What do you think it takes for a website to rise in search rankings, reach the number one spot, and dominate SEO?
Linking structures and sitemaps will always be important for SEO, but when it comes to true SEO power, the SEO content writer holds the key to success.
There’s a reason why the phrase “content is king” has become so well-known that it’s a cliche. It may be played out, but it’s absolutely true.
Businesses that want to improve SEO will need a skilled content writer to bring everything together.
SEO content writing can be a difficult skill to master. Luckily, you have us to tell you everything you need to know to be a successful content writer.
Tips For Being a Fantastic SEO Content Writer
If you want to be a successful SEO content writer, know that there’s going to be a lot of competition in your field.
It seems like everyone is trying to make a little extra money or break into the content writing business. When you’re competing against writers that will churn out website copy for $5 a page, it can be easy to feel discouraged or overwhelmed.
You may not be able to beat other writers on price, but you’ll have them beat when it comes to quality and skill.
If you follow these SEO writing tips when you’re getting started in the business, you’re bound to have returning clients in no time.
Start Off With Keyword Research
Writing SEO copy before doing proper keyword research is like trying to bake a cake without adding half of the ingredients and forgetting to put everything in the pan.
Keywords are going to be the backbone of your content. If you don’t do keyword research before you start writing, the content you’re crafting may not relate to the keyword.
In the past, some black hat SEO writers would insert keywords anywhere in the content. There wasn’t any thought put into the content or even concern if the keywords made sense. Just having the keywords in your content was enough to rank.
SEO has changed dramatically, and having content that doesn’t match the keyword can harm your ranking.
Doing keyword research is relatively simple once you get the hang of it. Google Adwords is the standard keyword research tool, but there are a variety of other tools you can use.
If you’re having trouble, start off small with a simple Google search. Do a broad search, then scroll down to the bottom of the page so you can see some suggested searches.
This tells you what search terms people are using that are related to your main search term. You can use any of those terms as keywords, and you can start to build your content around them.
Put Quality Over Quantity
As an SEO content writer, it’s easy to focus on putting out as much copy as you can. There’s nothing wrong with feeling motivated to write as much copy as possible, but if you aren’t careful the quality of your content may decrease.
We mentioned how SEO has changed over the years. In the past simply having content with the right keywords was enough to rank on the first page. Now, Google’s algorithm prioritizes high-quality content and pushes this kind of content to the top of search results.
If you want to start focusing on quality, take time to carefully proofread your work. It can be easy to make mistakes when you’re writing, and grammatical errors make content look sloppy and confusing to read.
A free app like Grammarly can make proofreading easy. Be sure to run everything you submit through spell check to ensure the high quality of your content.
Think About the Big Picture
An SEO content writer could (and should) do more than write copy for a website or a blog post. Content goes beyond what you see on the page, there are other pieces that come together to help make pages improve their ranking.
Giving people a total SEO writing package can help improve SEO and makes you a valuable content writer.
Don’t focus on just writing the content. Offer to write meta descriptions, headlines, H1s, and alt tags. These are relatively simple to write and can do a lot to improve SEO.
If you’re going to be writing content for websites, consider doing a content audit on a client’s website. Aside from securing you more work, it gives you the opportunity to truly improve your client’s content site-wide and boost rankings even higher.
Make Content Scannable
You may have noticed that the content in this post is formatted in a specific way.
The short paragraphs, frequent line breaks, and plenty of bold titles aren’t a mistake. This post is formatted in a way to make content scannable so that it’s easier to read.
People don’t have long attention spans in the Internet age. Most people will land on your content, do a quick scan to see if anything stands out to them, then leave your page.
Some content writers have tried to keep their writing as short as possible to keep people interested. Instead of making your content shorter, just make it easier to read.
Avoid long block paragraphs that clump content together. Focus on keeping your “paragraphs” to no more than four sentences. If it gets any longer, you’ll have blocks of difficult to read text.
Also be sure to use header text to break up your content. H1s, H2s, and H3s stand out to bots and crawlers and teach them a lot about content on the page.
Using header text to break up content gives you the ability to make your content more readable and can help improve your SEO simultaneously. Be sure to utilize keywords in your headers to get the biggest SEO boost possible.
Keep Content Relevant
Have you ever been on a website and saw content that seemed very out of place?
You’re looking for custom t-shirts for a fundraiser, and the website features a blog post about planning fun birthday parties. You browse a website that sells electronics, and they have posts about planning a picnic.
