Your website is often the first place a potential client will look. And 93% of all online activities start with a search engine (Forbes). So, getting your content right is crucial to attracting visitors. SEO content writing is, therefore, a vital part of the best content marketing strategy.
But what is SEO content writing and why is it so important?
Most companies who create a website tend to think about the technicalities first: an attractive and clear design and making it Google-friendly, etc. But less thought tends to go into the quality and quantity of content that speaks to potential clients.
Granted, most websites have a home page, and “about” page (which shouldn’t really be about the company at all, but that’s another topic in itself). Then there are products or services, as well as a contact page. But there are so many other ways to speak to your customers, answering their questions and converting them into customers:
- Articles and blogs that offer useful information, interviews and studies. They show you are an authority in your field and how your brand is unique.
- FAQs are not only useful to answer visitors’ questions, but they are also useful in luring them straight from search engines to your website.
- Awards and qualifications will instil trust and professionalism
- Testimonials and case studies from satisfied customers provide instant social proof of how your product or service works.
- Videos with subtitles will enhance customer experience.
All these different content types offer useful information to website visitors. If they are well-written with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in mind, the return for your efforts will be reflected in your conversion rates.
After all, “61% of marketers say growing SEO and organic presence on their website is one of their top priorities” – https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/seo-statistics/
What is SEO and why is it so important
According to Yoast SEO, it’s “the practice of optimising your web pages to make them reach a high position in the search results of Google or other search engines.”
On-page SEO factors: your page’s ranking is partly decided by what’s on your website pages. This includes technical aspects (code quality and site speed), content-related aspects like page structure, design and the quality of your website copy.
Off-page SEO factors: these include other websites, social media attention and other marketing activities outside your website. They can be difficult to influence, but the most important factors are the number and quality of links pointing towards your website.
eeKeywords are the words that your potential customers are using when looking for a product like yours. If you have an online distance learning platform, you could start with researching keywords such as “online study” or “distance learning.”
Your target audience will determine which keywords you select. If you’re aiming at a general audience, then “best online courses” should suffice. However, if you’re aiming at business professionals, then perhaps “online courses for business” may attract a more specific audience.
Andy Crestodina offers some solid advice in his blog, “How to research keyword tips.” Keywords should ideally meet these three criteria:
1. High search volume: choose a keyword people are actually searching for, otherwise there’s little point in ranking for it.
2. Low competition: is your page realistically going to rank for this keyword? Is there a lot of competition from other, more authoritative pages than yours?
3. Relevant to your business: your keywords should reflect what your business is about, so that you position yourself as an authority in that area.
If you want to dig deeper into this Search Engine Journal provides much more in-depth information on this topic for your SEO content writing efforts.
Long-tail keywords are becoming more important and more effective in attracting the right visitors to your website. For example, let’s extend the above keywords into “best online courses for business with certificates” and type this into one of the keyword search tools below. They will generate the results for this long-tail keyword and suggest others you can use in your content.
How do Google core algorithm updates affect my website?
Google rolls out core updates around twice a year. In fact, the latest is Google’s May 2020 algorithm update, the first since COVID19. This means that it adjusts its algorithms to what is relevant at the current time.
For example, there has been a rise in searches for terms related to COVID19, online shopping and exercise, indoor entertainment, gaming, etc. On the other hand, searches for travel and in-person events have fallen.
How does this affect you and your SEO content writing efforts? Well, you may see a sudden drop in your website traffic. Sometimes as much as 50-80%. Why? Because with the adjustments it has made, Google may no longer find your content relevant. Or perhaps the content you are producing isn’t relevant to your product or service, and Google doesn’t rate you as an authority on those subjects. You may even want to check your website’s technical performance, as slow loading rate can reduce your ranking.
So, what should you do to recover from one of these updates?
- Dig into your data: check resources like Google Search Console to monitor how your pages are being indexed, error messages or pages that Google has excluded from the rankings. Discover why and go back to your website and fix them.
- What is your industry doing that you’re not? Research to see which keywords and topics industry competitors are ranking for and how it differs from your own. Ahref is an extremely useful tool for discovering what content your competitors are writing and the keywords they use.
- Optimise your website SEO: do some keyword research and update current pages, posts and articles for better ranking.
- Are you producing relevant, quality content? This is perhaps the most important question. Quality is key and Google knows how to spot irrelevant and poor content.
What’s the difference between SEO content writing and a copywriting?
It’s surprising how many people I’ve spoken to who have no idea what a copywriter does. So, it’ll come as no surprise that few people know the difference between a copywriter and an SEO content writer.
Let’s look at the differences:
What does a copywriter do?
Copywriting generally involves the creation of attractive, sales-orientated text that aims to convert readers into clients. Some examples of this would be sales pages, advertising, slogans, brochures, product descriptions, etc. These can be both online and offline.
