Content For SEO 101
Perhaps you’re new to the world of online business, and you’re not entirely sure what SEO content actually is. Maybe you have been slaving away at your blog for months, but are baffled by the lack of visits and interaction. It may even be the case that you have the best new product or service, but try as you may, you just can’t get your website to rank in the search engines.
If any of these sound a little bit like you, then it may be time to digest all that you can about SEO content. Our guide will fill you in and let you understand how content and SEO go hand in hand.
What does SEO content mean?
If you’re at the start of your SEO journey, you may be thinking, “What does SEO content mean?”. You may not even be sure what SEO stands for (it’s search engine optimisation, just in case!). In simple terms, the SEO part of the equation is about optimising your website in such a way that it gets recognised by the search engines. Primarily, when talking about search engines, people tend to mean Google as this is the most popular one.
So, how do you optimise your web presence to make sure that Google displays you, meaning that you can be found? That is where the content part of SEO content comes in. By content, we are referring to literally anything that appears on a webpage. This could include:
By putting the SEO and content together, you have content that has been produced for a website, or particular webpage, that assist with it being found by search engines. Why does SEO content matter? You may know all that there is to know about your service or product, but unless your content is SEO friendly you have little chance of sharing your knowledge or attracting new clients. Perhaps your product or service is one that is difficult to create engaging content for, but effective SEO content that is well written can quickly bring you results.
What is SEO content writing?
SEO content writing is something that you’ll need to learn if you want to make sure you have plenty of hits on your site. “That’s all well and good,” I hear your cry, “But what is SEO content writing?”. SEO content writing is all about creating your content in such a way that people are going to find it. People are only going to find it if Google chooses to show it. So, what does your SEO content writing need to include to make sure that Google displays your site? Here are some of the things that you will need to know:
Keywords are the words that people search for. Imagine that you are looking for a great copywriting service (can you see where we’re going with this?), you might type ‘copywriter’ into Google. Now, if you were that great copywriting service, you’d need to make sure that the word ‘copywriter’ appeared on your site, and in your blog posts.
Of course, there will be more than one copywriter, and lots of companies will be trying to get found for that search. The word ‘copywriter’ is a short tail keyword: it is literally one word long. By thinking about what else people may search for, you can create long-tail keywords (consisting of short phrases) that people may type into a search bar. Targeting these long-tail keywords in your content can bring you better results.
A headline that works for you
Ideally, your headline is going to be attention-grabbing: you want people to see it and feel the need to click and read more. However, headlines are about more than just grabbing attention. By including your keywords in your title, you are showing Google what your article or page is all about.
How do you know what keywords you should be using and which you should be using in your headline? There are numerous online tools that will allow you to research relevant keywords. In fact, the best place to go is probably Google itself and its keyword planner.
If you’re producing blog posts for your business, one way of helping your site to be found by using SEO content is to link back to your own web pages. By doing this you are showing Google that your other pages are relevant (assuming you have linked naturally and not just for the sake of linking), and this means that Google will see your site as having more authority.
With SEO content writing, you can also link your articles to other websites. To make this a worthwhile venture, you need to ensure that the sites are relevant to your own and that they are an authority in your field. As you start to be discovered more, other sites may link back to your content. This sends positive signals to Google that your SEO content is relevant and deserves to be displayed.
What is SEO copywriting?
Now you know what SEO content writing means, you may well be wondering, “What is SEO copywriting?”, as it is a term that is often mentioned when discussing SEO content. The difference between SEO content writing and SEO copywriting is the reasons behind it being produced.
SEO content writing is about producing content that is optimised for search engines. The purpose of such writing is to provide content that is valuable to the reader. This may subtly refer to your product or service, but generally, such writing is just about giving a great read, while also bumping your site up the rankings. SEO copywriting, on the other hand, is about being persuasive or even selling. You may be trying to sell a particular product, or you may use SEO copywriting to sell the idea of your brand.
What makes good SEO content?
