There are numerous things to keep in mind when writing a new blog post. They start before you even write the first sentence and continue after it’s published.
Here, we’ve listed 12 tips for SEO writing that will not only make your content more interesting to the reader, but will help it rank organically on SERP.
Before writing: Do Your Research
Before you sit down to write your content, there are a few things you need to do first. As with most endeavors, it’s important to research and strategize before going into something. Keyword research is particularly imperative when writing for SEO. And figuring out which keyword makes the most sense to target and why, happens before you write the first sentence.
1) Think Keyword First
Take the time to research the topic you’re writing about and investigate which keywords make the most sense to go after. You’re aiming for a keyword that has a good enough search volume to warrant the effort, but is not so competitive that your content will never rank.
You’ll also want to spend time making sure that you’ve covered all the bases by researching the search volume for both long tail and short keywords—using common semantics and every other variation you can think of for your possible target.
2) Study the Competition
Next, see what your competition is doing. Google your target keyword and note what’s showing in the SERPs. Do those articles sound similar to what you’re planning on writing on? If not, you’ll probably have to rethink your target keyword. It’ll be difficult to rank higher than those pages for the same keywords if the content is vastly different. Google has a pretty good idea of what people are looking for when searching those keywords and if you’re that far off the mark, you won’t rank.
3) Choose Keywords to Target
Make sure you’re targeting one main keyword and one supporting keyword that is relevant to the main keyword. Having too many targets in one piece will make it difficult to properly incorporate all of them, making it disjointed and hard to follow—pretty much ensuring the content won’t perform the way you want it to. Having a long tail of your target keyword or a semantic supporting keyword will help boost your article. For example, if my target keyword was “Search Engine Optimization”, then having a secondary keyphrase of “how to improve SEO” makes sense.
The Writing Process
Now that you have your main keywords, it’s time to start writing your content. Incorporating your keywords into your post is crucial to its performance. There’s an art to good SEO writing and getting the following steps right is what will make or break your piece.
4) Consider Content Length
The best average length for an article is around 2100-2400 words. Anything longer than that and no one will read it. And if it’s too short, then there isn’t enough room for keywords and for adding details on those keywords.
5) Ensure Readability
You don’t want your content to be too difficult to read. But at the same time, don’t dumb it down to a point so simple that a reader would think there’s no credibility to the piece because it reads like it’s for younger audiences. Ideally, you want your content to be at a 6th to 8th grade reading level.
6) Utilize Semantic Keywords
Make sure to incorporate semantic keywords into your piece that are relevant to your targeted keyword. For example, if the article was on “digital marketing strategy” then keywords like “SEO” and “SERP” would be relevant to add.
7) Check Keyword Frequency
Incorporating your target keyword into the copy is crucial to SEO writing, after all, that’s the whole point. But you don’t want to over do it: Google doesn’t like keyword mentions for the heck of it and will actually penalize you for overdoing it. While there is no set rule for density, the generally accepted ratio is about once every 200 words.
8) Include Page Links
Both internal and external page links help boost SEO. Whether you’re linking to your own content that supports the point of the article or to push them further down your sales funnel. Also, don’t be afraid to link to outside sources if it’s relevant to your article and something that supports your claims. It will help boost your authority on the subject and is a natural part of the link building process.
9) Format Content for Snippets
This simply means creating the content in a way that is easily digestible. Whether that’s multiple headlines with short answers to those headlines, or using bullets or numbered lists. By having your content easily digestible, not only will it make it easier for your readers, there’s a good chance Google may pick it up as a featured snippet and push you to the top of the SERP.
10) Understand Keyword Placement (in order or importance)
- Title tag – Try to put your target keyword towards the front of the title tag as best as possible.
- Internal links within content – Link to other content on your site that supports what you’re writing about. Make those internal links your target keywords and really work them into the copy.
- Alt attributes – Having images is crucial to good SEO performance. And those images are going to need alt attributes, so put your keyword in there in a way that makes sense.
- Headline tags – Only one H1 per page. And make sure that H1 contains your main keyword. You have can multiple headings throughout the piece but only one H1, the rest can be H2-H5s, as needed.
Make it SERP-friendly
Now that you’ve completed writing your article, you’re not completely done. There are still a few more things to do. Google doesn’t rank posts differently than pages, so just like other pages on your site, this new post is going to need a title and meta description. We touched on keyword placement in the title tag, but adding your keyword to both the title and meta description will help Google find it easier and understand what your post is about.
11) Write a Meta Description
While Google doesn’t put as much emphasis on meta descriptions as in the past, it’s still important to include them and have your keyword in there. If someone searches for your keyword or phrase and it’s in the meta, it’ll be bolded in the results, which may make people more likely to click and read your article.
12) Take a Second Look at the Title Tag
Spend a good amount of time on the title tag. It’s the first thing people will see in the SERPs and it’s crucial to get the title right. Make sure it has your target keyword. Titles with numbers or years convert better than normal. Titles that ask a question or are emotionally charged also perform well.
Looking for some additional tips and tricks for better SEO? Check out our recent post 13 Best SEO Ideas for 2021.
And, if you think your own website could use a little tough love, get a free site performance check and see where we can help.