So you want to create the best possible SEO content. First off, congratulations! You made a great decision to learn how to optimise your content because, without the use of SEO, anything you write can end up lost in search engines, on a results page that gets zero clicks.
Unfortunately, the first thing we have to say is that it is not easy to create SEO content that performs very well in search results. You have to be aware of numerous things, and it is very easy to feel overwhelmed.
Fortunately, all the information you need to create perfect SEO content is available online for free. You CAN learn how to create something great for both the audience and the search engines.
Before we go further, remember that time is money. If you do not have the time needed to learn how to create stellar SEO content, and not learn, the best thing you can do is hire a professional content writer, one with the needed search engine optimisation experience.
Getting back to the main topic, here are the best SEO content writing tips you have to know.
Always Write For Your Audience
No matter how we look at things, this is the very first tip we should highlight. You need to always write with your audience in mind. It is so easy to fall into the trap of writing for search engines in the hope of ranking higher. The problem with this is when people visit your page, they either go away quick or they just do not perform the action you want them too.
A prevalent mistake businesses make these days is writing only articles about their services or products. Without going too much into it, only around 20% of the content you create on all promotional channels you use should be about your business. The rest need to be all about your target market. You have to answer questions and provide highly-helpful content if you want your content to perform well.
The target audience you think you have is not necessarily the one you have. Always set up Demographics in Google Analytics to know exactly who visits your website. Does your traffic align with your content marketing strategy? If not, changes have to be made.
Few people know that there is a connection between SERP performance and writing content that resonates for users. When you just write with SEO in mind, the page’s bounce rate is higher. Also, time spent on site is lower, and fewer clicks come from search results, even if you rank high. Google notices all this and can reduce your initial ranking.
This all means that if you do not write for the audience first, your content can't perform in search engines, and it will not bring you what you want at the end of the day, which is more money. Do not write any blog post without first taking your audience into account.
The goal is to write SEO-friendly content that engages the audience first!
Host Your Content
A widespread mistake we see is the creation of blogs on free hosts like Blogger or WordPress. Usually, this happens in an attempt to keep things simple and reduce costs. Unfortunately, this is a mistake, and you should not make it. You can create a great piece of content and it will not perform great in search engines simply because of this choice.
It is always best to keep original content right under the domain name you own and use for your business. As you publish articles, whitepapers, case studies, infographics, and even videos, they all add to your domain name's overall value.
Remember that Google loves it when websites publish content often. A regular business website does not change its pages often. Having a blog with informative articles helps make the site dynamic, which the search engine wants to see.
Build a blog on your business’ domain name to take full advantage of the SEO benefits associated with creating content. Google will appreciate this and you do not have to worry about ranking two different addresses. You can make your content rank much faster with this approach.
Create The Best Headlines You Can
Your headline is your best tool to capture the person's attention that finds your page through a search engine. And it is limited in how many characters you can show. With this limited amount of text, you have to make the best impression you can.
If there is one part of your entire article that needs to be perfect, it is the headline. Headlines have to be interesting, clear, and also include keywords. If they are not, your great content will not be seen because people will not click on the search engine result.
Besides the headline, you also have to be very attentive with the meta description because it appears right under the headline. This part of the content should also include the main keyword you want to rank for and give more reasons for the user to click.
If you already have a high following on social media, you can test your headlines and meta descriptions using A/B testing on different posts. This can show you which option performs better, and you can use it in search engines.
Write the best possible headlines you can, and never forget about the meta description since these two appear in search results. Make these two count!
Take Advantage Of Keyword-Rich Phrases
Keyword-rich phrases need to be present in headlines and in the body of the content you publish. This is important for both readers and search engines since they highlight what the article is all about.
The problem though is it is really easy to go overboard. Keyword stuffing is something you need to avoid at all costs. This practically means you should never add too many keywords in your pages. When you do this, Google might penalize you. Simultaneously, including too many keywords makes the content really hard to read, so the user experience is negatively affected.
When you write SEO content, you perform an SEO keyword research first. This is great to do, but the keywords you find should not be stuffed inside the content. Use them sparingly and thoughtfully. Great content in the world of search engine optimisation is all about finding a balance between optimising for the user and optimising for search results.
As an extra tip, keep in mind that there are many different parts of the page containing keyword phrases. You can easily add them in image tags or blog tags.
Try to naturally include keyword-rich phrases inside your headlines and body content to show search engines what the post is about.
Carefully Structure Posts
Post content can be excellent and completely underperforming because it is presented in an inefficient, unorganized format. This is why formatting is critical when you create SEO content.
You should always break up content into paragraphs. Preferably, try to use just 2 to 3 sentences in a paragraph.
Then, you have to use headings and sub-headings to further break down your content into topics. The use of tag hierarchy, which is recommended, practically means using H1 for your titles, H2 for your headlines, H3 for your sub-headlines, etc.
Besides the important things mentioned about structuring posts, you should also try to use bullet points whenever possible. They make it easy for the reader to scan content and highlight important things to be remembered.
It is even possible to use images to further divide your SEO content. For instance, in this article right here there are many images added to divide sub-headings. This allows the visitor to quickly scan the content and find what they want.
Avoid long paragraphs and structure your content so that it is easy to scan, with the main points clearly highlighted for your visitors.
Take Full Advantage Of Images
All your posts can pop when you use images. Remember that people are visual. When you add images in your articles, you get the viewer's attention, and it is possible to make a much better impression than with just text.
Since you are using images, why not take things one step further and use those as well. There is such a thing as Image SEO, and there are numerous visual social networks where your images can be featured. The most common examples of such options are Pinterest and Instagram.
While you would need to take some extra steps and use images that would also look great on social media, it is definitely worth it in the long run.
