Let’s be honest: all that time, effort, and brainpower you put into content marketing for your brand are useless if no one sees it. Sure, you can always share your blogs on social media or with your email subscribers. But for many brands, the bread and butter of their business comes from search traffic. That’s where SEO content plays a huge role.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of making your content easily understood by search algorithms. This way, when someone searches for something you offer, you stand a better chance of appearing higher in the search rankings.
Here’s a rapid-fire guide on how to write SEO-optimized content and why SEO is the king of every content strategy.
Table of Contents:
What Is SEO?
SEO refers to the process of optimizing your written web content for search engines. Blog posts, websites, landing pages, and even images can be SEO optimized to make them easier to find via search.
For example, let’s say your company offers a media monitoring platform and service (like Meltwater!). You want people searching for things like “reputation management ” or “how to contact journalists” or “PR marketing strategy” to find you before they find your competitors. With SEO content, you can increase your search rankings.
SEO is an amalgamation of moving parts, including:
SEO is an amalgamation of moving parts, including:
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does give you an idea of how large the SEO landscape is!
Why Is SEO Important in Content Writing?
Logically speaking, Google’s role is to return the most relevant search results to its users. That’s why it looks for certain signals that indicate a good match between query and content.
The more high-quality content you write, the better chances you have of ranking for your desired keywords.
Specifically for SEO content writing, ranking matters because it helps to drive more people to your brand. And the more people who discover your brand, the more authoritative you become.
Every time someone clicks on your content on the search engine results page (SERP), it indicates that Google most likely returned a good match. In turn, you become even more authoritative, which helps your rankings even more!
SEO content can help you earn free website traffic. Search engine optimization does a lot of the heavy lifting for you simply by positioning you in front of people actively searching for what you know, sell, or provide. In turn, this can help you lower customer acquisition costs, reduce ad spend, and increase brand awareness.
How to Think About Your SEO Content Strategy
Simply checking the boxes on a list of SEO-focused suggestions isn’t enough to rank well. There’s a rhyme and reason behind SEO-friendly content. Here’s how every marketer should approach their content marketing:
Keyword Usage in SEO
Keywords drive every SEO content strategy. A keyword is a term that someone would type into Google when searching for a product, information, or solution.
You can use data-driven SEO tools like AHREFS or SEMRush to find relevant keywords in your niche or industry. Ideally, you will want to choose keywords that have a high search volume and low competition.
Where to place your keywords
In addition, where you place your keywords in your content matters.
Your focus keyword should be in the…
Aim for a 1-2% keyword density, as using the keyword too many times can get you flagged for keyword stuffing.
Use LSI keywords
You should also include Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, which are keywords that are related to your main keyword.
For example, if you’re writing about SEO, an LSI keyword could be “search engine optimization” or “SEO copywriting.” LSI keywords add context to your content and help the algorithms better understand what your content is about.
Last but not least, consider the intent behind the keywords you choose. Keyword intent takes the user’s thinking into account. In other words, why would a user be searching for this keyword?
For example, if someone is searching for a “red blazer,” chances are they want to buy a red blazer. They’re likely not interested in how to make a red blazer or when blazers first entered the fashion industry.
The three most common search intent types are informational, transactional, and navigational. Using long-tail keywords can help you get more specific about the type of searches you want to attract.
Backlinks in SEO
Internal links and external links in your content are quality indicators. It’s an easy way to provide access to additional information or sources to support your own content.
Ideally, you can use link-building from outside sources that point back to your own website. Inbound links demonstrate that other sources have deemed your content reliable and high-quality, and search algorithms should follow suit.
Content Ideas for SEO
If you want to increase your rankings, a good strategy is to write about ideas that other people care about. Discover what people are already searching for and build your content ideas around them.
Again, this circles back to good keyword research. When you can find high-volume keywords, you can potentially reach more people with your content.
Quality Content for SEO
Quality content is Google’s main goal. But since the term “quality” is subjective, how can you ensure your content is higher quality than other content that’s already ranking well?
There’s more to well-optimized content than being well-written.
The best practice is to research what’s already been said about the topics you want to write about. Pay attention to the sources they link to, the length of the content, and any missed opportunities for improvement (e.g. adding an image, infographic, etc.).
