SEO writing is the art of writing great copy that answers the reader’s questions while ranking well in search engines.
However, SEO writing isn’t just about traffic and search engine rankings; neither is it about posting fresh content on a regular basis.
SEO writing is also more than just inserting keywords into the body of text and page tags.
It is about building authority, engaging your audience, and selling products.
Pro SEO writers know that if you build it the right way, the traffic will come.
In order to help you become better at SEO writing to please search engines and your readers, here’s a compilation of the best SEO writing tips for content that rocks.
1. Keywords first
If your writing is to have any impact, it must be found.
Search engine algorithms, however intelligent they get, cannot recognize your voice in your content.
According to Net Market Share, Google accounted for more than 79 percent of all global desktop search traffic in 2017. This means that if you want to be heard or seen, play by Google’s rules.
Keywords, you get the chance to be heard.
Research, discover and test keywords by performing keyword research at the beginning of each of your content calendar cycles. This is because things change in different industries so new keywords tend to trend a lot faster.
You also need to study your competitors for their keywords, by using a good SEO tool to find them. In terms of numbers, this is one of the challenges and most commonly asked questions by SEO writers, on how many keywords to use.
You can target up to two keywords per page or per blog post, with the exception of your homepage.
The idea is to use them where they really matter so that search engines get strong signals of the intention of your content. Some of the key areas to use keywords include:
- Title tag
- Alt attributes for images
- Meta description
- Headline tags
- Internal links in the content
Most users aren’t also searching for simple terms, but specific ones. These are called long-tail keywords. Reflect these in your content.
Remember not to stuff keywords, Google doesn’t like that. Have your keywords list and use other related keywords naturally as you write.
2. Use different types of formatting
This may seem strange when it comes to SEO writing, but believe it or not, it helps a whole lot!
You’ve probably noticed some top content writers tend to use bold and bullet points in their content, whether it is on headlines, and other parts of their content.
Google actually pays much attention to these formatting styles even when awarding featured snippets.
Make sure your target keywords are formatted in bold and in bullet points where necessary and possible.
3. Write with the clarity of voice
Clean writing communicates to your audience that you have a clear mindset – something everyone needs, especially clients.
When writing for SEO, the form of your content should have strong words, sentences, and paragraphs properly aligned.
Begin and end sentences with the strongest words.
Have the strongest sentences at the start and end of a paragraph, so that slower material is in the middle, and your reader gets the most important thoughts first.
Keep your writing simple, straight to the point, and free of clutter.
Similarly, be aware of the excessive use of adjectives and adverbs that don’t perform the explanation. This means it isn’t strong enough to be used in the content.
Active verbs are a great way of keeping your readers engaged so that their minds don’t wander and you end up losing them, or a sale.
Avoid clichés at all costs, no matter how cool it sounds.
4. Break up your content with variety
This determines how your reader will scan through or read your content.
It is good practice to use a variety of short and long sentences to create rhythm, which readers really enjoy.
Short sentences and paragraphs also allow the reader’s mind the space to breathe, and psychologically, it takes a lot less energy reading shorter paragraphs, saving them time for the sale.
5. Incorporate imagery
Text-only content can be boring to read, whether it’s a simple post or a technical one.
Make your content pop by using images, because people are visual, so are your readers. This is even significant when you are putting together your landing pages. They should display the right combination of engaging content, aestheticism and formatting and performance.
Images in your articles or content also make a big impression, besides adding to your search rankings as you add the keyword to the alt attributes of the images.
Additionally, promoting your content with images across social media channels adds more traffic avenues for your website.
6. TF-IDF and LSI
LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing is a process used by search engines to understand the relationship between words and terms.
Google is smarter in terms of processing and matching queries from their indices with relevant web pages.
This means that you need to include more terms that are semantically related, in your writing.
Some ways to do this include:
- Using more related entities and nouns like mentioning personalities or brands popular in your industry
- Using synonyms and close variants instead of a primary keyword severally
- Include frequently used terms from competing pages that rank for your target search query
There are tools that you can use to identify related terms used by your competitors to help you with your LSI and TF-IDF for SEO writing.
7. Structure your content
Designing and maintaining a good blog is a challenge for most. Surprisingly, it isn’t so tough. No matter how good your content is, if it is disorganized and has an inefficient format, all the good things will get lost.
Break up your content to make for an easy and engaging read for your audience.
Apply the use of H1 and H2 for your titles and subtitles.
Good back end organization also means a lot for search engines, so use proper tag hierarchy for tagging your headlines, and maintain content that is well structured.
8. Create headlines with a punch
Headlines, it is said, account for about 50 percent of the clicks that you get for your posts.
An effective headline that is clear, interesting, and uses rich keywords will bring in more traffic and add to your search engine ranking.
Ensure that your meta description is also interesting as you elaborate further on your article’s topic.
Readers searching for content tend to read the short snippet when deciding on which headline to click.
Make them count!
9. Write for your readers first, not yourself
This is perhaps the number one SEO writing tips because, as easy as it seems, so many writers make content for all the wrong reasons.
Writing appealing content that speaks to the interests of your target audience and answers their questions should be the top priority.
Not every post you write should be about your brand, product, or services. They should be related to your industry though.
Write interesting and informative, yet authoritative content that asserts you and your brand as a thought leader and industry expert.
10. Promote link building, naturally
Link building is still an important SEO ranking factor today, since the days of link farms and link buying.
In 2016, Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google said that high-quality content and link building are the two most important signals Google uses to rank websites for search.
Link to your own website or articles to ensure you get links back to your site if other sites pick up your articles.
Get creative with other content types like videos, infographic, and add embed codes to promote sharing of your content.
Remember, shareability comes with creating great content, plus the likelihood that other websites will link back to you.
11. Write about what people care about
Before you start writing any piece of content, the first thing you should ask yourself is who cares about it, and who is it for?
More often than not, writers tend to churn content without any real strategy behind it, forgetting that it will be read by actual people.
You’re writing for people, not search engine algorithms.
When you write, always offer value to the readers, something that no else can, and that is unique. Offer what they cannot find anywhere else.
12. Write long form content
Long form content may seem hard to do, and time-consuming, plus requires much thought.
But, the difference between short and long form content is in the value that can be delivered. Additionally, search engines tend to prefer long-form content over shorter ones.
Aim for 600 words at the very least, but if you can hit 1,000, even better. In-depth content is also preferred by search engines, with a word count of at least 1,500 or 2,000 words.
The longer your content is the more value you’re likely to offer your audiences, and the lower the bounce rate.
But make sure you don’t go over the board. A quality piece is significant of all. No point doing a 1500 word post without adding substance and excitement for readers. 800 is good if it addresses the topic well.
Businesses online can’t afford to ignore SEO today. See this case study of a liquor shop how SEO helped it gain and opened more business avenues.
Creating content that converts in this day and age involves deep studies in the art of writing and the art of SEO.
Once you combine both these arts, then your SEO writing becomes much more powerful.
Be patient and disciplined enough to do SEO writing correctly and the results will speak for themselves, continually.