It is all about SEO these days, isn’t it?
Even if that statement is a little bit of an exaggeration, there is still truth in it. We cannot deny the large chunk that SEO occupies in our online marketing campaigns.
So here you are, seeking knowledge on SEO writing and how to do it right.
We are not going to be modest here. You are definitely in the right place and we are going to teach you everything you have to know about this topic.
Go Deeper: More Resources on SEO:
- What is SEO
- What does SEO Stand For
- The Top Local Search Ranking Factors
- The On-page SEO Checklist
- Keyword Research Mastery: The Beginners Guide
- The Ultimate Google Algorithmic Penalty Recovery Guide
- Questions you SHOULD Ask Before Hiring an SEO Expert
- The 5 Step Beginner Guide to SEO Writing That Ranks
1. SEO Writing: Where to Begin
Just like in everything you set out to do, it is important to know where to start. In SEO, a good starting point would be knowing what it is and what it can do for people like you.
If you are going to run a simple search on its definition, you’ll get the same idea from different sources.
Standing for search engine optimization, SEO is the accumulation of all the efforts you do to increase your site’s traffic through organic means. More traffic, more audience. And more audience means improved profit.
How different is it from SEM or search engine marketing?
It is easy. Simply look at whether or not the strategy is targeting organic search. If it does, then it’s SEO. If it relies on paid search, putting your content on top of Google’s SERPs, it is search engine marketing.
How does SEO work?
Understanding how SEO works, which is obviously fundamental in SEO writing, requires you have to have at least a little bit of knowledge on how search engines function.
Of course, it answers our queries. But much more than that, it also organizes everything found on the internet. With so much content out there, we need search engines to make sense of it all.
Hence the necessity of a search engine’s three most basic functions: crawling, indexing, and ranking.
It’s normal to be more focused on the last one and neglect the other two, especially if you are new to SEO.
So what does crawling mean? And how does it proceed to indexing?
Search Engine Basics: Crawling and Indexing
In a place where information is supplied almost infinitely, we need little workers to sift through all of them. The robots created for this sole purpose are often dubbed as “crawlers” or “spiders”.
They work 24/7 to check out content pages being fed to the internet. This means URLs are being analyzed every millisecond of the day.
As a result of this process, search engines know exactly where to store the content, a library of sorts to keep the whole of the internet organized or indexed.
This is what makes it possible for search engines to understand and respond to queries and they just keep on getting better. This is where the ranking comes in.
According to their relevance under certain topics and in comparison with others on the web, content pages will either appear among the top 10 of SERPs or not.
With that, we barely scratched the surface, but it should be enough to give you a little bit of an idea on how search engines work and where SEO fits in all that.
2. Keyword Research: The Backbone of SEO Writing
To an SEO writer, keyword research is the obvious first step. It will be the foundation with which you will be building your content.
How do you look for the right keywords?
The truth is, there’s no one right answer. There are as many ways to do keyword research as the number of new tools being developed every day increases.
However, we do have a guide to get it right and it revolves around two things: search volume and competition.
Let’s say you’re trying to sell headphones. Anyone who buys it will love it; the quality is superb. As an audiophile yourself, you’ve made sure of that.
The problem is, you have fierce competition. They’ve been in the business for quite some time now. And if you run a search concerning headphones in your area, their content is right on top of SERPs.
How do you even compete with that?
Targeting keywords with the right search volume
The search volume refers to how much a keyword is being searched in a given period.
For instance, the keyword “headphones” yields a search volume of 2000 per month. Is that a good number for you? No, not yet anyway.
As a startup, you’d want to start lower than that. But make sure it’s not too low that you wouldn’t get any visitors at all.
A safe number would be around 200-300. And instead of racking your brains coming up with terms related to headphones to replace it with, you can click on “related keywords” or “having the same terms” in your keyword research tool.
As you can see here, you will be directed towards a list of possible replacements with their corresponding search volumes, keyword difficulty, etc.
For this example, we used the Ahrefs.com to generate this information. Again, you’d want to target keywords you’d have a chance of competing for. So let’s scroll down a bit until we spot those that have 200-300 search volumes.
And here you go:
What’s sweet about Ahrefs is you can click on the keyword and it can show you the top articles that rank with it.
It might give you an idea or two on how you can approach content creation. But for now, let’s focus more on keywords.
From all these keywords staring right in front of you, pick out at least 2 more. By now, you should have 3, and those should be your main keywords.
It’s important that they are related. Another term for them is LSI keywords or phrases.
One tool that can help you with that is the WordPress plugin called SEOPressor.
With these tools (and many others you’d decide to use), you will be able to generate more keywords than you can use in content. Pick out as many as you can but make sure that 1) they make sense and 2) they won’t impede in your content’s readability and overall quality.
