Content must be written not only for the reader but also for search engines. The content you write should be relevant and informative to the reader but also easily digestible and appealing to search engines. Striking a balance can sometimes feel hard when you are content writing for SEO purposes. However, SEO and content writing actually go hand in hand. Using our SEO content writing tips, we explore how to write SEO friendly content. This is a tried and tested process that our copywriters at Zelst swear by and includes all of our expert hints and tips to achieving SEO friendly content.
SEO Content Writing Tips from Start to Finish:
Ideas, Research and Planning
1. Ideas and Keyword Research
To create an SEO friendly content piece, you need to start thinking of SEO processes right from the offset. If you are working from a blog content plan, then you don’t need to worry too much about this initial stage. Usually, the initial idea generation and keyword research will have already been done for you when working with a content plan.
If you are stuck for inspiration on what to base your blog around, we recommend using tools such as Answer The Public. This tool allows you to enter a word or phrase that’s relevant to the blog or website you are working on. Once you’ve hit search, lots of different ideas based around search habits are generated for you to choose from.
If you have a topic or phrase you want to explore ideas around, try putting these into Google to see what other blog posts/pages come up in the search to give you inspiration and an idea of what people are already searching for. Looking at Google’s related questions for inspiration is a great way to help you angle and shape your content and, if included in your content, could result in you capturing this SERP feature. If you are unfamiliar with the term, ‘SERP feature’, then check out our post dedicated to answering the question, what does SERP mean?
Once you have a rough idea of what you are hoping to write your blog about, you need to check that there are search terms that support your idea. SEO and content writing wouldn’t be possible without search terms. So, using Google Keyword Planner, Moz or whatever software you prefer, you need to conduct some keyword research around your ideas. We recommended choosing three to four search terms to target in your post.
Be sure to check that the website or blog you are working on isn’t already targeting your chosen search terms in another piece of content. You don’t want to be competing with or duplicating any content already on the website. Based on these search terms, you can now come up with an optimised title for your content piece, meaning a title that includes one of your search terms in some capacity. Ideally, the search terms should feature towards the start of the title for extra SEO value!
Tip: Write down any ideas that come up when researching different angles, or that can be featured in sections, during this whole process. Doing this could really help shape the different -sections of your piece and make things easier for you during the next research and planning stage.
2. Contextual Research and Planning
Now you’ve chosen the search terms you want to target, and have a few ideas jotted down to include as sections and sub-titles, you can conduct your contextual research.
Start by researching some of the sections/sub-titles you have already highlighted from your search terms and notes. If you are unsure where to begin with this, start by putting your chosen search terms into Google and seeing what information comes up. Any points or information that are relevant to your piece you can start to add in bullet point form and start to form sub-sections you want to cover.
Creating a skeleton of a post, which includes bullet-pointed information from your research and any notes you have surrounding this or want to include, is a great way to start planning your piece. Doing this means that all you need to do when writing is develop, optimise and put all of your points together, creating relevant and well-structured foundations for your content.
3. Write the content
Every content writer has a different style of writing. So, if you’re new to this, be sure to read through other pieces of content from the same website to ensure you are mindful of the tone and style of the brand.
Most content creators usually stick to a structure where they define the message of the text in the introduction and then go into more detail within the body of the page to encourage the reader to keep reading and share the content. Outlining your point within the introduction of the piece will allow both search engines and your reader to define what the content will be about. When content writing for SEO purposes, try to include keywords in the start of the blog and sub-titles (AKA H2s but we will come back to this term later) wherever possible.
Using the very helpful bullet points and notes you added when planning, all you need to do now is flesh out each section ensuring your keywords are being targeted and included in the copy where relevant.
Depending on the type of content you are creating lengths will differ but, to help the reader digest your content, keep sentences and blocks of text on the shorter side. At the end of your post, it’s good to finish with a call to action (CTA). Whether that’s linking back to your website’s e-commerce section, asking the reader to get in touch, or promoting another blog post, an appropriate sign off featuring a CTA ends the piece nicely.
Tip: Highlight any keywords you have used throughout the post so you can quickly see which ones you’ve included and how many times you have used them. Or, use Ctrl+F for each keyword when you’ve finished to find them.
