Do you consider yourself a content writer? What about an SEO content writer? While writing content in and of itself is a skill, SEO writing is an entirely different beast. 

Simply put, not all content writers are SEO content writers.

But, what is SEO writing, and why is it so important in digital marketing?

This blog will cover the importance of writing for SEO and provide you with SEO writing tips to help improve your online presence.

Let’s start with the basics. 

SEO writing for search engine rankings
Copyright: adiruch

What is SEO content writing? 

SEO content writing mixes well-written content with highly optimized keywords and key phrases that make it easy for search engines to find and understand web content. 

Copywriters use SEO content writing tactics to increase their content’s visibility in the search results. SEO content writing aims to provide a well-balanced mix of content that satisfies the user’s need while also optimizing the content to appease the search engines.

Web content that does not combine these two aspects will not rank as high as competitor content. 

So, are you an SEO copywriter or just a copywriter? 

Here are 10 SEO content writing tips to help you rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

 

Writing for SEO and organic search
Copyright: bestforbest

10 Tips for SEO Content Writing

Discover Your Primary Keywords

The first SEO content writing tip we will cover is the importance of keyword research and finding your primary keywords. 

Primary keywords are the keywords you want to rank for in the search engines. Primary keywords tend to have high search volume and can bring a lot of traffic to your website if your content ranks for those keywords. 

If you’ve been in the digital marketing space for even a short time, you know you need to perform keyword research to pick the best keywords for your content.  

Long gone are the days when copywriters could simply set pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and start writing copy without any real direction. In today’s world, coming up with a great idea that answers your target audience’s question simply isn’t enough, no matter how well you write the content.

Optimizing your content is the key to getting your content found and consumed online. 

So, before you set off to write your next blog post or webpage, take the time to do in-depth keyword research and find the best keywords for your topic. 

While we will not cover how to perform keyword research in this blog post, we will give you some quick tips to help you get started.

Specific keyword for a web page and search engine algorithms

Keyword Research Quick Tips

  • Use third-party software. 
    • While you can perform keyword research on your own without the help of third-party software, why reinvent the wheel? There are plenty of paid tools that can help you with keyword research including, SEMrush, Moz, and Ahrefs. There are also free tools available, including a website called AnswerThePublic.
  • Consider long-tail keywords.
    • Before diving into this topic, let’s define head and long-tail keywords. Yoast SEO does a great job of explaining these two terms. 
      • Head keywords are very general terms that many websites write about and try to rank for. Head terms also have a high search volume and have a lot of competition in the search results. Here are two examples of head terms, “dog grooming” and “dog boarding.” 
      • Long-tail keywords are specific keywords on a topic or subtopic and consist of more words. Long-tail keywords have less competition and less search volume. Here are two examples of long-tail keywords, “dog grooming Fort Worth” or “dog boarding for aggressive dogs.”
    • Because of their value, head keywords are constantly fought over by big brands with massive digital marketing budgets. But, have no fear! Long-tail keywords can be just as effective at attracting your audience without all that competition. Plus, the more long-tail keywords you write content for (and win in the SERPs), the more the search engines will start to associate your website and brand with those head keywords and topics that everyone is fighting over. I’d say that’s a win-win!
  • Understand your user’s intent. 
    • User intent is the user’s objective, goal, and reasoning when typing a keyword phrase into a search engine. A user’s intent goes beyond the keyword itself and instead outlines what the user is trying to accomplish with their search. It’s essential to understand the user intent when selecting a keyword because it can help you create content that accurately fulfills a user’s needs. 
Target keywords for a web page

Our second SEO writing tip is writing for voice search. 

In recent years, voice search has become a wildly popular way to search, especially with the introduction of virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google. 

If you don’t use voice search, you probably know someone that does. That’s why, as an SEO copywriter, it’s essential to write for voice search. This method of search is getting more and more popular by the day.

The most straightforward way to ensure you’re writing for voice search is by incorporating a Q&A format into your copy. This means providing a short and sweet answer to a commonly asked (and searched for) question. This is the ideal format for featured snippets in the search results, where virtual assistants retrieve their answers.

For example, at the start of this blog, we wrote a question that many copywriters might ask, “What is SEO content writing?” Immediately after that question, we provided a concise, one-sentence answer. 

