You and your team are just closing out the best revenue month in your companies’ history. You’re cooking with gas! Blog after blog you’re earning back-links, your monthly newsletter is gaining subscribers faster than you can count, and your social media profiles are buzzing with the latest infograph and video posts. All of this is increasing traffic to your site, generating more leads, improving conversion rates, and padding everyone’s bank account! Amazing right? But where do you start?
In todays SEO landscape the answer is unequivocally, content. If you haven’t checked out our latest article on why SEO Content is Still King, go ahead and jump over there now. We’ll wait.
Once you understand WHY creating high quality, informative, and valuable content is the foundation to any successful SEO strategy, it’s time to learn HOW to create SEO friendly content. Today we’re going to focus on 5 tips for SEO content writing that will;
- Provide you a reusable roadmap of how to create SEO friendly content.
- Help you create high quality content, over and over again.
- Publish content in a manner which search engines and users will find the information.
- Better illustrate exactly what is SEO content writing.
Note: If you’re interested in a more comprehensive exploration of these ideas there are great resources available such as Moz.com and their in-depth look at content and SEO.
Conduct Comprehensive Keyword Research
The first step in the content creation process is conducting comprehensive keyword research. Trying to create content without data is perfectly summed up by a quote from Confucius. “The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.”
Keyword research turns a light on in the dark room and ensures there’s a cat to catch! It allows SEO copywriters to:
- Identify what topics and keyword combinations users are searching.
- Identify what topics are engaging users.
- Identify what users and sites are finding useful or informative and are linking to.
- Identify what is driving conversions for these users and searches.
- Create focused content that is valuable, informative, and answers users queries.
In 2018 content and SEO goes a lot further than the exact words typed into the search box. In years past technology could be fooled by tricks like inserting core keywords repeatedly within content, called keyword stuffing, aimed at fooling search engines into believing a site or page is an authority on a certain topic.
Today however, algorithms have advanced to a place where they will catch these tricks and penalize sites for it. Google is obsessed with the intent of its users’ and wants to connect those users with pages that best answer their intent. That’s why SEO writing needs to focus on generating high quality, informative, and engaging content that fills the knowledge gap of Googles users.
For example, someone searches for Personal Injury Lawyer. What does that person want?
- General information about PI lawyers?
- Names of PI lawyers they can contact?
- Who is the best PI Lawyer?
- How to retain a PI lawyer?
- How much does a PI lawyer cost?
- Maybe they want all those things or none of them!
A successful SEO content writing plan will consider these intents and others, then marry that information with the data uncovered during keyword research, producing content that best answers the queries. Data is a commodity, nothing more, nothing less. It’s how we use that data to shape our SEO copywriting that allows us to harness the power of the information we possess.
Stephen R. Covey eloquently noted in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “we must look at the lens through which we see the world, as well as the world we see, and that lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.”
Keyword research gives us the ability to see past our own lens and through the lens of millions of others, to identify the perfect intersection of traffic volume and intent. Not a bad start.
Create Your Title & Title Tag First
Now that we have an outline of the topics and questions we want our content to address, next it’s time to work on the bait, or the Title and Title tag of your article.
According to MOZ (https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag), “Title tags are a major factor in helping search engines understand what your page is about, and they are the first impression many people have of your page. Title tags are used in three key places: (1) search engine results pages (SERPs), (2) web browsers, and (3) social networks.”
The title and title tag of your article is the bait to generate clicks and back-links. Think of it as your content packaging, providing users, search engines, and other sites the first glimpse of what you have to offer.
Here are a few keys to remember when generating your title:
- Brevity – Keep the length of your title within the search engine guidelines. We suggest max 65-70 characters. Beyond that you run the risk your title being cut off on SERP pages. Also try to avoid all caps, as the actual size allowed for title length on SERP pages is based off a pixel container, not characters.
- Focus – Be sure to highlight the focus and intent of your content up front. Show Google and searchers you are planning to answer their intent right off the bat. Additionally, research shows the first two words of a title are the most important.
- Don’t Keyword Stuff – Remember, your title is what is luring in consumers from SERP pages & social media. Keyword stuffed titles are bad for users and can lead to Google penalties.
- Be Unique – This not only entices users to click on your information, it also illustrates to Google that you have unique information to offer. How likely are you to click on a page titled “HOME”?
Write Organically, Without Keywords or Phrases
This may seem a bit counterproductive at first, but it aligns itself perfectly with the overall theme of SEO content writing in 2018. Create content for people not search engine robots!
The initial step of comprehensive keyword research is designed to focus content around useful information, for which people are searching. This step is designed to be creative and generate content that people like and want to link to. People don’t want to read articles written for search engines. Search engines no longer want that either!
In other words, use keywords and keyword research to ensure you are writing content that people find interesting. Then generate that content naturally. Readability has a direct impact on the level of engagement you create with your users, which is a big part of Googles ranking factors in 2018 as well.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while writing:
- Highlight the most interesting parts of your content.
- Format for Skim readers & for Google featured snippets.
- Break Long Paragraphs.
- Be sure to check for spelling and grammatical errors.
- Link to external sites, link internally to other pages on your site, and use supported data.
- When possible add in your own research or unique data to bring a totally new offering to the web.
- People love fresh content, so search engines love it as well. As algorithms advance so must our ability to engage users.
Support with Images
The digital space has changed exponentially over the past decade, allowing users to engage with dynamic content, and with the expansion of social platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram users are accustomed to dynamic images or infographs supporting long form content.
To be most effective, ensure that, before publishing any article, you support the content with related visuals. Also, be sure to use SEO optimized images to avoid any page speed issues.
Remember you can rename images to fit with your keywords and content. Posting valuable content with related images helps to highlight the intent of your post quickly for users. These visuals enhance user engagement and support lower bounce rates, while increasing page per visit numbers. All factors in your rankings.
Keywords & LSI vs TF-IDF
Don’t run away yet! While this gets a bit technical we aren’t going to go down that path. If you want to, here is a great site to go down the rabbit hole.
For our purposes while SEO copywriting, here is what you need to know. Don’t keyword stuff. Period.
Enhance your final piece of content with your focused keywords and phrases where they naturally fit. So, insert keywords where they make sense for the overall flow of your content. The best advice we can give you is always choosing to keep the integrity of your content over adding in keywords.
Instead, be sure to focus your content around what you’re telling your users and Google the page is about. For example, if your page is about Real Estate in the 5 boroughs of New York, that piece better also have corroborating words like Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
Googles’ algorithms now correlate relates terms with the subject matter of your content. If you never mention those corroborating words, the algorithm gets skeptical and could potentially push your content down in rankings when users are looking for answers to that query.
Google is Smarter Than Us, Accept It
SEO writing is “simple”. It all comes back to creating content for users, not for search engines. Google is smarter than us and smarter than you. Accept it now and your SEO will thrive. Stop trying to fool the system and start building momentum on the way SEO is meant to be done.
Insert keywords and phrases where they make sense. When you can use more keywords, use longer keywords, use related keywords, and always support your content with solid videos or images (optimized for your site). Write for people and you won’t go wrong. After all, that’s what Google wants you to do.