Also, whenever possible, try to incorporate video content. This can take your entire content marketing campaign towards greater heights. Images are standard in content creation but if you can also use videos, you can increase the time spent on site and reduce bounce rates, when done properly, of course.
When you do not add images in your content, and you just rely on text, the post does not perform as great as it could. Always use imagery to enrich your search engine optimisation results.
Think About Social Media While Creating Your Content
Although we are talking about SEO here, every specialist will tell you the industry is constantly evolving. Optimisation is much more complex, and we need to always think about all the promotion channels we have access to. And social media is definitely one of the strongest available for everyone, usually for free.
While you work on your SEO campaigns, also work on your social media presence. Then, when you publish your articles, you share them. You can do the same in forums if you have the time to do it.
Obviously, whenever you share content online anywhere, you need to create an extra description that is appropriate for the channel used and you need a CTA (call-to-action). Try to adapt your messages based on your target audience, their needs, and wants.
Because social media is all about sharing, include sharing buttons on all blog posts created. Get even more control by using Twitter cards and Open Graph to increase click-through rates.
Never forget social media when you create SEO content. Take full advantage of the promotional nature of these networks and the online awareness they can create.
Target Several Keywords With Your Content
Try to find topics that can easily target several keywords at the same time. This makes it easier for the content to drive consistent traffic from search engines. Obviously, when you build something, you start with the primary keyword. However, so many marketers forget that you can maximize potential reach by targeting and including secondary search terms (preferably long-tail keywords). Usually, this is more than enough to amplify the page’s ability to attract extra organic traffic.
Think about how much extra traffic you can receive from search results when you create several articles that end up ranking for dozens of different search queries.
Various SEO tools can be used to identify valuable keyword variations. Most of them are paid, but you can also use free options, like Keyword Planner from Google.
Choose the extra keywords and add them in the main parts of your content, like:
- Meta description
- Title tag
- Headlines (header tags like H2, H3, and so on)
- Image ALT tags
Target the main keyword and several variations of it when you create content.
Take Advantage Of LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing)
We already talked about the importance of using LSI keywords, and we have to do it again. Google is getting smarter every month in matching queries and processing them to deliver relevant webpages to users. LSI is practically all about understanding term relationships and words.
For marketers, this practically means you have to include semantically related terms when you create SEO content. Here are some ways to do that:
- Use extra related nouns and add entities, like personalities or brands.
- Use synonyms and close variants of your keywords. Basically, you want to use natural language instead of only the main keyword several times. If you optimize for “dog pictures”, you can and should add terms like “dog images”, “dog pics”, and “photographs of dogs”.
- Use the terms that are frequently used by the competition.
A great tool you can use is Ryte. It helps you to easily identify the related terms used by the competition. While this is a paid SEO tool, you could use the free version if you do not create many articles per month.
If your budget does not allow investment in a tool to help you identify LSI keywords, try to "spy" on what your target audience does on social media. Look at your competition too and carefully analyse what words they use in their written posts. This allows you to expand the vocabulary you use for your own pieces of content, and will surely naturally incorporate related words and phrases.
Add related terms and phrases in your content to enrich it and potentially rank for other search terms used by people right now.
Use Unexpected Hooks
Over 4.4 million blog posts are published every single day. This means every single industry is saturated when it comes to content. It is more challenging than ever to reach your audience. At the same time, it is getting harder for the audience to find quality articles.
With this in mind, when you manage to offer information or ideas that are rarely found somewhere else, it is easier to rank higher in search results. People love your content more so they share it on social media and link to it from their own blogs.
To put it as simple as possible, when you optimise your content, try to offer something unexpected. Think about offering something actionable, original, useful, or practical. Some things you can add include:
- Original case studies
- Personal experience
- Connecting and combining the stats and ideas of other publishers to create your own content and ideas (just make sure you properly credit the sources you use)
Look for something unexpected that you can include in your content, which would add value to the reader. This makes your content shine and stand out. Google loves that.
Include Quotes And Stats From Top Industry Sources
Many business owners out there do not want to link to other websites or the competition because they believe this helps the linked sources. In reality, when you link out to high authority sources, both your visitors and Google recognize it as accurate content.
Search algorithms need the links to understand the associations and relationships between web entities and topics. Topical relevance for linked sources will improve content relevance score for target keywords.
You should also know that when you cite the articles written by others, you increase your networking. This means you might end up finding people you can collaborate with when you create excellent content, and you cite others. Building rapport and engaging with thought leaders and influencers in an industry can bring countless long-term benefits.
Do not be afraid to include relevant links in your SEO content. Use them to enrich your content’s authority.
Monitor Your Work
Finally, a vital SEO content writing tip you should memorise is that all your efforts need to be monitored. You can easily install Google Analytics on your website to quickly track page views, which is what most people do anyway. What few do though is to analyse all the extra information offered by the platform.
A very important report to be careful with is time spent on-page. This shows you if the visitors actually read the SEO content you create. Then, you want to look at bounce rate, which shows you if people are interested in reading more after reading what you wrote.
You could also analyse social interactions, like the likes you get on Facebook or the shares your articles get on social media. This shows you how “viral” your piece of content is or could be.
Monitor the results you get with the content you create to improve in the future and keep doing what works.
We have to highlight the simple fact that content writing is not easy and the content writing tips highlighted above are not the only ones that can be highlighted. There are so many others we can mention but these should be enough to get you started when you want to create stellar blog posts.
SEO content writing is difficult to master but you should always start by wanting to write content of high value for the target audience. Every piece of content you publish in a blog post or even on social media should include keyword research and you have to make your content stand out. Do this with whatever makes sense. You cannot always add images but you still need to write content that connects to your audience.