SEO has become very essential for any website. It’s not only a medium to attract visitors, but also a medium to attract customers and generate revenue. One of the most important factors that affect your website traffic and your rankings in search engines is the content that you write and publish for your website.

Search engines don’t always need complex algorithms to help users find the most relevant pages. Indeed, some of the best search results come from simply showcasing the most useful and interesting content for a given topic. By the way, Here is a guide on how to generate high-quality links from one blog

What Is SEO Content?

To understand what marketers mean by SEO content, it’s helpful to break down the phrase into its parts:

So, putting these two concepts together: SEO content is any content created to attract search engine traffic.

I’m not going to tell you everything you need to know about optimizing your content for search engines here; that’s a whole ‘another guide. But here’s a super-quick refresher on what you’ll need to do to SEO your web content:

  • Keyword Research: If you want to generate traffic through search, it’s best to do keyword research before you start writing. This way, you can focus on keywords for which a certain amount of search volume already exists – in other words, write toward topics (or find keyword niches!) that people are already searching for information about.
  • Keyword Optimization: Know where and how to use keywords in your content for maximum searchability. (SEOMoz offers a great guide to on-page optimization.)
  • Content Organization: The content on your site should be organized in a logical way. This is not only good for SEO, it also helps visitors on your site find other related content easily. (The longer they stay on your site, the better.)
  • Content Promotion: Increase visibility to new content you create by sharing it on social networks and building links to your content (both internally and from external sites).

A Quick Word on Intentions

It’s important to keep in mind that if search engine traffic is your only goal, your results will probably suffer. To please both the search engines (who will reward you with high rankings over time) and potential customers and return visitors, you need to offer value above and beyond search engine optimization. In other words, don’t produce “thin” content that ranks and gets clicks, but doesn’t provide any additional value to the search engine user. Sites that promote “thin,” low-value content run the risk of being penalized by Google; they also tend to have high bounce rates and low conversion rates.

Types of SEO Content

SEO content can include any of the following:

  • Product Pages – These are the bread and butter of any retail e-commerce site. A good product page can serve as both SEO content and a PPC landing page.
     
  • Blog Posts – A blog is one of the easiest ways to create a regular stream of effective SEO content. In general, blog posts are more engaging and more likely to attract links than product pages, so they can be a great way to build some authority for your site. (Keep in mind that blogs are very flexible, and you can use them to host any of the below types of content in this list.)
     
  • Articles – Think news article, interview, or feature piece. This is the main kind of content you’ll find on most newspaper- or magazine-style websites.
     
  • Lists – A list is really just a kind of article, but framing it as a list (such as “10 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill” or “101 Things I Hate About Google”) makes it easier to scan. These types of titles also seem to be more clickable when found in search results or in social media feeds.
     
  • Guides – A guide is a longer piece of content that explains in detail how to do something. (Guides are often broken up onto multiple web pages, though it’s a best practice to allow users to view long content as a single page if they wish.) You can post a full guide on your website, or you can post a summary or excerpt, requiring visitors to fill out a registration form to read the full guide. This can be a good way to generate leads, but keep in mind that putting up a registration wall will likely reduce the amount of SEO traffic you can drive to that guide.
     
  • Videos – In general there are fewer videos on the web than pages of text; consequently, it can be easier to rank on the first page for a competitive keyword by creating a video instead of an article. Depending on what type of site or business you run, videos can be a great way to attract and reach an audience. Consider creating video tutorials of how to use your products. Or illustrate a process that is related to your business – for example, a plumber could make a video showing how to unclog a sink. (A note on SEO: You might consider including a text transcript of your video. Here are some additional tips for optimizing videos.)
     
  • Infographics – Infographics, or large-format images that contain a lot of data (often in the form of graphs or charts) on a single subject, can rack up a lot of page views and links. However, because so much of the content is embedded in the image and therefore not readable as text by search engines, it’s important to carefully optimize the rest of the page. You can use one of these five free infographic templates to get started.
     
  • Slideshows – A slideshow is a way to display a series of related images. Sometimes pictures are more important than text – say you’re trying to show what all the stars wore to the Oscars. Here again, SEO of your title, captions, image file names and so on is important because there is less for the search engines to “read.”
     
  • Glossaries – I swear more people use Google to look up terms than they use a dictionary. (Do you even know where your dictionary is?) If you work in a specialized industry, a well built-out glossary can be a good way to capture some search traffic. Think cooking terms, medical terms, fashion terms, architectural terms …
     
  • Directories – A directory is a useful taxonomy of links to sites or resources around a given topic. For example, a perfume blog might create a directory of places to buy perfume, from major department stores to independent shops around the country.

These are just some of the basic types of SEO content, but don’t let this list limit you – the possibilities are virtually endless.

