SEO content creation

SEO Content Creation in 2018: Your Actionable Guide to Writing For the Rankings

In 2018, audiences are changing the way they consume information and discovering new ways of accessing answers to the questions that drive them.

(Bob Dylan was right — the times, they are a-changing!)

bob dylan

And their evolving questions are the ones you — or your company — want to provide an answer to.

So, how do you let people know you’ve got the answers they seek?

Through recognizing the importance of SEO in content creation and negotiating the ever-changing landscape of the content economy.

Here’s the thing…

SEO has always led the way in driving traffic to websites.

Yet, like other online phenomena, SEO content creation is evolving to meet the needs of a new generation of online consumers.

SEO content creation is evolving to meet the needs of a new generation of online consumers. Learn how to create future-proof SEO content in this guide from @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

This change is, in part, pushed by trending technology like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home and a literal explosion of tablet and mobile device usage.

So, how is the modern online user changing the landscape of SEO?

Let’s jump right in with the two most impactful trends in the industry, and then we’ll go into a super actionable, nitty-gritty guide on how to create SEO content this year in a way that boosts your traffic and end profits. Ready?

SEO content creation guide

The Top 2 Trends in SEO Content Creation This Year 

1. Voice Search

Now that people no longer have to key in search terms at a computer, the way they are searching is changing.

For example, if I want to know what’s playing at my local movie theater and I’m on my phone, I might key in “Movies Cinemark,” because I know Google will use the closest theater to me named “Cinemark.”

However, if I’m using Alexa, Amazon’s assistant, I’d ask using more natural language, like I’m talking to a person, “Alexa, what movies are playing at the Cinemark in Austin, TX?”

quote for SEO Content Creation

This is voice search, and it’s one of the leading trends in content marketing this year.

To optimize SEO writing in the past, we used to take out all the “filler” words from a search query.

So,

“Where can I find the best coffee beans in Texas”

Became:

“best coffee beans Texas”

Targeted, yes.

Easy to fit into a smooth-flowing piece of SEO content? Definitely not.

Fortunately, the new, natural-language search terms are making SEO copywriting easier and more compelling — a winning combination.

But, it’s more than search itself that is changing.

People are also changing the way they consume content.

2. Video Content

According to Wyzowl, video marketing has surged, with 81% of companies using it to market their audience.

And there are many reasons to include video in your online content creation campaign, including:

  • Allowing customers to form an emotional — and trust-building — bond with you and your product through voice cues, facial expressions, and dynamic content.
  • Providing content versatility through a range of possible video content — quick demos, longer courses, hands-on tutorials, and more.
  • Encouraging engagement with touch-of-a-button sharing and embedding engagement options.
  • Keeping up with current technology — such as tablets and mobile devices — and the changing ways people are devouring content.

This isn’t the first time that marketers pivoted when video brought consumers a more engaging form of content.

The Buggles wrote “Video Killed the Radio Star” back in 1979 in response to MTV’s popularity with the music-consuming crowd who was turning from songs on the radio to videos of songs on television.

We all know how that turned out.

Despite all the fear, there was no apocalypse, no sudden loss of musical talent. The savvy merely repositioned themselves and moved on.

So, if you’re a creating SEO content for your website — get ready to pivot.

Video content is growing as mobile usage takes the lead over desktop for the first time in 2017.

desktop-v-mobile

And what better example of a website using video content to drive SEO than SEOmoz?

What started out as a simple whiteboard video became so popular that they were renamed Whiteboard Fridays and offered on a regular basis.

Here’s a great example of how they produce engaging SEO content from their list of topics of advanced SEO techniques — Using the Flowchart Method for Diagnosing Ranking Drops.

This screen capture, below, shows you just how fresh and personable this low-tech the video is while appealing to high-tech on-the-go users.

Moz-whiteboard-fridays

Neil Patel notes that one Whiteboard Friday video drew 402 links and more than one thousand social shares.

Of those links and shares, over 37 different domains participated in spreading love for the SEOmoz blog — proof that good video content encourages engagement.

3 Keyword Research Strategies That Deliver

Let’s be careful not to get ahead of ourselves.

Building great, truly compelling content is only possible after proper keyword research. As Backlinko so aptly puts it:

“Without keywords, there’s no SEO.”

Content is not something you should attempt willy-nilly. You need a strong plan of action in place before you spend time — and money — on SEO content creation.

quote quote for SEO Content Creation

That plan of action is keyword research.

The good news is, there are lots of brand-new strategies out there to help make your SEO content strategy even more on-target. All you have to do is engage them.

Let’s start with the basics.

