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Whether you’re an experienced web writer or just starting out, SEO content writing is a must-have skill for anyone who writes for the web.
This guide will take you through the nuts and bolts of what SEO content writing is, the practical skills you’ll need to write SEO content, and how to build your career as an SEO copywriter.
We’ve compiled up-to-the-minute SEO tips and techniques that are being used in the web industry today. With this guide, you can learn the necessary skills to get started as a successful SEO copywriter without the trial and error of piecing it together yourself.
Let’s get started.
What Is SEO Content Writing?
SEO content writing is the process of creating high-quality content for websites that is relevant to readers and helps websites get found more easily by search engines.
The term “content” refers to any words, images, audio, or other elements you include on a webpage.
SEO content writing specifically deals with the words that are published on a webpage.
On the surface level, the goal of SEO content writing is to boost traffic to a company’s website that comes from Google or other search engines.
But it’s far more than that.
When it’s done well, SEO content writing can be used to create a website that’s truly an asset to a business. With effective SEO content, a company can build authority and influence in their field, as well as increase their visibility on the web.
SEO content writing can also help turn a website into a useful resource for visitors and potential customers. This can make a company’s site more “shareable” and respected by other websites and businesses.
In addition, all traffic to a website is not created equal. The use of core SEO principles will prevent “tire kickers” from visiting a site — in other words, visitors who have no real purpose on that site.
Content that has been SEO optimized will target a specific audience of people who are looking for what a company offers. A well-optimized website’s traffic may actually be low compared to some sites, but the visitors who do reach the site are high quality and much more likely to make a purchase.
What Is an SEO Content Writer?
An SEO content writer is someone who understands how to write website content that meets the needs of searchers, search engines, and businesses.
Like all good writing, SEO content writing starts with understanding your audience.
And this is where SEO content writers come in.
They intimately know the specific needs of each of the main players involved in the success of a website and how to cater to these needs. The main players include searchers, search engines, and businesses.
Every time someone types a query into a search engine, they have a specific intent for that search. Their intent typically falls into one of four categories: general research, product comparison, wanting to make a purchase, or looking for support after a purchase.
An SEO content writer knows the best content to create based on each of these intents.
2. Search Engines
Like other websites, a search engine wants to attract as many visitors to their site as possible. The way they do this is by providing searchers with high-quality search results.
SEO content writers have the skills to make a webpage easy to find in the eyes of a search engine, which helps the search engines find quality sites to share with their users.
But this isn’t the end goal of a search engine. The main way they make money is through paid advertising. And the more visitors a search engine can get on their site, the more likely it is that someone will click on an ad.
In addition, search engines are finding ways to keep visitors on their sites longer, which will further increase the chances of someone clicking on an ad. One of the ways they do this is with featured snippets on search results pages, which SEO copywriters need to know how to target.
As a copywriter, businesses are probably the players you’re most familiar with. These are the companies and marketers who will be hiring you as an SEO content writer.
Their basic need is obviously for the business to make a profit. But, as an SEO content writer, you can help them with many other areas of their business , such as establishing awareness of their products and brand, building trust with potential customers, generating more leads and sales, and encouraging repeat customers.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a thorough understanding of all these players and how to meet their needs as an SEO content writer.
What’s the Difference Between an SEO Content Writer and an SEO Copywriter?
You may see or hear both of these titles used by potential clients and employers.
But, in essence, they mean the same thing.
The confusion may stem from the fact that content writing and copywriting are sometimes viewed as slightly different things.
American Writers and Artists Institute gives the following definition of copywriting :
Copywriting is any writing that offers a product or service for sale or persuades the reader to take action (learn more, buy now, register for a free trial, etc.).
Whereas, some sources suggest that content writing only refers to factual, editorial writing that does not include any element of persuasion.
This definition of content writing doesn’t apply to SEO content writers. Webpages naturally contain factual information, but they will also typically contain a call to action.
Depending on what type of webpage you’re writing, you may suggest a reader clicks on another page for further information, opts-in to receive an e-newsletter, shares the page on social media, or makes a purchase.
SEO content writers need to have a solid foundation in the fundamentals of copywriting to create compelling, engaging webpages. They also need the skills to make these pages SEO-friendly for search engines.
This is why the terms SEO content writer and SEO copywriter mean essentially the same thing.
So, whether a client or employer calls you an SEO content writer or an SEO copywriter, this guide is for you.
Why Does SEO Content Writing Matter Today?
The face of advertising on the web is changing rapidly.
For online businesses, Facebook and Google used to be the go-to sites for cheap advertising.
But their advertising rates have gone up exponentially in the past couple years.
Add to that the fact that governments throughout the world are starting to pass tighter legislation around how websites protect their users’ information. They’re also passing laws to restrict how much information sites like Facebook and Google can provide advertisers.
The legal scrutiny that sites like Facebook have been under came to a head in July 2019, when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook a $5 billion penalty for privacy breaches and mishandling user data.
Paid advertising is no longer the safe bet that it was.
Businesses are now looking for safer, cheaper, and more effective ways of driving traffic to their sites. SEO meets that demand perfectly.
Micro Moments are Changing the Landscape of the Web
As early as 2015, Google reported a fundamental change in the way people were consuming media.
Instead of longer sessions online, people were accessing the internet in fragmented moments throughout the day, largely on mobile devices. Google named these brief interactions “micro moments”.
This trend has intensified since Google named it in 2015. Today, the average smartphone user checks their device 63 times per day .
And the average time one person spends on a cell phone and tablet combined is over 4.5 hours per day. Although, Google reports that this is often broken up into short micro moments throughout the day, that often last only 70 seconds.
People take these micro moments to quickly find out things they want to know. Those things typically fall into one of the following four categories:
The following are examples of possible search engine queries for each type of micro-moment:
- I-want-to-know moment: “How much does it cost to paint a bathroom?”
- I-want-to-go moment: “Where is a good used car dealership near me?”
- I-want-to-do moment: “How do you write a resume?”
- I-want-to-buy moment: “Where can I buy running shoes online?”
Micro-moments are changing the way people access websites.
A site has an extremely short window of opportunity to catch a potential visitor’s attention, both on a search engine’s results page, and on the site itself.
Today, SEO content writers need to able to create web pages that answer these types of search queries, and do it quickly.
About The Ultimate Guide to SEO Content Writing
SEO content writing is a practical skill that anyone can learn. You don’t have to be a computer geek to be a good SEO writer. If you’re already familiar with the basics of good writing, SEO is simply another tool you can add to your writer’s toolkit.
The Ultimate Guide to SEO Content Writing will provide you with the core principles of SEO content writing that you will be able to use throughout your career.
What you won’t find here are flash-in-the-pan shortcuts to simply rank on Google.
But if you’re looking for the fundamental skills needed by SEO content writers today, you’re definitely in the right place.
Want to download a free copy of this guide?
Simply click here to enter your email address, and we’ll send you a free PDF!
What You’ll Learn
The Ultimate Guide to SEO Content Writing has four chapters. Each chapter will take you through a specific aspect of SEO content writing and prepare you for your career as a well-paid SEO copywriter.
The chapters are organized in a logical progression to build on each other, but you can read them in whatever order you like.
What we really want is to hear your success story once you’ve completed this guide and put it into action.
So, work through the chapters and make sure you practice and apply what you’ve learned. We’ll be waiting to hear from you!
CHAPTER 1 — How to Use an On-Page SEO Checklist (With Download)
On-page SEO is the heart of SEO content writing. This chapter will take you through all the essential elements of on-page SEO and how to effectively optimize them.
These fundamental skills are perennial and can be applied to any webpage.
We’ve also provided an easy-to-follow On-Page SEO Checklist that you can download and use for all your SEO writing projects.
CHAPTER 2 — 9 Tips to Optimize a Blog Post or Article for SEO
Blog posts and articles are often some of the most popular and high-traffic pages on a website. It pays to know how to optimize these pages as thoroughly as possible.
In this chapter, you’ll learn a detailed process for making SEO-friendly blog posts and articles that are loved by both readers and search engines.
CHAPTER 3 — What’s the Job Description of an SEO Copywriter?
As you’ve learned so far in this guide, the core job of SEO content writers and copywriters is to write webpages that are optimized for SEO. But, beyond that, you can almost write your own job description.
This chapter will cover the types of SEO copywriting employment available, what your daily work might look like, and how your role as an SEO copywriter fits into a company’s larger business goals.
CHAPTER 4 — How to Make Good Money as an SEO Copywriter
How much money can you actually make as an SEO copywriter? And how can you make it a viable career?
This chapter will delve into these questions, and give you tips and strategies for finding and landing high-paying SEO copywriting work.
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SEO Content: Complete Beginner’s Guide
Written by Brian Dean
This is a complete guide to creating SEO content .
In fact, the techniques I’m about to show you helped me rank #1 in Google for competitive keywords like “SEO campaign”:
And “on page seo”:
So if you want to learn how to write content for SEO , you’ll love today’s guide.
Let’s get started.
What Is SEO Content?
SEO content is online content designed to rank in search engines (like Google). Also, content written for SEO is typically optimized around a specific keyword.
And when it comes to search engine optimization, make no mistake:
Content is KEY.
In fact, HubSpot reports that businesses that regularly publish blog posts get 350% more traffic than those that don’t publish content on a regular basis.
Google has even come out and said that content is a SUPER important part of succeeding with SEO. Specifically, they confirmed that “content” is one of Google’s top 3 ranking factors .
And I can speak from firsthand experience that content marketing can help you get LOTS of organic traffic.
In fact, I regularly publish content on my blog that’s specifically designed to rank in Google.
And this SEO-focused content strategy is one of the main reasons that my site gets 449,058 search engine visitors every month.
With that, here’s exactly how to create content for SEO.
How to Write SEO Content
Step #1: Choose a Topic
Your first step is to come up with a topic for your content.
Specifically, you want to cover a topic that your target customer cares about.
Here are 3 quick ways to come up with awesome content ideas:
- Reddit: Head over to active subreddits where your target audience tends to hang out. And look for topics that tend to come up again and again. These can be GREAT topics to cover in a blog post or video.
- Competitor Blogs: Look at popular blog posts, videos and infographics from your competitors’ blogs. What do they have in common? What can you emulate (or improve)?
For example, my target audience is made up of people that do marketing full-time.
A while back I noticed this discussion on the SEO subreddit.
So I decided to create a post that answered that specific question:
Step #2: Find a Keyword
Now it’s time to find a keyword for your content.
To be clear:
Keyword research is a HUGE topic. So I can’t cover everything there is to know about finding keywords here.
But I can give you a handful of quick keyword research techniques that are working great right now.
First, use Google Suggest to find long tail keywords .
What’s cool about this technique that is you get to see keywords that people are searching for right now. Which means these terms aren’t super competitive (yet).
Second, use Ubersuggest .
This free keyword research tool helps you come up with new keyword ideas. It also lets you know how many people search for that keyword in Google every month.
Finally, type a few different words and phrases into AnswerThePublic .
Unlike most other keyword tools, AnswerThePublic focuses 100% on questions. So if you want to create content optimized around question keywords (like: “Why is content marketing important?”), this tool is a goldmine.
And if you want to see a lot of these strategies in action, I recommend checking out this short video.
Go ahead, I’ll wait 🙂
Then, move on to step #3…
Step #3: Write Comprehensive Content
Here’s the dirty little secret about SEO content:
If you want your content to rank in Google it needs to be AWESOME.
In other words:
“Quality content” isn’t enough. Your content needs to be the best result for a given search… or it’s not gonna rank. In fact, amazing content is the key to SEO success.
How do you do that?
Write comprehensive content.
In other words: publish content that gives someone searching for a keyword everything they need.
For example, few years ago I published this complete guide to mobile optimization .
Now I could have written something like: “5 Mobile SEO Tips”.
But I knew that comprehensive content had a MUCH better chance of ranking #1 in Google than a short post.
And I was right!
A few months later, my guide hit the #1 spot for my target keyword:
As you might expect, comprehensive content tends to be MUCH longer than your average 400-word blog post.
In fact, our Google ranking signals study found that the top 10 results for most keywords tended to be 1,447 words in length on average:
Why does long content rank better?
- Longer content helps give Google more information about the topic of that webpage. This makes them more confident that your page is a relevant result for that keyword.
- As I mentioned earlier, long-form articles can cover A LOT more than a 300-word blog post on the same topic. This means long articles answer searchers’ queries better than short content.
- Long content tends to attract more links and social shares than shallow content.
For example, the mobile SEO guide I mentioned earlier is 4,330 words.
Was that piece of content easy to write? Heck no!
The first draft alone took over 20 hours.
That said, writing long-form content can be a competitive advantage for you.
Your competition is probably too lazy to write in-depth pieces. This means that you’ll instantly separate yourself from the pack when you start publishing insanely-thorough stuff.
With that, let’s move on to our next step in the SEO content writing process.
Step #4: Optimize for Users
Now that you’ve written a piece of content, it’s time to optimize it for users.
Specifically, you want to make your content SUPER easy to consume.
Because the fact is this:
If your content isn’t easy to read and understand, it WON’T rank.
(Even if your on-page SEO is PERFECT.)
That’s because Google now uses “User Experience Signals” (in addition to traditional ranking signals, like backlinks ) to figure out which results deserve to rank #1 in the SERPs.
So if people LOVE your content, it’s going to get a rankings boost.
With that, here are some SEO copywriting tips that you can use to make sure your content satisfies users and search engines.
First, make the first few sentences of your content REALLY short.
Research shows that people prefer to read short sentences. Readers also don’t like wide blocks of text that spread from one end of the screen to the other.
That’s why you want to make the first few sentences of every article and landing page on your site super, super short.
Also, crunch those first 5-10 sentences between huge margins so that people’s eyes don’t have to dart back and forth as far.
I follow this rule for every post:
Second, I recommend adding lots of multimedia to your content.
In other words: use video, audio, diagrams, charts, interactive media, quizzes, games and infographics.
When you have quality multimedia in your content, you satisfy a larger chunk of the people that come to your site Google.
People that like videos will sit back and watch your YouTube video.
People that like to read will skim your blog post.
And audio junkies will put on their headphones and listen to your podcast.
In fact, a Google Quality Guidelines document told reviewers to consider pages with “supplementary content” (in the form of calculators, downloads and diagrams) higher quality than text-only pages.
In short, using multimedia is worth the extra effort.
Last up, use H tag subheadings to break up your content.
This is especially important for long-form content.
A good rule of thumb that I follow is to include at least one subheader for every 200 words of content.
For example, you can see that I use lots of subheadings in all of my posts:
Which makes them easy to read (and skim).
Step #5: Keyword-Optimize Your Content
This step is all about making your content SEO-friendly.
And this video walks you through the entire step-by-step process:
Now that you’ve watched the video, here’s an example of how I optimized one of my blog posts: “ How to Create an Effective SEO Strategy ”.
First, I made sure to include my main keyword in the first 100 words of my page.
This is known as “Keyword Prominence”.
Why is this important?
The higher up on the page a keyword first appears, the more Google considers that page about that keyword.
This makes sense if you think about it:
If you’re writing an article about a topic, why wouldn’t you mention a word related to that topic (in other words, a keyword) right off the bat?
Second, I added internal links to other content on my website.
Last, I embedded a long tail keyword in my title tag.
My target keyword for that page was “SEO Strategy”. That keyword gets 2.4k searches per month (and has a CPC of $15).
As you may expect, it’s going to be a while before I’m going to rank for a tough keyword like that.
That’s why I ALSO optimized my page around the long tail term: “SEO Strategy 2021”.
That way, I was able to quickly rank for the less-competitive keyword:
And as I build links to my page, I’ll eventually crack the top 10 for my main keyword.
Step #6: Share on Social Media
It’s time to promote your content on social media.
How you promote depends a lot on your niche.
If you run a cooking blog, you’ll want to focus on Pinterest or Instagram.
But if you’re in the digital marketing space, a platform like Twitter makes more sense.
In my case, I like to share my post on Twitter the day it goes live:
I also use a boosted Facebook post to get my content in front of more people.
Step #7: Build Links
There’s no doubt about it:
Link building is HUGE.
In fact, a 2019 search engine ranking factors study found that links are still “ incredibly important ” for ranking highly in Google.
The question is:
HOW do you get people to link to your content?
Your first step is to check out this video:
In this video you’ll learn about the strategies I’m currently using to build backlinks to my site.
And here’s an example of how I used one of the strategies from the video ( Broken Link Building ) to get bloggers to link to my content.
A while back I published a huge list of 190+ SEO tools .
Then, I found dead links on websites in the blogging, SEO and social media space.
I emailed each of these bloggers to give them a heads up about their dead links. I also sent them my new blog post.
As you can see, it worked like a charm 🙂
Step #8: Analyze Your Results
Your last step is to see how your content performed.
To do that, I recommend tracking your page’s search engine rankings:
And Organic traffic (using Google Analytics ):
You can also look at “Impressions” in the Search Console :
One thing to keep in mind is that SEO can take time.