How to Write SEO Content

Step #1: Choose a Topic

Your first step is to come up with a topic for your content.

Specifically, you want to cover a topic that your target customer cares about.

Here are 3 quick ways to come up with awesome content ideas:

  • Reddit: Head over to active subreddits where your target audience tends to hang out. And look for topics that tend to come up again and again. These can be GREAT topics to cover in a blog post or video.
  • Competitor Blogs: Look at popular blog posts, videos and infographics from your competitors’ blogs. What do they have in common? What can you emulate (or improve)?
  • Personas: Personas can help flesh out what type of content your target customer searches for online when they’re not searching for your product or service. Here’s an example:Basketball buyer persona

For example, my target audience is made up of people that do marketing full-time.

A while back I noticed this discussion on the SEO subreddit.

Reddit – SEO – Backlinks

So I decided to create a post that answered that specific question:

Backlinko – High Quality Backlinks

Simple.

Step #2: Find a Keyword

Now it’s time to find a keyword for your content.

To be clear:

Keyword research is a HUGE topic. So I can’t cover everything there is to know about finding keywords here.

But I can give you a handful of quick keyword research techniques that are working great right now.

First, use Google Suggest to find long-tail keywords.

Google suggest – "paleo diet"

What’s cool about this technique that is you get to see keywords that people are searching for right now. This means these terms aren’t super competitive (yet).

Second, use Ubersuggest.

This free keyword research tool helps you come up with new keyword ideas. It also lets you know how many people search for that keyword in Google every month.

Ubersuggest

Finally, type a few different words and phrases into AnswerThePublic.

Unlike most other keyword tools, AnswerThePublic focuses 100% on questions. So if you want to create content optimized around question keywords (like: “Why is content marketing important?”), this tool is a goldmine.

AnswerThePublic – Paleo questions

And if you want to see a lot of these strategies in action, I recommend checking out this short video.https://www.youtube.com/embed/TaOA_Zy2XUw?rel=0

Go ahead, I’ll wait 🙂

Then, move on to step #3…

Step #3: Write Comprehensive Content

Here’s the dirty little secret about SEO content:

If you want your content to rank in Google it needs to be AWESOME.

In other words:

“Quality content” isn’t enough. Your content needs to be the best result for a given search… or it’s not gonna rank. Amazing content is the key to SEO success.

How do you do that?

Write comprehensive content.

In other words: publish content that gives someone searching for a keyword everything they need.

For example, a few years ago I published this complete guide to mobile optimization.

Backlinko – Mobile SEO guide

Now I could have written something like: “5 Mobile SEO Tips”.

But I knew that comprehensive content had a MUCH better chance of ranking #1 in Google than a short post.

And I was right!

A few months later, my guide hit the #1 spot for my target keyword:

Google Search – "mobile seo"

As you might expect, comprehensive content tends to be MUCH longer than your average 400-word blog post.

Our Google ranking signals study found that the top 10 results for most keywords tended to be 1,447 words in length on average:

Average content word count of the top 10 results is evenly distributed

Why does long content rank better?

  • Longer content helps give Google more information about the topic of that webpage. This makes them more confident that your page is a relevant result for that keyword.
  • As I mentioned earlier, long-form articles can cover A LOT more than a 300-word blog post on the same topic. This means long articles answer searcher’s queries better than short content.
  • Long content tends to attract more links and social shares than shallow content.

For example, the mobile SEO guide I mentioned earlier is 4,330 words.

Was that piece of content easy to write? Heck no!

The first draft alone took over 20 hours.

That said, writing long-form content can be a competitive advantage for you.

Your competition is probably too lazy to write in-depth pieces. This means that you’ll instantly separate yourself from the pack when you start publishing insanely-thorough stuff.

With that, let’s move on to our next step in the SEO content writing process.

Step #4: Optimize for Users

Now that you’ve written a piece of content, it’s time to optimize it for users.

Specifically, you want to make your content SUPER easy to consume.

Because the fact is this:

If your content isn’t easy to read and understand, it WON’T rank.

(Even if your on-page SEO is PERFECT.)

That’s because Google now uses “User Experience Signals” (in addition to traditional ranking signals, like backlinks) to figure out which results deserve to rank #1 in the SERPs.

So if people LOVE your content, it’s going to get rankings to boost.

Pogo stick effect – Up

With that, here are some SEO copywriting tips that you can use to make sure your content satisfies users and search engines.

First, make the first few sentences of your content short.

Research shows that people prefer to read short sentences. Readers also don’t like wide blocks of text that spread from one end of the screen to the other.

That’s why you want to make the first few sentences of every article and landing page on your site super, super short.

