The belief that SEO writing is all about keyword-centric content still prevails among many today. It's 2019, and the search engines have evolved to place quality and relevance of content over keywords in the title or the heading tags. Since agencies have mostly focused on SEO, quality writing service still remains underdeveloped. The need of the hour is melding the technicality of SEO optimization and the art of writing.
Effective content writing in today’s online space should involve strategies to appease your audience and grab the attention of search engines to stay on top. Although the priority is the audience, having your content well-optimised for search engines will ensure it stays longer in front of your readers.
Given below are eight tips to help you improve your SEO and content writing skills.
1. Have a well-defined purpose for your post
Before you start with your SEO piece, you need to lay down a clear purpose for it. Think about what your article needs to convey and what the content is trying to inspire. Also factoring into the purpose of your article is your target audience, who are you writing this for? Having these figured out helps you write content that is both relatable and engaging to your readers. Lastly, come up with at least one idea for what the title of your post will be, it will help you stick to the topic as you write.
Checklist before you start:
- Set clear goals for your SEO piece
- Know your target audience
- Write a starter headline
2. Focus on valuable content
Search engines have become increasingly similar to the digital audience they cater to; they don’t have an appetite for keyword-filled, mediocre articles. Take a look at this study by Searchmetrics on General Ranking Factors; content relevance has a higher ranking factor than word count or keywords in H1 tags, description title and text body.
Coming up with unique content that is presented in an active voice is key to keeping your readers engaged. The word count should be a minimum of 500 words, unless it's category pages and some product descriptions. Research how posts similar to yours that rank high have structured their content; look into their length, subheadings and whether they're answering a specific question at the beginning of the page. It will offer you a good layout for your own page that readers prefer to dwell on.
- Write over 500+ words
- Keep your content original
- Use an active voice
- Break up the article into subheadings
- Use a layout that is popular
3. Strategic placement of keywords
Although content ranks higher in SEO copywriting, keywords still significantly matter for search algorithms to find your post. Research the appropriate keywords for your topic from SEO services such as Google AdWords.
Keywords change quickly as the industry trends change, so research for new keywords periodically. Where you place the keywords matter just as much; it’s vital to use them in title tags, internal links contained in the content, Alt attribute of images, headline tags and Meta descriptions.
Checklist for keywords:
- Use keywords naturally in the content
- Add primary keyword in the first paragraph, title and URL
- Add secondary keyword
4. Give it a compelling title
Your title is what shows on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and determines whether visitors will click on your post was drawn by it. It is critical in terms of getting attention and clicks on searches and social media channels. No matter how great the body text is, a weak and uninspiring title will not get any attention from readers. Limit the number of characters of your title to within 75, anything greater would truncate the title. Readers are more likely to overlook your page if they can’t read the full title.
- Encapsulate the essence of your content in the title
- Limit title to <75 characters
- Include primary keyword in the title
5. Add links wherever they are relevant
Adding internal links is a great way to keep your readers engaged for longer. Referencing to pages on your own site where they can find the further material is a great way to establish the authority of your own writing. Clicking is also a proxy for a vote to the page and the more it gets the high it will be ranked by a search engine. External links to authoritative sites also give you a boost as proof of your research.
Checklist for links:
- Add links to your own internal pages that are relevant
- Add external links to other relevant high-quality web pages
- Add keywords in the anchor text of links
6. Writing Meta Descriptions
Meta Description is the short paragraph that appears under a page URL on the SERP. Although they don't directly influence search engine rankings, they are meant to summarise the content of your page for the benefit of the search engines and users. How concise your meta description is can mean the difference between a click and a pass. You can also turn it into part of your SEO content by adding target keywords in the description. This persuades more people to click on your page and stay longer which can ultimately add to your rank.
Meta Description Checklist:
- Keep the number of characters to within 320
- Use the primary keyword
- Accurate description of your page
7. Optimise for social media
Post your article to social media content sites that you frequently used. If you have a broad contact list, tag popular people or pages that can extend the reach of your article’s share; it helps whenever there’s an active conversation that is in trend around your topic. Take time to research the Hashtags around your keywords so you can appear on social media searches related to your topic.
Checklist for social media:
- Use keyword based #Hashtags in your social media posts
- Try to tag or post at somebody who would benefit from your article
- Post on social networks you’re active on
8. Wrapping it up
While finalising your article, try and come up with one more title that is more appropriate to your content. If you can come up with a few, that's even better. Choose the most optimised title from the bunch. Edit your final article for grammatical errors and check if your links reroute to the right sites.
- Come up with another headline
- Final editing for grammar and typos
- Check internal and external links
- Write a compelling CTA
A well-written SEO article strategically balances both the technicalities of SEO and the art of writing to provide the most value to readers, which in turn helps it rank higher. When the content is appealing, small efforts put into SEO can give large returns over time as it shows the search engine crawlers that your pages are worth being on top.
Got any more tips of your own? Share with us in the comments below!