Writing content for SEO isn’t as hard as you might think. Sure, there are a few nuances you’ll want to keep in mind while writing to appease the Google gods. But it’s not entirely a grueling chore. Today, I’ll share 15 tips I use on a daily basis for SEO writing.
And the best part is that these are all beginner-friendly.
This is the process I’ve used since I started writing back in 2012. Though, a few things have changed thanks to Google updating its algorithm. Still, I’ve managed to handle things well over the years.
Why is SEO Content Writing Important?
Search engine optimization plays an integral role in the success of any website. It’s a series of practices creators and developers put into place to maximize exposure on sites like Google. This results in more significant traffic.
Although there are a lot of wheels turning for SEO, content is one of the most impactful regarding what page you rank during a search. It affects Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness as well, or E-A-T.
In other words, you want to create the best piece of content you can for your target audience.
As a Blogger
As I said, writing content for SEO vastly improves traffic. Especially after you submit a sitemap to Google’s Search Console. Traffic is how bloggers make their money.
The more traffic your website receives, the more likely people will click on ads, buy stuff from affiliate links, or otherwise interact with your blog. There are many ways you can monetize the site, but it all comes down to driving traffic to your content.
As a Freelancer
When you’re creating content for clients, getting their site to rank high in search usually means making more money. The better you make a client look, the more money they will throw your way.
If you have a proven track record to write amazing, high-quality, and SEO-friendly content, you can nearly charge whatever you want. That is as long as it’s within reason.
Ramping up your prices too high can easily scare clients away.
15 Beginner Tips On Writing Content for SEO
These are the methods I use on a daily basis for myself as well as my clients. Plus, I’m always in a state of learning new and efficient methods to improve my writing. This means the tips below are subject to change, especially if Google does something new and unexpected.
So, what can you do to improve your content writing prowess for SEO?
1. It Starts with Keyword Research
First, you’ll need to know what you’re writing and for whom. This is done through keyword and keyphrase research. Whether it’s a single word or a long-tail phrase, writing good content starts with the topic itself.
Luckily, there are plenty of free keyword tools you can use to find popular topics on which to write. But you need to go just a bit further than hammering out whatever you want.
For example, how are others using the same phrase in Google? What is the intent of those searching the phrase? Are they looking for tutorials, lists, or answers?
Take the keyphrase you want to use and search Google. Make note of how the top articles are covering the topic.
2. Include the Keyphrase in Your Title and URL
Next, make sure you include the keyword or phrase in your title. It’s the first thing bots are going to crawl and the first thing people see when using search engines.
So, if you’re writing about “1990 Dodge Daytona parts,” your title could be something like “5 Best Locations to Find Parts for a 1990 Dodge Daytona.”
Now, content like that example would be exceptionally niched down and probably wouldn’t attract a lot of visitors. That is unless you were building up a Dodge, Daytona, or general car repair blog.
But you get the point.
Always make sure the keyphrase is in the title as well as the URL of the post. In WordPress, this would be the slug.
You can also use tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to help you create more clickable titles. It’s a free tool that can help you attract people to click on your link in search as opposed to someone else’s.
3. Keywords Don’t Have to Be Verbatim
As I pointed out above, keywords and phrases don’t have to be verbatim. Google ignores stop words anyway, and as long as you’re using the terms within a single sentence, search engines understand what you’re trying to convey.
If you put in most long-tail keyphrases exactly how they appear in keyword tools, the sentence wouldn’t look right or make logical sense.
In most cases, they don’t even need to be in order as they appear in tools, either. Of course, this greatly depends on the text before and after the phrase. As long as the text supports the keyphrase in a logical manner, it’s all good.
4. Use the Skyscraper Technique When Applicable
The Skyscraper Technique is when you find an article in the top position of Google for your keyphrase, analyze it, and then write your own to be better than what’s available.
This usually involves going into a bit more detail, including additional facts supporting the topic, or otherwise improving upon the article with new and relevant information.
You don’t copy the top-performing post, just do what you can to make it better.
5. Understand How Headings Work
Headings separate the text while making any piece of content easier to read. By looking at the heading, visitors and search engine bots should be able to determine what the following text contains.
Proper headings use a hierarchy in HTML. This determines its size as well as what is more important to certain elements of the topic.
This is why I prefer to outline my articles with headings for writing content for SEO. It helps me remember what I want to include while giving me a good flow for the text.
6. Keep Images Low in File Size or Use WEBP
If you plan on using images in your content, make sure they aren’t too big in terms of file size. This is because faster pages are prioritized in a Google search.
If you’re using Photoshop, you can save the file at a reduced quality to make the file size smaller. Usually, you can do this without losing a lot of quality in the image itself.
Or, you can use WEBP images. WEBP is an ultra-small file type Google has been pushing for years. Recently, it’s been getting a lot more attention and can easily help the load time of any piece of content.
Unfortunately, not all web browsers support WEBP. However, this is changing rapidly as more emphasis is put on faster load times.
7. Add Alt Text to All Images
When adding those images, don’t forget to add the alt text. This helps search engines understand what the image is about and its purpose within your content.
A lot of experts and writing tools want to see a certain percentage of alt texts to reflect the keyword of the content for SEO. And speaking from experience, this makes a big difference in how well the post ranks on Google.
In any case, it’s a good rule of thumb to always describe the image as best and as succinct as you can in the alt text. You don’t need a paragraph, but a short blurb about the image is ideal.
8. Cite Your Claims with Links to Authoritative Websites
View links as an extension of your article. Use them as a way to accentuate the content while providing additional information that doesn’t necessarily need to be included in the current post.
For example, take a look at the WEBP link I made earlier. In that case, I linked to Google’s developer’s page to describe how WEBP works. It’s an authoritative site for the specific information that might help a visitor.
