SEO Optimized Content Writing, Here’s How to Do It
Everyone’s heard the famous phrase: content is king. And businesses that live online likely know how important content can be for search engine optimization. But how do you get good content for better search traffic?
We’ve created a list of a few tips and guidelines for SEO optimized content writing. Afterall being able to write content for search optimization is the best way of gaining long-term success.
For content writers that want to improve their site for better traffic, or business owners that want to grow revenue, writing SEO-optimized content is the most important thing to do. Search engine algorithms use the content on the site to determine what each page is about, how it can help searchers, and whether it is quality enough to appear higher in search results.
In fact, algorithms from search engines like Google and Bing are sophisticated enough to understand words, sentences, page titles, and sometimes even images to determine just how high a page should rank.
This is why good content is the reason that 57% of marketing executives say that their content-focused SEO is the most effective tactic. And out of Google’s more than 200 ranking signals, Google itself says that content is one of the two most important factors. Knowing how to write SEO-optimized content can help improve inbound traffic, which 60% of marketers say leads to their highest quality leads.
All this means it’s definitely worthwhile to write better content for your SEO strategy. Let’s go over the best practices for creating on-page and on-site content:
Write for your audience
One of the most important tips for SEO-optimized content writing is to create content that appeals to the interest of your target market or intended shoppers.
Are you a business-to-business site that caters to a niche industry? Or are you an eCommerce site that sells to a wide range of people? Would your audience’s concerns vary by region, age, or gender?
For example: a category page may have products intended for children, but remember that parents are most likely doing the shopping. Write content that’s meant to be read by the parents. Businesses that are more niche or that rely on business-to-business customers might use more technical language – since they’re not worried about average joes. Some content might need to be simple and dumbed-down, other content might be advanced and require expert knowledge.
One tip here is to look at Audience Reports in your Google Analytics account. If your Google Analytics has been collecting data for enough time, you can use these reports to understand your visitor demographics including country, interests, gender, and more.
If you are running a search ad campaign, you can also use that data to better understand which people you are already performing best with and create site content catered to them.
Start with good keyword research
A common mistake in SEO is to write content for a site first and then spend time afterward “optimizing” it with keywords.
But this is like building a sandwich first and deciding what meat you want to use second – it just won’t work and probably won’t even match the flavor!
The best strategy for writing SEO-optimized content is to perform your keyword research first and to build your content around your keywords, from scratch. Do keyword research using tools like the Google Ads Keyword Planner or Google Search Console’s Performance report. These two tools can provide information like average search traffic for keywords, keywords your site is already ranking for, info on click-through rate (CTR), related keywords, and more!
After that you can begin the writing process.
Keyword research also lets you find keywords with clear “searcher intent” the more clear the intent behind a keyword, the more you can tailor and customize content that help shoppers meet their goal (more on this below). This is why finding long-tail keywords and researching your audience are important steps in writing SEO-optimized content.
Does keyword density matter?
One of the most important parts of creating content that is well optimized for SEO is keyword density. This is a bit of a fancy way of saying: just put your keywords in your content.
Many SEO experts say that your keywords should make up 1-2% density of the total text content. Any less and Google may not be able to know for sure what the main keywords are, any more and it may appear spammy or look like keyword stuffing.
This is a good rule of thumb and a good percentage to aim for, but the truth is that it’s not quite an exact science. There’s no evidence Google’s ranking algorithm uses any sort of metric on keyword density. Just focus on writing about your keywords and use them as often as feels right. The best thing to do is to make sure your writing appears natural and is best suited for your human readers, include your keywords as much as feels natural and Google will be able to understand no problem.
Here are a few other tips for keyword density and writing SEO-optimized content:
- Be sure to include your keywords at the beginning and end of the content. Actually it’s best-practice to include keywords throughout the content, but search engines assign a little extra weight to the top of the content and the bottom.
- Include your keywords in your on-page title and your h-tags. These parts of the content also have a little more value algorithmically. No need to go overboard, but since section-headers (usually marked by h-tags) and the page title are traditionally used to signal what a page is about, including your valuable keywords in these areas can give a boost to SEO.
Following Google’s webmaster guidelines
Google has laid out some tips and guidance on how to write SEO optimized content. These tips will help you make sure you’re on the right track and they’re the best place to start.
Some basic rules of their Webmaster Guidelines include:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
Make sure that content blocks do not include copy/pasted or duplicate segments from other areas of the site. It is okay to rephrase key sales points and descriptions of your business, but avoid content that is repetitive.
Basically websites shouldn’t take short cuts when creating content. Put in the time and effort to create honest and high-quality content with the goal of providing site visitors with what they want!
SEO optimized content with EAT and needs met
EAT stands for “expertise, authority, and trustworthiness” and is the concept Google has introduced for describing what makes good content. Although there’s no part of Google’s ranking algorithm that specifically measures “EAT” there’s a strong correlation between high-quality content featuring EAT and better SEO performance.
Writing SEO-optimized content means creating content that offers readers helpful information that they can’t get elsewhere, and that helps them complete their journey along the conversion sales funnel.