By replicating this format on your website, you give yourself a better chance to rank for both a featured snippet AND voice search answer. What’s not to love about that kind of exposure?

Want to learn more about voice search and voice search optimization? Check out our  blog, “How to Optimize for Voice Search SEO and Keyword Intent.”

Organic traffic and voice search
Copyright: superkataiiwhite

Create a Killer Blog Post Outline

Third on our list is writing a kickass blog outline. 

Right now, you’re either in one of two camps. You’re in the camp that supports an outline and is already sold on the idea (feel free to skip to the next section), or you’re in the camp that thinks outlines constrain your writing (don’t worry, I’ve been there too).

While I can empathize with those of you that HATE writing outlines (I, too, used to groan and moan at the idea of writing an outline. “It’s too constrictive!” I would whine), they are a necessary evil.

Hear me out. 

Blog outlines allow writers to hone their ideas, keep them organized, and ultimately keep them on track while writing. 

Think about the last time you wrote a blog. Did you use an outline? How long did it take you to write the copy if you didn’t? How many times did you rearrange the format of your document?

Writing outlines is one of the significant factors separating copywriters from SEO copywriters. 

If you’re looking to improve your writing speed and efficiency, then spend an hour of your time creating an outline for your next blog post. 

Seriously, try it out. Then, report back here and tell us how it went!

Outlines for writing SEO friendly content

Start Writing Content

And just like that, we’re on to tip number four.

You may find it odd that writing is tip number four, but as you can see in the previous sections, there is a lot of foundational work to do before you start writing. 

Once you’ve put in the time and effort to lay the groundwork for your next piece, you can start writing. But don’t forget to incorporate these aspects!

Focus on Your Audience & Write Content That Tells a Story

As we mentioned in SEO tip number one, it’s essential to write with the user’s intent in mind. 

Once you have determined your user’s intent, it’s time to write for that intent. The best way to do that is to focus on your audience and write content that tells a story. 

You may be wondering what I mean by that. Let me explain. 

The best type of content focuses on the reader, connects with the reader, and tells them a story. 

The best way to do this is to ask yourself these questions before writing:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What is their problem or pain point?
  • How can I solve this problem?
  • How can I relate to them on a personal level?

Throw SEO, Keywords, and Search Engines Out the Window

I know, I know. You probably think I’m insane.

This blog is about SEO and ensuring your content ranks in the search engines. So, why would I tell you to throw all of that out the window?

Great question! Here’s why.

When writing, your focus should be on the reader. You’re not writing for the search engines. You’re writing for the reader. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, being an effective SEO copywriter requires you to find a perfect mix of well-written content that the user cares about and well-optimized content for the search engines. 

Those two aspects require two completely different parts of the brain: the creative and technical sides.

And as I’m sure you know, creativity and technical skills do not always mesh well. That’s why it’s essential to separate the two and focus on one or the other when writing a piece of content. 

When writing content, don’t worry about the search engines! Write amazing content for the reader. 

Edit Your Content for Quality & Value

After you’ve written your content, the next step is to edit your content for quality and value, which is our 5th SEO writing tip.

Editing your content should be a no-brainer. Not only does it help you to find grammatical errors and typos, but it also helps you to refine your content, voice, and ensures that your content has a good flow. 

Here are two aspects you should focus on when editing your content.

Improving readability

This means taking into account the reading level of your target audience and making sure that your writing meets them where they are.

Not only does this satisfy your audience, but it encourages them to read more and potentially perform a CTA (we’ll talk more about this in the next section), which could lead to more sales for your company. 

Tools like YoastSEO can help you to analyze readability scores. 

Improve readability for your target audience
Correcting Grammatical Errors

As we mentioned above, editing your content for grammatical errors is one of the best ways to improve your content. 

Tools like Grammarly help you correct grammatical and spelling errors while also helping you refine the voice of your piece.

Correct grammatical errors for human readers

Add a Strong CTA

Next up is tip number six, adding a strong CTA (call-to-action).

A CTA is a linked phrase or string of words on your webpage that encourages a user to take a specific action, such as filling out a form, clicking a link to another page, or downloading a resource. 

CTAs are important to your business because they help you capture users’ information and encourage them to take the next step in your sales funnel. 

Without CTAs, your well-written, well-optimized content may attract users but not move them forward in the sales funnel, which ultimately leads to more leads and sales.

