When it comes to writing content for SEO, it's not as simple as throwing a few keywords on the page and hoping they land you in front of your dream customers.
Sure, you need to include keywords on the page to help your content rank in search results. But if you're writing with the sole purpose of keeping Google happy, without any thought about your intended audience, then your SEO content is missing the mark.
Great SEO content is written for humans, rather than search engines. Its goal is to provide relevant, useful content that helps answer your audience's search queries (the questions or keywords they typed into the search bar).
So, what's the secret to SEO content writing? It's a delicate balance between human-centric content, with a sprinkling of strategic keyword placement.
Sounds easy enough, right? It will be once you know how to approach these two key ingredients. 😉
So follow along as I share my step-by-step approach to help you create content that Google *and* your customers will love.
When it comes to creating SEO content for your business, your decision around which topic you run with can make all the difference.
If you want to get to page one of Google, it's not enough to write content that you *think* potential customers want to read. You need to do your research to understand their needs, wants, pain points and desires.
During your research, there are key questions you want to answer:
The average person uses a search engine 3-4 times every day, so if you want to know what's on their mind just take a look at what they're typing into the search bar.
Google is a treasure trove of juicy audience insights, and the best way to unlock these is with keyword research.
Jot down a few keywords related to your business, starting with your products or services and any other highly relevant topics. For example, if you're a wedding planner you might jot down "wedding planning" but also "wedding trends" and even "wedding venues". If you're writing content for your products or services, stick with those core keywords, but if you're writing for your blog you can branch out to related topics.
Once you've done brainstorming, fire up a keyword research tool like SERanking (they offer a free 14-day trial) to expand your list with similar and related keywords. You won’t be able to go after every single keyword, so spend some time refining your list using these keyword research tips.
People turn to the internet to look for answers to their questions, and the Google search bar itself can provide valuable insights into your audience.
Take your keyword research one step further by finding specific questions people are searching for. Try typing a keyword into Google and scroll down to the People Also Ask section to find popular questions being asked, or use one of my favourite tools, AnswerThePublic.
You can even do some extra research in forums like Quora or Reddit to discover your audience’s specific needs and pain points.
So we've covered how to find topics that your audience are interested in. But how do you know what type of content they're looking for? Do they want to read a long-form guide? A listicle? Product reviews?
There's a secret tool I like to use for this part of my research. And that tool is called Google.
Pop one of your keywords into Google and have a look at what content is already ranking on page one. Google favours content that provides value for the user, so looking at current ranking content can give you an insight into what's already performing well, so you can replicate this on your website.
Shareable content is valuable content. So, if you want to know what content people find valuable, you only need to look at what content is being shared widely online.
Tools like Buzzsumo and Ubersuggest will help you discover popular content for any given topic. Just type in your keyword and you’ll get a list of web pages with a high number of social media shares and backlinks.
Once you’ve selected your target keywords and you know what topics your audience are interested in, it’s time to start crafting your SEO-friendly content.
Think about the goal of your web page. what do you want your readers to get out of your content? Do you want to educate, inspire, start a conversation? Once you’ve got a plan, it’ll be much easier to craft your content with a purpose.
Tip: Think about what calls-to-action you want to include on the page.
People spend less than 1.17 seconds viewing Google listings to decide what to click, so your page title needs to draw them in straight away. Make sure your page title is unique, accurately describe your web page and includes your target keyword.
If you’re writing a blog post, questions and numbers work really well as titles.
Tip: Use your most important keyword in your page title and main heading (known as an h1 heading).
Time to start putting words on the page! If you’ve done your research properly, this should be easy – once you know exactly what potential customers are looking for, you’ll be able to create website content that serves them.
Just remember, good writing will always trump high keyword density! Google favours websites that provide useful content with a great user experience, so focus on your audience first and you’ll reap the rewards.
Tip: Use keywords in your sub-headings and make sure they are tagged as h2, h3 or h4.
Your content readability has a direct impact on your SEO rankings because Google wants to provide useful content for searchers. And content that can be easily read and understood is useful content.
Consider using bullets, lists or tables to make your content more engaging. Keep sentences concise for best communication! And don’t forget about synonyms – mix it up a little so you don’t bore readers with the exact same keywords.
Tip: Download Grammarly to nail your spelling, grammar and even tone of voice.
A well-written, engaging SEO description will encourage people to click through to your website from search results. But it can also help improve your ranking position in Google. The more people that click through to your page, the more Google considers your page to be a good result.
Tip: Descriptions should be no more than 160 characters or they will be cut off by Google, particularly on Mobile.
Your URL is the first thing a user sees when they click through to your page, so it needs to be clear, concise and readable. Google will also look at your URL to understand what your page is about, and whether it’s relevant for a certain search keyword.
Tip: Include your target keyword in your URL to help boost your SEO rankings.
Google may not be able to view images like a human can, but there are other ways you can help the search engine understand your content. Adding alt text to your images helps Google to rank your images for relevant keywords, while providing more context about the page the image appears on.
Tip: Image alt text also provides another opportunity for you to add your target keywords to your web page!
Help users and Google navigate your website by adding internal links throughout your text. Google uses these links to understand the relationship between your pages, so by linking related content you’re helping Google understand what those pages are about, and how the topics are related.
Tip: Avoid generic anchor text (the clickable text of your link) like “click here” or “find out more” and instead use relevant target keywords.
If you want to grow your business, website traffic alone won’t cut it – you need those visitors to convert! Adding CTA’s to your page helps lead your website readers to take a desired action, whether that’s signing up, booking a call or getting a quote.
Tip: Your CTA’s may vary from page to page but should always be tied back to your overall website goal.