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SEO Writing: What It Is and How It is Done

SEO Writing: What It Is and How It is Done


- Gautam Sharma

SEO Writing Tips 

Bill Gates’ words back in 1996 that “content is king still rings true today. 

But what good is content if no one reads it or worse, no one knows it exists?

In this post we’ll be talking about the $80 billion industry - search engine optimization and discuss the large part it plays in making your content rule in digital marketing

We’ll cover SEO writing tips and  how data science meets prose to attract organic traffic to your website which as SEMrush reports, is a leading challenge for 52% of surveyed marketers. 

We’ll give you:

  • An overview of what SEO writing is
  • How your goals are involved
  • SEO terminologies and rank factors you should familiarize
  • The elements needed to create valuable written SEO content to attract a large chunk of the audience

If you’re ready to learn and apply SEO best practices to bring organic traffic to your website so you’re one step closer to your ultimate goal, this post is for you. 

Let’s get the ball rolling!

What Is SEO Writing?

SEO or search engine optimization writing is the process of planning and implementing keywords and other best practices to create high-value content that ranks high in search engines to get the most organic traffic in the target niche. 

Simply said, SEO writing is about creating written content that will rank high in search engines like Google for many to see and interact with. 

It’s important whether you’re an eCommerce site owner or a blog owner. 

SEO writing tips involves tons of ingredients to create palatable content many would like to consume. 

But before you start delving into these ingredients, it’s important to establish why you want them to consume your content. This will drive your SEO writing efforts in the right direction. 

What’s The Goal for Your SEO Written Content?

Before you start writing SEO content, you first have to determine why you want to rank high in search engines. 

Do you want more people to know about your website? Do you want them to know more about your product or service? Do you want to know if your content helps drive sales?

If you say yes to any of these, you need to have measurable goals you can track. Google Analytics is a great tool to help you with this. 

If you want more people to know about your site, you can track impressions, click-through rates, users, and sessions and see if there’s any improvement each week. If not, you can try altering the keywords you target or make your content more worthy to read. 

Do you want them to know more about your product or service? You can track average session durations and bounce rate to see if they’ve read your content completely. If not, try making your content longer, use more screenshots and images. 

Do you want to know if your content is compelling enough to drive people to buy? Check conversions. 

Take a video streaming service like Everytale. The goal for the website is to get more clients, so the metrics they can look at are the conversions. 

These are just some of the metrics you can use. If you’re using SEO tools like Ahrers and SEMrush, you can also track page or domain authority and backlinks which shows how much other websites and search engines trust your content. 

Now, is it time to start writing content? 

I bet some metrics I mentioned earlier confused you. Plus, there are a few more terms you need to get acquainted with to get you going. 

Let’s check those out right now. 

SEO Terminologies

Before taking any SEO writing tip first understand the terminology used in SEO. If you are getting instruction from an SEO agency or SEO expert they will use following terms to explain you scope of work.  

  • Anchor Text - the word or phrase a link directing to another page is attached to
  • Backlink - a hyperlink directing to another page within the website or another website
  • Click-through Rate - the percentage of how many people click on your link when they found it on the SERP
  • Conversion Rate - the percentage of website visitors who clicked, download, or purchase something on your website divide by the total figure of page viewers
  • Keyword Difficulty - determines how easy or hard it will be to rank for a certain keyword, usually on a scale of 1-100, 100 being the hardest
  • Long-tail Keywords - a group of keywords, usually 3-6 words long. These are more specific keywords
  • Organic Traffic - the number of people who found your site in the SERP without paid ads
  • Page/Domain Authority - a metric of how “authoritative” a page or website is, often scaled at 1-100, 100 being the most authoritative
  • Pageviews - the count of how many times a page is viewed
  • Pageviews Per Session - the count of how many pages 1 person visits before exiting the website
  • Ranking Factors - the elements of a search engine’s algorithm that decides what page ranks and how high it ranks
  • Search Queries - what people type in search engines when 
  • Search Volume - how many times a term is searched per month
  • SERP - Search Engine Results Page, it contains the results of a search query
  • SERP Position - a website’s rank in the SERP

SERP Presentation

When search engines decide to rank your webpage as a result of a query, your webpage can either be listed as a generic result like this:

Or as a featured snippet like this:

But there are other forms of featured snippets. 

