This blog post will cover the basics o writing for SEO and then go into what you need to do to make sure your content ranks. By the end, you’ll understand how to:
- Conduct Keyword Research
- Write For Search Engines
- Format Your Content
- Use Internal Linking to Enhance Your Content
What Is SEO Writing?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the practice of optimising your content, so it appears on the search engine results page. Every time someone asks Google a question or searches for a product/service, they enter a range of words into the search bar.
A range of results will appear depending on their query, just like the image below.
So, what does this mean for us marketers?
Well, we’ll do everything we can to find those keywords, insert them into blogs, website copy and any form of content to try to get it to rank on search engines such as Google.
While SEO content writing takes a lot of time and effort, it’s completely worth it. If you can ensure your website content appears as one of the top results for those keywords, then you have a better chance of being found by potential customers.
To Put It Simply.
SEO writing is the process of creating content that is search engine friendly. Include your target keywords in a way that does not look spammy or forced, and ensure that your content is engaging and helpful to readers.
If you can nail both of these elements, you will be well on your way to ranking high on Google’s search engine results pages.
Now let’s go over what you need to do to make sure your content ranks.
Part One: It’s All About Keyword Research
One of the most important aspects of writing for SEO is keyword research, which seems relatively simple on the surface. Still, there are only so many high-ranking keywords available, and LOTS of people are competing for them.
Keyword research is all about finding terms that people search for while keeping your website’s ranking ability in mind.
For example, a massive brand like Nike will have no problem ranking for the keyword ‘trainers’ – but a smaller shop wouldn’t stand a chance against those huge sports companies.
We’ll go into that in more detail soon, but for now, all you need to know is keyword research is all about finding the right mix of words that match user intent.
How to Do Keyword Research
There are many ways to do keyword research and plenty of excellent tools, but if you’re on a budget, we completely get that you might not want to spend money on premium SEO platforms such as Surfer SEO, SEMRush and Ahrefs.
Two great SEO tools that are free to use are Google Keyword Planner and, Answer the Public.
Using Google Keyword Planner
To find this magical little search bar, go to the main page of Google and type in ‘keywords planner’ into the search bar. After you’ve clicked on it, enter your products/services keyword phrase here – make sure they are separated by commas if there are more than one: e.g. trainers, white sports shoes, etc.
Once submitted, wait a few minutes until all of those beautiful ideas come back! There will be lots. But don’t worry about them yet. We have some sorting to do.
We want to focus on keywords with a good amount of monthly traffic (at least 1000) and are low in competition – indicated by the little green bar.
As you can see from this example, both keywords are high competition.
But, if we change the competition level to suit a smaller business, there’s more opportunity to rank without competing with more prominent brands that will naturally outrank you.
Using Answer The Public
Answer The Public is another excellent, free tool for content research, among other things. To use it, type in your keyword phrase into the search bar and hit enter.
After you’ve done that, scroll down until you see ‘Questions’ and ‘Prepositions’. Questions will give you an idea of what people ask about your topic, while prepositions will show you how people are searching for it.
Both of these tools are amazing for brainstorming new blog post ideas.
Why Should You Write for SEO?
As you can see, even if your business is new to the online world or has been around a while, you must write high-ranking content.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re publishing an article on your blog every week about your expertise in home decorating or writing product descriptions for eCommerce sites. Following these steps and doing some keyword research beforehand, people will find what they need on both of those types of websites, thanks to Google rankings.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of SEO writing.
SEO Is Cheaper Than PPC
PPC (pay per click advertising) can be handy for promoting new products or when you need to generate lots of traffic quickly.
But using PPC for ongoing content promotion can be very expensive, especially when you consider other free strategies out there that work just as well.
SEO is the most cost-effective way to attract new customers online – and it’s something all businesses should look into doing at some point to increase their revenue streams!
Organic Traffic Is More Targeted
One of the best things about organic search engine rankings is that they show up only if what your business offers matches exactly with what people are searching for online.
For example, someone looking for ‘home decorating ideas’ doesn’t want articles on home security systems – so why pay Google Adwords?
SEO Offers Long-Term Growth
Unlike other forms of online marketing, good SEO results in long-term growth.
This is because as your website content ages and continues to rank higher and higher, it will attract more and more organic traffic – which means you’ll continue to see a return on your investment for months or even years after you’ve put the work in.