Even if you follow these steps EXACTLY, it can still take 2-3 months for SEO to “kick in”. So don’t expect a brand new piece of fresh content to rank in Google the next day.
For example, I published this SEO case study some time ago.
Even though my content was optimized for users and SEO, it took about 60 days for that page to hit the first page of Google.
I hope you got a ton of value out of my SEO content guide.
Now I’d like to hear what you have to say.
What’s the #1 tip from today’s post that you want to try first?
Are you going to test out long-form content?
Or maybe you’re ready to try Broken Link Building.
Let me know in the comments section below.
Thank you so much for such valuable and ACTIONABLE information! I feel like an SEO expert now! Seriously, I appreciate your hard work-this is so helpful. I’m going to be starting a blog related to SEO and will definitely be linking your site and content.
Hi Robin, you’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. If you want to become an SEO expert, I also recommend reading this guide: https://backlinko.com/seo-expert
Hey Brian, love the guide as always but I have a question. How does content length impact service pages? It is easier to write long form, informative content when writing about a subject such as ‘link building strategies’ or something similar on a blog. But what about service pages on websites. What length does that have to be? Also, have you got any tips on making service pages more easy to read, user friendly and ultimately rank better? Lots of great tips here for blog content. But what about ranking your higher intent pages? Let me know. Thanks Paul.
Hi Paul, good question. In that case it’s more about matching your service page to that person’s search intent: https://backlinko.com/hub/seo/search-intent
Hi Brian, Thanks for the guide and all the other great content. How can an ecommerce store use these tactics for SEO? I mean how many pages of content would it need and how can we get links to stores? Most advice out their seems geared to niche and blogs sites
Hi Reece, I recommend reading this guide: http://backlinko.com/ecommerce-seo
first of all thanks for the great effort you put into that work. I increased my trust flow and my domain authority better than all my competitors for a webdesign agency in my area (Munich Germany) but i still don´t get any results. The competition is high what can i do to increase my rank.
I’m currently in Asia (Ho Chi Minh,Vietnam), and as a whole, most of the SEO work being done here is still heavily towards Black Hat Methods. What advice would you give to re-educate the masses (marketers) here?
White hat methods are effective anywhere around the world and I want to show people a way to build value long term with their brands.
I am completely new to SEO and I find your content extremely refreshing in how easy it is to digest and understand even if you are not a “techy”. Thank you for that.
As I am slowly consuming your entire SEO videos series I was wandering how do you apply your does your advice about eliminating “zombie pages” and duplicate information from your website? The reason I am asking is because I watched a fair amount of your videos, and although I find every bit of it valuable there does seem to be a considerable repetition in content (even though the titles and focus may change). For example, even this very page we are on seem to be an older version of your brilliant “New Google SEO Guide” ( https://backlinko.com/google-seo-guide ). But why have them both? isn’t that something you advise to refrain from doing?
Thanks in advance for your wisdom!
Good question, Sivan. ‘Duplicate information” doesn’t mean zero overlap. For example, a site about fitness is likely to mention the facts that deadlifts are great in articles about strength, improving posture, building back muscles etc. And that’s perfectly OK. As long as you’re not just regurgitating the same stuff over and over again, you’re good.
Thanks for the fantastic article! It’s so in-depth and well-structured.
I would also add that good SEO content should also be unique and grammatically correct. There is no doubt we all know the best grammar checker out there so I won’t even bother dropping a link to it 🙂
Well, it’s interesting to hear about keyword density. Yes, it’s an old-fashioned way to create content and has proven itself to be wrong, but we all agree that the number of keywords we use should stay within some limits? What I mean is some writers tend to overuse keywords when you give them a list. In headers, inside of the text, etc. So it’s still important to keep in mind keyword density when you review/publish new article, righT?
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SEO Writing: How to Write for SEO (10 Easy Steps for Writers)
A step-by-step guide on how to improve your SEO content writing skills. Includes examples and tools to use.
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Writing for SEO is an art. The job of an SEO writer is to write content for both search engines and users and to do that successfully, you need to know how to apply basic SEO content principles in practice.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about SEO writing. I will explain what is SEO writing and the 10 steps to follow to ensure that each piece of content you write is search engine friendly.
What is SEO Writing
SEO writing is the process of writing content that search engines can easily understand. This is done by intelligently adding search phrases or keywords in your content without doing keyword stuffing.
SEO writing is also known as SEO copywriting or search engine optimization writing.
How to write for SEO
To become an SEO copywriter, you can follow the 10 steps below.
- Choose your keywords (both head and long tail keywords)
- Craft your page title
- Create an SEO Friendly URL (add your main keyword)
- Write the content (long enough)
- Add your keywords in the first paragraph
- Create headings using long-tail keywords
- Add LSI-related keywords to your content
- Link to other pages on your website using relevant anchor text
- Demonstrate your Expertise and Authority on the subject (E-A-T)
- Add and Optimize images
1. Choose your keywords (both head and long tail keywords)
The first step before writing new content is to decide which keywords to target.
This process is known as keyword research and it’s very important for a simple reason. You need to write content around topics that people search for and keyword research will tell you that.
When you do your keyword research, the outcome will be a set of SEO keywords both head (or focus keywords) and long tail keywords that people type in search engines.
The easiest way to do this is to:
- Go to Google and search for your chosen topic (general).
- Visit the top 5 pages and analyze the type of content they provide.
- Take each URL and using SEMRUSH or other tools (ahrefs, ubersuggest, etc) find out for which keywords those pages are ranking and the traffic they get.
- Then depending on the results decide which main keywords you will target in your content.
- Take those keywords again and using a tool, find out the associated long-tail keywords and LSI (or semantic keywords)
Here is an example of how I followed the above steps when writing this post:
I did a general search on Google using “write for SEO”.
I analyzed the first results using SEMRUSH and found out that the keyword that has a high volume for my chosen topic is “SEO writing”
I then used the Keyword Magic tool (utilizing the advanced filters feature) of SEMRUSH to find other related long-tail keywords.
If you take a closer look at the content, you’ll that these keywords are used in different places throughout the article.
By following this process every time you write new content, you help search engines understand your content better and if your content satisfies what users want, this will eventually translate to higher rankings, social media shares, and more incoming links.
For more tips on how to improve your SEO writing enroll in our SEO Course . It’s the most comprehensive SEO course you can find on the web loaded with actionable tips and practical advice.
2. Craft your page title
The next step is to start thinking about your page title. Choosing a good page title is critical for the success of your page or post, so allocate the necessary time to come up with a title that:
- Includes your target keyword
- It’s unique for your website
- It’s interesting for users to click
- It’s around 160 characters
- It’s not the same as the existing titles on the first page of Google.
Don’t omit any of the steps, especially the last one. Before deciding on your title go to Google, type your target keyword, and analyze the first 10 titles.
Your goal is to create a title that is unique otherwise you limit your chances of getting a top-10 position since Google rarely shows pages with the same title in the first 10 results.
As an example, look at the title of this post and notice how the main keyword and related are part of my post title.
How to create SEO Friendly Titles
3. Create an SEO Friendly URL (add your main keyword)
The next step is very easy to implement. When creating the permalink of your post, make sure that it includes your target keywords and eliminates any unnecessary words.
Look for example at the URL of this post. By default, it was the same as the page title i.e.
but I have shortened it down to
Aim for having exact match URLs where possible.
How to create SEO Friendly URLs
4. Write the content (long enough)
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and get into content writing .
You already know what your competitors have published, you have your title, and you know which keywords to include in your content, what else do you need?
What is the user intent?
You need to make sure that you understand the user intent. In other words, your content should match what users want to read for the particular keywords.
One of the ways to find out is to go back to the Google search results and look for patents.
For example, if you are writing an article about ‘SEO tools’, you will notice that almost all results are about lists with ‘Free Tools’.
This means that Google has found out that when users search for tools, although they don’t include the word ‘Free’, their intent is to browse lists of Free tools.
This also means that if you are targeting this keyword, you need to adjust your title and content accordingly, otherwise you minimize your chances of rankings for that term.
How long to make your articles?
Besides the user intent, you also need to make your content comprehensive enough so that users can get accurate and in-depth information about the topic.
Despite what you might have read, there is no magic number when it comes to word length.
It all depends on the topic and keywords. For some topics, you might need to write articles that are over 2000 words, for other topics you can provide a comprehensive answer in 800 words.
Content length alone is NOT a ranking factor . What matters is the quality of the content and how well it can satisfy the real intent of the user.
To avoid any confusion, a number of studies have shown that the ideal article length for SEO is around 1800 words and this is true for many cases.
Longer articles give you the opportunity to use more keywords (without keyword stuffing) and they tend to do better in social media.
But, this is a general guideline and not applicable to all cases. My recommendation is to find the average length of the first 10 results and try to provide a bit more content but better than what is already published.
There is no reason to write a 3000-word article if you can have the same result as a 1500-word article.
5. Add your keywords in the first paragraph
Here is a nice tip that most SEO writers fail to follow. Once you are done with the first draft, you need to go back and revisit your post introduction.
Your goal is to make sure that your target keyword is included in your opening paragraph.
The reason is that Google always considers that content that is above the fold and high on a page is more important than content found down the page.
By adding your keywords in the first paragraph, you give a big clue to Google as to which keywords to associate this page with. It’s also good for the users since you can help them understand that they are on the right page.
6. Create headings using long-tail keywords
One of the characteristics of SEO friendly content is that it’s easy to read by both search engines and users, and headings help in that direction.
Don’t be surprised but the majority of users won’t read your content, they will scan through it. By having meaningful headings, you help them find the part they want faster.
Search engines follow the same pattern, especially for long-form content. They scan the page and look for certain elements to understand how a page is structured and what topics or keywords the content is covering.
To make their job easier you can use predefined heading tags in your HTML like the H1 tag , h2 tag, and h3.
Usually, a page has only one H1 tag and this is used for the title and then the rest of the content has H2 for the main headings and H3 for the sub-headings.
To further improve the SEO friendliness of your copy, try to use some of your long-tail keywords in the headings. Take a closer look at the headings of this article and notice how I have added long-tail keywords in my headings.
The complete On-Page SEO Guide
7. Add LSI-related keywords to your content
With the introduction of machine learning to Google search algorithms (known as RankBrain), Google is trying to truly understand what the searcher wants by using natural language processing.
This means that for a given keyword, Google will look for the deeper meaning of the query and not just for exact match keywords.
For you as an SEO copywriter, it means that you need to add semantically related keywords in your content, to help them during this process.
Semantic keywords are keywords that have the same or similar meaning. You can find these keywords using tools like LSI Graph . Here is a screenshot of the LSI keywords for “SEO writing”.
So, you need to go back to your copy and enrich it with LSI keywords in a natural way. You may have to re-phrase some of your sentences but it’s a step that can improve the relevancy of your content.
8. Link to other pages on your website using relevant anchor text
One of the SEO principles most SEO content writers tend to forget is internal linking . An internal link is a link that points to a page on the same website.
Why is it important?
When you publish a new page, it has to match your site’s topics. This improves relevancy and rankings. One of the ways to ‘tell’ Google that your content is relevant to the rest of the site, is to use internal links.
Internal links although they are not as powerful as SEO backlinks , they are still used by Google as a way to understand what the linked page is about, especially if the right anchor text was used in the link.
They also help users learn more about a topic (look at this article again and notice how I have used internal links to give users a way to find out more information about a topic).
Last but not least, internal links are followed by search engine crawlers and this leads to better crawling and indexing of more site pages.
9. Demonstrate your Expertise and Authority on the subject (E-A-T)
There is a lot of content published on the Internet and in order to protect the quality of their search results, Google algorithms can detect which pages demonstrate Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness on a given topic.
In the SEO world, this is known as E-A-T and it is a critical factor of SEO content and an indicator of content Quality.
Here is the relevant quote from Google’s guidelines on content quality.
How can you improve your SEO copy for E-A-T?
Follow these simple guidelines:
- Each and every page should have the author’s name and bio published (see how I’m using this on all my posts).
- A page should have outgoing links to trusted sources
- A page and website in general should have incoming links from other trusted and related websites.
As an SEO copywriter, you cannot control the last guideline (incoming links), since this has to do more with the content promotion part but you can control the first two.
So, revisit your content again and ensure that it links to other trusted websites and that the author bio is clearly shown on all pages.
10. Add and Optimize images
Before you hit the publish button, make sure that your content includes optimized images.
Adding images to your content makes it more interesting and easier to read. While this is not directly related to SEO writing, it can help in a number of ways:
- Users are more likely to share content with high-quality images in their social media networks than content with no images.
- You can use the image alt text to give more clues to search engines about your content
- When you properly optimize your images , you have more chances of appearing in Google image search for your target (or related) keywords.
Anyone can learn to write for SEO. It’s a skill that can be easily mastered through practice and by following some basic SEO principles.
If you are working as a freelancer , there are a lot of SEO writing jobs you can apply for. If you’re doing SEO for your own website, learning how to write content for SEO, will make your content get found on Google .
The steps to follow are outlined above, what you should not forget is to always put the user first. Your primary concern is to provide content that users want to read and then optimize it for SEO.
This is the reason that I have separated the process into a number of steps that involves writing the content first naturally and then revising it for SEO purposes.
You also can use the same process as a checklist when optimizing content written by non-SEO writers.
Alex Chris is a digital marketing consultant, author, and instructor. He has more than 18 years of practical experience with SEO and digital marketing. Alex holds an MSc Degree in eCommerce and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies in different industries. He blogs regularly about SEO and Digital marketing, and his work has been referenced by leading marketing websites. Connect with Alex on Twitter and LinkedIn .
October 10, 2019 at 4:18 pm
hi there, informative clear updated thanks for the detailed explanation with a presentation, it will be really helpful to enhance in-depth knowledge about Content Writing Skills.
November 23, 2022 at 3:28 pm
Thanks! Glad I could help.
September 2, 2021 at 5:54 pm
Wow Very informative article Alex as usual. Thanks for sharing.
November 23, 2022 at 3:29 pm
Thanks a lot for commenting.
All the best Alex
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SEO Content Writing Tips (22 Best Practices & Guidelines)
This guide includes a list of SEO content writing tips.
Below, you’ll find the best SEO writing tips and techniques you can use to better optimize your articles for search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. As a result of following these SEO content writing guidelines, you should experience higher keyword rankings and organic search traffic for your website.
Table of Contents
SEO Content Writing Tips
1. write helpful seo content for humans, not search engines.
If you only follow one of these best practices for SEO content writing, this one should be it. And with each subsequent Google algorithm update, writing content for humans, not search engines, is becoming vastly more important for SEO.
Focusing all your efforts on achieving keyword rankings without regard to your actual users will often create the opposite result as Google prioritizes helpful, people-first content in search results .
In the screenshot below, you’ll see the search giant’s official explanation of what “people-first content” actually means:
Here are two more tips for writing helpful, human-first content.
- Become Your Audience: Put yourself in the mindset of your target reader. What would you want to know? What would make the biggest difference in terms of finding the information you need? Then, focus your SEO content on satisfying those needs.
- Engage and Empathize: Basing your content on personal experiences not only helps to satisfy Google’s E-E-A-T requirements (more on this later) but also shows readers that you empathize with their situation, meaning they’re more likely to trust you to help them.
2. Focus Your Writing On 2-3 Keywords
Keywords are the foundation of SEO content writing, sending signals to search engines and search users about the subject of your content.
To use them effectively, focus on one primary keyword and two closely related secondary or supporting keywords. That way, your content is tightly focused on that cluster of keywords, which, ultimately, helps your web page rank higher for all of those terms and their variations.
3. Make Sure the Content Meets User Search Intent
Matching the user’s search intent should be a pivotal component of your SEO content strategy. This SEO writing tip means understanding the underlying motivation or purpose behind a specific search query. This critical factor will influence the type of content you create and how you create it.
For example, suppose your audience is looking for practical instructions on how to mow a lawn, which would include step-by-step instructions. In that case, you’d naturally create different content than if your readers wanted to research the best lawnmower to purchase, which would include a list of products along with your personal review of each one.
Consider the following best practices to ensure your content meets users’ search intent:
- Use SEO Tools: Platforms like Semrush allow you to check a specific keyword’s main search intent category (e.g., informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial). Use this to get a basic understanding of the type of content you’ll need to create so you match user search intent for SEO.
- Analyze Top Search Results: Run a Google search for your target keywords and check out the top-ranking results. These are the pages Google feels best to meet the user intent, making them invaluable for determining the most effective way to create and structure your SEO content.
4. Aim for a Competitive Word Count
Word count is one of the most misunderstood of all SEO writing best practices. Google doesn’t consider word count as a ranking factor but rather how informative and comprehensive the content is. See the image below for the official Google documentation on this matter.
For example, if you’ve sufficiently answered a search query in 1,000 words, adding an extra 1,000 of superfluous fluff won’t give you any extra benefits. And, in some cases, can dilute the topical relevance of the target keyword; making it harder to rank for that query.