Here are some of the most common forms of CTAs on a webpage:

  • Links to additional content or articles on your website such as:
    • Blogs, 
    • Resources, or
    • Contact pages
  • Sign-up forms
  • Downloadable assets
  • Free trials or free demos

The next time you visit a webpage, see how many CTAs you can spot!

Convert visitors with CTAs

Optimize for SEO

And just like that, we’re already onto tip number seven, optimizing for SEO.

Once you’ve written and edited your copy, the next step is to focus on SEO and optimize for it.

At this point, it’s time to take off your creative thinking hat and put on your technical skills hat. 

Do not write, edit, or rewrite content while you’re optimizing your copy for SEO. You’ll do a final edit later. 

Here are some tips for optimizing your content for SEO.

Nail your title tag

A title tag is a clickable link that users click in the search results to take them to a webpage. 

You can choose the best keyword, write with voice search in mind, and crush your outline, but without an enticing title tag, your click-through rate (CTR) may be low, and your content may not reach your target audience. 

Here are some quick tips for writing a fantastic title tag:
  • Incorporate numbers.
    • For example, 5 Ways to Nail Your Subject Line or 15 Digital Marketing Secrets You Need to Know!
  • Include Your Primary Keyword.
    • Not only is this an SEO best practice, but it also shows the user that your content relates to their search.
  • Watch Your Length.
    • SearchEngineJournal states, “Many SEOs and SEO websites recommend a title tag length of approximately 50 to 70 characters because that’s what Google shows in the SERPs.” However, SearchEngineJournal goes on to say, “That 50-70 character length for a title is something the SEO community invented as a standard based on what Google is able to display. But those display limits are based on what a [sic] mobile and desktop browsers are able to show.”
    • Ultimately, the best practice is to keep title tags within 50-70 characters since that is what Google can display most of the time. 
  • Be short, catchy, and to the point. 
    • Consider your title tag like you would an elevator pitch. Keep it short, to the point, and engaging. Leave the user wanting to know more so that they click the link to your page.
Examples of title tags in a search engine
Nail Your Meta Descriptions

A meta description is the 1-2 sentence description underneath the clickable title tag in the search results. It provides a brief description of what a page is about.

Similar to the importance of the title tag, a well-written and well-optimized meta description will entice users to click on your blog or article. 

When writing a meta description, keep these tips in mind:
  • Include Your Primary Keyword.
    • This is an SEO best practice. It also shows the reader that your content relates to their search.
  • Watch Your Length.
    • As Moz points out, “Meta description can technically be any length, but Google generally truncates snippets to ~155-160 characters.”
  • Be short, catchy, and to the point. 
    • You have a small amount of space to entice your audience to click on your link. Use it well!
Example of meta descriptions in a search engine
Optimize Your Headers

For this section, we want to make it clear that we are talking about headers within the HTML structure <h1> through <h6> (also known as header tags). For a more in-depth discussion on how to use header tags, check out this blog by SearchEngineLand.

Headers are a great way to break up your content and help the search engines better understand your content and the importance of each section. It also makes it easier for your audience to read and consume your content. 

When optimizing your header tags, you can (and should) include keywords, but don’t overdo it. Only include keywords that make sense in your content. In general, if you’re being specific enough in your copy about your topic, these keywords will occur naturally.   

When adding headers to your content, be sure to use them in the correct order.

Consider the header order like you would nesting dolls. To have an H2, you must have an H1. To have an H3, you must have an H2, and so on. 

Headers should nest within each other in the correct order ranging from H1 to H6. 

Headers that do not follow this structure will confuse the search engines. 

For an example of correct header use, take a look at this blog. We correctly use headers 1 through 6 throughout this blog. 

Write SEO content with relevant keywords in your headers

Another SEO copywriting best practice is to include internal and external links throughout the copy. 

Internal links point to your company’s website and encourage users to explore other website pages and move forward in the sales funnel. Here is an example of an internal link to a webpage on our website about how to improve your local SEO.

External links point to outside articles or resources you want to share with your audience. The link in the above section to SearchEngineLand’s blog on using header tags is an example of an external link.

It’s pretty obvious to see the benefits of internal linking(you’re encouraging the reader to explore more of your website). Still, both internal and external links can be valuable to your audience if used correctly. 