Any SEO content writing tips wouldn’t be complete without mentioning link strategy. Internal linking, which involves adding links back to other pages or blogs on your website in your copy, is great for SEO and allows other crawlers to crawl all the articles on your site. When you add links to your content, it’s important to integrate it into the copy instead of just saying “click here”. The link needs to be natural and relevant to what you are writing otherwise it can look spammy to both search engines and readers.
Adding backlinks from credible external websites that you used as a source is important as it builds trust and credibility with your readers about the information you are sharing. It is also important that you include attribution to any content or statistics you take from other creators during your research and include in your piece.
Tip: You can research internal pages or posts to link to in your piece before starting to write the post. Put the links and keywords at the top of your Word document so you can keep referring back and remind yourself to include them.
Proofread your work. Make sure you double-check all of your content to ensure there are no grammatical errors, misspelt words, and that your sentences are worded and constructed correctly. To help you spot some common copywriting mistakes, we’ve identified four easy-to-fix copywriting mistakes in our previous post.
When proofreading, read your post aloud as it’s easier to hear sentences that don’t sound right. For example, you may have used a word repetitively. Be sure to put your content through some grammar-checking software, such as Grammarly, to ensure that everything is grammatically correct after you have done your proofreading. Sometimes we can all miss tiny grammatical errors even if we’ve checked our work, so we always recommend doing this. In addition, sending your piece to a colleague for peer proofreading is the best way to ensure nothing has been missed.
Tip: Leave a gap of at least 30 minutes after writing your content piece before proofreading to review it with fresher eyes. You can find out more tips for watertight proofreading in our guide previously written by a member of our expert content team.
Every website back-end is different and each has a different process for uploading blogs and content. No matter what platform the website you are uploading to is using, optimisation of your images, title tags and meta needs to be carried out to ensure you have covered all SEO bases.
6. Optimised Images
Always include at least one image within every blog post and use even more if you can. Infographics, videos, and slides are excellent visual supplements to your regular written posts. If you don’t have a bank of relevant or brand images, you can source images from free stock image sites like Unsplash, or you can pay a monthly fee of £29 a month to use Shutterstock which has a whole bank of high-quality stock images. The number of images you can download depends on the monthly subscription you choose.
Whenever you are uploading an image to your post, make sure that you name it properly before uploading it. Next, you have to make sure that you add a keyword-rich alt tag to your images.
7. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
When writing a long post, you will have to break it down into sub-categories for the comfort of your readers. To break down your content, you can use sub-titles. These need to be formatted as title tags in your article when uploading your content. The various title tags are:
- <h1> … </h1> – Heading 1 (main title)
- <h2> … </h2> – Heading 2 (sub-titles)
- Similarly up to Heading 6 (further sub-section titles)
The meta description is a small description that appears below your article title in search engines and it plays a very important role in search engine ranking. When you are adding the meta description, you should be both creative and informative and also include your main keyword. But, remember, you have to do this in 150 characters or less. Yoast SEO is a WordPress SEO plugin that incorporates everything, including a snippet editor and real-time page analysis functionality which will help you optimise your page’s content, images, titles and meta descriptions.
Tip: It is also important to double-check your meta descriptions for spelling mistakes before publishing your content to ensure that all copy viewable by the reader and by each search engine is correct.
8. Make your content shareable
Make sure you have all the leading social share buttons on your website or below your content. All the popular social networking sites offer plugins readily available for anyone to install. Search rankings tend to increase when content is shared frequently, meaning that shareable content is SEO friendly. Search engines usually reward sites that share relevant content with their users through social media. The more original and fresh content you share, the better visibility you will gain in search results.
When we talk about how to write SEO friendly content, we are referring to creating content that can be easily understood by search engines. The more search engines understand about your copy, the more likely you are to gain a higher search engine ranking. The higher your content appears on search engine rankings, the more likely you are to gain engagement and achieve conversions.
If you have any more questions regarding SEO and content writing, then please contact us today. Want to know more about how SEO friendly content would be beneficial to your business? Please visit our SEO information page.