A better strategy for content writing is to examine the length of existing top-ranking content on Google. This will allow you to more accurately determine how long your article needs to be to stand a good chance of a high ranking.
You can run those top-ranking URLs through a tool like Word Counter to get a good idea of how long your content should be to cover the subject and meet user intent fully.
As you can see in the image above, the word count for the example article is around 1,700 words. After conducting competitor analysis, we discovered that an article of that length would be sufficient to rank in the top 10 positions on Google for its target keyword phrase. Writing a 5,000-word guide on the topic was not necessary, and would mostly likely not be worth the extra time or effort for SEO rankings.
5. Keep Paragraphs Short and Concise
Large chunks of text make your content harder to follow and cause unnecessary challenges for users scanning your content to find a key piece of information.
For this reason, you’ll benefit from keeping your paragraphs short and concise. A best practice is to limit your paragraphs to a maximum of two or three sentences. Also, use bullet points when you can to make the content more scannable and digestible for the reader.
6. Optimize the Title Tag for the Top Keywords
Your page’s title tag should be written to send clear signals to search engines and users about the subject and context of your posts. Therefore, you should place your primary keyword at the beginning of your post title to ensure there’s no doubt about the main SEO topic of your content.
From there, incorporate secondary keywords or keyword variations towards the end of your title tag in a natural-sounding way that provides more context about the post’s contents.
For example, we are targeting the following keywords for this SEO writing guide:
- SEO content writing tips
- best practices for SEO content writing
- SEO content writing guidelines
As a result, we created this optimized title tag to cover all of the top keywords and their variations without repeating the same words over and over again (i.e., over-optimization): SEO Content Writing Tips (22 Best Practices & Guidelines)
7. Use Proper Heading Structure
Header tags (H1-H6) improve your page’s user-friendliness by organizing your content into easily-digestible sections. They also help search engine crawlers understand the main topic and subtopics of the content for proper indexing in the SERPs.
Your H1 tag should be the main title of your article, with each of the main topics separated by H2 tags. These H2 sections can then be broken down into subsections using H3 tags. H3 sections can be further divided into subsections with H4 tags, and so forth down the line with H5s under H4s and H6s under H5s.
For example, in a product review, you might have one main H2 section titled, “Key Features”, that you divide into three smaller H3 subsections; one for each feature. See the image below for an example of this SEO content writing tip in practice.
8. Ensure the H1 and Title Tag Are the Same
Your title tag is what users see in search results for your web page listing and ultimately click on to access your content. Therefore, it’s essential that your H1 tag matches your title tag, as this helps users feel confident that they’ve landed in the right place.
As a result of following this SEO writing tip, your users are more likely to stay on your page rather than hit the back button, which will negatively impact your bounce rates. Also, matching your title tag to the H1 tag improves the keyword relevancy for SEO (and rankings) because these two HTML elements confirm to the search engine crawlers what the target keywords are for on-page SEO.
9. Include Keywords In the H2 Subheadings
H2 tags give further signals to search engines about the topics covered within your content. To improve your chance of ranking well in the SERPs, it pays to ensure each H2 subheading incorporates one of your primary or secondary keywords.
In our experience, we’ve found that the best practice to follow for SEO content writing looks something like this:
- Primary Keyword: Include it in the first and last H2 subheadings on the page.
- Secondary Keywords: Include each supporting keyword one time in their own H2 tags on the page.
- Keyword Variations: If you’ve already used your primary and secondary keywords as above, include keyword variations in any remaining H2s. (If appropriate and natural.)
10. Boost Topical Relevance With H3 Subheadings
Topical relevance is a term used to describe how much the content aligns with and covers a specific topic comprehensively.
One way to boost your topical relevance is to incorporate any keyword variations you still need to use on the page into your H3 tags as well as any relevant semantic keywords. Together, this improves topical relevance for SEO rankings.
However, as with all keyword placements, what matters most here isn’t the keywords themselves but that they fit into your H3s in a way that has a natural flow for the reader.
11. Put Your Top Keywords In the Introduction
Your introduction is one of the first on-page elements search crawlers use to learn about your content. It’s also your last opportunity to convince your users to stick around by making it clear that you have what they’re looking for.
With that in mind, aim to add your primary keyword within the first 100 words of your post. Ideally, this should be within the first sentence or the first paragraph.
As you continue writing, seamlessly weave in supporting keywords throughout the introduction, further strengthening your message to readers that your content aligns with their search intent and improving keyword prominence for SEO.
12. Repeat All Keywords In the Body Content
Adding keywords in the body content is one of the easiest SEO writing techniques to get wrong.
Although you’ll benefit from repeating both your primary, secondary, and variation keyword types throughout your content, it pays to exercise caution, adding each keyword only when it fits seamlessly within the context of its surrounding paragraph.
As explained in our other post on how many keywords per page for SEO , the number of times you use a keyword in the body text depends on the length of the content.
For example, a 500-word blog post can easily be optimized for two or three keywords, but trying to fit five or six keywords into a short article like that will likely sound unnatural. However, focusing on five or six keywords in a 2,000-word blog post is a common practice and you can spread out the usage of those phrases so the content sounds natural.
A good rule of thumb for SEO content writing is to use 1-2 keywords for every 100 words of text. This results in a keyword density of around 1-2% which is considered to be a good percentage for on-page SEO without keyword stuffing.
13. Add Keywords to the Summary
Adding your primary and secondary keywords to the summary (or conclusion) of your article doesn’t just provide a sense of coherence and clarity for readers, it also plays a significant role in strengthening your topical relevance for SEO keywords.
Once you reach this stage of your post, a good SEO writing technique is to include your top three keywords one time each within the last 100 words on the page.
14. Include Long-Tail Keywords & Relevant Entities for Semantic SEO
Long-tail keywords are specific phrases and questions that target longer search queries (e.g., four or more words). Relevant entities, on the other hand, are mentions of people, places, or other specific terms relating to your subject.
Including both together on the page helps search engines understand the context and semantic meaning of your content in a way that can positively impact your keyword rankings.
This SEO writing guideline also helps you establish your expertise and authority on your chosen topic because you’re improving the overall semantic relevance and knowledge on the subject matter.
15. Optimize the Content for Featured Snippets
Featured Snippets are stand-out search results that feature prominently above regular, organic search listings, typically providing a short answer to a specific question.
Featured Snippets provide the benefits of enhanced website credibility and improved organic search visibility, which can increase your click-through rates.
To earn these snippets, optimize your content by using an exact match keyword you want to target in an H2 subheading that is high up on the page. Underneath that heading, directly answer the question in 45-50 words, which is the most common snippet length.
Follow this SEO writing tip for as many relevant keywords that apply to the page and display a Featured Snippet. You can uncover more ideas by doing a Google search for your target keywords and copying the questions that appear inside the People Also Ask box. Put those questions in their own H2 tags followed by a short and concise answer.
16. Include E-E-A-T Signals
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, all of which are factors that Google’s human Quality Raters look for in content when evaluating search results.
The best ways to showcase these E-E-A-T factors for SEO writing include:
- Include an author byline with a link to the author’s bio page.
- Include an author bio box (optional; and a good substitute if a byline is not present).
- Include the published date and time (time is optional for evergreen content but essential for news-related content)
- Demonstrate expert knowledge and/or first-hand experience on the subject by sharing in-depth information, personal opinions, original photos, and self-produced videos.
- Referencing relevant credentials, qualifications, or industry affiliations.
- Make sure all information is accurate and up to date.
- Include 1-2 unique elements (minimum) not found in the top-ranking URLs (e.g., tables, charts, infographics, videos, more list items, industry expert quotes, FAQs).
For more tips like these visit our on-page SEO checklist which lists all of the top factors to focus on for on-page optimization signals.
17. Include At Least 3-5 Internal Links
These next two SEO content writing tips encompass other essential elements of on-page search engine optimization beyond the words on the page.
Internal links can enhance website navigation, improve user experience, and help spread link equity throughout your site, but only if you stick to the following recommended SEO content writing guidelines:
- Use no more than 3-5 internal links per post to prevent diluting link equity.
- Ensure links are highly relevant to the subject and provide additional value to your readers.
- Place links strategically within your content, using relevant anchor text in a way that fits naturally within the surrounding content.
18. Link Out to High-Quality Sites
External linking to reputable sources can significantly elevate your credibility, creating subtle associations between your site and respected, high-authority publications within your niche.
Use external links to provide evidence of your claims, provide greater context, or add value to your content by giving readers additional tools and information.
To make the most of external links in SEO writing:
- Link to sources with high Domain Authority (DA) and/or high Page Authority (PA) scores.
- Ensure links fit naturally within your content using relevant anchor text.
- Set links to open in a new tab or window to prevent users from leaving your page.
19. Add Keyword-Optimized Images
Images are crucial for breaking up large pages of text, making it easier to read, and illustrating specific key points. Images can also be optimized to improve the on-page SEO relevancy for your target keywords.
Additionally, some articles will require more images than others. For example, a page targeting “bathroom vanity ideas” would be image heavy because users want to see pictures of bathroom vanities to get a better idea of which style to use during a home renovation.
To achieve the most SEO gains from your images, ensure that the file name, ALT text, and captions are all optimized for your highest-priority keywords. Focus on one keyword per image while making sure it fits naturally with the picture.
20. Write a Compelling & Optimized Meta Description
Meta descriptions (the short blurbs beneath search listings that describe the content) are another good area to focus on for SEO content writing.
A good meta description includes your primary keyword and at least one secondary keyword (in that order). Google, for example, will bold those keywords when they match the user’s search query, which can improve click-through rates.
21. Write an SEO-Friendly URL
An SEO-friendly URL provides clear information about the content of the page. It also improves the chances of ranking higher in search results as it is one of the top-ranking factors for on-page SEO.
Many SEO experts agree that the URL is the third most important factor for SEO content writing. The other two factors are the title tag and the H1 heading.
A good SEO writing best practice is to keep your URL short (under 60 characters) and include your primary keyword as an exact match keyword phrase. For example, the URL for this guide is simply, /seo-content-writing-tips/ .
22. Add Relevant Schema Markup to the Content
The last of our SEO writing techniques involves using specific tags known as Schema Markup to help search engines learn more about the most appropriate search terms to rank your content for.
You can generate these tags easily without needing to know much technical SEO using any one of these free Schema Markup generators .
Learn More About SEO Content Writing
The links below explain more about SEO content writing. Use these resources to expand your knowledge on the subject.
- What Is SEO Writing?
- What Is SEO Content?
- SEO Content Writing Checklist
- SEO Checklist for Blog Posts
- SEO Writing for Beginners
- How to Write SEO Friendly Content
SEO Content Writing Tips & Guidelines Summary
We hope you enjoyed this list of SEO content writing tips.
As you discovered, these SEO writing tips and techniques allow you to better optimize your articles for search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The more you can incorporate these SEO content writing guidelines into your publishing process, the higher keyword rankings and organic search traffic you can achieve for your website.
The Editorial Staff at SEO Chatter is a team of search engine optimization and digital marketing experts led by Stephen Hockman with more than 15 years of experience in search engine marketing. We publish guides on the fundamentals of SEO for beginner marketers.
GatherContent is becoming Content Workflow by Bynder. Read More
SEO content: How and why to develop an effective strategy
GatherContent Contributor, Writer
7 minute read.
Table of contents
How to deliver high quality website content, on time and in budget.
Founder of Lagom Strategy
Creating SEO content is rarely a walk through the park. No wonder 90.63% of pages get no organic traffic .
Are your pages among them? And, if so, do you know why your SEO content isn’t performing as well as it could? A leading reason may be that you don’t have a well-defined SEO content strategy in place.
Sure, you’ve probably looked into ranking factors that can help you improve your SEO game. But you’re probably not taking the action needed to rank in the search engines.
Let’s walk through a 7-step framework for creating a high-performing SEO content strategy. We’ve also included our best SEO content writing tips for you as you create new content.
What is SEO content?
SEO content is content meant to drive organic traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs). Content optimization is a big part of accomplishing that goal. It’s what helps your content rank on page one of Google and, preferably, within the first few organic slots. (That’s where it can be most easily found by our audience.)
However, the kind of content that deserves to rank well isn’t optimized for search engines alone. It also keeps the reader's experience in mind. It answers all audience questions about the target keyword or phrase.
“The kind of content that deserves to rank well isn’t optimized for search engines alone.
It also keeps the reader's experience in mind and answers all audience questions about the target keyword or phrase.”
But why worry about optimizing for your target audience? Isn't it easier to just optimize for a keyword?
In reality, SEO writing and writing for your audience are synonymous. Search engines like Google prioritize satisfying their users. So when your content does that, it ends up ranking well. A win-win.
For instance, when a searcher finds their answer on your page, they are likely to spend more time on your site. This increases your click-through rate and reduces your bounce rate. Both are leading ranking factors so improving them can improve your SEO results.
💡 Learn more: Why SEO is about people, not the search engine
Why is SEO content important?
The obvious answer is that high-ranking SEO content generates website traffic. But traffic is a secondary goal. It often leads to the bigger objective of converting customers or users.
So it’s more accurate to say that SEO content generates relevant, quality website traffic. It helps the people with the most potential of converting to find your website. And this visibility and accessibility boost also has benefits.
For example, say your website constantly shows up in search results for a topic your audience is researching. If your content is engaging and meets their needs, it can boost your credibility (and memorability). Your target audience will begin to see you as an authority, which means more chances to engage and build relationships. Both can lead to sales or other important outcomes in the future.
SEO content types you should consider creating
What types of SEO can you create to enjoy the benefits above? Here are some of the most common SEO-friendly content types:
- Lists. For example: “101 newsletter ideas to try today.”
- Guides. This is in-depth content on a topic that’s spread over multiple pages. Moz’s guide to SEO is a good example of this.
- Articles. These could be interviews, news, or features commonly published by news publications.
- Blog posts. These often target specific keywords or queries and either answer a target audience’s questions or explain processes.
- Infographics. These visualize data and help capture organic traffic of searchers looking for quick answers to their queries.
- Product pages. These offer product descriptions while also serving as landing pages for PPC campaigns.
- Images and slideshows. These could be anything from supplementary and explanatory graphics to a PowerPoint presentation.
- Videos. These could be bite-size clips or long-form videos explaining a topic comprehensively. YouTube is one of the most popular ways of making video content widely discoverable.
7 steps for creating an SEO content strategy
The worst thing you could do is pick one or more of the content types above and start creating. As with your overall marketing efforts, strategy is essential to enjoy the full benefits of SEO content. To make sure you’re doing SEO right, follow these steps.
1. Revisit your audience
To create a successful strategy, you must first know who it’s for.
Start with identifying your target audience. Then, look for common threads across:
- Their pain points, their impact, and their severity
- Their goals or the outcomes they’re after
- The way they speak about the pain points and goals they have
- The solutions they’ve looked into and how they feel about their options
These and other audience details will guide your keyword research and content creation.
2. Identify your goals
Write down your goals for creating SEO content. Do you want to drive organic traffic or do you want more conversions?
According to David Farkas, Founder of The Upper Ranks , your goals can include:
- Obtaining certain rankings for target keywords and especially those that are high priority
- Increasing organic traffic and conversions by a certain percentage within a certain timeframe
- Increasing average time on site and user engagement
As you set goals, though, be sure to look at the big picture. Wins like increased traffic and better rankings are great. But only if they lead to more meaningful outcomes that grow the business or further your cause.
3. Research keywords and validate ideas
Your audience research can be a goldmine of keywords, phrases, and frequently asked questions. Start there.
Jake Peterson, Senior SEO Manager at Go Fish Digital , advises researching variations and questions related to a seed keyword. From there:
Once you have a list of target and secondary keywords, brainstorm content topics. To choose the right topics, you must understand each keyword’s search intent . From there, there are many tools you can use for brainstorming. According to Adam Gingery of Majux Marketing , you can:
For each keyword, also decide the content type. Will it be a guide, a how-to piece, a short-form article, or something else?
4. Audit any existing content
At this point, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the topics you’ll need to cover. But don't start planning new content based only on your keyword research. Before you get ahead of yourself, audit your existing content. Have you already covered a topic surfaced in your recent research? If so, there are four buckets it might fall into.
- In need of minor updates: Especially for a high-priority keyword, is there a piece you could freshen up with new stats or info? Insightful quotes from subject matter experts? Or could you improve writing quality, formatting, or other details?
- In need of major updates: Large updates may include expanding a piece, optimizing for a different intent or audience, or updating your organization’s stance on a topic.
- Able to be merged: You may find that you have several pieces on a topic that overlap significantly. In that case, combine them into one in-depth post. This may make it easier to rank for the keyword with the best traffic and/or conversion potential.
- Able to be deleted: If a piece is too dated, no longer relevant or miles off from your current quality standards, scrap it. Whether you plan to rewrite it or not, it’s better—both for user experience and SEO—for it to be removed from your site.