Source: Brafton.com

Getting into a featured snippet allows you to rank on top of the SERP, ahead of generic results. To get qualified for a featured snippet you can do either of the following:

  • Directly under a heading or subheading provide a brief and concise answer to the topic, just 52 words long
  • Make “People Also Ask” as a subheading and answer the question directly
  • Add a “How-To” section in your content
  • Add high-quality and related images to the topic
  • Create ordered lists or bullet points
  • Add a table

Consider Ranking Factors

The best SEO writing tips are those who produce results for your website. Search engines like Google have certain preferences to determine if a webpage should rank and how high. This means SEO content writing isn’t just about pleasing your readers but Google as well. 

Google’s algorithm evolves. Sometimes in a matter of years, sometimes months. Google’s current algorithm is December Core. 

While we cannot run down all the factors considered in ranking, here are the few most important ones. 

  • Backlinks - do other sites link to your site?
  • Behavioral Signals - is your content mentioned, commented on, and shared by readers?
  • Content Depth - is your content more extensive than other pages with similar content?
  • Content Quality - is your content valuable, relevant, accurate, and user-friendly?
  • Direct Traffic - do users search in Google to reach your site or do they reach it directly?
  • HTTPS - is your website secure? Does it have an SSL certificate?
  • Mobile-Friendly - is your content easy to read on mobile phones?
  • Page Speed - how many seconds does it take to load your page?
  • Schema - do search engines understand your content easily?
  • User Experience - is your content easy to engage? Is it informative? Is it visually appealing?

Optimize for these ranking factors to have better chances at ranking high on the SERPs. 

Keyword Research

Keywords will help Google understand what your written content is all about. 

But as mentioned earlier, search engine algorithms change over time making SEO an evolving discipline. 

A few years ago, search engines still rank pages that do keyword stuffing. It’s where you use keywords even though it doesn’t make sense or is not helpful just so Google will notice you for that keyword. 

But since then, Google’s algorithm is getting smarter and keyword stuffing is now a thing of the past. 

So how do you make the most out of keywords now?

Pick The Right Keyword

When you’re fairly new, it’s tempting to try and rank for too many keywords in one written content. But this can lead to organized content. 

So pick a primary keyword or seed keyword as some call it. For a lingerie store selling costumes too like 3Wishes the primary keyword could be “lingerie”. This should be the focus of the entire article. 

Pick Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords should be related to your chosen primary keyword. It should be a supporting element to your main keyword. 

If you’re using a tool like Ahrefs, you can go to “Keywords Explorer'', type in “lingerie” and on the results click “Matching Terms” to find long-tail keywords you can use. 

Topic Research

Now that you have your primary and long-tail keywords, it’s time to do topic research. You have to keep your audience in mind and what matters to them. 

Say your website is all about cybersecurity like VPNoverview. You can go to “Keywords Explorer” again, type in “cybersecurity”. On the bottom portion of the result, you’ll find “SERP Overview”.

Check the content on that list and see what they are writing about, the tone they use, and the subheading they included. On the same result page, there’s a section for “Keyword Ideas” with a subsection called “Questions”. You can also use some of the questions here in your article. 

Search Intent

Search intent is basically what a user is searching for. Google algorithms are trying to optimize for relevant results more and more so you have to write SEO content that satisfies a user’s query. 

There are 4 general types of search intent:

Commercial

The user considers buying something and is checking for other options. Common terms you’ll find in the title are “review”, “cheapest”, and “comparison”.

Informational

The user is looking for information on a certain topic. Common terms used here are “tutorial”, “guide”, “checklist”, “best”, and “how-to”. 

Navigational 

The user is looking for a particular website or webpage. They either search for a specific service, product, or brand.

Transactional

The user wants to buy something. Common words used here are “price”, “buy”, and “coupon”. 

For example, if you’re doing an article about a “predictive dialer”, go to “SERP Overview” and check what modifier words you can find in the titles. 

For this keyword, you’ll see recurring words like “best” and “what is” so this tells you you’ll be making an informational kind of content. 

You can also do a Google search. Features snippets and “People Also Ask” sections show the audience wants informational articles. 

Create An Outline

After determining the keywords and search intent, you can now start creating an outline for your SEO article. Ahrefs inverted pyramid will be helpful for this. 

Start with “need to know” information and build your arguments as you move forward. Use the “Questions” subsection and the “People Also Ask” feature in search engines to determine what subheadings to write about. 

Again, start with important information and end with “nice-to-know” information. 

