Google aims to help people find whatever information they need – as quickly as possible. To get the most out of your content, you need to optimize for both readers and search engines. The best way to do that is to get yourself familiar with the concept of SEO writing.
SEO writing helps you create and optimize content in a way that will increase its chances to rank well for target keywords. In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to apply SEO writing best practices when creating new content for your blog.
Shall we begin?
The importance of SEO writing
SEO writing is a complex process. It involves researching, planning, and writing optimized content. Content optimization is based on targeting a specific keyword you want to rank for on Google.
Google suggests tons of content for any search request you type. However, there is still an enormous amount of content that you can never see on the web.
This content doesn’t rank on Google. Therefore, it can’t provide users with the information they are searching for online.
Consequently, this content won’t be able to move your potential customers down the marketing funnel. And you lose an opportunity to get more conversions.
How to not be left out of the picture with your content? You must work on content optimization properly.
When you create content sticking to SEO fundamentals, you have more chances to drive targeted traffic to your website.
For instance, our Visme team of content writers creates high-quality content that drives targeted traffic to the website. This content helps more people find out about Visme tools and how they can solve their business issues by using them. We would not see these results if we didn’t apply the SEO writing practices we discuss below.
Let’s find out how to write with SEO in mind.
How to write SEO optimized content
Don’t delude yourself by thinking that SEO writing aims to solely satisfy Google. Nope. SEO writing sets a task to find a balance between both the users and search engines. You do not want to over-optimize your headings and text because that can ruin the flow of your content.
On one hand, it helps find out what your target audience is searching for on Google. And how you can connect your content with their needs.
On the other hand, it makes the process of understanding your content by crawlers easier. Which in return leads to providing users with the most accurate search results per their requests.
So, how to write SEO-optimized content?
Here is a five-step process you can take on board.
1. Select keyword(s) you want to cover with your post
Right before you create a content marketing plan, you conduct keyword research. This process helps explore keywords to use for content optimization.
Even when you have a specific seed keyword in mind, before starting with the post, you should explore the variations you might want to include in the post.
For instance, you have a task to write a post for a business that sells equipment for martial arts. During keyword research, you identified seed keywords. It could be “gi“, “karate gi“, “jiu-jitsu gi“, etc.
What should you do with these seed keywords next?
Use them to explore keyword ideas as questions. It allows you to optimize your post for queries that people search on Google within this specific topic. As a rule, the major part of these queries will be informative.
How to find these keyword ideas?
You can use the Keyword Explorer tool from Ahrefs. Draw attention to the report called “Questions”:
Reap the benefits of this report and move to the next step of the process.
Alternatively, look for questions on Quora that rank for relevant keywords with the Quora marketing tool.
With Q-Stats, you can see whether questions or keywords on Quora are ranking organically on Google, and how much monthly traffic they’re receiving. Once you understand this information, find a question where you can provide a valuable response (and that’s ranking well). You can use these questions in shaping the content topic you’re planning to cover.
2. Identify search intent behind the queries
Search intent stands for what people are looking for on Google. If you don’t know what people search for, you won’t be able to create content that would rank.
To find out what content to create, you should check out the top pages in the SERP per your target search request. Pay attention to three conditions of content – type, format, and angle.
What do these three conditions mean?
It won’t be difficult to identify the type of content that ranks in top positions. Just type your target search request on Google and review the results.
If your search request is in the form of a question, the types of content will usually be educational. Most of the time, the search results will include articles, posts, and everything in between. For example, below you can see guides suggested for the query “what is email marketing”:
However, if you analyze different phrase keywords, you will see that the content type varies.
SERP results can feature both blog posts and category pages. For certain keywords, it makes more sense to create a service/landing page than to try and write a blog post around it.
The format of the content will help you understand how you should structure your post. There are a few main content formats – listicles, how-to guides, infographics, case studies, etc. Let’s say you’re exploring a content format you need to stick to for the query “top bass guitar brands“:
The results revealed the following formats – listicles and guides. You should take it into account when deciding which content format you will use for your own post.
The angle of content helps you understand how you should cover a topic.
For instance, you write a guide on landing page optimization. It is supposed to cover the basics of this topic that would be easier to understand for beginners. But if you write the post for the expert audience, you should take another angle.
Follow these three conditions and match search intent. This is the heart of content marketing anatomy.