External links can benefit your brand by providing your reader with reputable content from high authority sources. 

Best practices for internal links vary, but most SEOs agree that you should include 3-5 or 5-10 links in your content (depending on content length).

External links are a bit different. There is no correct number of external links to include in your content. However, you want to keep in mind that external links take users away from your website, which is counterproductive to your sales goals. 

While it’s important to include external links to reputable websites, do so sparingly. 

Here’s an example of an external link in a blog. The highlighted text, ‘creating a disavow file,’ links to a support page from Google on how to disavow links to your website.

Link out to valuable content
Add Images

Images help optimize your webpage for SEO because they offer multiple locations (file name and alternative text) where you can include the keywords or key phrases you are trying to optimize for.

Adding your keywords to these locations on your image is a standard SEO best practice.

Plus, images optimized with keywords and key phrases will rank well in Google image searches.

Finally, images add to a better user experience by breaking up the text and providing visual context to what you’re talking about. 

Improve Page Speed

Page speed is another way to optimize your content for SEO, but it may also require help from other team members, particularly the development or software engineer team. 

Improving your page speed isn’t something new. It’s been around since 2010 when Google announced that page speed is one of the signals it uses in its algorithm to rank web pages. 

Since then, optimizing for page speed has been an essential aspect of optimizing content for SEO.

If you’re not sure what your website’s page speed is, check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool for tips and tricks on how to improve your page speed.

Page speed is a ranking factor
Focus on Mobile-Friendliness & Mobile Optimization

Last but not least is mobile friendliness and mobile optimization.

In November of 2016, Google announced that it was moving to a mobile-first indexing approach

Since then, Google has used the mobile version of your website to rank pages. So, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it is likely being outranked by other mobile-friendly websites.

Get more traffic with mobile friendly websites
Copyright: madpixblue

Edit One Last Time

Our 8th SEO writing tip is editing a final time. 

See, I told you that you would get the chance to edit your work again!

After you’ve optimized your content as best as you can, it’s time to edit the copy one last time. The reason for this second edit is to ensure that you haven’t over-optimized your content. 

This is also where peer editing comes into play.

Peer Editing

Peer editing gets your content in front of another pair of eyes and helps to ensure that you have caught all of the grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.

It also allows you to step away and someone else to step in and make sure that the blog’s tone, voice, and overall format match the needs and desires of the audience.

Monitor and Evaluate Success

After you’ve written, edited, and optimized your content, it is ready to be published and monitored. This is tip number nine. 

One of the biggest mistakes that SEO copywriters make is to click the publish button, move on to the next project, and never think of the blog again. 

By not continuing to monitor and evaluate the success of their content, they are missing out on massive opportunities to improve their pieces. 

The easiest way to monitor and evaluate your content is by using a tool such as Google Analytics.

Google Analytics provides a ton of great information on your web pages, including the number of users, sessions, bounce rate, session duration, conversion rate, and much more. 

Using a tool like Google Analytics to monitor your content allows you to see how well your content is performing and what needs improvement. 

Get first page rankings by monitoring your web pages through Google Analytics

Make Changes & Adjustments Based on Data Findings

Last up on our list is tip number 10; make changes and adjustments based on data findings. 

Once you know what needs improvement, go back and fix it! 

This can be as simple as adjusting your title tag and meta description to try and attract more users to your website or adding different CTAs to decrease the bounce rate (a single-page session on your site as defined by Google).

Each time you make a change or adjustment, note it somewhere so that you have a record of what has been changed over time in case any of the changes you made prove detrimental to your results. 

Once you are happy with your results, continue to monitor your content over time to ensure that a competitor hasn’t come along and reverse engineered your piece.

Remember, new content is CONSTANTLY being written and published. You never know when a better written, more well-optimized piece of content might come along and dethrone your content.

Optimize and adjust your writings for SEO
Copyright: wdnet

SEO Content Writing – Next Steps

So, there you have it! Those are our top 10 tips to help your content rank number one in the search engines. 

What tip are you going to implement first?

If you’re not ready to tackle SEO content writing, consider hiring a trusted content marketing agency like Trusted Search Marketing. Not only do we have years of experience in the digital marketing space, but we have proven results. 

Learn how Trusted Search Marketing can help your business grow. Let’s chat!

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