1. Focus on Niche Topics

If you want to know how to write SEO content that points directly to your audience’s pain points, their natural curiosity, their need for spot-on information, you’ve got to put in the research.

Your first order of the day should be to determine your niche topic — your product or service’s unique standing in your industry and the things related to your product that your customers are interested in.

Understanding how to turn your customers’ interests into content will help you narrow keywords with laser-focused efficiency.

This, in turn, will contribute to the creation of compelling SEO content that tugs are your customers’ heartstrings — and wallets.

So, let’s say I’m running a business that sells coffee, because, you know — who doesn’t dream of an unending supply of java?

You can probably come up with some niche topics right off the bat. How about:

  • Coffee mugs
  • Coffee roasting guide
  • How to grind coffee at home
  • Best coffee beans for roasting
  • Espresso machine basics

There are probably over a million choices of niches, so concentrate on those that are important to your audience.

And there’s no better way to do that than to pin down exactly who your audience is, in the form of a persona.

How to Find Niche Topics

Learn how to find hot niche topics for better results with your SEO and online content, using @BuzzSumo's updated Content Analyzer tool (via @JuliaEMcCoy) Click To Tweet

Susan Moeller, Business Development Manager at BuzzSumo, gave me a few inside tips on how to run a content analysis that will help you discover how much traction a topic is getting inside BuzzSumo.

When we ran a few “coffee” topic ideas into the BuzzSumo Analyzer, it was a clear choice – How To Grind Coffee is a hot topic!

coffee-mugs__buzzsumoHere’s how to get to this section of BuzzSumo:

After you’re logged in, click on the Content Research tab at the top, and then on top of the search bar, switch the tab from “Search” to “Analysis.”

Under Analysis, you’ll find the new content analyzer tool.  When BuzzSumo added the comparison tool, they changed up the configuration a bit. (See the product announcement here.)

buzzsumo content analyzer

I love BuzzSumo and use it on a regular basis for content insights. The Analysis feature is a great way to get your hands on some trending niche topics.

2. Focus on Your Audience Persona

A persona is a representation of your target audience’s likes, dislikes, pain points, and more all rolled into one “Everyperson” whose opinions you can use to help focus your content.

Creating a persona is a necessary part of developing content for your website that really packs a punch.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, underscores the need for laser-focused personas in order to create actionable, effective marketing when he says:

“If your content marketing is for everybody, it’s for nobody.”

So how do you create a persona?

You go through a series of questions that delve ever deeper into your fictional Everyperson’s goals, responsibilities, lifestyle, and more to uncover what really makes them tick.

You can find online persona creators that will walk you through the basics, but don’t stop there.

You need to interview some of your prime audience members in-the-flesh and incorporate their feedback into your targeted Everyperson.

Just like Pinocchio became a real boy through Gepetto’s love and attention, your persona will become more real — and more useful — the deeper you can go with your research.

Here’s a screenshot of a persona example featured on Alexa.com.

I chose this one because coffee is the lifeblood of most successful geniuses.

quote quote for SEO Content Creation

If you don’t believe me, check out this article in Entrepreneur.

Click To Tweet

alexa-persona

Look at the detail in this mini-biography. You’ve got her habits, her fears, what motivates her, and what can help her achieve what she wants in life.

That’s information that gives you a perfect way to produce SEO content that’s laser-focused to suit her needs and attract her — and others like her — to your website.

3. Find Long Tail Keywords

Click To Tweet

quote quote for SEO Content Creation

Let me explain with the following analogy:

Do you wait until there’s a huge jackpot before buying a lottery ticket?

It’s not the smartest move since with everyone opting in, there’s even less chance that you’ll be going to Disney after the winning numbers are chosen.

Yet, many marketers treat writing SEO content in much the same way. They reach for those top three search terms that bag 60% of the organic traffic.

You know – the ones everyone is targeting.

But what they’re missing is this — the remaining 40% of traffic is prime real estate for savvy content creators.

The trick is to use long-tail keywords to divert that traffic to your site.

For beginners, you can start with the Google Keyword Planner. (I don’t recommend this tool for advanced SEO content marketers because if you can afford a tool, you’ll get better results – Google can actually skew their results and hide truth about search volume on keywords, to influence you on on buying Ad spots.)

I typed in “content creation” to get this list:

Content-Creation-Keyword-1

I took a high-ranking term from this list (social media content creation) and re-entered it.

That gave me these:

Social-Media-Content-Creation-2

Now, I have a more in-depth group of long tail keywords from which to choose.

And the more specific you can get with what your persona wants and needs, the more traffic you’ll drive to your site.

