Seo for Content Writers

SEO and content writing go hand in hand. But it’s not only the content writing course or, article writing for beginners that we should pay attention to – we should follow the SEO guidelines as well. Here I will write about what you need to know before you’re allowed to throw those keywords into your sentences.

I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do while providing the step-by-step content writing examples that will get you started on the right foot. And if you join me in this SEO for the content writing course, I’ll be with you every step of the way.

What is SEO writing?

SEO writing is the implementation of keywords and key phrases within web content. Copywriters and marketers use SEO to increase their site’s organic visibility and SERP rankings. The best way to write for SEO is to pair high-quality copy with targeted search terms.

Key SEO terms glossary infographic

Key SEO terms, defined

  • Long-tail keywords: A string of keywords or phrases, often 3-6 words long. Long-tail terms are more specific and are queried less frequently relative to high-level, generic terms. Think “basketball shoes” vs “2019 basketball shoes for sale Colorado.”
  • SERPs: Search engine results pages. In other words, the Google page that contains all the results users can click on after a query.
  • SERP position: The exact ranking in Google. For instance, Position 12 would refer to Page 2 of Google, since only 10 listings typically appear on Page 1.
  • Anchor text: The words or phrases that are hyperlinked, directing traffic to other webpages.
  • Meta description: A short summary of a webpage that appears in SERPs – often 160 characters – that can entice searchers to click a result.
  • Title tag: The title of a webpage that appears in Google SERPs and as the text on browser tabs.
  • Search queries: Words that users type or say into search engines.
  • Search volume: The number of times a term is queried per month.
  • Click-through rate: Percentage of clicks for a SERP result relative to how many times searchers saw that result.
  • Conversion rate: Percentage of people who complete a desired action (a click, a purchase, etc.) divided by the total number of people who visited that page.
  • Organic traffic: The number of users who found your site via a search engine under their own free will and not through paid ads or other sites.
  • Structured data (schema): How SEO elements like metadata, keywords and HTML are formatted on the page. Data that is structured makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index pages.
  • Ranking factors: The general components that search engine algorithms consider when deciding which pages should rank higher than others.
  • Backlink: A hyperlink that directs traffic to another page, either internally or externally.
  • Page and Domain Authority: A score that measures how “authoritative” a page or site is on a scale of 1-100.
  • Pageviews: Number of times a page is viewed.
  • Pageviews per Session: Number of pages viewed in 1 session by each user, before leaving the site entirely.
  • Organic keyword difficulty: A metric of how easy or difficult it will be to rank for a given keyword in organic search, on a scale of 1-100.

Start with your goals

The foundation for any SEO content strategy is to know what you hope to achieve. Set measurable goals before you begin, so that copywriters, marketing managers, and other stakeholders are all working toward the same KPIs.

Here are common metrics to measure:

  • Click-through rate.
  • Conversion rate.
  • Organic traffic.
  • Backlinks.
  • SERP position.
  • Dwell time.
  • Page and Domain Authority.
  • Organic keyword opportunity/difficulty.
  • Pageviews per Session.

SEO copywriters should be given the data they need to succeed so that each new page that’s created is tied back to a core business goal.

Know your SERP presentation

There are a growing number of ways search engines present your web pages to the public, known as featured snippets. This means not every piece of content is presented to the searchers in the same way.

Even if two companies write an article about the same topic, if one of those pages ranks highly in SERPs, it could earn a featured snippet. So while company A is presented as a generic blue link, company B is presented with additional images, bolded text, and more.

Company A:

Company B:

To stand out from competitors, understand how your content is going to appear in Google SERPs – then optimize for that specific format.

Here are the featured snippets you’re most likely to encounter:

  • Paragraph.
  • List.
  • Table.
  • Image carousel.
  • Local 3-Pack.
  • Knowledge Graph.
  • Sitelinks.
  • People also ask.
  • Top stories.

Think in terms of ranking factors

In line with your company’s commercial objectives, there are also Google’s preferences to keep in mind. The search engine’s primary algorithm, RankBrain, helps process webpages and determine where they should rank in SERPs.

So content writing isn’t just pleasing your readers; it’s about pleasing Google too. That’s why it’s important to know the specific ranking factors Google looks at. There are more than 200, but 10 of the most prominent are:

  1. Content quality: Is your writing accurate, relevant and user-friendly?
  2. Backlinks: Do other sites link to your content?
  3. HTTPS: Is your site secure?
  4. User experience: Is your content visually and informationally valuable + easy to engage with?
  5. Mobile first: Is your site optimized for mobile screens?
  6. Page speed: Does your page load in 2 seconds or less?
  7. Direct traffic: Do users come directly to your site, or do they have to Google you first?
  8. Content depth: Is your content more comprehensive than similar pages on the web?
  9. Behavioral signals: Do people share, comment and mention your content?
  10. Schema: Is your content easily understood by search engines?