SEO Is A Great Way To Build Brand Awareness
As your website climbs up the search engine rankings, it will become increasingly visible to people looking for information about your products or services.
People who have never heard of your brand before may stumble upon it while searching for something related to what you offer, which can result in increased brand awareness and loyalty over time.
Top 10 Tips to Make On-Page SEO A Breeze
Hopefully, part one of our guide on the secrets of high-ranking content gives you some great ideas on how to get started with keyword research, but before we move on to part two, here are 10 top tips.
- Know Your Limits
- Think About Where Your Business Is
- Look at Your Competitors
- Find the Right Keywords
- Use The 1000 Volume, Low-Medium Competition Rule
Part Two: Writing For Search Engines
Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could pick a few keywords, insert them into a generic piece of content and achieve high ranking status on Google’s results page?
There was a time when people did just that, but Google changed its ranking algorithm to make sure content quality is a defining factor when it indexes content – which makes things a bit harder.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible – far from it! So, let’s dive into part two of our guide.
Writing For People, Not Robots: How to Do It
Would you read something boring, irrelevant and rushed? No. It’s precisely the same for your audience. We all want to rank on Google, but sloppy generic content isn’t going to achieve that at all.
You need to make sure your content is engaging, on topic and most importantly, not stuffed with keywords.
Make Sure Your Content Is Useful and Relevant
The days of keyword stuffing are long gone, so make sure the content you’re publishing is genuinely valuable and relevant to your target audience.
This means providing valuable information, answering common questions and including statistics or expert insights where possible.
Use Keywords Sparingly
Remember, Google and other search engines are smart enough to understand what your content is about without stuffing it full of keywords that belong nowhere. Simply adding a target keyword or two into relevant places (where they make sense and sound natural) will be fine.
Stay On Topic
When writing, it’s easy to wander off-topic, but it’s essential to stay on track if you want your content to rank well.
Make sure all of your points are relevant to the topic at hand and that you don’t include irrelevant information just for the sake of it.
Speak to Your Audience – Not At Them
Writing generic content that fails to resonate with your audience is a waste of time, so you need to get into their shoes.
Avoid using industry jargon where possible and instead opt for language they’ll understand – it’s more likely they’ll be encouraged to read on if the article makes sense!
The secret of high-ranking content isn’t what you do or don’t include in each post but how well you know your target audience. The better you understand them; the easier writing will become – because everything else falls into place around that goal. And remember, quality over quantity every single time!
Give Your Content Time To Rank!
It’s easy to panic when you see someone else ranking higher than you for the keywords you’ve been targeting – but if those articles have been published longer ago than yours, give them time before worrying too much.
The SEO writing process is time-consuming, and content marketing will always take longer than other forms, like PPC – but it’s worth it! Content creation is about interpreting user intent, so when you finally get a place on the SERP, your audience will naturally want to learn more about you.
Never Underestimate Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are little snippets of content that appear under your page title in search engine results. They should be at least 160 characters long and need to give readers a reason to click on the link – so make them count!
Here is an excellent example of a compelling meta description.
Part Two Conclusion
Writing For Search Engines can seem like an impossible task when Google uses sophisticated algorithms to determine which content deserves to rank the highest.
But it’s not impossible, and with a few simple adjustments, you can ensure that your content is high quality enough for Google to consider ranking it higher than your competitors.
Remember, focus on creating valuable information rather than cramming keywords into every sentence you write – Google has moved beyond such tactics, so keep up.
Part Three: Formatting Your Content
For us writers, formatting content isn’t exactly our idea of a good time! We do it because it’s so important and a massive part of ensuring each blog post and web page has an opportunity to rank.
So, let’s look at how to format your content and why it matters for SEO.
Why Is Formatting Content Important For SEO?
Formatting content correctly is listed as one of Google’s most important ranking factors. It’s essential whether you’re writing blogs or web pages, so let’s look at why.
Formatting Content Makes It Easier To Read
Google wants to rank high-quality content, and when they crawl your site, they’ll be looking for signs that you’ve put effort into making it easy to read. For example, good use of headings, bullet points, and subheadings will tell them that people are likely to enjoy reading it, making their job easier!
People Enjoy Reading Well-Formatted Content More
Many studies have looked into how people read online, and they’ve shown that readers are more likely to enjoy your content if it’s easy on the eye.
This means avoiding large chunks of text wherever possible, so try using short paragraphs where you can instead!
