When asked what good writing is, you’ll probably answer with the basics – good grammar, proper spelling and punctuation, and engaging content. While all of those are indeed correct, a professional will tell you that they mean next to nothing if you don’t reach the right audience.
That’s where SEO content, otherwise known as search engine optimized content, comes in. This kind of content increases the traffic to websites by ranking high in search results, pulling in potential readers or even clients.
Of course, content like this doesn’t come easy. Simply writing whatever comes to mind and hoping for the best will get you nowhere near the levels of success that these professionals can achieve. This is why we’re revealing some of the best-kept secrets of SEO content writers to give you a shot at reaching the top
- Research those keywords!
First, pick a topic to write about. Once you have that, use good old Google to research the most common phrases and keywords related to your topic. This will help you get a feel for what other people are searching for and clicking on.
Try to notice any trends or patterns in the highest-ranking results. Is there a specific keyword variation they all seem to use? Do their articles hit certain thresholds of keyword saturation?
Once you figure out the most common keywords, use a tool like SEMrush to see how high they rank and how competitive they are. If you feel confident that what you’ve found will be enough to generate good traffic, start putting it to use!
- Use what you found
Now that you have a list of high-ranking keywords related to your topic, use them in your writing. Now, this doesn’t mean just shoving them in wherever you can, as that will make your content seem forced and overwhelming.
Take it easy, and just make sure to have a keyword in your heading, somewhere within the first 300 words and in some of your subheadings. Apart from that, try to use keyword variations that will still increase your rank without breaking the flow of your writing.
If you’re worried about your keywords sounding too forced, read your article out loud. If you’re struggling to find a good rhythm and some words sound awkward or unnatural, edit them out. Don’t be afraid to make changes!
- Find a topic that people will be willing to read
There’s absolutely no point in writing content if it’s covering a topic that nobody cares about. Too often, writers will just write and publish anything that comes to mind, which usually isn’t ideal.
We’re not saying you should constantly write about the latest trends (unless that’s what your target audience enjoys!), but do make sure that your content has a purpose, and that readers will be able to gain something from reading it.
This also doesn’t mean you should be afraid of branching out. If you find yourself wanting to write about a niche that not many people know, go for the basics! Explain what your topic is and why people should be more involved in it to gain some traction, then publish more in-depth content later down the line.
- Learn the technical basics
Not only will this improve the overall experience for users of your site, therefore generating more traffic and giving the site a better reputation, but it will also boost your ranking as the algorithm will detect more people using the site for longer periods of time.
Even simple things like using images with the correct resolution, making your site navigation easy to use, and limiting the number of ads and pop-ups shown to visitors can make a huge difference. Keeping your site simple and easy to understand will let your high-quality SEO content shine through.
- Length does count!
When writing your SEO content, make sure to monitor the word count. Multiple studies show that longer content seems to be preferred and ranked higher by search engines than shorter content. Aim to write at least 600 words, but ideally, you should be producing something between 1,500 words and 2,000 words if you want the highest rank.
You’ll notice that writing long SEO articles that reach this 1,500 to 2,000 word threshold overall perform better, as they give you many more opportunities to include relevant keywords without awkwardly shoving them in. Also, longer pieces often offer a much more in-depth analysis of concepts and ideas relating to the topic, therefore increasing the chances of audience retention.
Just make you don’t overdo it with the length. Not every topic is suitable for a 2,000 word essay, so make you’re not forcing out barely coherent paragraphs just to meet a certain threshold.
- Keep an eye on your analytics
With SEO content, it’s impossible to find success by simply posting something and forgetting about it. Monitoring your analytics will help you see what you’re doing right (or wrong) and whether there are any changes you need to make to ensure your future SEO content finds success.
You can use the handy Google Analytics site, which will tell you exact data about how much time people spend on your website, how many pages they view per session, and how they found your content, along with much more nuanced information. If used correctly, this data can improve your traffic much more than keyword optimization.
If people aren’t staying on your site for very long, the content probably isn’t very engaging, or the website itself frustrated them. If there’s a particular page the majority of users visit, while other pages get barely any traffic, you may be creating content for the wrong target audience.
Don’t get too caught in analytics though. Sometimes, you could be doing everything right and your content still may not be doing as well as you would hope. Sometimes it’s just bad luck holding you back, so be patient and don’t obsess over the stats too much.
- Edit, edit, edit!
Using good grammar, spelling, and punctuation is vital when creating SEO content. Many professionals will tell you that a key difference between an average writer and a good writer is the ability to edit your own work well.
Relying on Microsoft Word to highlight your mistakes is a very bad idea – computers don’t always understand what you’re trying to say, so they may not pick up seemingly obvious mistakes or may think something is wrong when it actually isn’t.
Read your work out loud and make sure it’s easy to follow. Avoid sentences that drag on with no end, and try to cut out as much fluff as possible. Also, try to make your content as visually appealing as possible. Huge paragraphs that last pages are much more daunting than smaller chunks of text, and you’re much less likely to go off topic if you keep everything as short as possible.
Another great way to spot mistakes is by getting someone else to read your work. They don’t have to know anything about SEO to be able to tell you what you’re doing wrong. If anything, it’ll be better if they’re just an average person and not a writer, as that is probably the general demographic of your target audience – their experience reading your content will indicate how others will experience it too.
- Get involved with PR
Creating and posting SEO content is only part of the optimization process. Once you’ve published your content, you will need to take on the role of your own, personal PR agent in order to generate more traffic.
Try linking your content on every social media page you have. Share your content via text message with people you know (just don’t be annoying about it!). Friends and family will be sure to click on it, even if it’s simply out of curiosity or a willingness to support your ventures.
Find forums and online groups relating to your specific topic and post a link to your content there. Chances are, people will be incredibly supportive if your content is evidence-based, well-written and of a high standard.
Keep hustling and sharing your links wherever you can, but, as with everything, make sure to not overdo it or you’ll end up scaring away potential readers by being annoying.
- Recognize the need for patience
Becoming an expert in creating SEO content can take a lot of time. There isn’t just a simple miracle solution to getting successful overnight. You will have to put in a lot of time, effort, and possibly even money into your content to get it to rank, and that’s okay.
Never feel any pressure to achieve first place on your first try, nobody ever does. Just keep perfecting your craft and soon enough you’ll be seeing the benefits.