Add Visual Content

Visual content helps break up walls of text to keep users reading your article. It also supplements your written argument making your SEO content more valuable. 

You can use graphs, infographics, checklists, and flowcharts to make your point easy to understand. If you don’t have a knack for this, you can always tap an expert to create visuals for you. 

You can also use stock images if graphs and flowcharts aren’t necessary. 

As said earlier, using good visuals will also qualify you for featured snippets so you can attract more traffic for the target topic. 

There are 3 things you need to keep in mind as you choose your visual content. 

Reduce Image Size

The image size should be kept to a minimum but only up to a point where the image quality is not compromised. Large images take longer to load and are not good for the user experience. 

Descriptive Alt Text

Alt text or alternative text help screen readers access a certain webpage. When deciding on the alt text remember that it should describe what the image is about, relevant to the primary keyword, and unique from every image on the page. 

Take this example from IDevAffiliate’s page, I did a quick inspection of their image and it has an alt text “affiliate software”, closely related to what the topic and image is about. 

alt text SEO writing

Descriptive Alt Text

Don’t use the generic name of the image when you downloaded it. Change the filename to contain the primary keyword or description of the image before uploading it. 

Optimize Meta Title And Meta Description

Two of the most important elements of SEO writing tips is getting the meta title and meta description right because it cues the search engine about what content is about. 

Meta Titles 

These are the titles that show up in the search results. It’s mostly similar to the topic headline of your article but not always. Meta titles can be an identical variation of it. 

Meta titles should contain the primary keyword since it introduces your SEO content to the readers even before getting on the article page. It should be unique from other pages of your site, otherwise, Google will find an alternative title for it. 

Meta titles must also reflect user intent so they should include the common words on the type of intent. It should be kept between 15-40 characters long so Google results won’t cut off the title and it has to include power words to make people click on it.

Meta Description

Meta descriptions on the other hand are the paragraph or summary of the page seen under the meta title on the SERP. If you write it effectively, it’ll entice the user to click and consume your content, so optimize for the target emotion by using evoking words. 

Like the meta title, the meta description would also include the primary keyword and so it doesn’t get cut off by Google, keep it between 140-160 characters. 1-2 sentences will do. 

Make meta description click-worthy because it’s your second chance next to the meta title to grab the user’s attention. Also, the last portion of the meta description must be a call-to-action as another way to prompt users to read your content. 

Headings And Subheadings

Headings and subheadings are the skeletons of your content. These are also other elements that signal search engines on what the content is about so it must include your primary keywords as well. 

Headings and subheadings should follow a descending order. 

  • H1 is the headline or page title and can only be used once
  • H2 are the subheadings or the main points of your SEO article. 
  • H3 are subtopics under H2
  • H4 are subtopics under H3 

When done effectively, it helps skimmers and scanners jump to the topic they’re most interested in. 

A great example of this is how Tapfiliate did it with their Affiliate Marketing for eCommerce Businesses blog. 

Readable URL

The page’s URL also tells Google what the article is about so it must clearly describe the content. Most people use the title as the URL and just eliminate unnecessary words like articles and numbers. 

A readable URL is also a reliable URL. Users will have doubts about clicking on an ambiguous link. But if the URL describes what the page is about, they’ll be more likely to click on it. 

Keep the URL between 3-5 words if possible and avoid including the year if the title has it to keep the URL evergreen. 

Internal Linking

Internal linking means adding links to another page in your website on the current content you’re making. This internal linking strategy will help Google crawl pages of your website faster. 

Also, internal links should only be those pages relevant to what you’re currently writing to make it valuable for search engines.

Reoptimize

Other SEO writers  have written, are writing, and will write articles with the same topic as yours. It’ll quickly become a rat race. 

To make sure you outperform your competition, continue to optimize your content, every 6 months if possible. 

Reoptimizing can also help your page jump to a higher SERP rank when you add a few more images, pages, or restructured subheadings.

Lastly, re-optimizing will help your content be up-to-date especially when it talks about reviews with pricing packages mentioned. It is the one of the best SEO writing tips one can utlize for better ranking. 

To Conclude

Professional Content Writing doesn’t come with overnight success, it’s a gradual but sustainable strategy you can apply. 

Many industries report it takes at least 100 days for SEO content to mature or get ranked on SERPs so be patient. 

As you wait for results, just keep on writing quality SEO content so you’ll have more pages to rank. Over time, this will help increase your domain or page authority, bring more visitors to your site, and ultimately, conversions.