Taking stock of the content you have helps you use your resources wisely and see results faster. (It’s usually easier and takes less time to update existing content than to create it from scratch). Plus, it keeps existing content from competing with any new pieces you create on the same topic.
5. Create an editorial calendar and content briefs
With your list of target keywords and topics ready, organize them in a publishing schedule. For each topic, add a due date and assign a content writer—whether in-house or freelance.
To ensure writers create high-quality content, provide high-quality content briefs . These should distill information such as:
- The focus keywords and secondary keywords
- The target audience
- Guidelines for search engine optimization
- How each piece of content will meet the audience’s needs and
6. Create a link-building plan
Link-building boosts your site’s domain authority and improves rankings. In fact, creating a comprehensive post on a target keyword and waiting for it to rank naturally is rarely enough—particularly if you have a new site.
The solution? Actively build backlinks to each piece of content. Identify relevant websites that link to others’ content on your target keywords. Then, reach out to them explaining that you offer a better resource that’s worth linking to.
7. Publish and track results
Once you hit publish, review the results.
For example, monitor Google Analytics to understand:
- How much traffic your posts are driving
- How long visitors are staying on the page
- What visitors are clicking on and patterns in the journey across your site
- Which pages convert better
How can you be sure you’re tracking progress the right way, though? Pre-select the metrics you'll monitor based on your goals. Every quarter or so, review progress against these metrics.
Finally, an important piece in the SEO content strategy puzzle. Keep refreshing old, evergreen content.
The Google algorithm loves fresh content and prioritizes it when ranking results. Be sure to add this step to your content marketing workflow .
💡 Learn more: Wrapping search and SEO into your content strategy process
12 tips for SEO content in 2023 and beyond
Here are our 12 best tips for writing SEO content. You’ll see many of them in action across an excellent piece of content from Semrush, which we’ll use as an example.
1. Write for your readers first
For SEO content to do its job, it has to give readers the information they need in a way that’s easy to consume. You must understand readers’ intent so that you can cover the right topics thoroughly.
Second, avoid keyword stuffing. If your content reads like a robot wrote it, readers will be more likely to bounce. This can indirectly have ill effects on your SEO results in the long term. So use your target keyword (and variations of it) naturally .
Stephen continues: “It means going back to basics. Like writing an article about one subject as opposed to targeting multiple keywords simultaneously, which may not even exhibit the same intent. And it means keeping SEOs out of content development, which is how it should be. SEO should support content, not determine it.”
2. Add keywords strategically in your SEO content
We mentioned the importance of using keywords naturally and you should. Yet, if at all possible, aim to include them at least once in each of the following:
- Your H2 headings (or H3s)
- The introduction
- Throughout the content
- The last paragraph
Using keywords strategically helps search engines confirm the topic and depth of your content. This helps them rank your content so that the people you want to find it can find it.
Semrush did this well in its content optimization guide .
You can see the main keyword and a variation of it mentioned in the intro, first H2, and in the body of the content. It’s also mentioned elsewhere in the content but not overused .
3. Create content based on the questions readers have
The key to good SEO content writing is answering all the questions readers have on a given topic. Find these by looking at what searchers are asking about in the People Also Ask section. (You can find this section in Google search results for your target keyword.) Then, answer them thoroughly in your content.
For instance, here are a handful of questions people ask about content optimization.
Now, look at the Table of Contents from Semrush’s content optimization guide.
As you can see, it answers a few questions from the People Also Ask section. These include what content optimization is and why it matters. And the rest of the content takes a deep dive into the keys to content optimization.
4. Structure content for readability
Making it easy for readers to navigate and understand your content is essential. Divide content with subheadings, organize those sections in a logical order and use short paragraphs and sentences.
Additionally, use bullet points where possible and use bolding to highlight key points.
5. Write direct, to-the-point subheadings
Direct subheadings help visitors see at a glance if your content answers their questions. They also improve readability. And, if you frontload main points within your paragraphs, they can help you snag featured snippets on Google.
6. Write keyword-enriched meta descriptions
Write inviting meta descriptions that give readers a reason to click to read your content from the search results. Mention what aspects of a topic your content covers and how the information is beneficial. Also, use action verbs such as “learn,” “dig in,” and “read” to encourage searchers to read.
💡 Tip: Get four conversion copywriting tips to help you write meta descriptions that drive clicks.
Also, include your focus keyword as close to the front of the meta description as possible, along with other relevant terms. To illustrate, Semrush uses the main keyword immediately while also highlighting the importance of optimization. Then, while using other related keywords, it sets the expectation for what readers will learn and encourages them to read the content.
7. Add alt text to all images
Make sure all your images include alt text explaining what’s in the image. These short descriptions make content accessible to a wider range of readers. They also make it easy for Google to understand and rank.
8. Create compelling page titles
Include your target keyword in the page title tag. This will give search engines another cue as to what your content is about, helping them rank it properly in search results.
It’s also important that your headline entices people to read. Answering what’s in it for them can help with this. For example, can you spot the promise in Semrush’s case? It's that the content will be in-depth (since it’s an ultimate guide and includes an infographic).
9. Break text up with visuals
A large part of writing content for SEO involves creating visuals. Why is this so important? Images and other visuals help with readability and ranking. Explanatory visuals such as concept maps further readers’ understanding of a topic.
They break up text, support learning, and keep visitors on-site longer. Plus, other sites may feature your images and link back to your content. More backlinks can boost your search engine rankings.
10. Write short URLs
Keep your URLs simple and as short as possible. Rather than using your whole headline, use your focus keyword as the URL slug.
But it’s worth mentioning that, if your target keyword includes words like “the” or “a,” you can remove them. And, in some cases, you can also add words as needed. For example, Semrush’s URL adds the word “guide” even though the main keyword is just “content optimization.”
11. Add transcripts to all video content
Do you produce video content? Add transcripts to the videos as you upload them. They tell search engines like Google what was said in your video. This can help the content rank for relevant search queries.
12. Add internal links to your content
Linking to related pieces of content on your website has a couple of benefits. It:
- Helps and educates your audience, giving them the info they need. It also keeps them on-site longer and promotes engagement. All of this can be good for your SEO and help you earn your audience’s trust.
- Shows search engines the extent to which you cover relevant topics. The more thoroughly you cover industry topics (via high-quality SEO content), the more authoritative your website seems. In turn, the higher search engines may be willing to rank your pages.
Create SEO content that works
With that, we’ve reached the end. You now have the know-how to create a solid SEO content strategy and write content that ranks. All that’s left is to put that knowledge into action consistently.
On the consistency front, GatherContent is an invaluable tool. It can help with:
- Creating your publishing schedule and managing your content calendar
- Briefing in-house or freelance SEO content writers on individual content pieces
- Maintaining your standards for optimization and style thanks to content templates and embedded style guidelines
And those are just a few of the features loved by the more than 2,000 businesses that use our platform.
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SEO Content Writing: 10 Tips for Creating Competitive Content
- Circe Galanternik
- August 12, 2022
Table of Contents
It’s no secret that Google loves quality content. But regardless of how relevant and informative your content is, you’ll need to have a solid on-page SEO strategy to succeed.
Search engines value “well-written content”, but they also consider numerous other aspects of content optimization. In a sense, informative, well-written content is just a baseline to optimize upon.
In this post, we’ll share key SEO copywriting tips that will help you produce content that both users and Google will love.
- What is SEO content writing
- Why SEO content writing matters
- 10 key tips for SEO content writing that drives results
Ready? Let’s dive in.
What Is Writing Content for SEO About?
SEO writing is the process of planning, creating, and optimizing content with the main goal of getting it to rank on Google organically.
The meaning given to “SEO writing” may vary on a case-by-case basis. Some marketers choose a black hat approach and think of content written for SEO as low-value, keyword-filled material that should be produced at scale. Others use SEO as a means to understand audience interests and pain points and target them directly through their content.
Needless to say, the second approach garners more results than the first one. But, what would these results look like?
Let ‘s take a look.
Why SEO-Optimized Content Matters
Content is extremely important for SEO. In fact, without an SEO content strategy, your website is unlikely to attract organic traffic. But why is that? Why is optimized content so important?
- Your content provides the minimum information search engines need for indexing and ranking your pages. It’s the foundation for everything else. By scanning through your content, search engine bots figure out your website’s topics and get some sense of its value. Ultimately, your reputation in the eyes of Google depends on your content’s quality.
- Long-term escalation in the SERPs . SEO-optimized content increases visibility and boosts SERP positioning organically. Unlike Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns, content SEO efforts have the potential to escalate in the SERPs over time without intensive investment.
- User experience . The user experience plays a significant role in Google’s ranking system. And relevant content is the cornerstone of a good user experience.
Now let’s move on to some tips.
10 Simple But Essential Tips For SEO Content Writing
We’ve already covered what SEO content writing is and how it impacts your digital strategy. Now it’s time to go beyond the basics, with some essential tips that will help you create better SEO content for your blog .
Let ‘s dive in.
Develop a Strong Research & Ideation Process
Keep an eye on what your peers and competitors are writing about. Build a repository of interesting articles, news, and videos that are relevant to your brand’s content goals. You can then plan your content calendar inspired by trends and ongoing conversations.
Your content planning shouldn’t only include keyword research , we also recommend you:
- Set a clear goal for each content piece
- Understand how each blog post addresses user pain points or goals
- Create content for different stages of your users’ journey
Use Keywords Strategically
Search engines and users determine the relevance of your content based on keywords. Therefore, always bear in mind:
- The user’s search intent . The right keyword choice depends on understanding a user’s motivation. Do they intend to buy a product? Are they looking for a quick solution to a problem? Are they seeking information that will help them achieve a long-term goal?
- Your competitors’ top keywords . Analyzing your competitors’ top-ranked keywords can help you create a strategy to beat them. You may also discover content gaps and untapped opportunities.
- Keywords should be relevant to your business . Your keywords’ search intent should be aligned with the problems your business solves. For example, for us at SEORadar, the keyword “what is organic positioning” works better than “what is organic market growth”.
- Long-tail keywords . Despite their lower search volumes, ranking for long tail keywords is easy, as they are less competitive than shorter keywords. Additionally, since they’re so specific, these types of keywords can bring you very qualified traffic.
- Your most successful keywords . Identify your most successful content and keep it updated . Don’t try to target the same keyword on another piece, as that could result in cannibalization.
- There is no substitute for a great reading experience . Forcing keywords into your content will only make it look artificial and unreadable. Add keywords only when they make sense contextually.
Optimize Your Headings
Headings are key for search engines to understand what your content is about and classify it accordingly.
Here are some tips to optimize them:
- Maintain a hierarchy . Use headings to give your post a sense of structure.
- Avoid using multiple H1 tags on a single page . Content should only have one main title, marked as an H1 tag.
- Multiple H2, H3, and H4 tags are acceptable and considered good practice , but don’t overdo them. Keywordy subtitles are unlikely to affect your ranking.
Remember that You Are Writing for Humans
Google’s algorithms now detect user intent more accurately to deliver relevant search results. If you want your content to rank for relevant terms and increase its visibility, we recommend you:
- Respond to search queries directly
- Avoid plagiarized content
- Avoid saturating your page with paid advertising
- Consider semantic searches, don’t just focus on putting particular words in a particular order
- Based on search intent, provide answers that match what your user’s looking to find
- Design buyer personas and use them as a reference during content ideation
- Write in a tone that matches your target users’ desires, motivations, pain points, and interests
Write Compelling and Informative Titles & Meta Descriptions
Your meta title and meta description can affect whether users choose your site out of thousands of search results. Hence, bad titles and meta descriptions can severely impact your organic traffic.
Your metatags should be catchy and incorporate your target keyword. Particularly, your meta descriptions should be eye-catching while remaining honest and informative.
Some good practices are:
- Incorporating a teaser. “We tested the new X game updates: they’re groundbreaking” .
- Making sure your core offer is in the title . For example, “How to find cheap flights” .
- Being extremely clear about your competitive advantage . For example, “Here’s our list of the best 4 video game consoles for 2023 and where to buy them at incredible prices” .
Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets
If your content is accurate and valuable, you have high chances of getting featured in Google’s answer boxes.
Simply answer the search query’s question concisely, using your target keyword. For example, here’s the featured snippet for “how to screenshot on iphone 13” :
Aside from the content’s directness and usefulness, there’s something important we can’t overlook. This featured snippet comes from Apple’s website.
There are some cases where it’s almost impossible to compete for a featured snippet. This is one of them, it’s unlikely that you’ll beat Apple for this query because they’re in an authoritative position. Their content’s very clear, and they’re the ones who designed and produced the iPhone 13.
Aside from these cases, you may also find it hard to get snippets for financial, legal, and medical keywords. Official websites are bound to outperform, due to Google’s “Your Money or Your Life” rules.
Include Visual Content (and Add Alt Tags)
Add alternative text to all the images you include in your post. By using this method, search engines will understand what that image is about, and index it accordingly. In fact, adding alt text is key for ranking on Google Images. But here’s the trick: your alt text shouldn’t be keywordy or vague. It should be informative and contextual.
You can learn more about how to write proper alt tags in our SEO & UX guide .
Link to Valuable Resources
Add links pointing to other posts on your site. That will have two effects:
- It’ll help Google understand how your content relates to each other
- Readers interested in a particular subtopic will find it useful
The results of proper internal linking may be:
- Higher time-on-page
- Reduced bounce rates
- More conversions
- Higher SERP positioning
But you shouldn’t only link to other posts on your site. Including links to reputable websites will give readers more reading material and show search engines that you did your research.
Write Long Posts and Write Frequently
At some point or another, all content writers wish there was a precise word count that Google favors. As we explored when answering the most common blogging questions , this number doesn’t exist.
But one thing’s for sure: Search engines like Google prefer information-filled blog posts starting at 1,500 words. But most content strategies don’t begin to show results when a blog hits a number of words, but when it hits a number of published posts. The more content you have on your page, the more clues search engines will have to learn what your blog is about. Hence, the best word count is whichever allows you to post good content consistently.
However, lengthy posts can be overwhelming and boring for readers. This is why it’s vital to make your post easy to scan. Break them up into easy-to-read chunks by using:
- Illustrative images and infographics
Optimize Your Media
Images and videos make your posts easier to navigate and help you deliver more value to your users. However, when adding them to your content, consider that Google rewards pages that load fast and heavy images or videos are one of the main causes of page lag .
Luckily, there are free apps and WordPress plugins that compress images without sacrificing quality.
Aside from compressing your images, remember to:
- Serve your images in modern formats
- Host your videos on third-party platforms (such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Loom)
- Implement lazy loading
There’s More to SEO than Meets the Eye
In this post, we shared some of our favorite SEO content writing tips. But SEO isn’t just about quality content. Your website’s code can significantly affect your ranking – even when it comes to elements that the user doesn’t see, such as metatags and HTTP headers.
But monitoring your website’s code can range from tedious to impossible, especially if you have hundreds of URLs. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
SEORadar automatically monitors your website’s code and content and notifies you of any changes that could affect your ranking. Notifications are sent instantly, based on your priorities, through your preferred communication channels.
Let us be your ally for technical SEO at scale. Interested? Start a free trial or schedule a demo today.
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The Basics Of SEO Content Writing: What You NEED To Know
SEO Content Writing is an essential skill for content creators and marketers alike. Knowing what is SEO content and how to write SEO content effectively can help you maximize your reach, increase visibility, and ensure that the right people see your content you must know what is seo writing. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of SEO Content Writing, 10 must-follow rules, and how you can use SEO to improve your writing. Keep reading to learn more about the basics of SEO writing!
What is SEO Content Writing?
SEO Content Writing is creating informative and keyword-rich content to improve your chances of ranking high in search engine results pages (SERPs). In other words, writing SEO content is about creating content designed to appeal to search engines and human readers.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing for SEO is continually writing for your audience first and foremost. That means creating content that is interesting, informative, and useful. However, you must also ensure that your content includes the keywords and phrases your target audience is searching for.
To strike the perfect balance between appealing to search engines and human readers, it’s important to remember a few essential tips:
– Use keyword-rich titles that accurately reflect the contents of your article – Use keywords throughout your article, but don’t overdo it or stuff your articles with too many keywords – Create naturally flowing content that reads well and sounds natural – Avoid “keyword stuffing” or other black hat SEO tactics that will get you penalized by search engines
By following these tips, you can create content that will help improve your website’s visibility in SERPs without sacrificing the quality of your writing.
The Basics of SEO Content Writing
SEO Content Writing is all about creating content that is both keywords rich and informative. To do this, you must understand SEO writing basics, how to research keywords and use them effectively in your content. It would help if you also were sure that your content is well-written and engaging so that readers will want to stay on your page and keep coming back for more.