I tend to link to popular sites that have a track record of being trustworthy with information.
Anyway, authoritative websites demonstrate to Google that facts and accurate information are important to your content. It’s unknown just how much these outbound links help in SEO, but I’ve seen the difference in search results by including them.
9. Add Internal Links
If you want Google to crawl additional content on your site and rank it higher, you’ll need to add internal links. This is like giving those posts a vote on what is important and that search engine bots need to consider.
These internal links need to work like the outbound ones by acting as an extension of the content you’re writing for SEO. For example, I linked to my post about the “Skyscraper Technique” as a way to go deeper into what it is.
Internal links can vastly improve the performance of any article on your website for which you’re linking. I’ve seen posts increase by more than 20 positions in search just by adding 10 internal links to that specific article.
10. Don’t Stuff the Keywords
Keyword stuffing is something nearly everyone did back in the early days of Google. Nowadays, it makes the content read horribly while getting it penalized in search results.
While you do need to focus the content on the keywords and phrases, you don’t want to go hog wild putting them into your post. Let the text surrounding the keyword make the point.
A good rule of thumb is to keep the keyword rate in your post between 2% and 5% of the text. If you’re worried about keyword stuffing, writing tools such as Yoast SEO can help you keep an eye on word usage.
Yoast will monitor what you’re writing in real-time, as long as you’re using WordPress. I’ll go over Yoast in the plugin section below.
11. Aim for Featured Snippets and People Also Ask
Featured snippets and the People also ask sections of Google can help your content get recognized in search. Trying to get a block of text into either section is challenging, but worth the effort.
Both of these sections focus on providing the best information possible for the specific search term. Though, it’s much easier to get into People also ask if you provide the best answer.
In any case, do a Google search of your term and see if you can include a paragraph to conquer either the featured snippet or answer in the People also ask area.
Also, keep in mind that there might not be a featured snippet for something you’re answering. In that case, you might be able to take it over with ease.
12. Remember to Write for Human Readers
Sure, writing content for SEO centers around making sure bots can logically crawl your text. But don’t forget that you’re writing that content specifically for human readers.
It’s vastly important that you focus your text on the target audience first and foremost. The easier it is for someone to read and understand your post, the better. This means the bots will also be able to correctly crawl it and rank the content.
Not to mention that Google’s algorithms are getting quite advanced. This is why every SEO expert suggests writing with a natural tone and flow.
13. When Writing, Focus on Longer Content for SEO if Possible
In 2021, Hubspot found that articles between 2100 and 2400 words tend to perform the best. However, not all long posts will perform well in a search.
Case in point, my client has a lot of articles in the top positions with fewer than 1500. It all really comes down to the topic and how detailed it needs to be.
I’ve also seen 4,000-word articles get beat out by those with half that word count.
Typically, I’ll take a look at the top-performing articles to see how long each one is and where it ranks on the first page of Google. Then, I’ll plan a post according to what topic I’m covering and what a good “average” count should be.
14. Use Keywords and Phrases in Meta Descriptions
Today, meta descriptions aren’t nearly as important as they were 10 years ago. However, they still play an important role in letting search engines know what you’re content is about.
For this reason, it’s important to include your keywords and phrases in the meta description. Think of it like a short, teaser text for how your post is going to help someone.
Typically, these are 155 characters max as anything else will get cut off in search anyway. You’ve probably seen this yourself when the text below a title shows an ellipse after a certain word count.
15. Reach Out to Other Sites for Link Building
After your content is published and ready for visitors, start reaching out to other blogs to generate backlinks. This is done by finding posts that your text would greatly compliment.
A lot of bloggers will reach out to replace current links in a post or find broken links and ask the blog owner to use theirs as a reference instead.
Having a good link-building strategy can make a massive difference in generating traffic to any blog post. That is as long as you have the time to do so.
WordPress Plugins to Help with SEO Content Writing
For beginners, SEO writing can feel daunting. Luckily, there are a lot of tools out there that can help you create some great posts, especially in WordPress.
Some of the plugins you can use for sprucing up your content include:
Yoast SEO has been my go-to writing tool for an exceptionally long time. In fact, I used the plugin to write content for Textbroker clients, which greatly reduced how many revisions I needed to write.
Yoast comes with two tabs: SEO and Readability. This means it helps you structure content for SEO while assisting you with content writing. After all, the more readable your text, the more engaged the audience.
The best part is how effective the free version of the plugin is for setting up great posts.
Rank Math is another amazing SEO tool for WordPress. Not only will it help you perform better in search results, but you can also use artificial intelligence to write optimized content.
This tool comes with a slew of features such as Google Rich Snippets integration, built-in keyword ranking, SEO analysis tools, SEO tests, internal link suggestions, and more.
With all of the flexibility included, there’s no wonder why it touts itself as being the “Swiss Army Knife of WordPress SEO.”
The All In One SEO plugin is among the more popular I’ve seen with my clients. Well, outside of Yoast anyway. It comes with a lot of tools to optimize WordPress for search engines.
AIOSEO comes with TruSEO scoring. This is when the tool analyzes your content while providing an actionable writing checklist for SEO. It also delivers the readability analysis so you can ensure people are able to read the text with ease.
Another of AIOSEO’s endearing features is its integration with so many other platforms, such as Semrush, SeedProd, Elementor, and many others.
Success is Never a Guarantee when Writing Content for SEO
Even if you try to do everything perfect for SEO, it’s never a guarantee that your content will rank high. There are simply too many variables to consider when it comes to how Google places content.
Especially when it comes to how you put that content together.
However, the tips above have served me well over the years and have helped us create some amazing articles that drive quite a bit of traffic.
All you can really do is try to write high-quality material that your target audience wants and needs. Do what you can to satisfy those who are searching for your topics.
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