It’s also important to split your text up to insert your key points and focus keywords into the text without it seeming forced. Remember, Google pays attention to everything, and other major search engines such as Bing and Yahoo also have strict ranking rules.
Formatted Content Is Easier To Crawl And Index
When you format your content correctly, it becomes easier for Google to crawl and index because they can understand how to rank your pages accordingly.
How To Format Your Content For SEO
Now that we know why formatting content matters for SEO, let’s look at how to do it. Before you begin, remember that tools such as Google Docs require no configuration. It’s easy to format your content and headings without writing any meta tags.
You can also use a specialist writing tool, which measures your use of the main keywords and balances density perfectly.
Us SEO copywriters rely on tools like Surfer SEO and other websites to keep us on track and take care of the technical stuff, so you can focus on what we do best – writing blog posts.
Headings And Subheadings
The most important part of formatting your content is using headings and subheadings effectively. This will help Google understand what each section is about, making your article easier to read.
There are six levels of heading that you can use, and they’re all important:
- H1 – Heading
- H2 – Should be on used to start a new section)
- H3 – Often used after an H2
- H4 to H6 – Used to structure content
When writing your article, use Hx headings to break up each section.
Bullet Points And Lists
Using bullet points and lists helps break up your content, making it better to read – but most importantly, easy for Google’s algorithm to crawl. Try using them whenever possible throughout your article, as they also make your site more user-friendly.
Relevant content is essential, but if it’s in streams of text, your readers might not be able to focus on the writing and go elsewhere. SEO friendly content is all about usability, too, so try to make sure you use bullets and lists in your SEO strategy.
Images With Captions
Another thing you can do to make your content more accessible for Google’s crawler to understand is using images with captions. The image should be a relevant representation of the text, and if possible – use alt tags as well.
You’ll find that people are more likely to share your posts on social media, too, if they’re easy-to-read and visually appealing, which is excellent for SEO.
Formatting Content For Social Media Sharing
One of the biggest drivers of traffic to your content comes from social media sharing, so you must format your article in a way that makes it easy for people to share on their favourite channels.
This means using attractive images whenever possible and including social media sharing buttons on your page. You can also have Twitter cards and Facebook Open Graph tags to ensure your content looks great when it’s shared.
Part Four: Developing an Internal Linking Strategy
An internal linking strategy is an integral part of SEO, and it’s something that a lot of people don’t think about enough.
Internal links are links from one page on your website to another – usually within the same domain. They’re important for two reasons;
1. They improve user experience by helping people find their way around your site.
2. They help Google to crawl it properly.
There are two ways to use internal links in your articles: contextual and anchor links.
Contextual linking involves linking one section of an article with relevant keywords to another page on the same website. It helps improve user experience by making it easier for people to find what they’re looking for, and it also helps Google understand your content better.
Anchor Text Links
These are links that use keywords as the anchor text, and they’re used to help you rank for those keywords. When you link to another page on your site using anchor text, you tell Google that the page is relevant to that keyword.
Relevance is vital when using internal linking so whenever you link from one page on your site to another, make sure it’s because the content relates.
Part Five: Measuring Success & Continuing To Improve
SEO is a long-term investment, and the best way to see success is by measuring it over time. There are several different ways to track your progress, and we’ll go through some of the most important ones below.
Perhaps the most valuable tool for measuring your website’s traffic, Google Analytics is free to use. You can see information about where your traffic is coming from, popular pages, and how long people spend on your site.
Google Search Console
This tool gives you information about how your website performs in Google search results, including information on impressions, clicks and average position.
Moz is a tool that helps you track your website’s SEO performance, including information on Domain Authority, Page Authority and link metrics.
Ahrefs is another tool that helps you track your website’s SEO performance, and it includes information on backlinks, organic search traffic and ranking keywords.
While Moz and Ahrefs are both excellent tools, they cost a lot of money. Google Search Console is entirely free, so you won’t need to worry about budgeting.
By tracking your website’s progress over time, you can ensure that your SEO efforts are paying off – and make necessary adjustments along the way.
The Best Examples of Brands That Write For SEO Without Losing Their Personality
When it comes to writing for SEO, there are a lot of brands that do it well without sacrificing their unique voice. Here are some of our favourites:
BuzzFeed is known for their viral content, and while they write for SEO, they never lose sight of their personality. Their articles are fun and engaging, and they’re known for covering a wide range of topics.