How SEO Services Can Help Your Business Grow
Here are a few tips for effective SEO Content Writing:
1. Do your keyword research . This is the most crucial step in the SEO Content Writing process. It would help if you took the time to find what keywords your target audience is searching for and then incorporate them into your content. You can use several tools to help with keyword research, such as Google AdWords, Keyword Planner, and Wordtracker.
2. Use keywords throughout your content. Once you have identified some relevant keywords, use them throughout your content and write SEO content, including in the title, headings, and body text. However, don’t overdo it – too many keywords will make your content sound unnatural and could penalize you by search engines.
3. Write for humans first, search engines second. It’s important to remember that, ultimately, you are writing for human readers, not search engines. So while it’s important to include relevant keywords in your content, don’t sacrifice readability or quality in the process. Write informative and engaging content that will keep readers coming.
These are some most common SEO basics for content writing and can be your answer to, the basics of content writing, and how to write SEO rich content!
10 Must-Follow SEO Content Writing Rules
If you want your content to rank on search engines and drive traffic to your website, you need to follow some basic SEO Content Writing rules. Here are 10 of the most important ones in content writing in SEO for writers:
Write for your audience first and search engines second
Regarding writing SEO content, it’s important to remember that your audience should always come first. Should write your content in a way that is easy for them to understand and engage with. Search engines are important, but it won’t matter how well it ranks if your content isn’t engaging or relevant.
Keep your content keyword-rich but also natural sounding.
If you stuff your content full of keywords, you will not only turn off your readers but also get penalized by Google. Instead, focus on using keywords naturally throughout your content.
Make sure your headlines are catchy and pack a punch.
Make sure your headlines are catchy and pack a punch. People shouldn’t have to guess what your article is about – they should be able to think about what to expect from it.
Structure your articles with subheadings and bullet points.
It’s essential to structure your articles with subheadings and bullet points to make them more scannable for readers. This will also help search engines understand the topic of your report and index it accordingly.
Use images, infographics and videos to break up your text.
Including images, infographics and videos in your article will also help break up the text and make it more visually appealing. This can help keep readers engaged and improve the overall user experience.
Optimize your title tags and meta descriptions for better click-through rates.
Optimize your title tags and meta descriptions for better click-through rates. keep it in mind that your title tags and meta descriptions are interesting and informative, as they are what will appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Promote your content on social media and other channels.
As a small business owner, you’re always looking for new and innovative ways to promote your content and engage with your target audience. Social media channels offer a great way to do this, and by following a few simple SEO Content Writing rules, you can ensure that the broadest possible audience sees your content.
Link to other relevant articles on your website to improve internal linking.
When it comes to writing SEO content, the most important thing you can do is ensure your articles are well-linked. By linking to other relevant articles on your website, you can help improve your site’s internal linking and make it easier for search engines to find and index your content. In addition to improving your site’s SEO, linking to other articles can also help improve the overall user experience.
Monitor your analytics to see what’s working and adjust accordingly.
It’s essential to stay up-to-date on your website’s analytics to see what content is performing well and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. By monitoring your analytics, you can determine which keywords and phrases are bringing traffic to your site, what content is popular with your audience, and what changes you need to make to keep your website ranking high in search results.
Regularly update your website with fresh content.
It’s no secret that fresh content is key to a successful website. Not only does it keep visitors coming back for more, but it also helps to boost your search engine ranking.
Writing content for SEO is essential if you want your content to be seen by the broadest possible audience. By honing your SEO skills, you can create valuable and helpful content to attract readers and keep them interested. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced writer, understanding the basics of SEO Content Writing can help you get more traffic for your website or blog. With practice and dedication, anyone can become a proficient SEO writer!
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- March 22, 2023
SEO Writing (Rules, Tips & Best Practices for 2023)
In the ever-evolving world of online content, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) writing is a crucial skill to master.
As search engines become increasingly sophisticated and writing trends constantly evolve, it’s important to keep up with the latest SEO writing practices if you want to stay relevant.
Effective SEO writing involves optimizing your content to rank higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), drive traffic to your website, and increase your online visibility.
To achieve this, you need to focus on creating high-quality content that is relevant to your audience, incorporating targeted keywords, and making use of proper formatting techniques.
That’s why, in this article, we will explore the essential rules, tips, and best practices for SEO writing in 2023, helping you stay ahead of the competition and maximize the impact of your online content.
What Is SEO Writing?
SEO writing focuses on creating content that’s optimized for Google and other search engines. Its primary goal is to rank content on the first page of search results for specific keywords. That way, when your target audience searches for relevant terms in your niche, they are more likely to click on your website and discover what you have to offer.
However, creating content that ranks high on search engines is easier said than done, because there is so much competition. To do it, you need to find the most relevant and popular keywords in your niche and create quality content that both informs and entertains your readers.
But how does Google determine whether your content is good or not?
Google and other search engines use algorithms that go through your website and determine whether your content is good or not. These algorithms analyze relevant keywords, content length, authority, readability, and other factors to determine where to rank your content.
If you don’t use SEO writing, these algorithms may not be able to understand what your content is about, which will result in lower rankings.
Why is Writing Important for SEO?
Search engines like Google want to provide the best possible experience for their users. That’s why they display the most relevant, engaging, and quality content at the top of search results.
And that’s where good writing comes in.
Well-written, engaging, informative, and search engine-friendly content helps you rank on the first page of search results and improve your website’s visibility. After all, who looks beyond the first page when searching for something on Google?
According to a study done by Backlinko , almost nobody, as only 0.63% of people will click on a website that’s on the second page of Google.
But that’s not all.
Where you rank on the first page matters as well. The same study discovered that the first result gets 27.6% of all clicks, and the number goes down with each spot. The last search result on the first page of Google receives ten times fewer clicks than the first result.
So, if you want your website to be as high as possible on Google’s search results, SEO writing is one of the best ways to do that.
SEO writing is also a vital component of SEO strategies like content marketing and link building. By creating quality content, you can attract valuable backlinks to your website, which helps improve your authority and search engine rankings.
In addition, SEO writing is a go-to strategy for many marketing experts because it is inexpensive, great for attracting organic traffic to your website, and has long-term potential.
Basics of SEO Writing
Although there is no magic formula that guarantees a number one spot on SERPs, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of ranking high.
One of the most important things for SEO writing is to find popular keywords in your niche and use them to create content. Keywords are words and phrases people type into the search box when looking for information in your niche.
Let’s say you’re in the career development niche and want to create content for a popular keyword, such as “how to make a resume.” You want to add the keyword in the title, i in your subheadings, and naturally, sprinkle it throughout the article. In addition, you want to use other keyword variations to help search engines understand what your content is about.
But SEO writing is not just about keywords.
You also need to create content that provides valuable information and satisfies the user’s search intent. If you stuff your page with relevant keywords but don’t create quality content, search engines and readers will be able to tell. In turn, readers will leave your page, and this will hurt your rankings.
One of the ways to create quality content is to improve its structure. You can do that by using headers and subheaders to break up your content into easy-to-scan sections. In addition, you want to ensure that your content flows logically and that your readers can gain real value from it.
If you’re trying to get good at SEO writing, you must also pay attention to readability. That means using shorter sentences and paragraphs, avoiding technical and overly complicated terms, and writing in easy-to-read and conversational language.
Lastly, you should use plenty of formatting elements like bullet points and numbered lists to make your content more visually appealing.
6 Essential SEO Writing Rules
SEO writing can help you rank better on search engines and attract more organic traffic to your website. But if you don’t do it the right way, you won’t see any results. Here are some of the essential SEO writing rules and tips for creating better content:
#1. Write for Humans
Writing for search engines may help you climb the SERPs in the first place, but it’s people who are actually going to read it (unless you’re writing for robots, in which case you can ignore this advice).
Writing exclusively for search engines is like preparing a meal while only focusing on nutritional value. Sure, a nutritious formulation of ingredients would be enough to fuel your body, but it lacks flavor and punch that feeds your soul like a gourmet meal. So, it’s not only about nutrition. It’s about the warm atmosphere, enticing smells, unique textures, and delicious ingredients combined in a beautiful presentation that creates a memorable experience.
It’s the same with SEO writing. You want to satisfy search engines, but you also want to create content that’s engaging, thought-provoking, and impactful on your readers. That way, you can cook up some content that’s more appealing to the human palate and leave your readers hungry for more.
#2. Consider Google’s Algorithm
Google is the largest search engine, and it’s essential to understand how it works if you want to write better content. According to Backlinko, there are over 200 different factors that affect how your content ranks . The most important ones include content quality, uniqueness, backlinks, domain authority, keyword usage, and optimization for RankBrain.
RankBrain is Google’s machine learning algorithm that helps deliver more relevant and personalized results to people typing into the Google search box. It analyzes content quality, freshness, uniqueness, keywords, backlinks, and other factors to come up with the best results.
Google confirmed that RankBrain was among the top three ranking factors in 2016. And although a lot has changed since then, RankBrain still remains vital for SEO. That’s why you need to optimize your content for this algorithm if you want to rank.
#3. Perform Keyword Research
Before you start writing, you need to perform keyword research and identify the most relevant keywords in your niche to base your content around. Keyword research is kind of like doing detective work. You need to figure out what your potential audience is searching for and use that information to optimize your content. And just like any good detective, you need a few tools and tricks to solve the case.
The most popular keyword research tools include Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Moz Keyword Planner. These tools can help you get a list of potential keywords and important stats.
Then you need to analyze factors like relevance, search volume, and competition to find the best keywords and help your content rank higher.
#4. Make Your Content Unique
Search engines penalize plagiarized content, so it’s crucial to be original when writing. If you copy text from another website, search engines may mark it as spam and penalize you. This hurts your ranking and your reputation.
If you want to outsmart your competitors, you also need to create content that’s more original and valuable than what’s ranking on the first page. That way, Google will reward you for unique content and boost your search result ranking.
Long story short, if you just copy what your competitors are doing, you don’t stand a chance of landing on the first page of search results.
#5. Link to High-Authority Websites
You should use citations and external links to point your readers to credible sources where they can find evidence for your claims or more materials about the topic in hand. In addition, linking to high-quality websites shows search engines that you have thoroughly researched and understood the topic.
That way, you associate your content with authoritative sources and gain credibility in the eyes of search engines.
Most importantly, when you link to helpful information on other websites, you improve your readers’ overall experience. That will make them trust you more and return to your website when they need more information about similar topics.
#6. Create Longer Content
We are bombarded with information from all sides, and our attention spans seem to be getting shorter. However, Google actually prefers long-form, in-depth content.
The average first-page result contains 1,447 words, according to Backlinko . Long-form content became even more important after the latest Google algorithm update, which rewards longer, more informative content.
This makes sense since the longer the content, the more chance Google and other search engines have to figure out what it is about. However, long-form content can also overwhelm your readers. That’s why it is vital to use easy-to-understand language and break up your articles into smaller chunks.
To make your content more visually appealing, you need to use headers, subheaders, bullet points, and numbered lists. In addition, it’s important to keep your paragraphs between one and three sentences to avoid those frustrating walls of text.
7 Tips to Improve Your SEO Writing
Want to take your SEO writing to the next level? We’ve got your back.
This list of actionable tips will help you identify the best strategies to step up your SEO game and launch your content to the top of SERPs.
#1. Follow SEO Trends
Search engine algorithms are constantly changing and getting better at recognizing quality content. As a result, SEO techniques and trends are continually evolving to keep up with these changes.
That’s why you need to keep an eye out for what’s happening in the SEO world and learn about the latest developments. Doing this can help you adapt your strategies and stay ahead of the curve.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a tech wizard to keep up with the latest SEO trends. Simply do a little research from time to time and learn more about the new algorithm changes. Keep an open mind, as the willingness to adapt can help you gain an advantage over your competition and position yourself as an authority in the industry.
#2. Measure Results
Measuring results is the best way to figure out what’s working and what isn’t.
If you don’t keep track of your results, you’re essentially deciding to operate with a blindfold. You won’t be able to get valuable insights and ensure your SEO writing campaign is successful.
So, if you don’t want to leave the success of your SEO campaign up to luck, it’s vital to start tracking results.
To track SEO results, you can use tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to monitor a website’s traffic, keyword performance, search engine rankings, and other relevant factors. That way, you can see how each piece of content performs and adjust your SEO strategy to improve online visibility.
After all, making data-driven decisions is the cornerstone of any successful business.
#3. Create Engaging Content
We’ve already mentioned that creating engaging content is one of the most important aspects of SEO writing. But we want to make sure that this point is clear. After all, even Google warns people to avoid creating search engine-first content and focus on people-first content.
So, what does Google mean by that?
In a nutshell, your focus should be on creating exciting content that provides value to the readers. Sure, keywords and all that other SEO stuff are important, but remember that your main goal is to provide a pleasant, reader-friendly experience.
Engaging content will keep the visitors on your website for longer, which signals that your content is good. In addition, people are more likely to share engaging content on social media and link to it, which affects your trustworthiness and search engine rankings.
#4. Add Meta Descriptions and Alt Text to Images
Meta descriptions are short blocks of text that closely describe what the content on the page is about. They help your readers and search engines better understand and rank your content. But for some reason, many SEO writers fail to take advantage of meta descriptions.
Writing a short and informative meta description that contains your target keyword can help your content get more exposure.
Meanwhile, an alt text is a short description of an image on your web page. Just like with meta descriptions, alt text helps search engines better understand your content. That’s why it is crucial to be as descriptive as possible and include your target keyword there as well.
#5. Understand the Basics of SEO
SEO requires understanding search engine algorithms, online marketing strategies, and user behavior. This complexity and consistent changing of the rules can make people feel intimidated by SEO.
After all, with so many factors affecting search engine rankings, it’s easy to think there’s no way to keep track of them.
Luckily, you don’t need to know everything.
The only thing you need to understand is the essence of SEO – optimizing content to rank better on search engines in order to bring more visitors to your website and increase your visibility.
Once you understand this and master the basics of SEO, it will be easier to build on it and eventually pay more attention to details.
#6. Use Outlines
When it comes to SEO writing, it’s important to create content that satisfies the reader and meets the requirements of search engines. To do that, your content needs to be better than what your competitors have to offer, it needs to provide real value to the reader, and tick all the SEO boxes.
Having an outline can be a game-changer for achieving all three of these objectives.
Outlines help writers stay within a topic, divide content into smaller, scannable sections, and satisfy user intent.
In addition, if you’re outsourcing content creation to freelance SEO writers, providing them with a clear outline helps them focus on meeting the specific search intent for the targeted keyword, instead of writing random content.
#7. Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets
Featured Snippets are short snippets of text that appear on the top of Google’s search results. Their goal is to provide an immediate answer to a search query, improving user experience.
Google pulls the information for Featured Snippets directly from websites, so it’s important to optimize your content if you want to be featured. After all, it is a unique opportunity to reach “position 0”, which is what many SEO experts call Featured Snippets, which appear even above the first results. That’s why Featured Snippets attract a lot of organic traffic.
To optimize your content for Featured Snippets, you need to find keywords that already have Featured Snippets and try to create better alternatives. Keep the text between 40 to 60 words, and make sure your content is accurate, informative, and concise.
7 Best SEO Writing Practices
Getting familiar with the best SEO writing practices helps you rank better on Google and other search engines. The truth is that there’s tons of outdated SEO advice on the internet. That can make it hard for a beginner to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Here’s some expert-vetted advice to improve your SEO writing:
#1. Keep Both Humans and Search Engines in Mind
Good SEO writing requires a delicate balance between satisfying the needs of both search engines and humans. That’s why it is equally important to incorporate keywords, optimize your content for search engines, and provide value and entertainment to your readers.
You need to remember that it’s humans who read your content and buy your products or services. Search engine optimization helps you rank better and drive more traffic to your website, but content quality is what seals the deal.
The bottom line is – you need to find a way to satisfy both search engines and humans. When you hit that sweet spot, your SEO campaigns will become a lot more successful.
#2. Write Attention-Grabbing Headlines
Even if you manage to rank on the first page of search results, you still need to make people click on your website instead of the others. One way to do this is to create attention-grabbing headlines that provoke curiosity and make people want to read more.
After all, your headline is the first point of contact between you and your target audience. And you want to make a good first impression if you want to earn that click.
In addition, headlines inform search engines about the topic of your content, which, in turn, helps them determine how – and where – to rank it.
A good headline should give readers and search engines a solid idea of what the page is about while still keeping a little mystery. The best way to do this is to keep your headlines short and to the point.
However, if your goal is more social media engagement, a Backlinko study suggests a different approach, as longer headlines (14-17 words) generate 76.7% more shares.
#3. Add Images and Videos
Humans are visual creatures, and adding images and videos to your written content is a great way to make it more interesting and aesthetically pleasing. Text-only content, on the other hand, may appear boring or even overwhelming, which is why people are less likely to read it than content with images.
Today, it’s relatively easy to find the right images for your content. You can choose between creating original images, searching one of many stock websites, or using AI tools to create something new. Just make sure to compress the images to ensure a fast page loading speed.