3. Create subtopics you want to cover in your post
You now have the main keyword and you know the type, format, and angle of the future post. The next step is to identify subtopics.
How to do this?
By analyzing your competitors’ content. Or by reviewing the “People also ask” section on Google. Let’s see these two tactics in action.
Analyzing top-ranking posts
It can be quite useful to run SEO competitor analysis. Analyze content that your competitors publish on their blogs. It can give you a clue what aspects of the topic have been covered in the post. What you can use for a good advantage. What you can improve and write better.
The only thing that you should do is skim through the post and draw attention to the headings/subheadings on the page.
When you finish, move to the next step – creating an outline of the post.
Using the “People also ask” section
The “People also ask” section suggests other variations of what people can search related to your primary keyword.
For example, you want to write a guide on SEO translation vs. localization. You type your keyword phrase “SEO translation and localization” on Google and scroll down to the “People also ask” section:
Google suggests four topic-related questions that you can use as the subtopics for your post. It is not necessary to include every question from this section as the subtopic in your post. Consider what people might expect to see in your post.
For example, for this keyword, some of the subheadings in your post should cover::
- What is SEO content translation
- What is the difference between SEO translation and localization?
Afterward, it is up to you whether you want to create an in-depth guide (that requires adding more subheadings) or write a post for beginners.
4. Work on an outline
When you have your subheadings, you basically have an outline. You should create the outline in Google Docs or a comparable tool for easier managing and collaboration. You should end up with something like this:
5. Work on the draft
The final stage of the process is writing the draft of the post. Do not neglect to take into consideration these crucial pieces of advice:
Remember your target audience
Keep in mind that you are not writing the post for yourself or for the search engines. You write it for your target audience. Don’t deviate from the angle of the content. If you write a guide for beginners, then make sure you don’t use over-complicated terms or words.
If needed, you can analyze the quality of your writing with apps like Hemingway and Grammarly.
Write using your target audience’s vocabulary
Let’s say you have to write a blog post about martial arts. You’ve heard that karate, judo, or jiu-jitsu practitioners get dressed in the traditional uniform. You know this uniform is called “kimono” and you believe that it would be the right term to use in the post. You’re mistaken. Because the right term is “gi” – “karategi“, “judogi“, etc.
To avoid such misconceptions you should research the niche and topic more precisely. Ideally, you are an expert in your niche and know all of this already. Including relevant industry terms will also help Google recognize what the post is about and that you are an authoritative resource.
Add visual elements to your content
People don’t like reading content that doesn’t contain any visuals. Such content isn’t engaging and doesn’t interact with the readers.
For instance, you’re writing the material and realize that it would be far better to explain a certain part of the topic using a custom graphic or a video. You use a free video maker tool like Visme to create a short video.
Visuals help users to visualize certain information and make the content more engaging. On top of that, adding videos and graphics helps you to further optimize your content for specific keywords.
And before we wrap things up, here are a few additional SEO writing tips!
A few on-page SEO writing tips to improve your content
Even though your main priority is to write content for people, you shouldn’t forget about search engines as well. When it comes to rankings and traffic, there is always room for SEO improvements.
Let’s review the most important ones:
- Write an eye-catching title tag. The first thing in the SERP people pay attention to is a title tag. The title tag provides people with the very first insight into what your content is about. If people find it eye-catching, they will click the link. Use your primary keyword and follow search intent.
- Create SEO-friendly URLs. Google likes clear and concise URLs. Be sure to include your main keyword and write a short URL. Don’t use dates and numbers in the URL. If you update the post, it will be pretty difficult to change them.
- Optimize images for SEO. Image optimization is another component of creating content with SEO in mind. Add relevant alt tags to your images. Find the balance between the size and quality of your images.
- Don’t forget to use internal linking. Internal links are great for your SEO. They help build bridges between different pieces of content that cover various topics on your blog.
To sum up
SEO writing is not as difficult as it might seem when you understand best practices and how to optimize content that works for both people and search engines. It takes some practice to thread that line successfully.
It is not a science. It is the art of finding the balance between providing people with valuable information and satisfying Google with well-optimized content.
Use these SEO writing tips and crush your competitors with outstanding content.
Sergey Aliokhin is a Marketing Manager at Visme. When not at work, he likes to spend his time with family, read books on science-fiction, practice playing the bass, and visit the gym.