Search engine optimization (SEO) writing has always been competitive, and Google is constantly changing how they choose and display websites in their search results. And, search queries are no longer simple links. Now your webpage competes with Answer Boxes, Top Stories, Videos, Books, Images, and more. All of this impacts how readers find your content online.
So where do you begin learning how to write content for the best SEO? These content tips not only provide a better experience for your reader, but they can also improve your website and content visibility.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique to improve a website’s organic visibility among search engines (most often, Google, which accounts for 86% of searches). Three components play into a well-executed SEO strategy. These include:
- Technical strategy: The mechanics of ensuring your website is crawlable by search engines. This also means other backend tasks, such as making sure your site is secure and loads quickly – all traits that search engines prefer.
- Off-page strategy: This tactic focuses on external factors that can impact rankings and traffic, including other websites linking to your website, shares on social media, and guest blogging.
- On-page strategy: This approach to page optimization includes the actual content that appears to the reader on the page. How to write SEO content is the piece of the puzzle that we’re going to dive into today.
How do you write SEO content?
If you’re spending hours writing high-quality content, you should want people to find it. Learning to write SEO content for both readers and search engines is both an art and a science. Try these SEO writing tips in your next article.
Target your content keywords
First, do your keyword research, and then choose the most relevant target keyword for your content. Think about what your reader might enter into that empty search box and let that guide your choice. This short phrase (for example, the keywords for this story include “seo writing” and “seo content”) will be your article’s focus and the all-important term that we will use to frame the content.
Understand your audience’s search intent
It’s critical to understand the keyword’s intent. Knowing the intent of the search will determine how we talk to the reader.
Is your reader attempting to:
- Answer a question? (consider adding the phrase “what is”)
- Look for a definition? (it could help you to add “defined as” or “means”)
- Learn how to do something? (try “how to” or “directions”)
- Buy or compare a product? (think about “benefits”, “features”, or “value”)
Let’s use “digital transformation” as an example. While we would think of this as a broad and general keyword, search results say otherwise. The top search results all answer the question: “What is digital transformation?”. If we want to show up at the top of search results, our content should do the same.
Top SEO writing tips
Now that you’ve chosen the target keyword that anticipates what a reader will be searching for, it’s time to actually sit down and write the content. Keep these SEO writing strategies in mind:
- Be as comprehensive as possible. If you’re answering a question, do so clearly. Google loves quick answers and showcases the best ones in search results.
- Include keywords in the body content. There is no magic number for how many times the keyword should be included; it all depends on the length of the body copy. A good rule of them is to use natural language and sprinkle the keyword every so often between paragraphs. If the exact target keyword isn’t always possible, include synonyms and semantically-related keywords as well. For example, if “computer” is your target keyword, a related keyword would be “desktop” or “laptop”.
- Use proper heading tags. HTML heading tags are part of the code that helps search engines see the hierarchy and the content on a page. These headings also give readers a way to skim through the content’s organization and decide if it’s worth reading. Write these headings with keywords in a way that tells a story from one section to the next. The headline of your page should be an H1 tag. Like an outline, the supporting ideas are H2s, and then what follows can be a mix of H3, H4, or H5, depending on the content structure.
- Maximize your internal linking strategy. Internal links connect your website’s own related content to itself. They can benefit your content by passing along “SEO juice” between pages. Search engines use internal links as signals to reinforce what the page is about. A comprehensive internal link strategy can help boost keyword rankings and content visibility.
- Improve click through rate with catchy title tags. The title tag, also called the page title, is what you see when you hover your mouse in the browser tab on an open page. It’s also the title of your page that shows up in the search results visible to your potential audience deciding whether they should click through to your page. It should be no more than 65 characters (including spaces) and it should include the target keyword.
- Write meta descriptions that give readers a quick summary of your page content. Meta descriptions show up in search results underneath the title tag. It should provide a short and alluring summary of the page’s content to entice your reader to click for more. Descriptions should be under 160 characters and they should include the target keyword.