Strategic, not stuffy: How to use keywords

SEO has always been an evolving discipline. In the earliest iterations of the internet, the content was ranked and served to users based on repeating the same keywords as many times as possible. This was referred to as keyword density.

Write for the end user, not a magic number of keywords.

However, in the last five years, Google’s algorithms have gotten smarter, and they know that keyword stuffing is spammy and not useful to readers. So, copywriters have had to shift their approach: Write for the end-user, not a magic number of keywords.

What this means in practice is that each page should be built around a single keyword. Writers should cover every angle and aspect of that topic and its associated subtopics. Think ahead: What follow-up questions might a reader have after reading your piece? Include the answers to those questions in your writing right from the start.

The intent is to be the single best resource for a topic, providing maximum value to readers. Don’t worry about using keywords in every other sentence. If you’re doing your job correctly, the keywords will naturally flow in the article.

What if a Keyword Phrase Doesn’t Sound Natural?

Sometimes, you will get an article that calls for a keyword phrase totally unlike what you would use in everyday speech. That’s because people tend to type into Google whatever comes to their mind first, often in its most simplistic form. For example, someone looking for a divorce lawyer in Springfield will simply type “divorce lawyers Springfield.”

Since articles must sound natural and engaging, this can make writing for SEO a challenge.

However, there’s a plus side, as there are several different ways to handle a confusing keyword phrase like this. The first way is to separate the phrase with punctuation, as it’s been revealed that major search engines like Google don’t take into account most punctuation, with rare exceptions. So a few perfectly acceptable ways to address this issue are as follows:

If you’re comparing (divorce lawyers, Springfield) has many options.

At our law firm, you will find only the most reliable and compassionate (divorce lawyers. Springfield) residents who have trusted us for more than 40 years.

This first method is the most classic way to handle keywords and what most writers think of when asked, “What is SEO writing?” But there’s also a newer way to handle odd keywords like these. Some short words and phrases are often ignored by search engines. Prepositions and articles (e.g., words like “of,” “a,” “in,” and “on”) are often completely ignored. This can turn a bad keyword into a more natural one:

Her experience and expertise make her one of the best (divorce lawyers in Springfield).

Those keywords are often called “stop words.” A writer should not use them excessively in title tags, as they take up too much important real estate in your very short title, but within page content, this is perfectly fine.

Regardless of which method you use, your keywords must always fit naturally into the text of the article. Unnatural-sounding keywords with poor grammar will be very recognizable to more evolved search engines over time.

How Many Keywords Should I Use?

In simplistic terms: a lot, but not too many! Use as many keywords as you can while still sounding natural. While you want your keywords to appear in your content, you don’t want them to be stuffed in there awkwardly and too many times. This is called “over-optimizing” and can hurt a website’s rankings. A rule of thumb could be that in a piece that’s around 300-400 words, you should aim for 5-7 keyword phrases and never introduce keywords more than ten times.

SEO Article-Writing Tips

SEO article-writing tips to remember
  • Write for the audience: Your tone may vary according to the article assignment but should always be informative, engaging, and centered on the needs of the reader.
  • Use keywords naturally: While reading your article, the average person should have no idea that keywords were involved.
  • Let the keywords help you form your outline: Would any of the keywords make sense as major headings or within opening sentences? These may be some of the more natural and easiest places to put your keyword phrases.
  • Use a checklist: You might find it helpful to copy and paste the keywords into a separate file where you can mark them as you go and make notes showing how many times you’ve used them.
  • Read your article out loud: If you read your article out loud before submitting it, you might find places where the language doesn’t quite sound right.

How to Become an SEO Content Writer

Woman thinking about how to become an SEO content writer to make money

The steps to get paid for SEO content writing are simple:

  1. Make sure you have a good grasp of writing fundamentals. A college degree or certification is not necessary, though it can be helpful.
  2. Learn SEO basics like how to use keyword phrases naturally within a piece of text.
  3. Apply to work for Online Writing Jobs, or find another avenue for your skills. Members of our freelance writing team enjoy flexible hours and the ability to choose the projects they want to complete.

Conclusion

SEO content writing requires a clear understanding of SEO strategies, tactics, and best practices. Content Writing will require you to apply keywords, meta tags, title tags, alt tags, optimized images along with effective heading structure, well-written content, etc.

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