You can tell BuzzFeed cares about the audience by writing about everything from world news and TV shows with a lot of fun quizzes thrown in.
Google Search Master Blog
The Google Search Master blog is written entirely by the search engine giant, and it’s packed full of advice on their latest updates, tips about how to get noticed in search results – but most importantly, they write with their unique voice.
There’s a distinct personality in every post rather than trying to sound official and boring. If anyone can take a topic like mobile indexing and make it sound interesting, they’ve got our vote!
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post is a great example of how to write for SEO without losing your personality. While they’re known for their hard-hitting political journalism, they also have a lot of lifestyle and entertainment content that’s engaging and entertaining.
Their website is easy to navigate, and you can tell that the writers care about giving their readers the best experience.
World Wildlife Fund (Worldwide Fund For Nature)
Perhaps our favourite example of writing with personality is the WWF. Animal rights and conservation is probably our biggest passion here at Green Tree Content, and we love how this incredible organisation manages to communicate its purpose.
The WWF website is easy to navigate, and their blog is packed full of exciting stories about the work they do all over the world. They never sacrifice personality for SEO, and we think that’s something worth aspiring to.
How Can You Write For Your Brand?
Writing for your brand doesn’t have to be challenging, especially when you know who you are, what you’re all about and – most importantly – what matters to your audience.
If you’re unsure what your voice is, why don’t you start by asking yourself a few questions?
Who’s Your Audience?
The first question to ask yourself is: who am I writing for? You need to know who will be reading the article. If you see the person behind the screen, it’ll be a lot easier to write with personality.
What Are You All About?
The next question is: what’s your brand’s purpose? What does it mean to you and the people around you? Once you know exactly who you are and why you’re here, there will always be something worth writing about.
What Matters To Your Audience?
Finally, you need to know what matters most of all to your audience. What do they want from the brands that they buy into? Sometimes this is a tough question – but it’s vital if you want people to keep coming back for more.
What If You’re Not a Fan of Writing?
Writing isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but it’s a necessary part of SEO and injecting personality into your brand. If you struggle to put words onto paper or prefer focusing on other aspects of your business, cost-effective blog writers are available.
Hopefully, this guide gives you some fantastic ideas about writing for SEO and keeping your brand’s personality in the process. It’s something worth striving for, and we think everyone can create exciting content – no matter what your voice is like.
Having said that, if you need some help, we’ve got you covered. Don’t hesitate to hit us up if you want to inject more personality into your content and improve your SEO profile.
Frequently Asked Questions
We get a lot of questions about writing content, so we decided to answer the most common ones here. As experienced SEO writers, we’ve been around the block a few times and hope you can use these answers to continue creating valuable content that the search engines love.
Can anyone get to the top of the search engine results page?
Yes, absolutely! But here’s the thing; patience is a virtue. When you see all of these brands languishing at the top of the SERP, it’s important to remember that their content is probably years old.
Ranking on Google is a fantastic thing, but you have to keep up with a content strategy that involves regular posting and clever placement with your main keyword.
Getting on the first page of Google is difficult, but it’s completely worth it. Imagine constant streams of traffic without expensive PPC campaigns. Who wouldn’t want that?
What exactly is a title tag?
A title tag is essential when you write content geared towards SEO. For example, you might see a heading formatted like so: <h1>The Guide to Writing For SEO</h1>, but Google Docs and WordPress have built-in functionality, so you don’t have to worry about inserting those tags.
How can I write SEO content AND focus on my primary keyword?
It can be challenging to create content and focus on SEO. Still, plenty of tools is available to help you keep on top of your primary and informational keywords without stuffing your writing and making it unreadable.
Surfer SEO is the gold standard of SEO writing tools, but it can be a bit pricey – as can SEMRush. A great free option is SEO Review Tools. It’s not as advanced as the others, but it can be really useful.
Why should I use professional blog writers?
SEO Copywriting and content writing are time-consuming, and for most business owners, it’s easier to find a specialist. If you’re low on time and resources, using blog writing services can save you a lot of hassle and effort.
At Green Tree Content, we specialise in creating long-form blog posts, website copy and anything else you need to build your business. Our team of dynamic writers works with you to define the correct tone of voice and writing style for your brand’s personality.
If you’d like some help with writing for SEO, please feel free to check out our work. We look forward to working with you.