3. Outlining Your Content
Now that you have your keywords, it’s time to outline your content. Let’s cover this step by step.
Step 1: Brainstorm a topic
Just because you have a keyword doesn’t automatically mean you know what you’ll be talking about.
In brainstorming a topic, you should consider what your readers might want to read at the moment. Yes, even topics you put out on the internet can be seasonal.
For instance, it wouldn’t be right to talk about headphones as a Christmas gift when it’s still more than five months before the holidays.
Set specific goals with the intention of making your article useful, information, and/or entertaining to your readers.
Step 2: Position your main points
Now that you have a topic, there are certain aspects of it that you’d want to talk about. Of course, there should be a beginning and an end. Hence, your introduction and conclusion.
But between them should be points that are carefully laid out and discussed in your paragraphs, with subtopics under them that follow a guided structure.
Organizing your thoughts might prove to be quite difficult, especially when you have so many things to cover in your story.
This is why you’d want to use tools to help you out.
Aside from the ever-dependable Microsoft Word, try out other tools such as Dynalist.io.
Technically, it’s a to-do list, but its functionalities might prove to be useful in outlining your content.
Creating your content will also be much easier later on if you plan out the number of words in your paragraph. Pro tip: don’t go beyond 300 words between headers. Break your ideas into several headers but don’t go overboard.
Step 3: Research to back it up
One of the things you shouldn’t neglect is backing up your content with reliable sources and, if possible, statistics.
Most of your readers might wince if you mention mathematics in their face, but they can’t deny how much they love numbers, percentages, or anything that can give some sense of credibility to what they are reading.
Research and don’t forget to take note of their links. You will be linking back to those authority sites, of course, as part of optimizing your article.
Step 4: Images and Infographics
You can now picture out how your article will look like. There’s only one more thing missing: images and infographics.
As many of your audience are visual learners (meaning, they respond more effectively to visual stimulation), you might want to include a number of images, infographics, or even videos.
Not only does it spice up your content for your readers, but having a healthy text-to-image ratio in content also affects your SERP ranking.
Step 5: Assign Keywords
Here comes one of the crucial parts. Specific placements of keywords play a crucial role in putting your content in the first pages of search engine results.
So you’d want to place them in the following:
- First and last 100 words of your article
- Header tags: H1 (make sure that your article only has one H1), H2, and H3
- Body (take note of keyword density and make sure it won’t go beyond 3%, for this, you can use Small SEO Tools or GEORanker.)
- Anchor text
- Images’ ALT text
4. Content Creation
We’re now at the part where you will mostly be left alone to your own devices. We can’t dictate your actions in this aspect because much of it will be about catching your own voice in communicating with your audience.
But allow us to give you an advice or two. Or more.
First, be as genuine as possible.
You will be the voice of your site. Your words and creativity are the only bridge between you and your target audience.
And second, add a dash of humor.
We don’t have to explain why that’s important.
5. Proofreading and Optimizing
You have finished writing your content. The next step would be proofreading where you’ll be checking for the readability, flow, and grammar of your article.
The first two items depend on you. For the latter, you might need a tool like Grammarly to make your life a little easier.
The last steps of optimization largely involve technical settings.
For one, there’s placing your main keywords in a few more places than we mentioned above.
It should be found in your meta title, meta description, and URL.
You can say that your meta title is just as important as your content. It is the first thing that a search engine user sees.
Although the ideal length is around 70 characters, the meta title is actually measured according to the size of each character.
Let’s take, for example, the following meta title. (Please ignore the fact that it doesn’t make sense).
It’s composed of 67 characters, but it sits comfortably compared to this one:
Its complete meta title is “How You Can Deal With Your Children and Their Shenanigans | Lily’s”. Although it contains fewer characters at 66, it’s still being cut by Google because it uses characters that take up more space.
So it’s a little more about the spatial size of your title than how many letters it contains. This is why you need a headline analyzer tool just like what Co-Scheduler offers for free.
You have done multiple searches before and you know the second thing you look at before clicking: the meta description. It is as if your eyes instinctively fall on to that 2- to 3-line description of what’s waiting for you behind that blue underlined text.
The criteria of a good meta description are simple: it should be concise and it should not be more than 160 characters.
This is your content’s unique address. It is the one that brings readers and potentially loyal customers from SERPs to your site.
You’d want this to be short, ideally not more than five words.
Pro tip: Use SEOmofo’s Snippet Optimizer to come up with the perfect meta titles, descriptions, and URLs.
That’s it for the basics and essentials of SEO writing. Of course, there’s so much more to learn. It would take a lot more than an article to be an expert on SEO, so feel free to check out the resources we have provided for you here on our site.