Also, crunch those first 5-10 sentences between huge margins so that people’s eyes don’t have to dart back and forth as far.

I follow this rule for every post:

Landing page guide – Intro

Second, I recommend adding lots of multimedia to your content.

In other words: use video, audio, diagrams, charts, interactive media, quizzes, games, and infographics.

When you have quality multimedia in your content, you satisfy a larger chunk of the people that come to your site Google.

People that like videos will sit back and watch your YouTube video.

People that like to read will skim your blog post.

And audio junkies will put on their headphones and listen to your podcast.

A Google Quality Guidelines document told reviewers to consider pages with “supplementary content” (in the form of calculators, downloads, and diagrams) a higher quality than text-only pages.

Google guidelines

In short, using multimedia is worth the extra effort.

Last up, use H tag subheadings to break up your content.

This is especially important for long-form content.

A good rule of thumb that I follow is to include at least one subheader for every 200 words of content.

For example, you can see that I use lots of subheadings in all of my posts:

Backlinko – Subheadings

Which makes them easy to read (and skim).

Step #5: Keyword-Optimize Your Content

This step is all about making your content SEO-friendly.

And this video walks you through the entire step-by-step process:https://www.youtube.com/embed/EceSgY9bDnc?rel=0

Now that you’ve watched the video, here’s an example of how I optimized one of my blog posts: “How to Create an Effective SEO Strategy”.

Backlinko – SEO strategy

First, I made sure to include my main keyword in the first 100 words of my page.

SEO Strategy Keyword In Post

This is known as “Keyword Prominence”.

Why is this important?

The higher up on the page a keyword first appears, the more Google considers that page about that keyword.

This makes sense if you think about it:

If you’re writing an article about a topic, why wouldn’t you mention a word related to that topic (in other words, a keyword) right off the bat?

Second, I added internal links to other content on my website.

Internal links in post

Last, I embedded a long tail keyword in my title tag.

My target keyword for that page was “SEO Strategy”. That keyword gets 2.4k searches per month (and has a CPC of $15).

Ahrefs – SEO Strategy

As you may expect, it’s going to be a while before I’m going to rank for a tough keyword like that.

That’s why I ALSO optimized my page around the long tail term: “SEO Strategy 2021”.

That way, I was able to quickly rank for the less-competitive keyword:

Google SERP – SEO strategy 2021

And as I build links to my page, I’ll eventually crack the top 10 for my main keyword.

Step #6: Share on Social Media

It’s time to promote your content on social media.

How you promote depends a lot on your niche.

For example:

If you run a cooking blog, you’ll want to focus on Pinterest or Instagram.

But if you’re in the digital marketing space, a platform like Twitter makes more sense.

In my case, I like to share my post on Twitter the day it goes live:

SEO copywriting – Relaunch tweet

I also use a boosted Facebook post to get my content in front of more people.

Facebook post – Boost

Step #7: Build Links

There’s no doubt about it:

Link building is HUGE.

A 2019 search engine ranking factors study found that links are still “incredibly important” for ranking highly in Google.

Search Engine Land – Chart

The question is:

HOW do you get people to link to your content?

Your first step is to check out this video:https://www.youtube.com/embed/t_838Dk966Y?rel=0

In this video, you’ll learn about the strategies I’m currently using to build backlinks to my site.

And here’s an example of how I used one of the strategies from the video (Broken Link Building) to get bloggers to link to my content.

A while back I published a huge list of 190+ SEO tools.

Backlinko – SEO Tools

Then, I found dead links on websites in the blogging, SEO, and social media space.

Dead links

I emailed each of these bloggers to give them a heads up about their dead links. I also sent them my new blog post.

Email – Brian

As you can see, it worked like a charm 🙂

Email - Reply

Step #8: Analyze Your Results

Your last step is to see how your content performed.

To do that, I recommend tracking your page’s search engine rankings:

SEMrush – Position tracking

And Organic traffic (using Google Analytics):

Analytics – Organic traffic

You can also look at “Impressions” in the Search Console:

Search Console impressions

One thing to keep in mind is that SEO can take time.

Even if you follow these steps EXACTLY, it can still take 2-3 months for SEO to “kick in”. So don’t expect a brand new piece of fresh content to rank in Google the next day.

For example, I published this SEO case study some time ago.

Backlinko – Skyscraper Technique 2.0 post

Even though my content was optimized for users and SEO, it took about 60 days for that page to hit the first page of Google.

Conclusion

I hope you got a ton of value out of my SEO content guide. In SEO, content is king. After all, the motto of Google is “Don’t be evil.” This means they want to index and rank content that provides a positive experience for its users. If you create content that’s useful and well written, Google will reward you with a higher ranking in your chosen keyword or topic.

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