Obviously, SEO and content writing really have to have something in common.
Like, seriously, if your SEO is no good, then your content simply won’t be found by searchers. Instead it will be left to languish in the black hole of the Internet that is way down the end of the SERP results.
This is no good for anyone.
But, there is the flip side which is that no matter how great your content might be, if your SEO is appalling – a first page result on Google can really only do so much.
If a user clicks on your page and finds some really dodgy looking article that probably took 15 minutes to write or is absolutely stuffed with keywords that simply make it a joke to read – they will simply go away and find something better.
So whether you have hired an SEO company, or you work on the search engine optimisation of your website yourself, let’s delve more into this SEO content guide which will explain the intricate content and SEO synergy.
Content Writing and SEO
THE WRITING PROCESS
Before you ever get started writing a piece of content you need to stop, take a breath and go right back to basics.
Likewise, do your keyword research. Look for those long-tail keywords you can hit without having to compromise on quality (ie. the black hat SEO practice of keyword stuffing).
Another writing tip is just to keep in mind that the best online articles are most often the most simple! Don’t stuff it full of big, complicated words just for fun. Instead, make it actionable, understandable and relevant.
As always, if writing is just not your thing, simply find a great freelancer who is willing to do the leg work for you. Make sure whoever you pick is briefed in what your goals are for the article and has a good understanding of your business, products and services.
SEO writing principles are inextricably linked to regular writing principles. Here are some tips to consider during the writing process that combines both practices seamlessly:
Firstly, you need to remember WHO you are writing for. What does your audience actually want and need to know? Remember that writing great content is never about you in the first place.
If your article is overly hard-sell, people sniff it from a mile away and will simply bounce right off the site and onto something else that’s more helpful and relevant for their lives.
In the writing process, make sure you do your keyword research. Look for those long-tail keywords you can hit without having to compromise on quality (i.e. the black hat SEO practice of keyword stuffing).
Then, once you get started writing, use these keywords thoughtfully!
Your core keyword should most definitely be in the title so that users and the search engines can quickly and easily see what the article is about.
These long-tail keywords should also be used sparingly throughout the body of the article, as well as in tags, the meta description and in headlines and subheadings.
A Clear Structure
Then, make sure your article is well structured with H2 and H3 headings put to work. People find it really hard to read long content so make sure it is broken up into little, digestible chunks.
Use elements like lists and bullet points in order to convey a lot of information in a relatively short amount of time. Paragraphs should be kept short and sweet – never anymore than 4 sentences or lines at most.
If you consider that a majority of users will at least begin their search on their mobile phones – your content has to be readable on these tiny little screens.
That being said, too many short sentences also makes your article read like it’s just a shopping list, so do try to vary your length.
Google search engines favour high quality, valuable content over spammy keyword laden drivel. Make sure your article provides comprehensive information, answers important questions, and adds unique and personal insights to your industry.
Be authentic in your language too. The best online articles are most often the most simple! Don’t stuff it full of big, complicated words just for fun. Instead, make it actionable, understandable and relevant.
As always, if writing is just not your thing, simply find a great freelancer who is willing to do the leg work for you. Make sure whoever you pick is briefed on what your goals are for the article, SEO writing principles, and has a good understanding of your business, products and services.
We know, we know. This is often touted as a ‘black-hat’ tactic of SEO but link-building is no longer just about buying links. Instead, write something incredible that other blogs will simply want to pick up!
And, share your content across social media to expand its reach.
Link back to your own website and other places within it so that when your great article is picked up by another site, you get some visits!
Speaking of links, you may like to also include these in your content:
Internal links connect different pages within your website, enhancing navigation and SEO structure.
They can also increase sales and bring about tangible actions undertaken by consumers. For example, an arts and craft company with an SEO friendly blog post on watercolour painting may include links to their various watercolour brushes to increase interest in their products and possibly lead to conversions.
External links connect your content to other websites, offering other helpful information and further establishing your website as credible. Using the arts and crafts company example above, they may link to a professional Art school to keep their customers more informed while positioning themselves as a reliable source.
When all is said and done, the SEO work never finishes. Keep an eye on your content to see how well it’s performing. Some ongoing actions you can take include:
Update tags and descriptions as you go.
Going Through the Archives
Make sure you regularly go through old articles and update them accordingly. This includes outdated information, dead links, or meta descriptions and title tags that don’t already include popular keywords.
This ensures your content is fresh across the board.
Regularly Monitor Progress
Keep an eye on your content to see how well it’s performing
Google Analytics is obviously the easiest way to check how your content is performing. Look at indicators like the bounce rate and time on site to see how users interact with your website after coming to your article or piece of content.
If you’ve written what you think is a really great article and it’s simply not getting enough traction, consider rehashing it in a different format or doing some A/B testing with your headlines.
If you see a high drop off as well as low average time spent on the page, that’s an indication that your content wasn’t relevant to what they were looking for, or worse, wasn’t interesting.
SEO and Content Writing: You Can’t have One Without the Other
Look, it’s fair to say that SEO and content writing are not the easiest of tasks. But these SEO content strategies can really help to drive engagement and visitors to your site.
Just make sure they work hand-in-hand.