This screenshot from Trafficmasters.net says it all:

longtail-keyword-graph

Look at that keyword grow — from “shoes” to “men’s shoes” to the one that holds the key to customer interaction — “red Nike mens running shoes.”

quote quote for SEO Content Creation

So, don’t waste your marketing dollar on keywords that everyone is using. Expand your reach with in-depth, long-tail keywords. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Long Tail Keywords Just Got Longer: The Debut of the Long Tail Keyword Phrase

If you’ve been creating effective SEO content, you already know about long-tail keywords.

But did you know that in 2018, just like the Grinch’s heart, these keywords grew two sizes? Enter the world of long-tail keyword phrases, brought to you by the changing face of search.

Powered by devices such as Alexa, Google Home, and smartphone assistants, voice search is becoming increasingly familiar.

In fact, ComScore indicated that voice will account for 50% of searches by the year 2020, so optimizing your keywords for this phenomenon now is critical.

So, what’s the difference between search input through a console and voice search?

Simple. Voice search adds back in what fast, to-the-point typing leaves out.

For example, if I want to learn about optimizing my content, I might type

“effective content creation”

on my keyboard if I’m at my computer.

But, if I’m talking to Siri, Alexa, or another virtual assistant, I’d speak as I would to another person, saying, perhaps,

“Alexa, how can I optimize my online content?”

or

“Alexa, what kind of content creation is effective for coffee sales?”

Cool, right? Now, how can you take advantage of this trend?

One executable tip is to meet your customers where they live — online and in person.

Simple ways to get in touch with the pulse of your customer’s queries include:

  • Conversations – face-to-face or through email
  • Forums – check out Reddit, comment threads, and other chat spaces relevant to your product or service
  • Social media ­– LinkedIn, hashtags, product pages on Facebook, your competitor’s social media
  • FAQs ­– frequently asked questions pages on competitor’s websites or sites related to your audience or industry.

For most of these, just type in the group and add your keyword. For example, forum + coffee gives me these results:

Forum-results

I can click on to any of those sites to find out what’s got my customers talking right now.

Now, if I want to delve into social media chatter, my search might look like:

#coffee

This gives me:

coffee

Not only can these results help super-focus your keywords, but they can supply ideas that may not have come up in a standard search.

For example, see that hashtag on the second result above? #ethicallysourced? Those words represent a perfect idea for a page built around the niche topic of ethically-sourced coffee.

You could also expand this into a long-tail phrase such as:

where to find ethically sourced coffees

Basically, anywhere you can get a feel for the way people are asking questions about your product or service is the golden ticket to long-tail keyword phrases that convert.

Leverage New Search Trends to Build Powerful SEO Content

Remember those natural-language search terms we talked about earlier?

Here’s your chance to incorporate them into your keyword strategy to build powerful, on-target content.

Don’t let this new way of doing things throw a wrench in your SEO strategy — have some fun with it! There are some pretty neat tools out there to help you generate ideas.

For example, click over to Answer the Public for some awesome visual (or data-oriented, if you’re so inclined) cues for long-tail keywords that will set your SEO writing on fire.

Check out this screenshot of the “answers” I got when I typed in the phrase “content creation.”

For those of you who prefer simple data, the same information is available like this:

ask-questions-data

And Answer the Public’s riffs on your content go deep.

Here’s a screenshot of yet another way they generate responses, the “Comparisons” chart.

The even give suggestions by alphabet, one list for each letter. That’s 26 lists of ideas to get your content idea mill churning!

Now, if Ask didn’t generate what you need, you can move over to Soovle, another sweet content idea generator that lists top autocomplete terms for major online platforms — Google, YouTube, Amazon, Wikipedia, and Answers.com.

Here’s Soovle’s contribution to our “content creation” idea list.

Soovle

While Soovle’s lists aren’t as extensive as Ask the Public’s, they are more focused.

Because Soovle’s response pulls directly from the most-searched terms closest to your input word or phrase, it can help you narrow down the key phrases that may be most likely to draw attention.

So, now that you’ve found your niche, your persona, and done your keyword research, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start SEO copywriting your little heart out!

Creating Strong Search-Optimized Content: 3 Killer SEO Copywriting Tips

SEO content creation is not just about optimization — it’s about writing, too. So, let’s start there, with the writing.

You may have a fantastic SEO content strategy ready to roll, but you’re not quite sure how to arrange your topic so that it makes sense and is readable.

Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Here’s a quick trick that I learned from nonfiction authors I know who check out bestsellers in their genre and use the table of contents to help them organize their own thoughts on a subject.

Great SEO copywriting examples are everywhere — if you know where to look. Backlinko recommends, and I concur, that you check out Udemy for inspiration.

