As a business owner or marketer, you must have noticed that most people in your industry are emphasizing the importance of high-quality content. Content is the one that converts the users, and ultimately, improves your ROI. However, what needs to be stressed is that content is nothing without SEO.
If you don’t know how to apply SEO techniques, your content won’t get a chance to work its magic. Becoming an SEO expert takes time so you should first master the SEO basics for content writing. The following guide will give you all the important information you need to start this journey.
What is SEO writing?
First of all, you need to know what you are facing. SEO writing is a search engine optimization writing which focuses on creating content that will attract the attention of the search engines using targeted keywords and keyword phrases.
Why is their attention so important?
When a search engine assesses that your website, post, or blog is valuable to their users, your page will rank higher in the search results. This will contribute to your business because the better your ranking is, the more people will find you.
Search engines basically point people to your website if you know how to use SEO strategies. To accomplish that, you need to create a search engine-directed content.
Some of the basic elements you need to master in SEO writing are:
- Links to other pages
- High-quality writing
- Content structure
- Content length
- The visual aspect
Now, let’s explain each step in more detail.
1. The king of SEO – keywords
When it comes to SEO writing, keywords are where it all starts. Without the right keywords, your SEO efforts won’t have any effect.
However, this process is much more complex than it seems.
The first step is to find the right keywords for your website. Use Google’s Keyword Tool and try out some of the phrases and how they perform. This tool will show you the following:
- Searchers made for those keywords
- The competition for those keywords
The keywords that match your niche and have good results should be your pick.
The next important element is to embed them in the content naturally. This is crucial because the search engines will recognize keyword stuffing. While it is still uncertain whether there is a perfect formula for keyword frequency, some claim that you should aim for 2-5% keyword density.
The solution is to use long-tail keywords rather than repeating the same keyword over and over again.
2. Format meta-tags
Meta-tags establish communication between search engines and your site. They are words hidden in the code and they give search engines an idea of what your content is about.
They are located inside the html’s head:
E.g. <head>Put meta-tags here</head>
Meta-tags consist of three main parts:
- The title tag – It specifies your site for both search engines and visitors. Suggested length: 55-65 characters. Try to embed long tail keywords in the title tag.
- The meta-description tag – Presents the site’s summary. Suggested length: less than160 characters.
- The meta-keywords tag – This is where you add the keywords you used in your page.
When search engines read your tags, they conclude if the description, title, and keywords are related to the content. For more information about meta-tags, check out this post by Google.
3. Add useful links
Linking other pages in your content will give additional information to the user and clarify any doubts. From the search engines perspective, if you add links you aim to provide thorough content.
You can use two types of linking:
- Internal linking
- External linking
Internal links or inbound links lead the users to a different page on your website. That page should be related to the topic and add some new information that will be useful to the readers. They benefit your SEO because the user will stay engaged with your website longer.
On the other hand, external links direct users to a reputable page on someone else’s website. When you add links from other sources, they must be trustworthy and reputable. Adding poor-quality hurt your SEO strategy.
Another important pointer is that both internal and external links need to fit the context.
4. Only provide high-quality writing
Search engines aim for positive user experience. If you write just for the sake of publishing something that will negatively affect your SEO efforts.
Ensure that your content is high-quality by:
- Including valuable information
- Covering relevant topics to your niche
- Including topics that people care about
- Providing practical advice
- Adding data and statistics from credible sources (if applicable)
- Editing the content
- Proofreading the content
In addition, your content needs to be readable. Don’t use complicated words and phrases. Conversational writing style performs the best.
Keep in mind that search engines also keep track of the bounce rate. That is, whether users interact with your site or leave immediately. According to SEMrush, bounce rate is the 4th most important ranking factor on SERPs.
You need to provide content that will enhance the user experience and then search engines will notice you too.
5. Pay attention to the structure
Most people first skim the page before they decide if they are going to read it. If they take a look at your page and see an endless string of words, the chances that they’ll leave right away are quite high. Consequently, this will increase your bounce rate.
Prevent such result by paying attention to how you structure your content. Scannable content is more appealing to the readers.
While you are writing and structuring the post, make sure that you use:
- Bolded titles
- Short paragraphs (2-3 sentences per paragraph)
- Logical structure
- Bullets and numbering
Design content with these tips in mind and you’ll create a coherent and comprehensive post.
6. Aim for the right content lengths
Of course, the content length depends on what you are writing about.
However, the search engines still give preference to longer blogs and articles. When I say longer post, that doesn’t mean that you need to write pages and pages of content.
What it means is that you need to cover the topic in a certain length to signal the search engines that you plan to provide value to the users.
Preferably, try to write a post of 1,000 words. That should be enough to cover the topic in depth but not to bore the readers.
The minimum should be 600 words. It is unlikely that you can provide value with content that is shorter than that.
Note that these parameters refer to articles and blog posts. Social media posts and website descriptions should be concise.
7. Enhance the content with visuals
Content should be created for readers in the first place and then for search engines. Visuals can improve the experience of the users by making content more appealing and interesting. Moreover, they will also improve your SEO.
Here are some of the best strategies that will help you with this part:
- Include on-page images and add word-rich image titles. When people do a search for that keyword, your image title will lead them to your page.
- Use alt-image text. They are great for optimizing keywords that you target.
- Opt for images that have small file sizes. If the file sizes are too large they will slow down your website and chase the users away.
- Add infographics with descriptive text. Both search engines and people love infographics because they are full of useful information. However, the search engines see them just as images so a description will clarify what information they provide.
- Use videos. Not only are they entertaining for the users, but the search engines recognize them as high-quality content.
With these tips, your content will be optimized and the visuals will leave a lasting effect on the users.
The right SEO strategy will provide you with all the tools to keep your audience engaged and search engines satisfied with your website. The question is are you ready to see the power of effective content writing? If you are, these basic steps are the perfect place to start.
Before we say our goodbyes, let’s sum up all the important pointers.
- Choose the right keywords and embed them naturally.
- Use title tags, meta-description tags, and meta-keyword tags to explain the purpose of your content to search engines.
- Internal and external links will provide additional information to the users and improve your content’s credibility.
- Your content needs to be relevant, valuable, and practical. Make sure that you edit it and proofread it before publishing.
- Scannable structure helps users to get interested in your content.
- Ideal content length should range between 600 and 1,000 words.
- Visual elements will improve the user’s experience and optimize your content.