Your Essential 7-Step SEO Content Writing Checklist

How to Write SEO Content That Ranks in Google: The Essential Guide to Great SEO Content Writing

by | Jul 12, 2022 | Website Content

Are you a marketer, entrepreneur, or agency with content creation and publishing high up on your to-do list? You aren’t alone! Seeing your content rank in the top of Google is every content creator’s dream.

However, you can’t just write any old blog post and expect results. That’s because over five million blog posts are published every day, meaning it’s easy to get overlooked in a sea of content.

And considering the top three Google search results get 75.1% of all clicks, everyone is clamoring to get their content in those coveted spots. After all, ranking high on Google means more visibility, leading to more traffic. Ultimately, that traffic can turn into conversions.

So, how do you create content that lands on the first page of the SERPs?

Well, it’s all about implementing SEO content writing. This practice goes beyond just writing a blog post and encourages you to optimize your content effectively so Google will give it priority.

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Google’s Top Factors for Ranking Content

Before we dive into the actionable tips on how to get started with SEO writing, we need to first understand what Google is looking for when ranking content. This way, you’ll know what to focus on before you begin creating. And Google has made it clear there are a few key factors they want every piece of content to have, so take this advice seriously.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Quality Matters Most: A poorly written blog post that lacks valuable information won’t look great to Google, and your readers might not enjoy it either. Luckily, Google has shared some insights into what quality content looks like. Essentially, it should serve a purpose and needs to be well-written, well-formatted, and well-researched.
  • Content Should be Relevant and Useful: You need to have an idea of what your target audience is searching for so you can create the content they desire. You can then provide useful information that offers valuable takeaways.
  • Your Website Needs to be Up to Par: Besides the content itself, Google also considers your website and its functionality. Sites need to be mobile-friendly, should have fast loading times, and need to be accessible to all visitors.

There’s even more to learn about what factors Google is looking for when ranking content. We cover this in-depth in our ebook, How to Rank in the Top of Google. Download your free copy to check it out!

The 7-Step SEO Content Writing Checklist

Now, let’s talk about bringing your content to life. To write impeccable content that your readers and Google will love, you can follow the seven steps in this checklist.

1. Study Other SEO Content Writing Samples

The great thing about the internet is that there’s tons of content to consume, and you can learn so much from other creators about what makes their content unique and valuable. Search a keyword related to your niche and take a look at the first three blog posts that appear in the SERPs.

Is there anything about those three blogs that stands out as particularly impressive to you? Maybe they had a catchy headline or an introduction with a great hook? Whatever it is, note what you appreciate about their content so you can produce the same kind of results with your blog posts.

Now, here’s the thing – you don’t want to copy these other creators. It’s much more important to focus on creating original work that stands out from the crowd. However, you can still draw inspiration from them by replicating the strategies that work.

2. Conduct Industry-Specific Keyword Research

A huge element of effective SEO content writing is choosing the right keywords for your blog posts. If you’re targeting the wrong keywords, it’s unlikely your target audience will find the posts you’ve worked so hard to create. This is where keyword research comes into play.

Take a moment and put yourself in the shoes of your reader. What keywords are they typing into Google about your niche? Knowing what they’re looking for will give you a starting point for conducting research. If you’re struggling with this step, try checking out BuzzSumo to see which topics in your industry are most popular. It’s great for getting those creative juices flowing.

From there, you can use tools like the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool. You want to have a way to measure keyword difficulty, search volume, and how often a keyword has been Googled recently. Keywords that have a high search volume, are trending, and have low difficulty are great to target with your content.

Then, you can plan your content accordingly by writing about the topics that interest your target audience. Remember to include your chosen keyword in the post when you’re writing. This is when it’s helpful to know how to use keywords in your content because you’ll want to use them strategically.

Here’s some helpful advice:

  • Use Keywords Naturally: Excessively incorporating keywords into your content is a turn-off for readers and Google. After all, Google’s algorithm knows when you’re keyword stuffing. That’s why you need to use them in a way that feels natural, so stick to 1-3x per 500 words.
  • Consider Keyword Placement: Besides frequency, there are some key spots to place your keywords within your content. Always add them to your blog’s title, at least one subheading, and multiple times throughout the body of the post, depending on your word count.

3. Analyze Your Competition

You hear it all the time in business – know your target audience. And yes, it’s crucial to know who your audience is so you can expertly craft every piece of content with them in mind. Understanding the needs of your audience will help you generate endless topic ideas for your blog posts. Making it easier to create the content they’re searching for. However, it’s not enough to just know about your audience. You also need to know a thing or two about your competitors.