You’d type in whatever your audience interests were, but I continued to riff on coffee for my example. When I typed “Java” into the search bar, it gave me the following results:

udemy-java

Look at that top class — over 50,000 people thought this was the mother lode of knowledge, and they shelled out money to prove it.

Now, click on that top course and scroll to “Curriculum.” There it is — what my author friends would call the “Table of Contents.”

Let’s look.

java-curriculum

This snippet gives you the perfect outline for an article, blog post, or content series that you already know resonates with your audience.

Plagiarism is a no-no, as I’m sure you understand, but you can use this strategy to fire your creativity in a way you know will resonate with your persona.

1. Use Latent Semantic Indexing in Your SEO Writing

If you want to rank higher, you’ll need to give search engines a little boost. That’s where latent semantic indexing (LSI) comes into play.

Also known as semantic keywords, LSI helps Google and other search engines understand what your content is really all about. You’ll need to sprinkle these throughout your article to be effective.

But how do you find them?

There are two ways I like. One is through Google itself. Simply type in your keyword (I used “ethically sourced coffee”) and you’ll get a series of snippets for results.

Here’s mine:

LSI-ethically-sourced

Notice those bolded words in the snippet — ethical sourcing and coffee sourcing? Those are your LSI words. You can comb through all your snippets until you get a nice handful to add to your content.

The second way is to use a free online tool, like lsigraph.com. I typed in my search term, and got this:

While some of the results generated here can be off-topic, you can see there’s a rich variety of material to be used as an SEO content strategy template.

2. Get Social with It

It’s not just enough to learn how to write SEO-friendly content — you have to share it, too. Every article should have a call-to-action (CTA).

Why?

Because you’re always selling something — your website.

Each article should, at the very least, have a CTA that encourages readers to share — through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites where your target audience hangs out.

Brian Dean of Backlinko did this with one of his posts, which got 2900 tweets by adding a Click-to-Tweet button as a CTA at the end of the post.

It’s free at Click-to-Tweet.com. Just sign in with your Twitter account, post your message and generate a clickable link for the end of your content, like so:

And many readers will share without even reading the article.

Why? One reason is that sharing takes less time than reading and it still garners interaction from friends and the online community.

But what attracts those readers to share an article they haven’t read? The headline.

3. Create SEO Headlines that Increase Engagement

The headline is the most critical part of your SEO copywriting template. It’s the thing that draws the reader even when they don’t read the article.

As influencer Jayson DeMers says in an article for Forbes:

“The body copy of your content is still important, but these days, 

headlines are the true kings of content.”

SEOMoz breaks this down nicely into five actionable steps:

  • Determine your audience and your goals.
  • Optimize your headline for the channel that’s most demanding.
  • Write a simple, no-frills headline.
  • Now write one that’s optimized for clickability.
  • Now combine Steps 3 and 4 and include appropriate keywords.

Now, I’m going to throw in a little extra for all of you looking for a hard-and-fast SEO copywriting template — a couple of great little headline analyzers to help you nail that shareable title.

First, the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer. Select your category — I’m still all about the beans, so I’ll choose Food & Dining.

Now, input your proposed headline, like so:

And get your results.

The best headlines have intellectual, empathetic, and spiritual elements, but that, of course, varies according to your audience.

The next tool is Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer. Input your headline and click “Analyze Now.”

And get your results.

Looks like my headline could use a bit of work, and Coschedule’s told me exactly where I can improve. Here’s one that fared better, even without the emotional twist.

But watch what happens when we add a dollop of emotion — kablam!

Now that’s a clickable headline that can drive traffic to your site and garner shares and engagement — just what you’re looking for when creating unique SEO content.

6 Tips for Writing Down the Line: How Authentic Content Wins Readers

Finally, one of the most tried-and-true SEO content writing tips is to write with passion and with the aim to share something valuable with your reader.

Authenticity and relatability are important, and valuable content drives traffic.

Adweek notes that more than 80% of consumers research before they buy, and your site can offer the information they need.

Or, you can offer a platform for engagement, which draws social sharing readers to you.

Suttida Yang, CEO of Fastmarkit, distills the formula into easy, bite-sized pieces.

1. Create a content calendar.

An SEO content strategy always involves a calendar to help your team coordinate toward a singular content goal. A calendar gives guidance for deadlines and helps with advance planning of strategic releases of pivotal content.

2. Know your audience and segment them into reachable groups.

We already talked about the importance of knowing your audience. If you have more than one persona that typically buys your product or services, then you’ll need to divide your content production efforts among each persona.