People today are also watching more videos than ever before. According to a HubSpot report , 66% of people watch video content to learn more about brands and products. So, incorporating a video in your blog post can be an excellent way to get your point across and spread more awareness about your brand.
#4. Take Advantage of Social Media
The number one goal of SEO writing is to make your website more visible on search engines. However, you can also take advantage of other platforms to achieve that. For example, shares and engagement on social media can boost your content’s momentum and affect search engine rankings.
Here’s why social media exposure is so important…
There were over 302 million social media users in the US in 2022, according to Statista . Over 84% of people in the US are active on at least one social media network. So, if you want to reach your target audience, you can easily do so by taking advantage of social media.
#5. Ask Experts for Help
Mastering SEO writing is quite a challenging task that requires a lot of time and effort. If you’re not ready for this step, but want to see better SEO results, hiring an expert is the best approach. You can hire freelance SEO writers or agencies to help you identify the right strategy for your website.
There is no unique formula for SEO writing that produces results in 100% of cases. That’s why hiring a team of experts is a good idea, as they know proven ways to help you rank fast. SEO writing experts can create an optimized content production strategy that aligns with your goals and handle all the heavy lifting.
SEO writers also bring knowledge and creativity that gives you a competitive edge and allows your business to stay ahead of the competition.
#6. Structure Your Posts
No matter how good your SEO writing is, most website visitors won’t read your content from start to finish. The majority scans your content to find specific information or a solution to their problem.
That’s why it is crucial to ensure your posts are easy to scan and structured in a way that allows your readers to find the information they’re looking for right away. Otherwise, they’ll just look for a different website where they can easily find what they need.
To structure your content, you should use headlines, subheadings, bulleted lists, tables, and other elements to improve readability and make your content easy to scan.
#7. Do Internal Linking
Linking to other posts on your website is important for two reasons. First, it helps search engines create an accurate sitemap of your website and understand the importance of each page. The second reason is that internal linking helps your readers discover more of your content, which keeps them engaged on your website. This increases your chances of converting them into loyal customers.
When a reader clicks on another page on your website and spends time reading different pieces of your content, it sends a signal to search engines that you are doing something right. In addition, it increases your authority and trustworthiness among your readers.
An important thing to remember when linking to your pages is to keep the anchor text natural. Use descriptive text, and let the reader know exactly where the link will take them. In addition, you should only link to pages that are relevant to the content of that webpage.
That’s a wrap on the most important SEO writing rules, tips, and tricks for 2023.
We hope this detailed list has helped you learn the importance of SEO writing and what you need to do to get more organic traffic.
If you want to learn more about SEO writing and related topics, make sure to visit our blog , where you’ll find detailed insights into everything SEO-related.
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19 SEO Content Writing Tips: Create Copy Users Love
Now more than ever, searchers expect more: more relevant results, accuracy, quality content, and definitive answers to their queries.
As a result, creating well-thought-out content that is optimized for the end user has never been more important . (In fact, offering the end user a good experience should always be your goal in SEO; we call it search experience optimization .)
The SEO content writing tips below will help content writers create relevant, meaningful content to improve search visibility on the SERP and create a trustworthy relationship with searchers in the process.
Table of Contents:
What is seo content writing , challenges when creating seo content, essential seo content writing tips and techniques by category, conduct thorough research.
Cover the Topic with Authority
Bonus: AI-Driven Content Insights
Implement optimization tweaks, analyze, track, and report .
SEO writing is a branch of copywriting that focuses on prioritizing the experience of an organic visitor. To achieve this, the copy must be relevant to the keywords or search phrases a person has searched for and matches their search intent appropriately.
But SEO writing involves more than just adding a handful of keywords to the copy. In fact, the work on SEO content begins far before any words have been written. SEO writers must consider who is searching for this information and why, and leverage that in the writing process.
It doesn’t even consider the latest updates to the search algorithms, because those factors will catch up to quality SEO writing, not the other way around. Overall, quality SEO content writing is built for the long term and focuses on the searchers' experience.
These tips cover 19 ways SEO copywriting is different than how a traditional copywriter might approach the content.
With so much content and the rise of content chaos — an overwhelming quantity of content that every content creator tries to break through — the competition to capture the user’s click has skyrocketed as the end users are more careful in their choice.
Recommended Reading: 8 Tricks to Creating Engaging Content
Search queries have also become increasingly more complex, and meeting those queries with well-optimized, thought-out content is the only way to attract users to your site.
But human search behavior isn’t the only thing that has evolved — search engines are smart . Look at Google’s RankBrain and BERT updates which allow the search engine to have a semantic understanding of search queries instead of simply the explicit phrase match.
And with the rise of generative AI, search engines are becoming even more intelligent and personalized as they roll out chat-style search such as Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) or Bing's recent integration with OpenAI .
Recommended Reading : 4 Ways ChatGPT Impacts Enterprise SEO
We created this list largely based on our own content creation and optimization process at seoClarity. You’ll notice that all the tips have been categorized into four categories: research, authority, optimization, and analysis.
Think of this list as the “must-do's” in order to provide value to your users and demonstrate your authority — it’s what you can do to one-up your content from that which already ranks on the SERP.
#1. Target a Keyword / Topic
The first tip to create SEO content is to conduct proper keyword research . It’s okay to brainstorm general keywords and ideas, but be sure to settle on at least one specific keyword before you write your content.
As we’ve seen, the SERP and search engines are smart and specific, so a slight variance in the search query can completely change the results page.
It's amazing how the intent of a query may change in the search engine's ranking results even with a simple change of the plural version of the word. Test balloon vs. balloons to see what I mean. See tip #6 below for more on this.
Also, pay attention to the topic cluster you’re writing for. When you create a piece of content to cover a topic from all angles (and interlink those assets) it boosts your topical authority. (More on this in tip #7: Topic Clusters .)
#2. Know Who Your Audience Is
Before creating content, content writers should have a strong understanding of their audience.
Your content should always relate to your target audience in some way — address and appeal to their worries, passions, interests, etc. If you can’t show that you know what your audience wants, they won’t read your content.
#3. Review Top Ranked Content on the SERP
Known as the “skyscraper” technique, this research method involves reading other top ranked content for the topic that you want to cover. This process allows you to discover what other people are saying, and fill in the blanks for your own content.
This is in no way an excuse to plagiarize content, but rather ensure you’re covering the topic from all angles. When you move on to the actual content writing, you’ll want to make your content better than this existing top ranked content. Maybe you can give newer information, or you have more relevant statistics to offer.
When you create a piece of content that covers everything that ranking content does and then some, you’ll be seen as an authority. This means you have a better chance of earning backlinks to your content, too.
Recommended Reading: SEO Content Writing Guide to Creating Authoritative Content
#4. Build Credibility
Strengthen your content by adding statistics, research or credible quotes. These features back up your idea and show that you’ve worked hard to offer the reader a relevant, positive experience.
They also show the concept you’ve written about is based in fact and authority. Essentially, you want to prove value and show why someone should read this piece of content.
#5. Build on the Content You Already Have
Be sure you’re familiar with your existing content — there’s no need to reinvent the wheel and create separate content for a topic that you’ve already covered. If you do, you can get caught up in “keyword cannibalization.”
Keyword cannibalization is where you have multiple pieces of content that are all optimized for the same keyword. This not only confuses Google and the end user, but it also damages your rankings, as you’re essentially combating against yourself for a position on the SERP.
For any search query, Google now only includes two listings from one site. Because of this, we recommend that content marketers build upon the content they already have to strengthen it even further. By updating existing content, you don’t have to start new content from scratch which saves time and prevents unintentional keyword cannibalization .
Cover the Topic with Authority
#6. target the right intent.
As mentioned above, Google has become increasingly advanced in its ability to decipher a search query. This also means that the search engine understands the user intent behind a searcher’s query, and tailors the SERP to the appropriate intent.
There are four kinds of intent that all searchers can be categorized as: informational, transactional, navigational, and local. The layout of the SERP can alert you of the type of intent behind a search.
The reason this is so important for your SEO content writing is because Google wants to present the end users with relevant information (i.e. information that matches their intent).
If, for example, a query has an underlying informational but you’ve created a transactional page around that keyword, you simply won’t rank. That content doesn’t give the user the information they’re seeking, and Google’s only concern is pleasing the end user.
#7. Topic Clusters
Topic clusters strengthen your topical authority on a subject because they ensure that you cover a topic from all angles. This doesn’t mean that a single page can’t cover multiple topics, but it’s to say that the more varying content you have centered around that topic, the stronger your authority will be.
Content marketers really need to cover a topic from different angles.
#8. Content Type
Be sure to create the right content type for the right type of message. This is again in reference to the search intent, but also creating the right type of content for your specific messages.
While a blog post is great for informational purposes, a product page is better suited for listing actual products that users can buy. And although written text may seem the most well-suited, consider creating video-based content to attract users as well.
#9. Focus on Semantically Related Keywords
Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing in an attempt to move to the top of the SERP. This practice doesn’t offer a positive user experience as it offers little chance for the user to really pull meaningful insights from the content.
Instead of this outdated practice, focus on including semantically related keywords in your connect that relate to the concept of your target keyword.
For example, if you write a piece of content on engagement rings, you want to talk about things like diamonds, heart-cut, carats, etc. All of these keywords relate to that central idea of engagement rings.
This also brings more authority to your content from the users perspective as you will likely introduce new concepts or other ideas that haven’t yet been considered.
#10. Consider What Makes Your Content Link-Worthy
Exceptional content won’t only give your readers a good user experience, it will also cause other websites to link to your site as a reference. Receiving backlinks is a huge indicator of a website’s authority, and a ranking factor for the Google SERP .
Consider content ideas that attract links naturally. This may include original research, unique infographics, proprietary or owned concepts or unique approach that your company created to address your target audience's pains or needs.
#11. Write in an Active, Actionable Voice
The way in which you write can be just as important as the content that you create. You want to demonstrate your authority on the topic, and the active (not passive) voice strengths your writing ten fold.
It may seem like a trivial tip, but you want your audience to know that you have a good understanding of the topic at hand, and that’s accomplished with strong writing!
We know that all of the work involved in this process to create a single piece of well-optimized content isn’t always feasible. Time and resources are scarce, and you likely have many other projects on your plate.
That’s why seoClarity created Content Fusion for AI content optimization .
Content Fusion allows you to create authoritative content at scale and drive authority in your copy faster than ever before.
It applies a deep-learning algorithm to present users with a list of must-use topics to use in the copy to optimize for a keyword. (We operate the world's largest competitive data set so it’s likely that we have keywords that relate to your industry.)
It’s the key to writing high-quality content at scale, all on-the-fly in real time.
Here is part of the must-use topics for our example of “engagement rings”:
Notice how Content Fusion also alleviates the need to manually search for the correct user intent. Here, it alerts us that this keyword has a transactional user intent, so a product page would be the correct content type to create in this case.
Another extension of our Research Grid , Topic Explorer allows you to create your topic clusters appropriately, while taking into account the semantic match of a keyword.
This expands potential keyword ideas far beyond the standard phrase match of a keyword. Google and other search engines now have a semantic understanding of information, so you need to show users that you have a holistic understanding as well.
Looking for a way to overcome writer's block? Content Fusion has been recently integrated with Sia , our AI-driven SEO assistant.
By clicking Sia's lightning bolt icon, users can effortlessly generate outlines, draft paragraphs, or rewrite existing content. Sia utilizes its extensive knowledge to personalize each task based on the topic and individual preferences.
Additionally, the new "Content Profiles" feature allows users to specify audience, tone, language, and content type for each piece of content. Sia ensures adherence to these specifications, providing tailored and optimized content.
Remember that Sia's outputs are only suggestions to serve as a starting point. They should always be reviewed and edited by a member of your content team.
Tired of creating content that doesn’t rank? Request a customized demo to strategize how our platform can bring success to your SEO content writing.
After you’ve completed your research and have created your copy, there are a few extra steps you can take to really enhance the presentation of your content.
Think of these steps as the icing on the cake. These small but mighty steps will serve as that extra push to outperform current ranked content, and give readers a seamless user experience.
For more optimization tweaks, reference the article 14 Quick SEO Tweaks That Help Increase Search Visibility .
#12. Meta Data
The presentation of your content on the SERP has a large impact on click-through rate. Be sure to craft proper meta descriptions (think of them as mini ad space) and title tags. This meta data can be the factor that sways a user’s choice of what to click.
For more information on both the meta description and the meta title, refer to these blog posts:
- How to Write the Perfect Meta Description for SEO
- How to Improve Search Visibility with a Title Tag Test
Note: When you craft a title tag (or headline) avoid click bait. Make your headlines align with what the content actually is; after all, you don’t want to deceive your readers.
#13. Leave the Reader with Something Extra
When you give the searcher the information they were looking for, you’ve done your job! To exceed expectations though, leave the reader with something else. You can add multimedia elements or quotes from your executives to demonstrate thought leadership.
The way in which you format your content can also be that added bonus. For example, summarize the page’s contents into a TL;DR section (too long; didn’t read) that the user can easily skim and understand.
Another idea that seoClarity started adding to our content is downloadable templates or quick hit checklists. This is the reverse of when you publish the shorter version and then ask the reader to download the full guide or longer content version.
When you provide these additional elements, you entice the reader to come back to your site again in the future, or visit another page on your site.
#14. Structure Your Content Appropriately
The way in which you lay out your content affects the overall user experience. Be sure to properly incorporate H1, H2, and H3 titles (and so on) to create a sense of flow and structure for your content.
Structure also matters if you want to optimize your content for the Answer Box/Featured Snippet. If the current Answer Box/Featured Snippet is a numbered list, then consider that the ideal setup for your content. Add numbers to each listing so Google can easily understand and pull the information.
If the current Answer Box is a quick definition, be sure your content includes a precise and succinct definition of the concept at hand so it can easily be pulled.
#15. Include the Keyword in the Title, URL, and Content
Be sure to use the keyword or its variation in the title. This will make it obvious for the reader that your content can solve their problem. The same applies for the URL — many users will look at it to discern the topic of the page.
And of course, the keyword needs to be included in the bulk of the content itself! This should happen naturally. You’re writing on a topic, and so, any mentions of it should happen organically anyway. And don’t forget those semantically related topics!
#16. Describe Images in the IMG Alt Tag
This will help users with visual difficulties to absorb your content in full, particularly when using a screen reader to read the copy to them. Make sure that you end each alt tag with a full stop. This way, the reader will pause for a second after reading it, providing a natural flow to the experience.
#17. Ask the Reader for a Next Step
What do you want your readers to do after they’ve read the content? Ideally, you want them to convert. This doesn’t mean they have to make a purchase; a conversion can also be a sign-up for an email newsletter, the download of an ebook, etc.
Ask your readers (with action-oriented, persuasive text) to convert somewhere on your page. If your content is relevant, optimized, and follows the tips mentioned so far then the likelihood of conversion is high.
#18. What are Your Metrics?
Different organizations will have different metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for their content. Maybe yours is the bounce rate, time on page, or the overall traffic. Regardless, you need to track those which are important and relevant to you.
If you’re unsure of what your KPIs should be, ask yourself: “Why did I write this piece of content?” When you discover your KPIs, you can track content to see if goals are being met, and what has to change if the numbers aren’t what you need them to be.
#19. Use Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is a great tool for marketers and SEOs to leverage. Not only is it free, it’s also easy to use to help you understand user demand. It includes average rank, impressions, clicks, and more.
For instance, if you notice a decrease in impressions for a certain page, this may signal that the content is approaching the content decay and is in need of a content refresh. For more information on how to overcome the decay, follow this workflow: Content Refresh: Overcoming the Content Decay .
With so much content and competition online today, it’s not enough to write content and hope it performs well to rank higher. SEO content writing is at the heart of any organic search strategy, and these tips can push your writing forward to offer the end user the most positive experience possible.
Adopt these 19 tips into your content writing process and you’ll be sure to see an improvement in your search performance for higher visibility in the search results.
Read more on the SEO content writing strategy and process to level up your search engine optimization strategy.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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The Key to SEO Content Writing: 6 Step Guide
Written by Jessica Foster and published August, 2018
While most SEO experts agree that content is an important part of SEO strategy, there seem to be varying definitions for what “great” means, and even mixed ideas about how important highly skilled content writing actually is.
Furthermore, people can have very different strategies for writing “SEO-friendly” content. Some focus on users. Others focus on Google. Some have even gone as far as to say that keywords are what make all the difference in creating content that ranks. But is that really true?
Table of Contents
What is SEO Content Writing, anyway?
SEO writing is targeted at search engines and towards specific search queries. You don’t just wax eloquently without doing keyword research and without gathering audience insights. The goal is to drive qualified and targeted traffic.
It may not be all about the exact keywords you’ve used, but the answer is far less complicated than what you may think. In this post, I’m breaking down what matters most for SEO copywriting.