Also, consider the user intent and make sure you’re writing to address the why behind the search. Your target keyword should be specific enough to reflect the intent of your audience.
For example, if everyone else is writing in-depth guides on a topic, chances are you can’t write a 500-word blog post on that same topic and expect to rank well.
7 SEO Content Writing Tips to Try Today
Now that you have a baseline understanding of the role of SEO content marketing, let’s put it into practice in your writing. Use these SEO content writing tips when fleshing out your strategy:
1. Write for Humans First, Algorithms Second
While SEO copywriting should appeal to algorithms, it must also make your human readers happy. You’re catering to real people, after all, so don’t make your writing so formulaic and robotic that it loses any emotion or clarity. This investment could have a big impact on boosting your campaign performance through semantic SEO.
This is especially important if you are using content marketing as part of your PR strategy. PR is all about humanizing your brand and appealing to your target audience through emotional connections.
2. Double Down on Your Headline
Your headline will be the first thing users see and will help them decide if your content might meet their needs. Studies show that 70% of us only read the headlines before sharing an article.
If you want people to share your content and drive even more free website traffic, you need to spend time crafting a good headline that sets the right expectations.
3. Include a Meta Description
The meta description is the small snippet of text that appears under the search result title. It’s a preview that shows the reader what the article is about, which can encourage them to click through.
If you do not specify a meta description, Google might create one for you based on your content. It’s best to choose how this meta description reads. You can usually make it more compelling than the search engines.
To optimize your meta description, include your main keyword and give a brief description of what your content is about.
4. Illustrate with Images
Images help to break up long walls of text and make your content more attractive. Plus, images can help to illustrate your story or article and provide even more value to the reader (think charts, graphs, etc.).
Another layer of increasing interest is how images can help the visually impaired. Google is starting to favor websites that provide better accessibility. Images that include descriptive alt text allow all users to enjoy a more well-rounded browsing experience.
5. Write Long-Form Content in Short Sentences
The average person reads at a 7th- to 8th-grade level. Therefore, your content should be written to cater to the average reader. Using short sentences (~20 words or fewer) supports user-friendly content. Plus, it’s easier for algorithms to skim and comb your content, especially if it’s long-form.
6. Keep Creating Fresh Content
Another quality signal is the age of your content. SEO content marketing isn’t a one-and-done activity, but rather an ongoing journey. Regularly creating fresh content helps you continue building authority and brand awareness.
You can also update existing content with new facts, links, stats, and images. Search engines take notice when content has been updated.
7. Hire an SEO Copywriter
If you’re not ready to dive into an SEO strategy yourself, hire someone who is already skilled in all things SEO. An SEO copywriter is like a secret superpower that helps you start leveraging all of these tips immediately.
Tools to Help You with SEO Content Writing
As you’re beginning your SEO content marketing journey, there are plenty of tools to help you on your way. The right digital marketing tools can help you spot opportunities to discover topics to write about, improve optimization, and even track analytics and performance.
Here are our favorite tools for SEO, in no particular order:
If you’re just getting started with keyword research, UberSuggest is a simple yet powerful keyword tool. It’s free to try and will give you a long list of relevant keywords, search volume, and difficulty.
For more advanced keyword research and backlink building, ahrefs is a tool used by larger agencies. It will track your backlink performance so you can monitor your brand authority. Plus, get insight into the keywords your competitors are ranking for so you can one-up them.
For help with SEO writing, there’s Hemingway App. This free online tool lets you copy and paste your content and “grades” it based on complexity. It highlights areas that you can simplify to make them more reader-friendly, helping you appeal to your target audience and search algorithms alike.
Meltwater’s all-in-one suite of social listening, brand management, and competitive insight tools can guide your content creation strategy. Gain real consumer insights to help you decide what to write about. Then, monitor your social shares and performance across multiple channels to see how and where you’re moving the needle.
Writing SEO content takes all the pieces of a very large puzzle into account. The good news: it gets easier the more you practice. You’ve got to start somewhere, so put this guide to SEO into practice today and watch your impact grow over time.
Meltwater NV published this content on 10 February 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 10 February 2022 11:40:05 UTC.