Demonstrate knowledge of products/services you offer. Include details like materials, types, styles, sizes, subcategories, intended uses, industrial tolerances, price range, gender, pattern, industry jargon, etc.
Try to create content that addresses any potential questions that visitors may have. Specifications listed on product pages and filters listed on category pages are also important parts of on-page content details that might matter to potential visitors.
Make sure your visitors have their “needs met.” This idea comes from Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines, another Google source on what is best for SEO optimize content. Ask yourself if, realistically and honestly, someone who visits your site would leave satisfied. If not, go the extra mile and create content that addresses every concern while also being high-EAT.
Don’t just write the bare minimum.
Site visitor and shopper psychology
Emphasis should be on the ultimate purpose of the page. SEO-optimized content writing for your business should focus on gearing the overall direction of written content toward some perceived visitor goal/intended use of the products.
Think beyond just what the products do but also what they are used to achieve. Think beyond just what the service is, but how it can benefit the customers life. Then say how.
Remember that when shopping online, people often choose the path of least resistance. People don’t want to have to look hard for what they want, and they may quickly exit a site after a few minutes of skimming if they think it doesn’t have what they want.
The process of SEO-optimized content writing will benefit from keeping this in mind, and from providing informative, clean, and easily-navigable content.
Ask yourself, what is the customer’s end-goal by purchasing this service or product for themselves? YMYL sites may have concise business offerings listed on the homepage or the About page that hint at their purpose. However, each page/category/product should have a more specific purpose that differs from the overarching business model of the company. Write content that is specific to each page’s purpose.
Include unique selling points and helpful info
This is another tip for how to write SEO optimized content that’s designed to help lead people to conversions. Hype your business with what sets you apart from the competitors – even better if the long-tail keywords you chose ahead of time are designed to focus on these unique qualities as well.
Selling points can be more attractive to shoppers (for example think of things like free shipping, wholesale discounts, help/troubleshooting services, product installation, product customization, etc.). If you offer these, then say so! It could be the thing that convinces a customer to choose you!
Emphasizing good selling points may help to set your page or website apart from competitors and reduce bounce rate or site exits.
In addition to selling points, extra information about your products or services should serve the purpose of any questions or doubts the reader might have – before they even have them. Selling points may differ depending on industry/demographics, but like we said above they can remove barriers and create a path-of-least-resistance that encourages shoppers to purchase.
Calls-to-action, instructions, and help resources
CTAs hint at the intended purpose of the page or they can help visitors/readers understand how to get what they need. Instead of referencing an ultimate goal (e.g. buying something) they might refer to an intermediate step in the shopping funnel that could help ease misgivings (e.g. calling a phone number to ask questions or filling out a simple form for a price quote).
Providing contact information such as a phone number, chat bot, or email might give the reader an extra resource if all else fails.
Then, consider alternative paths that might prevent a hypothetical visitor from exiting the site – directions to another area of the site, a number to call, page filters that can make shopping easier, etc. Content should be as simple and helpful as possible, lowering the barrier of work to people who are averse to exploring a confusing site or performing a complex task to get what they need.
Content Structure, layout, and visual appeal
Think about how your content appeals to visitors who are not interested in reading content or who merely skim read it. Reading large paragraphs might be daunting or frustrating. Smaller and more concise paragraphs might make it easier for people who skim read to find the information they want.
Will the content be at the top of the page? Will visitors have to scroll past it in order to get to what they’re looking for? Alternatively, will the content be at the bottom of the page where people are less likely to read it?
Part of writing SEO optimized content also means a little CRO (or “conversion rate optimization). Getting people to your site is half the battle, once they’re on the page you also want to make it easier for them to use and read the content. Search engine algorithms consider visual appeal as well; taking in to account text size, button size, clickibility, and more.
Search engine algorithms will take content location into consideration when ranking your page – if the main content is hidden, small, or hard to find, search engines will assume it’s not important.
H-tags and sub-headers can help provide structure to the content as well.
As people tend to skim read content (let’s be honest), these can help them find what they’re looking for faster. Plus, as we explained above h-tags as section headers also have slightly more SEO weight for keywords, and they can help place your page in Google search “rich results.”
What is the right word count?
Is there an optimum word count or content length for better SEO?
The short answer: no. Search engine algorithms don’t use word count or length as a ranking factor. The longer answer, however, suggests that longer content might help. To put it another way, having thin content can lead to bad SEO, but there’s no penalty for having more than necessary.
Again, there’s no evidence that says longer content is a ranking factor. But there are some anecdotal theories that say it helps – one Backlinko study found that on average, 1st page Google results have about 1,447 words. Other info from Yoast cites content with 2,500 words for pages that tend to do better.
Most likely these studies are showing correlation and not necessarily causation. Content that is longer is probably more likely to contain lots of info and high-quality research, which means its probably more likely to be high-EAT. The higher the quality of the content, the more likely it is to be shared, and in turn the more likely it is to get backlinks. The more backlinks it has the better its SEO – since backlinks are an important SEO ranking factor.
The truth is this: don’t focus on word count when writing SEO optimized content for your site, just focus on creating as much or as little as your audience needs. Focus on quality content. Trying to inflate your content with filler is a good way of making it worse, not better.
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