3. Make sure your content is evergreen — meaning always useful.

Once you’ve got solid cornerstone content going on, break it up into different pages for each segment of your audience. This can be separate landing pages or by categories in your header or blog.

4. Spread your content around by diversifying.

Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other platforms to share with your audience. The more diverse your content, the more likely it will be seen — and shared.

5. Consistency is key.

Make a style guide and ensure that your team sticks with it. Have one “voice” across all content — whether that’s witty, fun, professional, serious, intellectual, or whatever resonates with your audience.

6. Check and analyze your data.

This will allow you to see what content is working — and what’s not. If something’s not engaging your audience, pivot and try something else.

And finally, because it bears repeating — be authentic with your audience. Give them value and transparency in your content and you’ll win not just readers — but fans.

The 2018 SEO Content Creation Roundup

You can’t live in Austin, Texas without throwing the word “roundup” in an article every now and then. It’s authentic — and it just fits.

If you’re looking for a quick recap of all the bright, actionable ideas inside this article, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve explored the basics of SEO copywriting and content creation:

  • Developing a niche target
  • Creating a persona
  • Getting a keyword strategy that performs

Building on that, we looked at great new ways of creating SEO keywords that can grab some of that organic traffic for your website:

  • Long-tail keywords
  • Keyword Phrases
  • Semantic (LSI) keywords
  • Getting keywords from online forums where your audience chats

We’ve looked at new trends in search that are driving changes in SEO content:

  • Voice search
  • Semantic keywords

There’s no denying the importance of content in SEO. We’ve discovered new ways of producing content that wins audiences and encourages sharing:

  • Video content
  • Click-to-Tweet and social media sharing links

And we’ve outlined a few of the most important — and critical — elements of an SEO content creation strategy that should help you drive traffic more effectively once you implement them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the down-low on this year’s most interesting changes in the SEO content creation environment — I know I’ve enjoyed pulling them all together for you.

More importantly, I want you to take what you’ve learned and use it.

SEO copywriting tips aren’t meant to just be shared and forgotten.

They’re meant to take your website — and your SEO content — to a whole, new shareable level.

Need great content? Our team can help. Over 14,000 content projects completed to date, with a 99% client happiness rate. View our pricing here.

 cta seo guide

45 replies
  1. Alison
    Alison says:

    Thanks for the great tips! Of course SEO is always about what questions your customers are asking, it’s just how they’re asking them that’s changing, and voice search is definitely growing fast. And video has been growing steadily for the past few years now.

    Reply
    • Julia McCoy
      Julia McCoy says:

      Thanks for stopping by and reading, Alison! 💜 Exactly – the fundamentals of SEO haven’t changed, just the techniques involved in keyword discovery/usage. Video is absolutely growing these days!

      Reply
  2. Al Gomez
    Al Gomez says:

    Hi Julia,

    Nice GIF you have here to introduced the topic. I like how you present it. I also agree with you, SEO content is now evolving, it’s nice that you have shared this one.

    Reply
  3. hopebariatric
    hopebariatric says:

    hii julia.

    Its feels a great to read your blog.
    you provided such a good information and tips for SEO.
    it will help us.

    Thanks for good post

    Reply
  4. John
    John says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this informative blog with us on content marketing. Your every tip are amazing. Voice search keywords are more popular and very helpful to generate more traffic.

    Reply
  5. sahiltaivas
    sahiltaivas says:

    It was one of the best posts about SEO content creation i ever read in my life. Thanks expresswriters.com for sharing this amazing post.I’m damn sure that it will help me a lot in content creation of my blog.

    Reply
  6. Nilesh Pandey
    Nilesh Pandey says:

    I liked your article very much. The way you write is great. And now, I will always be reading your articles. Thank you

    Reply
    • Kristel
      Kristel says:

      You’re welcome, Shakky! We’re glad that we could help you get more information on this subject. – Kristel, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
    • Kristel
      Kristel says:

      You’re welcome, Riya! We’re glad that we could help you get more information on this subject. – Kristel, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
    • Kristel
      Kristel says:

      You’re welcome, Ragaava! We’re glad that we could help you get more information on this subject. – Kristel, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
    • Kristel
      Kristel says:

      You’re welcome, Imran! We’re glad that we could help you get more information on this subject. – Kristel, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  7. rakhi
    rakhi says:

    Good stuff my friend. The remnants of bad SEO can make for great clients. Picking up the pieces and being the hero can be fun, lol.

    Reply
    • Danielle N.
      Danielle N. says:

      You’ve got a point there haha! Probably if you have enough patience in cleaning up someone’s mess. Thanks for reading, Rakhi! – Danielle, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply

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