Having answered the questions, “What is SEO content writing?” and, “What is SEO copywriting?”, you may be left wondering, “What makes good SEO content?”. The biggest single point to remember when creating SEO content is that you are writing for people, not just a search algorithm. By stuffing keywords, your writing will make little sense to your reader. Google will also see what you are trying to do and ignore your content. Keywords matter, but in moderation: write for your audience and don’t just produce SEO content for Google.
Good SEO content is also fresh: Google loves to see new content being added to a site. This could be in the form of new blog posts, or even refreshing existing ones. When it comes to SEO content, there is a lot to learn, and many businesses just don’ have the time to get to grips with it. When this is the case, it may be worth looking at the services of professional SEO content writers. If you’ve decided to go it alone, it might be useful to know the process followed to produce SEO content.
The SEO content writing process
Before you reach this stage you’ll have already explored the keywords that are relevant to your SEO content writing. Hopefully, you’ll also have a pretty good title that you are going to be working with. If that is the case, there are then three stages to produce your SEO content. These are:
Let’s take a look at these in turn.
Stage one – Prep
Whether it is SEO copywriting or content writing you need to start by planning and preparing. It may be tempting just to dive in and start typing away but with no sense of direction, you’ll quickly lose your thread. The result is likely to be a piece that doesn’t flow, makes little sense, and misses many key points. So, how do you avoid this and what should your plan look like? Here’s what you need to be looking at:
Why are you writing?
Are you looking at giving your reader some new information? Are you trying to amuse them? Are you trying to persuade them to take some action? Whatever the point of your writing will impact the tone of your writing as well as the keywords that are relevant.
What is your key message?
This links back to why you are writing. You need to know exactly what you are trying to get across. You may know that you are writing to persuade someone to sign up, but if you fail to include that message then you’re writing is unlikely to be successful.
Who is going to be reading?
Are you writing for novices in your sector? Are you talking to people who are experienced? This will impact how technical your writing is going to be.
What research do you need before you start to write?
Of course, you already know your sector but sloppy information will not reflect well on your company. Be sure that any areas with doubt are fully researched before you start to write.
How are you going to structure your piece?
How many headings are you going to use? How many words per section? How many sentences per paragraph? The structure has a huge impact on the readability of your content writing.
Stage 2 – Get writing!
When it comes to SEO content, this is actually the easiest part, but the part where people seem to have the biggest issue. Here are some tips to get you on your way:
Just start to write
The simplest advice yet but really that is all that you need to do. You have your plan, you have your idea so just start to write. Maybe your spelling isn’t the best or you’re unsure if a sentence is grammatically correct. Ignore all of this and just keep writing for now.
Follow your plan
As part of your plan, you decided on a structure. Stick to this and make sure you have plenty of paragraphs, headings and subheadings.
Include some breaks
Staring at a page can actually be quite tiring. Short sharp bursts of writing are probably best so aim for around 20 minutes before taking 5-10 minutes out.
If you are worried about how you write, the solution is to read as much as you can. See what other people are doing. Look at how they use storytelling and other techniques to engage their readers.
Stage 3 – Review and edit
With your writing all done, you may think that end the SEO copywriting process, but this final stage is perhaps more important than the writing itself. This can see you deleting entire sections or just make little tweaks. Here’s a look at how to do this effectively:
Read it back
When reviewing your SEO content, read it out loud to yourself. This gives you a true feel of how the article flows and if you have captured the right tone for the piece.
Sentences and paragraphs
Are these structured correctly? Are there any grammatical errors? If so, now is the time to correct these. Make sure that the opening of each paragraph hits the right tone and that it tells your readers exactly what’s to follow.
Review your structure
Did you stick to your structure? If you did, does it work? How is the text to look at? Make sure that now the writing is finished that your article looks right. There should be enough paragraphs and sub-headings to break up the text but also to grab attention and allow people to skim read and pick out the most important points.
It may be tempting to have a quick read through and then hit publish! Before you do this make sure that you get some feedback first. Ask a couple of people to read through and to give you an honest opinion.
By following stages 1-3 and implementing each point you should have success when it comes to crafting your piece. Getting it right gives you long-lasting content that can bring benefits for months or years to come.