There is no “secret sauce” for writing SEO-friendly content. In fact, SEO copywriters and normal content writers alike can often over-complicate the process and get away from the ultimate goal of the content… which is to help you (or your clients) make money! Despite the lack of secret sauce, you can follow 4 steps to satisfy search engines.
Keep in mind, writing for Google isn’t going to be copywriting that is necessarily optimized for email gen, or for sales, or for getting people to visit other pages of your site.
How to Write Web Copy for SEO: 4-Step Guide
- Use your primary keyword in the page title: This should be fairly simple. If something is important, then the title of your page should include the most important subject (or keyword) to indicate what the page is about.
- Use the most important keywords higher up in the website copy: SEO experiments show a strong correlation with rank and placement of keywords in the body of the blog article.
- Use keyword variations in your article: You don’t write an article with one keyword and expect it to rank. Google wants a host of signals that indicate content relevancy, so including keyword variations is a way to show Google how it should understand your content.
- Study competitors with good on-page SEO content: This is the best way to learn what Google is prioritizing. Look for the type of headers, the number of words, the usage of bold and italics, the number of headers, the images, alt text, video, etc. Add or remove about 15% of the content to vary from whats ranking a bit and BOOM, you’re off to the races.
So what is the key to great SEO content? Well, the key to writing content that WORKS (i.e. sells) is that you have to understand the ins and out of writing for both users and search engines. Doing so is more intuitive than you may think, as long as you understand a few core principles.
Without further ado, here are some rules (or rather — strong suggestions).
1) Identify your exact audience
First and foremost, the effectiveness of your copy depends on how well you know your target audience. I could write a high-quality advanced marketing guide and have a terrible piece of content if my audience was filled with beginner level marketers. Even worse, when a company has sales copy littered about the blog when their audience has either
A) Already bought the product B) Visited your page for insights but was met with the blog version of a product brochure
Not only will this audience determine KIND of content is needed, but it will also inform the voice of your content, the keywords you decide to focus on, and what your unique selling point (USP) is.
There are many ways to find out what your audience needs and wants, but I always suggest conducting market research before you dive into a piece of content. You can use online surveys, execute on keyword research, do social media polls or connect with some local entrepreneur resources for specific insights.
This way, you will be sure that you are offering your audience something that they are actually searching for and wanting to buy. Without this knowledge, your messaging and/or your keyword research could be off – especially if you are basing your keywords and content off of what your competitors are doing.
You must get inside your ideal client or customer’s head to create copy that will both attract them (through search) and resonate with them (through CRO). Otherwise, your words may fall on deaf ears (or eyeballs, I suppose).
2) Know why you are writing the content — Sounds simple, right?
If you are doing SEO effectively, you know that organic traffic isn’t everything. Ultimately you want your clients to get a good return on investment (ROI), and that means money . So, the purpose of your article will usually go beyond just generating traffic.
Don’t confuse traffic with conversions or you’ll wind up out of a job.
Conversions can take on many forms. Your goal may be to convert subscribers, drive phone calls, sell products or a host of other objectives but your intentions for your content should always shape your approach. Keep your eye on the prize. Write content that is best suited for what you are trying to achieve, rather than focusing on simply pleasing the Google gods.
Google has a formula for ranking, but ultimately, highly competitive areas require masterful SEO copywriting skills if you hope to generate link worthy content or just content that people want to read.
3) Content writing for SEO relies on studying the data
Once you have a solid understanding of what your audience is looking for and needs, it is time to support your strategy with data. It is not enough to ASSUME that you know what keywords will best apply to your content… you have to provide data that supports your claim.
This is where your keyword research comes into play. If you have been doing SEO for some time, you likely already have this process down to a T. Either way, you will want to see data that:
- Proves that users are searching for your primary keywords
- Covers the competition of those terms
- Shows that the search volume for said terms justifies your strategy
This ensures that you aren’t going into your content process blindly, or wasting time writing content that no one is searching for.
4) Create a content plan
Planning can take many forms. You may decide to write an outline of the content before you write it, create a document that includes your focus keywords, or simply create a calendar for your blog posts. All serve the purpose of making sure that your content is focused, concise, and fits into the framework of your existing site.
Having a content plan can be particularly helpful if you are writing a lot (say, for an entire website) and need to map out the keywords for each piece. You can also add details such as the page titles you are going to use, the meta descriptions, and internal linking . Having this data in front of you will help set you up for SEO success.
5) Know on-page SEO best practices
When it finally comes to “optimizing” your content, in most cases, you would do well to simply follow best practices for on-page SEO. If your site as a whole is already optimized, there is not much more to do to your page or post to bump up the SEO factor.
Surely, if you are highly skilled in SEO, you will already have a process for optimizing your content and may use advanced methods. However, your content can still generate traffic for you if you have the SEO basics (like page title, H2s, meta description, internal linking, image alt text, etc.) covered. Raven Tools has even conducted a study that compiles a list from 4 billion on-page mistakes if you really want to make sure you’re avoiding common errors.
It’s important to not overthink this step and remember that your ultimate goal is to drive conversions. That means writing first and foremost for users and then optimizing for search engines.
6) Test the SEO content – See what works and what doesn’t!
The final step to creating the best content for your audience and goals is to test it ! We all know that a plethora of ranking factors exist, and no one can be completely sure whether an article will provide the best user experience for readers. Testing is the final step to on-page optimization.
This is often considered to be an extra step, but A/B testing your content can help you determine the direction you are going to take with future content. You can learn a wealth of information about what works and what doesn’t – and then know what to fix in order to help you get more traffic and conversions. For example, you may find that posts of a certain length work better than others, or that your audience prefers intriguing titles rather than informative ones.
Just know that the success of your SEO content is not a hard science. Trends change, your follower base may evolve, and Google’s pesky algorithm may even make a shift. In the end, meeting your audience’s needs is what matters most if you’re really wanting the right traffic coming to your site. Do that, and you will be a happy site in the eyes of Google and your potential customers.
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Black Friday Frenzy 2023
10 actionable seo content writing tips to rank higher.
In a crowded landscape where everybody is a content writer and has access to AI tools, writing high-quality content for readers isn't as much of an effort as it used to be. Even so, 91 percent of online content does not receive any search traffic.
To really stand out, your content writing must also appeal to search engines. And that requires writing specifically for search engines.
What you will learn
- How SEO writing content differs and its role in content optimization
- How to write content that appeals to both search engines and readers
- Examples of companies who create SEO content well
- What is SEO content writing?
SEO content writing is the practice of writing content in a way that makes it easier for search engines to understand the context and meaning of your page's content. Writing in this manner can help your blog posts rank higher in the SERPs and drive traffic to them while also providing valuable information to readers.
SEO writing includes using relevant keywords , internal and external links, and on-page SEO without sacrificing readability or quality. Remember, while search engines rank your content, it will still be read by human readers.
By combining SEO best practices with persuasive writing, SEO content writers can create content that attracts more website visitors and encourages them to take action, such as subscribing to a newsletter or making a purchase.
Take our article on submitting your website to search engines , for example. The search volume for our target keyword is about 480 monthly searches divided by all the search results.
But because we used SEO writing principles in our content, it now ranks for several other keywords and brought in 45% of that figure because we're bringing in traffic for related search queries that we may have missed otherwise.
Search results are crowded, regardless of how niche you think your industry is. WordPress users alone produce about 70 million new posts each month.
And an estimated 70% of people don't scroll past the first page of Google. SEO content writing can help put your pages on the first page of search engines, where people will actually read them.
SEO content writing basics from an expert
Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR , SEO researcher and consultant, has some actionable techniques for SEO content writers. In summary,
- Front load your keywords in title tags
- Demonstrate to the reader that they are in the right place immediately and satisfy search intent in your content
- Organize your content in a logical hierarchy. Each section should naturally lead to the next
- Focus on including detailed information, attributes, and facts that your topic should contain within the context of your article
- Keep your sentences simple and easy to comprehend for search engines. Answer questions directly in as little sentences as possible
- It isn't enough for your content to be well written. You must cover areas that other competing pages have not, and provide new original information
- Aim to exceed your competitor's topical coverage for the same subject. This means that in the eyes of a search engine, your website is deemed to cover the same topics in greater depth
- Content should be as short as possible but as long as necessary
- SEO content writing examples
Here are some examples of implementing effective SEO content writing best practices:
Pick up Limes
Pick up Limes is a plant based blog that caters to the vegan and vegetarian community via content that is written for those interested in plant based nutrition. Everything from their aesthetic to topic choices are carefully curated for a specific type of audience.
The best student credit cards page on NerdWallet is a good example of how you can cement your position in the search engine rankings by keeping your articles frequently updated with the latest information.
Wix' ecommerce website security article mixes educational content while natively showcasing Wix products as a convenient solution to their readers' problems.
Verywell Fit features content around health and nutrition, complete with author bios and medical reviewers to demonstrate E-E-A-T principles (Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust) of their content.
- 10 guidelines for SEO content writing
Think of SEO content writing guidelines as things you can include in your content to help search engines understand it better without sacrificing quality for readers. Implementing these can move your blog posts to the first page of search rankings where your users can find you.
Here are 10 content writing tips for SEO.
1. Research and understand your audience
To write great content, you have to know whom you're writing for. Understand who your readers are and become acquainted with the topics they discuss and the terminology they use.
This will help you use these terms in your content and communicate more effectively. In turn, your readers will appreciate being understood and reward you with trust and loyalty.
Google's stance on putting your reader first is pretty clear.
You can do a few things to study your audience.
- Create buyer personas that represent your target audience, based on market research and data from your existing customer base. These customer profiles can help you understand the demographics, preferences, and challenges of your readers, enabling you to write in a way that speaks directly to them.
- You can also examine your website's and social media's analytics, as well as data from surveys to pick up on trends and preferences that give you a clearer picture of who your audience is and what they're looking for.
- Speaking to your sales and support teams can reveal qualitative insights into customer buying journeys that you may not find in consumer reports and excel sheets.
A well-defined target audience ensures that you begin on the right note by selecting appropriate keywords, topics, and content formats.
2. Satisfy your keyword’s search intent
Successful content satisfies search intent . It's quite simple, really. Give users what they want, and they will respond positively.
As Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Martin Splitt tell us,
“You have to have really good content. And that means you have to have content, that serves a purpose for the user.”
Your readers are scattered across various stages of the buyer's journey, which typically consists of four main phases: awareness, consideration, decision and advocacy. Each stage is characterized by different needs and intent.
As an SEO content writer or manager, consider your keyword's search intent to align your content with the appropriate stage of the buyer's journey to meet search intent.
At this stage, users are just discovering that they have a problem or need. They are seeking general information, educational content, and potential solutions at a high level. This is the awareness stage.
Here is an example of informational search intent.
Users with navigational search intent are evaluating different options to address their needs or problems. They are interested in comparisons, reviews, and expert opinions. The user stage here is consideration.
The reader here is more solution-aware and is considering action. Buying bitcoin, for example.
Transactional or Commercial intent
At this point, users are ready to commit to a specific solution, product, or service. They are looking for detailed information, pricing, testimonials, or case studies. This stage is the decision stage and is supported by commercial pages.
Search intent is crucial.
If you create promotional content for users in the awareness stage, you may fail to address their need for information, instead leading to a poor user experience. This can tell search engines that your content isn't relevant, which can hurt your search rankings.
So how do you determine the search intent of a search query?
Good news, it’s right in front of you.
Let’s use the keyword “hire content writers" as an example. What can we see here?
All the pages ranking in the top 10 positions are characteristic of transactional search intent. They offer direct hiring services or show you platforms where you can hire.
You can tell from these results that Google considers people searching for this query to have commercial intent. Therefore, your best chance to rank for “hire content writers” is to publish a direct response landing page that is optimized for search engines.
Don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to identifying search intent.
If you were instead considering creating a how to guide , this should be enough evidence not to. Google will not show your page because of misalignment in search intent and your content.
You can repeat this process for every keyword to determine what type of content you should write, to rank in the SERPs. Or use a keyword research tool like Surfer's that shows you hundreds of related keywords with search intent.
It's also worth looking at your competitors' blog posts ranking on the first page, to see what they're like. Are they in depth walkthroughs, or short guides?
3. Include related keywords in your content
You can write the best article in history. It could be actionable, informative and engaging.
But what's the point if your audience can't find it?
Conducting keyword research for your blog post is essential to identify the most relevant keywords and phrases that
- Google considers related entities and expects to see in your topic
- your target audience uses when searching for information related to your topic
Search engines today consider related keywords, and variations to determine the relevance and quality of your content instead of relying solely on exact-match keywords.
Using these keywords in your content can signal subject context and depth to search engines and improve your chances of ranking higher in search results, attracting more organic traffic to your website.
You can conduct keyword research manually and identify semantically relevant keywords using these simple tips.
As you enter your keyword into Google's search bar, it will suggest popular and relevant search terms based on user data, helping you discover additional keywords and phrases.
People Also Ask
The "People Also Ask" feature in Google search results displays a list of questions that users often ask about your topic. This can help you pick long-tail keywords and potential subtopics to cover in your content.
At the bottom of Google's SERPs, you will find a list of related searches. These suggestions can offer insight into other relevant keywords and user search patterns associated with your topic.
To instead, automate keyword research and look at a list of semantically relevant keywords you should include in your article, head to Surfer Content Editor .
- Type in your primary target keywords
- Click Create Content Editor
The right Terms panel will show you keywords for your topic, and how many times they should appear so you can focus on writing instead of keyword research.
Know the SEO joke?
“An SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor…”
Keyword stuffing, get it?
Follow the suggested optimal range for keyword placement to make sure you don't overoptimize and risk a Google penalty.
4. Add secondary keywords to your subheadings
You can make it easier for search engines to understand the structure and context of your web page by using related keywords and variations in your subheadings.
Along with your URL, search engines like Google assign greater weight to these areas on your page, and almost expect to see relevant keywords there.
Surfer's Content Editor suggests examples of relevant headings that are used in content that's ranking well for your target keywords.
You can also use an outline generator that will insert subheadings for you.
Including related keywords in your H2s and H3s helps search engines better understand the focus, relevance, and organization of your content, which can lead to higher search rankings.
This article for example, is about SEO content writing guidelines, and so you will notice that our page's content is broken down into smaller headings that touch various aspects of writing for SEO content.
- SEO content writing basics
And so on.
These include keyword variations that are semantically related to “SEO content writing.” And helps Google understand that this article is a helpful resource for “content marketing tips” and related queries.
For example, if you're writing a blog post about " The Health Benefits of Yoga, " you might use the following headings and subheadings with related keywords:
H1: The Health Benefits of Yoga (page title topic)
- H2: X health benefits of Yoga
- H3: Increased flexibility
- H3: Enhanced strength
- H3: Improved balance
- H2: Mental benefits of yoga
- H3: Reduced stress
- H3: Better focus and concentration
- H3: Enhanced emotional well-being
Implementing on-page SEO best practices like can also benefit your readers by providing a clear article outline, making it easier for them to navigate and find specific information, as well as help you rank for more than one search term.
5. Write compelling headlines
Since newspapers began, headlines have been used to judge the rest of the article. A compelling headline in your H1 page title can affect the number of people who click on your page when it shows up in the search results for relevant search queries.
Google has been known to select H1 page tags in favor of your meta tags 60% of the time , so we suggest keeping them alike to have more control.
Even though CTR is not a direct ranking factor, it can affect your rankings if an underwhelming headline in your H1 meta tag isn't enticing enough for readers to want to read your article.
Follow these guidelines to write an effective headline for your meta title.
- Keep your headline under 70 characters
- Include your primary keyword early on to signal relevancy
- Be descriptive yet concise
- Don't keyword stuff your page titles
- Make it specific and relevant to your audience
- Use number and convey benefits to make a headline more appealing
Ultimately, a good headline should be optimized for clicks by arousing interest in the reader. Don't overdo it with clickbait titles though; this isn't Youtube.
To find out if your meta title is optimized for click through, head to Surfer Audit ,
- Enter your URL and target keywords
- Click Create Audit
Scroll to the Exact keywords report to see the status of your title tag. For example, this article's title doesn't seem to have the exact keyword it its title tag. No wonder then it's ranking on the 9th page of Google!
You can also see that the page's title length is longer than the optimal suggested character length in the Title and meta description length report.
Here are examples of good headlines:
- "10 Proven Strategies to Boost Your Email Marketing Conversion Rates"
- "Discover the Secret to Glowing Skin with These 5 Natural Ingredients"
These headlines are effective because they are clear, concise, and convey the main topic of the content while incorporating relevant keywords and enticing users to click further.
6. Include target keywords in metadata
Along with your meta title, your meta description can significantly enhance your content's CTR performance and improve your search position. As one of the four main areas Google looks for relevancy, including your target keyword in your meta descriptions can help signal context.
Another reason to include related keywords is that,
Google will bolden keywords it finds relevant to the search query in your meta description.
Thus, drawing attention from browsing users and improving your page's chances of being clicked.
Use these SEO writing tips for more effective meta descriptions.
