SEO.

Writing killer content is one component of shareable, viral-worthy websites. The other component is search engine optimization, which is far more complex than simply attaching a trending hashtag. Here are some of my favorite tips for writing better content that will get some eyeballs on your company’s site or blog (or, hell, your own).

1. Keep It Simple. The biggest mistake people make is making their articles too wordy – they’re trying to sound like the expert they are, but so much gets lost in translation and in the end they’re losing readers. The simplest way to start using SEO in your blog writing is to start weaving Google phrases into your blog posts. What would people Google when looking for information on your topic? Use those words and phrases. If you’re writing about Kim K.’s wedding, say: “A whole passel of Kardashian-Jenner offspring flocked to Italy for Kim Kardashian’s wedding” instead of “Kim Kardashian’s beyond beautiful, Italian wedding was worth millions of dollars.” Hyperlinks are best kept at 3-8 words. Keep it simple and direct, and you’ll find your traffic will begin to increase.

2. Optimize Your Headlines. We all hate click bait…”We Can’t Believe This Celebrity Did This!” Click bait is lazy writing. Headlines shouldn’t be click bait, but instead informative about the topic you’re writing on. I should know what the article is about based on those first few words. The best performing headlines are 5-7 words long – short, sweet, and to the point.

Big numbers and awesome traffic isn’t impossible. Write quality content, sprinkle some SEO in there, and watch the magic happen. Yet, no matter what, never sacrifice quality, ethical writing for SEO.

This article originally appeared on Avelist

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