A copywriter’s work normally doesn’t take search engines into account. Having said that, there are plenty of copywriters who are skilled in SEO and work in both areas. Including yours truly 😊.
What is SEO content writing and how can it help boost your business?
An SEO content writer creates informative and educational content for digital media. This can range from website and social media copy to paid digital advertising and blogs.
By hiring a good professional writer with technical SEO skills, you stand a much better of attracting more visitors to your website. You‘ll then have a chance to convert them into customers by providing them with good customer experience, educational content, clear and attractive product information, FAQs, etc.
Experience in marketing is another valuable asset to any SEO content writer or copywriter. This will mean they have a deep understanding of consumer behaviour and psychology, enabling them to create text that converts.
They will weave your chosen keywords into the text so naturally, that few people would notice they were keywords at all. The worst kind of SEO writing is where the same keywords are repeated over and over, making the text look clunky and unpleasant to read. This is called keyword stuffing and Google will penalise your website for it.
And finally, nobody likes a copycat. Plagiarism is not just frowned upon, but also illegal and subject to substantial fines. A good SEO content writer will research and take inspiration from other content, yet produce fresh, original content of their own.
The stages of SEO content writing
“”W”hether you’re hiring a professional SEO content writer or thinking of doing it yourself, follow each of the stages below. That way, your content will be well-ranked on search engines and will attract more visitors to your website.
1. Do keyword research
Study your target audience. Investigate their search queries, identify predominant keywords and how they are using them (also known as keyword intent mapping). What problems do they need answers for? Try some of the following keyword search websites, for example:
2. Expand the topic
Now that you have your primary keyword, how are you going to write about it? Thankfully, there are some useful topic research tools such as SEMRush where you enter your chosen topic, choose the geographical region you are targetting and you’ll be presented with a huge range of related topics, phrases, headlines and questions. This will give you more ideas to include in your content.
3. Content/SERP analysis
SERP literally stands for “search engine results page”, which is where you should check the top ten results related to your keyword phrase to identify what’s working best for others:
- Content type: what kind of content seems to appear in the top results: Long-form articles, blog posts, infographics or videos?
- Content format: guides, how-to articles or lists?
- Differentiation: how are these top results unique from the rest?
4. Develop the brief
Prepare that all-important brief to ensure you writer knows exactly what’s expected of them. Define and include all the following points:
- Topic and goal of the content
- Target audience and what action you want them to take
- Topical coverage – what are the top three keyword phrases that need expansion?
- Brand voice, style and tone of the content in question.
- Content type and format
- Length of content
- Deadline – ensure you leave plenty of time for revision and edits, as well as translations if you have a multilingual content marketing strategy.
As you can appreciate, creating SEO content that ranks well and brings results takes a fair bit of effort. If you lack the resources to do all the groundwork yourself, some SEO writers can also help with your content marketing strategy, do audience and SEO research and develop your content brief.
5. Write the content
This stage is self-explanatory, and the better your brief is, the easier your writer’s job will be.
Their job is not only to ensure that it ranks well on Google but also to delight your audience. The writer will also have to perform some of their own research: gather information, links and statistics to back up any claims, transmit authority on the subject and offer value to the reader.
Personally speaking, I tend not to worry too much about keyword placement during the first draft. The most important part of this stage is ensuring that your readers will enjoy the content.
When I’m satisfied with the content itself, I will perform another round of SEO checks to ensure it meets the brief and best practice SEO criteria. I make sure it has both internal and external links that work and the structure, spacing and images (if necessary) are appropriate and properly optimised.
Finally, and after numerous rounds of editing, I will deliver a well-written, informative, natural yet SEO-friendly piece of content that draw more qualified leads to your website.
Revision is an important, yet sometimes overlooked part of the SEO content marketing workflow. It’s always a smart move to get a second reviewer to check the content for grammatical errors, sentences structure, ensure that ideas flow and are clearly explained.
7. Optimise and publish
Now it’s time for you (or the SEO content writer, depending on your agreement) to upload the content to your website and hit the “publish” button. At this stage, the most important things to consider are layout, image placement and optimisation, keywords, CTAs, tags, titles and meta-descriptions.
Now that you’ve published the article, you need to promote it. This will depend on your digital marketing strategy but obvious channels include social media networks, along with email newsletters.
Well-promoted content can also result in more backlinks (other websites linking back to yours). This makes Google believe that your content is valuable and ranks it higher as a result.
9. Revew and adapt
Content marketing is an ongoing process and results must be monitored to gauge your content’s success.
Review how your website content monthly on Google Analytics to see how it’s performing. If the content works, then you can continue along the same lines in the future. If it doesn’t, analyse why and adapt your strategy accordingly for your next phase of content planning.
So now you’ll hopefully have a better idea of what SEO content writing is all about. If you need help with improving your digital content, drop me a line. Let’s boost your brand together.
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