- Ensure your meta description does not exceed 155-160 characters to allow readers to see the complete description without any information being truncated
- Use persuasive language that conveys your content's value to entice readers to click through to your web page
- Insert related keywords and search phrases to cover a broader range of search queries and stand out in the search engine results
- Convey the value of your page without keyword stuffing or using click-bait.
The meta description for the same article I checked above lies within the optimal character length.
7. Implement internal and external linking
A good writing practice for SEO content is to include relevant internal and external links on your pages.
Internal links can connect to related pages within your website to help create content hubs by clustering related topics, while external links support your content with credible sources.
Search engines use links to discover new content, so it is a good idea to link to new pages for them to be found and indexed easily. Use descriptive anchor texts in your link to convey what the linked page is about.
Internal linking also helps users find additional content that can expand their education and move them further along the buyer's journey.
Inside Surfer Audit , you will find recommendations for which pages you should insert links in for internal content.
External links are websites you refer to on your page to support information you've included in your content, like statistics, studies, or examples. External links can help readers who are interested in learning more about your topic, which perhaps falls outside the scope of your content strategy.
For example, we talk all things SEO and content marketing related on our blog here, but you won't find advanced breakdowns on search engine algorithms or patents because a very small percentage of our readers may be interested in this information.
When inserting external links, choose reputable sources that add value and context to your content, as search engines see them as indicators of trust and quality. Doing so will also tell search engines that your blog posts are related to the linked content.
8. Create content hubs
When you're writing for SEO, creating an article or two isn't enough. Google relies on E-E-A-T factors to understand your position on the topics you write about, and is looking for credibility.
And one way you can enhance this is by aiming for topical authority in your subject by creating content hubs.
Content hubs are structured as a central pillar page that provides a high-level overview of the topic, with several related subtopic pages linked to it.
This interconnected network of content allows users to easily navigate through different aspects of the subject, while search engines can better understand the context and relevance of your content.
Instead of producing isolated blog posts, content hubs allow you to comprehensively cover various aspects of a topic, making your website a go-to resource for users seeking information on that subject. This approach signals to search engines that your website is an authoritative source on the topic, leading to improved search rankings.
Head to Surfer Keyword Research tool to find tons of keyword clusters for your target keyword.
- Enter your target keyword
- Hit Create Keyword Research
For example, let's say you are targeting “customer support”. The tool shows 93 clusters that you can create to signal topical authority to search engines.
Clicking on any card will reveal multiple keywords that are related to the main keyword, along with metrics like search intent, monthly search volume, keyword difficulty and traffic potential.
9. Rewrite and update content
We've known for a while now about Google's fondness for fresh content .
It's quite common to write content once and then forget about it. But one of the easiest ways you can increase website traffic is by republishing existing content .
Revisiting old articles to update them with the most relevant and recent information available can lead to a boost in search rankings, as it demonstrates to search engines that your content is current and valuable.
For starters, update your titles to include the current year so that your page is relevant in the SERPs.
You can do this by entering previous years in the Google search bar.
site: yoursite.com “2022”
To check if your article has semantically relevant keywords that search engines want to see in your content, head to Surfer Content Editor .
- Toggle the Import content from URL switch on
- Paste the URL of your existing blog post
On the right Terms panel you will find the current status of suggested keywords in your article. Those highlighted in green are used well while your content is missing non highlighted keywords, with yellow for the ones in between.
10. Measure your content performance
Measuring the performance of your articles isn't a writing tip but is often overlooked which is why I'm including it here.
Tracking your content's performance is crucial for developing a successful content strategy because it lets you know what's working and what can be improved.
By closely monitoring your content marketing KPIs , you can make data-driven decisions that help you optimize your content and ultimately boost your website's search rankings.
You will be able to identify which categories or content hubs are delivering returns on your content marketing investment , so you can focus on those areas for better results.
Knowing your metrics can also help you allocate resources more efficiently and manage your content marketing efforts better.
As an SEO content writer, here are some high level metrics you should monitor.
- Organic traffic: This will indicate how well your content is ranking and attracting users
- Engagement metrics: Time spent on the page, bounce rate, and pages per session to determine if your content engages readers
- Backlinks: Assess the number and quality of external websites linking to your content
- Conversions: Measure the actions taken by users, such as subscribing to your newsletter, downloading a resource, or making a purchase, to determine the effectiveness of your content in driving conversions.
By regularly tracking these metrics, you can refine your content strategy to focus on topics, formats, and channels that yield the best results for your content marketing goals .
- Write content that appeals to both search engines and readers
- Your content must satisfy your keyword's search intent
- Use relevant keywords, internal and external links, and on-page SEO without sacrificing readability or quality
- Keep your articles relevant and updated to be favored by search engines
SEO driven content writing is an iterative process that requires you to create new content and optimize them over time for better results. Implementing these guidelines can help your writing contribute to your content's performance instead of just creating the same content everybody else is.
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- On-Page SEO
The Ultimate 2023 SEO Keyword Research Guide
If you’re familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) , you’ve probably heard of keywords — the phrases that users type into a search engine when they want to find something.
Choosing the best keywords is vital to the success of your SEO efforts. That’s why we’re bringing you this complete SEO keyword research guide! Keep reading to dive in and learn how to do keyword research for SEO!
What are SEO keywords?
What is keyword research for seo, why is seo keyword research important.
- How to do keyword research for SEO
SEO keywords are words and phrases you add to your online content to improve your website’s rankings for those terms. The goal is that when a user searches for that keyword on a search engine like Google, your website will appear as one of the top search results.
Why are SEO keywords important?
SEO keywords are vital to your SEO efforts because you need to use them in your content in order to rank in the search results. When a user searches for a term related to your business online, you want your website to be one of the first results. And to achieve that goal, you must incorporate those terms throughout your content and website.
Keyword research for SEO is the process of identifying the words or phrases your target audience searches for online so you can target them for your SEO strategy. It can involve using various tools and platforms to create a list of the best phrases to target in your content.
Keyword research is important because it helps you identify which phrases your target audience uses to find your products or services on search engines like Google.
Once you know these phrases, you can incorporate them into your content and help your website rank at the top of the results each time someone searches for those words.
In other words, you’ll be able to reach more of your target market and increase your online visibility.
That means that with the right keyword targeting, you’ll drive more web traffic, high-quality leads, and sales for your business.
How to do keyword research for SEO: Best practices for choosing the best keywords
Now you know what SEO keyword research is and why it’s important, but how exactly do you research keywords and find the right ones to target?
Here’s how to do keyword research for SEO in 10 steps:
- Use SEO keyword research tools to start off your keyword list
- Use Google Suggest and Google Trends to discover keywords
- Find out what keywords your competitors rank for
- Look at keywords you already rank for
- Create a list of your keyword ideas
- Look out for long-tail keywords
- Analyze keyword volume and competition
- Look at the search intent
- Determine target and related keywords
- Finalize your keyword list
1. Use SEO keyword research tools to start off your keyword list
One of the best ways to research keywords is to use SEO keyword research tools to make your job as easy as possible.
We recommend using SEO.com’s keyword research tool to generate a list of possible keywords to target for your SEO strategy. You can even save and export the list for easy access later.
There are a number of other helpful keyword research tools you can try, too, like:
- Keywords Everywhere
- Ahref’s Keywords Explorer
- Semrush’s Keyword Overview
Most of these tools operate by simply entering a starting phrase. The tool then generates a list of related phrases, terms, and questions that people search for online.
While you will need to weed through these lists to pick out the best phrases for your content (more on that later), these tools are a great starting point for your SEO keyword research.
2. Use Google Suggest and Google Trends to discover keywords
Another great way to discover keywords for your SEO strategy is to use Google Suggest and Google Trends .
Google Suggest is the list of suggestions that appear when you start searching for something on Google. These suggestions are perfect candidates for potential keywords to target.
And as a bonus, these suggestions are usually long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords , as the name suggests, are longer keywords that contain multiple words or a longer phrase and are usually more specific. For example, “brownie” is a short-tail keyword, while “chocolate brownie recipe” is a long-tail keyword.
Long-tail keywords are usually less competitive and easier to rank for than short-tail keywords.
Google Trends can also give you lots of potential keyword ideas. This tool shows you what searches are currently trending on Google.
Using this tool is a great way to get an idea of which keywords related to your business are currently popular, making it easy to target keywords your audience is searching for repeatedly.
3. Find out what keywords your competitors rank for
Next in our guide for how to do keyword research for SEO is to scope out what keywords your competitors currently rank for.
After all, the goal is to outrank your competitors in the search results so you can drive more traffic and leads. Plus, your competitors already offer some of the same products or services as you, so there’s a high probability the keywords they rank for will be relevant to you.
So, what better way to outrank your competitors in the search results than to research the keywords they already rank for?
You can use a tool like Ahrefs to accomplish this.
Simply copy the URL of a page on your competitor’s website and enter it into the Ahrefs Site Explorer tool. Then, click on the Organic Keywords tab from the menu on the left-hand side to see which keywords that page is currently ranking for.
You can also look up the keywords for an entire domain using the Ahrefs Site Explorer tool.
Once you’ve identified the keywords your competitors rank for, you’ll have the ultimate list of keywords to target in your content.
4. Look at keywords you already rank for
It’s also a good idea to check out the keywords your site already ranks for.
You might be thinking, “But wait, I’m already ranking for them, so why do they matter? Shouldn’t I be trying to rank for new keywords?”
Yes, you should try to rank for new keywords, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the ones you already rank for. In fact, by looking at your existing keywords, you’ll probably also find some new keywords you can optimize for.
The best way to check out your current keyword rankings is to head to Google Search Console and navigate to the Search Results report . From there, look at your current keyword rankings under the Queries tab.
Odds are, lots of these will be familiar to you, but you may be surprised to find some that you haven’t optimized for. Google has already deemed your website a good candidate for ranking for those terms.
If you aren’t already ranking on page one, and these keywords make sense for your SEO strategy, it’s a good idea to optimize for them and boost your rankings and traffic even more.
5. Create a list of your keyword ideas
Now that you’ve used some SEO keyword research tools and scoped out your competitors’ keyword rankings along with your own site’s rankings, it’s time to create a list of all the keyword ideas you’ve accumulated.
You can create a list in any format that works best for you. Maybe you type up your keyword ideas in a Word document or in an Excel spreadsheet.
Whatever you choose, make sure you list all of your ideas in an organized fashion because you’ll need to look at this list again in the future or likely share it with other team members.
6. Look out for long-tail keywords
Once you’ve compiled your list, it’s time to analyze it and narrow it down.
While you likely have some great keyword ideas jotted down, it’s possible that not all of them will be a good fit for your SEO strategy, so it’s important to take the time to go through the entirety of your list and weed out the less desirable keywords.
The first thing you’ll want to include in your final list is long-tail and out-of-the-box keywords. As we mentioned before, long-tail keywords are usually less competitive and easier to rank for than short-tail ones, so it’s a great idea to include these in your SEO strategy.
Keep an eye out for phrases like “chocolate chip cookie recipe” vs. “cookie” or “HVAC technician in Cleveland” vs. “HVAC technician.”
7. Analyze keyword volume and competition
You’ll also want to analyze the search volume and competition for the keyword ideas on your list.
The search volume refers to how many people search for that keyword. The higher the search volume, the more people are typing that word or phrase on search engines.
The keyword competition, sometimes called keyword difficulty, refers to how challenging it will be to rank for that keyword in the SERPs. The higher the keyword difficulty, the more challenging it will be to earn a top spot in the search results.
You can view metrics like keyword difficulty and search volume by using tools like Ahrefs.
The goal is to choose keywords that have a high keyword volume and low competition.
But this can be easier said than done. In fact, you might notice that keywords with a higher search volume also have more competition.
Try to choose keywords that fall somewhere in the middle. You should pick keywords with a decent search volume and a lower keyword difficulty, so you have a better chance at ranking at the top of the search results and can drive a decent amount of traffic to your site.
8. Look at the search intent
Now that you’ve narrowed down your keyword idea list using long-tail keywords, search volume, and search difficulty, it’s time to look at search intent.
Search intent is the reason why a user types a particular word or phrase into a search engine. When someone searches for something online, they want to solve a problem, answer a question, or get more information about a topic.
If your content doesn’t match the search intent of your keyword, it won’t rank. Even more importantly, you want to make sure that answering the search intent makes sense for your business.
For example, if you run an HVAC company , it wouldn’t make sense to match the search intent of a keyword like “plumber near me” because you don’t offer those services.
It’s important to analyze the search intent of the keywords on your list to ensure that you can (and want to) answer the search intent for your keywords.
9. Determine target and related keywords
Another important step in the SEO keyword research process is determining target and related keywords.
A target keyword is the main keyword you want to target in your content. Related keywords, as the name suggests, are related to your target keyword. They aren’t your core keyword, but you target them secondarily on your pages.
For example, let’s say your target keyword is something like “Italian restaurant.” Some related keywords you can also target could be “local Italian restaurant,” “Italian restaurant near me,” and “Italian restaurant in Philadelphia, PA.”
It’s important to group your keywords into target and related keywords to ensure you don’t create duplicate content. This strategy also helps you create content that will appear in multiple relevant search results, maximizing your online visibility.
Take a look at your keyword list to determine which words and phrases are target keywords and which are related keywords. You should also brainstorm and research any target and related keywords that are missing from your list.
10. Finalize your keyword list
Now that you’ve analyzed and brainstormed target and related keywords, it’s time to finalize your keyword list.
Take one last look through your list to ensure that the keywords are a good fit for your company in terms of search intent, search volume, and keyword difficulty.
Once you’ve finalized your list, all that’s left is to start targeting your keywords by creating valuable, helpful, and optimized content and watch your rankings and traffic soar.
Learn more about SEO keyword research on SEO.com
We hope you liked our SEO keyword research guide! If you’re looking for more keyword research and SEO tips, you can find everything you need to implement a successful SEO strategy by browsing the content on our blog !
Let’s Drive Results Together
Table of contents.
- What Are SEO Keywords?
- What is Keyword Research for SEO?
- Why is SEO Keyword Research Important?
- How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: Best Practices for Choosing the Best Keywords
- Learn More About SEO Keyword Research on SEO.com
Let’s Drive Results Together
- SEO Title Tags: What Are They? [+ 5 Tips to Optimize Yours]
- Should You Target Misspelled Keywords in SEO?
- Should You Target Zero-Volume Keywords? (And How to Find Them)
- The Basics of Registered Trademarks & Symbols in Title Tags
- What Are Internal Links? A Guide to Internal Linking Basics
- What is First Link Priority? (And Does It Affect Rankings?)
- Why is Google Ignoring My Title Tag and Meta Description?
- Defining Keyword Density, Prominence, and Proximity for SEO
- How to Choose a Domain Name for SEO in 7 Steps
- How to Create SEO-Friendly URLs in 6 Steps
- Do Not Sell My Personal Info
- Generative AI
Google Downplays AI Threat To Human Content Creation
Google Search Relations team: AI is a useful creative aid, not a replacement for human originality.
In a recent episode of Google’s Search Off The Record podcast, hosts Martin Splitt, Gary Illyes, and John Mueller from Google’s Search Relations team discuss the role of AI in content creation.
They see AI as something that can enhance and supplement human creativity rather than something that will make human creators obsolete.
During the podcast, the hosts provide insightful commentary about responsibly using AI to spark ideas and increase efficiency.
With rapid technological advances, perspectives like Google’s remind us to approach AI as an aid to human creators rather than an over-hyped replacement.
AI: A Useful Tool, Not an Overrated Replacement
The discussion started around the 21-minute mark, with the team expressing doubt and distrust about the possibility of AI taking over human creative abilities.
As Splitt points out:
“AI is great for certain things and is rubbish for others. It’s a tool like everything else. I feel like that’s an overrated thing.”
The discussion then shifted to technology not used to its full potential. In a funny comment, they jokingly brushed off the idea of posting on Google Plus, saying it would have been a great suggestion 20 years ago. This humorously emphasized how quickly technology evolves.
AI: An Antidote for Writer’s Block?
Google’s Search Relations team has a unique perspective regarding AI’s role in content creation.
They believe that AI tools can be helpful for writers struggling with writer’s block or facing pressing deadlines. For example, AI could offer frameworks and recommend phrasing and variations to expedite the writing process.
“Generative AI tools are not that bad. It’s the how it’s used that’s the problem many times. It can be incredibly helpful when, for example, you have writer’s block and are trying to put out a page very fast.”
In other words, the Google team sees AI as a tool to spark creative ideas rather than something that can replace human creativity. They hinted at talking more about AI on a future show.
The Final Word
This discussion on the latest episode of the Search Off The Record podcast gives a new perspective on AI in content creation.
Instead of seeing AI as a threat to human creativity, Google suggests approaching it as a helpful tool that works with people.
As technology changes quickly, it’s important to use AI responsibly – to improve human creativity rather than replace it.
Featured Image: Stock-Asso/Shutterstock
Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...
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