By monitoring what your competitors are doing online, you can see which topics they cover with their blog content. You can also learn which posts are getting the most traffic by the amount of engagement the post attracts on their website via blog comments and by what people are saying on social media. Consider putting your spin on the topics that appear to be a hit.

4. Consider Outsourcing with SEO Content Writing Services

But what if all of this just feels overwhelming? Well, you’re not alone. The reality is that SEO writing isn’t everyone’s strong suit. If you find yourself stressing about keyword research and struggling to write great content, there’s no harm in outsourcing and letting the experts tackle take over.

You can pay agencies (like Express Writers) to do your keyword research and outline a blog plan according to the topics that will generate the most ROI. Then, they can handle the copywriting, crafting a high-quality blog from start to finish. Just place an order and wait for a high-quality final product!

Professional writing services are well worth the investment if you’re ready to get serious about your business growth. Implementing SEO content writing and sticking to a consistent publishing schedule allowed us to see some pretty impressive results.

5. Pay Attention to Formatting While Writing

Quality is non-negotiable when it comes to SEO content writing, but there’s another thing you can’t overlook – formatting. A great blog post might get ignored if the formatting makes it difficult for a reader to consume. For instance, if a reader lands on your blog and is faced with a gigantic block of text, they aren’t likely to stick around.

The average time on a page is 54 seconds, so you can’t take a chance of sending people running from your site. The easier your post is to consume, the longer your reader will stick around, which is exactly what you want. So, it’s helpful to think about how your post will be formatted while creating the outline.

Here are some formatting tips you can use:

  • Add Clear Subheadings: As mentioned above, readers don’t want to see one large block of text upon visiting your website. It just looks overwhelming. Instead, you need to break up the body of your blog post by adding subheadings that explain what each section of the post is about.
  • Write Short, Punchy Paragraphs: Going off that tip about avoiding large blocks of text, you’ll also want to keep paragraphs on the shorter side. Short paragraphs make your sentences punchier, which ultimately makes your content more impactful and easier to read.

6. Take Time to Edit and Polish Your Work Before Publishing

Once your content is written, the next step is to take a few extra moments to review your work. While you may be eager to hit that publish button, it’s important to read through the post to spot any errors or other opportunities for improvement. This way, you can feel confident knowing that everything you publish is high-quality and will leave your reader with a great impression of your business.

Ask questions such as:

  • Have I clearly stated the purpose of my blog post?
  • Is the introduction captivating?
  • Does the post contain any jargon?
  • Is it free of errors?
  • Does the content flow?

For more tips, PR Daily offers an 18-point checklist for proofreaders that’s worth checking out. Consult it whenever you edit to ensure your blog posts are always polished to perfection.

It often helps to read your content aloud to see how comfortable you are with the content. If it feels cumbersome to recite, you may want to touch up the copy a bit. You can also turn to tools like Grammarly to spot and correct any errors. Also, don’t be afraid to have a colleague read through your post because a fresh set of eyes can pick up on things you’ve missed.

7. Dive into Your Analytics to Track Results

The final step of SEO content writing is to make sure you’re getting your desired results. Do you see an increase in traffic? Where are your posts ranking in Google? You need to know how your content is performing so you can shape your content moving forward.

If your content is doing well, you’ll know to keep up the great work. But if you’re not seeing the traffic and rankings you hoped for, it’s time to make a change. This is your opportunity to tweak your strategy so your future posts will perform better. For example, if you’ve been using long-tail keywords and it’s not generating the best results, try shorter keywords. You can even try making formatting changes.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools to assist you with this process. Google Analytics is a tried and true option, as it provides tons of great information about where your traffic is coming from and which site pages are your most popular. BuzzSumo is useful for viewing social media shares. And, of course, Semrush is an all-around powerhouse option for all your SEO writing needs.

Want to Rank in the Top of Google?

If you’re longing to get your content noticed by Google and your target audience, you need to know the top ranking factors Google considers. In our free ebook, we’re sharing six content factors you need to know before you begin writing. Plus, we’re providing some real-world examples to show just how effective high-quality, valuable content can be.

Download your free copy.

Image of a group meeting around a conference table with the text "Want to Rank in the Top of Google? Download our free ebook."

This post was updated on July 12, 2022.

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