Did you know 93% of all traffic comes from search engines?
Appearing in these search results is the best way for your brand to get visibility. Keep in mind that most web users do not go past the first page of the results. Hence, it is vital for you to optimise your website to the fullest and reflect in the top searches. Search Engine Optimization or SEO, which is basically a framework of website best practices, help you get there.
Search engine algorithms require you to satisfy multiple criteria when they match your pages to the user’s query. Gaining the attention of the search engine crawler requires a good strategy that touches upon both technical and content-related issues. Let us explore the ways SEO content writing can improve your website rank.
Understanding the Relationship between SEO and Content
A common mistake amongst many website owners and managers is viewing SEO as the measures taken after the website content is finalised. But the post-content work is just a fraction of the work. In fact, most of the SEO tactics draw from the quality of the content. Without the right keyword choices, titles, descriptions, and a planned content strategy that connects all your pages and blogs, your technical tweaks will be hollow and disconnected. For the best results, the SEO optimisation should begin with the content.
So how do you ensure that your content writing balances engaging prose with the pragmatism of SEO? Here are seven content marketing tips to improve your SEO.
1. Keyword research – the first step in content writing
Keywords are the joints of your content framework. Internally, they give you direction as you draft your content while externally they link your content with the search engine crawlers.
Identify the high-volume and low-volume, short and long-tailed keywords relevant to your website. Search engine algorithms recognise synonyms and variations of your original keyword so you can make an additional list of these to use in your content. Browsing through your competitor’s content will also help you identify keyword trends. If the industry is doing something consistently, you probably should not ignore it.
The Google Keyword Planner screenshot below shows the extensive detail of information you can get on a keyword – from a breakdown of searches into months, competition levels and alternate keyword recommendations.
After you have put together an extensive list of keywords - divide it into high-volume, long-tailed, and variations. Now you can plan your content accordingly.
2. How to use keywords in SEO content writing
Use the primary keyword sparingly. Add it in your title of the page and a couple of times in the body of the content. Use other keywords in sub-headers. Remember those keyword variations we mentioned in the previous point? They add diversity to the SEO elements in your content and help you avoid keyword stuffing–a practice frowned upon by search engines. These keyword variations also make good anchor texts as you link one post to another in your site (or an external site).
3. Blogs are the backbone of your SEO Content
Your company blog is central to your SEO. Blogs allow you to expand your theme and disseminate a wider range of information, and along the way, you can capitalise on all the SEO opportunities. Have a clear message when you write a blog, covering a specific topic with an introduction and a conclusion. Address a relevant peripheral topic or context rather than pushing your product or service directly.
Listicles make for easier web reading, and catchy conversational titles are needed to get the attention of readers. Make your content shareable – added social media exposure might increase traffic and improve your organic ranks. Good quality writing is the only way peers will refer to your page. This is very helpful in SEO, as explained in the next point.
4. Expand your SEO writing’s reach with links
Backlinking is when you get links coming into your page from external parties. It adds validity to the quality of your content. Google’s algorithm recognises links from high-quality sites while indexing pages for the SERP so backlinking has now become a very important SEO strategy. The advantages of backlinking are extra referral traffic and quicker indexing which leads to better ranks. Guest blogging, high-quality original content, and linking to directories are helpful in acquiring backlinks.
Based on Backlinko’s analysis of 1 million Google search results, the graph below illustrates how the higher number of backlinks relates to a SERP rank.
Internal links are the links you place in your content to connect to other posts in your domain. As more visitors get engaged with your content and click on associated links, your website becomes a content hub along with its original purpose of providing services/products.
5. Update and repurpose older SEO content
If you already have pages that are receiving traffic, update them. The updates should be relevant to the original content and follow the same style of writing. A good example is adding information about a global trend or event that is relevant to your blog topic. It allows you to insert new trending keywords.
Identify high-traffic content (blogs or product pages) that has many inbound links. Go through the content to see if there is any dated information. If your older posts are below 1000 words, increase the length of the content, and add new keywords and keyword variations. Longer posts offer more information, increasing the possibility of satisfying the search query. Longer posts also allow a higher distribution of keywords, increasing the SEO traction. With SEO in mind, you can accommodate more links in longer posts without making it look forced. Updating older posts allows you to leverage proven material with new links, keywords and information.Topical relevancy is established with a high-quality long post, making it share-worthy. At the same time, the word count should be justified by the amount of relevant information it delivers. There is no indefinite correlation between word count and rank.
According to a study conducted by Backlinko on 1 million Google search results posts with a word count between 1800 and 2000 achieve higher SERP ranks, as shown in the graph below.
6. Add visual content to make readers stay longer
Videos will keep your reader on the page longer and relevant; high-quality images increase engagement. That translates to lower bounce rates and increases probabilities of being pushed up the organic search ladder.
Invest in infographics – they are easily read and build your brand’s authority as an industry expert.
Embed relevant videos at the bottom of your post, so you give readers a chance to browse through the text before clicking on a video. Provide clear captions for your images and use keywords whenever possible.
7. Tuning your content to fit new trends
Content creators need to keep an eye on user behaviour and trends that will grow in the future. Google algorithm changes like Search Task Accomplishmentput the onus on content creators to provide complete solutions to the user’s query. The rise of voice search will lead to longer keyword phrases – questions and local queries. Q&A-styled posts (utilise question phrases) and content offering comprehensive local information help you attend to these trends.
Learn to recognise the strength of the intent in a long search query. Certain words indicate that the reader is interested in a topic or service, while some indicate their familiarity with the topic and the willingness to make a decision on it. Write your content keeping these intents in mind.
Should you stick to giving information or will you go for the sell? This graph from Moz is a good representation of how certain words point at the degree of the intent.
Keeping readers engaged is the aim of the game. Quality is the core of your content strategy. It begins with well-worded and objective articles that showcase your keywords while maintaining a consistent theme and topic. Know your audience, follow their habits, and adapt to the trends. And of course, incorporate strong SEO fundamentals to your high-quality content to get the best out of organic search.
Do you see a link between your content quality and higher search page ranks? Share your experiences below!