That content makes no sense to target audiences, but it was most likely written to have content with keywords in it.
The custom t-shirt website most likely wanted to rank for the keyword “birthday party t-shirts,” so they wrote a blog post about party planning. The electronics website knows that some big picnics require sound equipment, so they wrote content around the keyword “amplifiers for picnics.”
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with trying to create content like that. After all, there’s only so many top 5 lists you can write about hyper-focused content.
The trouble starts when the content starts getting off topic. Take time to keep your target audience front of mind, and think about the kind of content they would find valuable.
Instead of writing a post about birthday parties, that custom t-shirt website could have written a post about the best ways to design shirts for events and birthdays.
The electronics shop could have written content about how to rent sound equipment for large outdoor events.
You should always be looking for new content topic ideas, but make sure to keep them relevant.
Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
Let’s face it, when it comes to SEO, most small and medium businesses are going to have a hard time ranking for certain terms due to the cut-throat competition centering around them.
A local shoe retailer isn’t going to rank for “men’s shoes” when retail giants like Macy’s and Adidas have been writing copy and working on SEO for over a decade.
if you want to truly improve SEO and write helpful content for clients, focus on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are a bit more specific, but they also can produce better results.
It’s okay to pepper in shorter terms like “men’s shoes,” but think about adding terms like “dress shoes for men,” “black dress shoes for men,” or even “best men’s running shoes for marathons.”
These terms are much more targeted than vague, shorter ones. They can help searchers ensure that they’re finding the best results.
Focus on Localized Keywords
While we’re discussing the importance of targeting long-tail keywords, we have to mention how adding locations can boost your business’s SEO efforts.
It’s the same basic thought process behind the importance of long-tail keywords. Certain terms are far too hard to rank for, and it can be difficult for searchers to find what they truly need with such a vague term.
Adding locations to keywords helps ensure that only the most relevant audiences find your content. Ranking for a “near me” term can do wonders for SEO and should be a goal for any small business.
If you’re a small business owner of a brick and mortar shop in Philadelphia, your first order of business will not be spending marketing dollars to find customers that live outside the immediate area. Adding location-specific keywords to content can ensure that you’re reaching a local audience.
Keep it Conversational
When you would write papers in school, formality was a must. Writing in the most formal way possible may have gotten you an “A” in college and graduate school, but if your SEO writing is too formal you may start losing your readers.
There’s a difference between writing formal content and well-written content. Without a doubt, you can write grammatically accurate content that doesn’t read like a research paper.
Writing in a conversational style is required for any business that wants to maintain its readership and transform them into clients and customers.
Thinking about the way people talk to others can help ensure that you’re writing effective content. Remember, SEO is all about showing up in search results. If you aren’t writing the way people talk and type, how can you expect them to find your content?
Also, be sure to avoid jargon. Business terms that only insiders would know typically aren’t good for content that’s aimed at a wider audience.
If you’re worried about your content sounding too formal, read what you’ve written aloud. If what you’ve said sounds normal out loud, you’re on the right track.
If you want to take things a step further, consider downloading the Hemingway app. The app can rank your content by grade level, so you can see if your writing is too formal or academic.
In general, try to aim for keeping your writing somewhere at the middle school level (6th grade – 8th grade). It’ll be much more accessible to people, but your writing style won’t be too simplistic.
Don’t Forget About Visuals
You may be an SEO content writer, but if you want to stand out from the rest you need to think beyond words.
People are very visual creatures. You can easily take your content to the next level by adding visual elements to your text.
Adding a simple picture helps break up the monotony of endless lines of text and can help you better communicate ideas.
If you’re a serious SEO content writer, a subscription to a stock photo website is a must. You’ll have access to a lot of royalty free photos and can find a picture for nearly every topic you write about.
When you’re choosing pictures to add to your content, don’t forget to add alt tags. Tagging a picture with a relevant keyword can also help with SEO.
Go beyond simple pictures and find other ways to incorporate visual elements into your content.
Shoot a simple instructional video on your phone to add value to your content. Use a free service like Piktochart to make infographics so you can communicate your message in a new and creative way. Go out of your way to be visually creative.
Now that you know how to be a successful SEO content writer, it’s time to learn other ways to improve SEO.
Sometimes new content may not be enough to raise your rankings. The way your website is structured could be negatively affecting SEO or you might need to work on link building.
Ultimately, we’re here to help you with all thing related to digital marketing. Be sure to schedule your free breakthrough strategy session today, so we can answer any questions you may have.