Posts

seo writing

SEO Writing in 2018: 6 Features of High-Ranking, High-Traffic Content

I’d bet you that SEO writing is on 99.99999% of marketers’ minds these days.

Why?

Well, in our current atmosphere of content shock, internet users are bombarded with a mountain of new SEO blogs and articles, each second.

In SEO content and ALL brand content, you must stand out on every level to get read.

On WordPress alone, over 86.4 million posts are published each month.

wordpress_posts-per-month

Whoa!

If you can’t position yourself advantageously for the search engines, you may as well throw the rest of your content marketing out the window.

And, if you can’t get people to read your content, you will chuck any potential leads and sales into the trash, too.

So, yes: SEO writing and all online content is a big deal, and we all want to know how to do it the best way.

seo writing

“What does SEO writing look like in 2018?”

Someone recently asked this great question in my group:

“I’ve done research, and I cannot seem to get a defined answer/list together. It’s about ‘SEO-Friendly’ Content/SEO Optimized Content.

One SEO Consultant told me just yesterday blog posts should be more than 1k words, another last month said it was 750+. From a separate angle, one individual said I needed to have a keyword density of 5%, the other said 10% and someone else said to only use a keyword 5 times per 500 words of text!

So, my question is to you all is this: What does SEO-friendly/optimized content look like in 2018, what does it mean to you to produce SEO Opt. content, and what are the ideal lengths of posts right now?

Thanks, Elizabeth Madison!

Lining up with what Elizabeth said, you’ll see SEO guides all over the internet telling you different things to do.

Every single marketer offers a different answer, and it’s all conflicting information.

A prime example: blog length for SEO. What’s the right amount of words to appeal to the masses?

Here are recommendations from various authority sources:

  • Yoast says you should always post blogs with more than 300 words. They also say experienced writers should shoot for over 1,000 words with every post, while less experienced scribes can stay around the 700-800 mark.

yoast_blog-length

  • Meanwhile, HubSpot focused on research that says posts with an average 7-minute read time are the biggest attention-grabbers. If the average reader goes at a pace of 300 words per minute, that means your blogs should be 2,000-2,500 words in length.

hubspot_blog-length

  • And then there’s Neil Patel, who makes post length recommendations based on industry. For instance, those in retail should aim for 1,500-1,700 words per post, while brands in finance should go for 2,100-2,500 words.

With all the conflicting posts out there with various recommendations, it’s no wonder so many marketers are scratching their heads.

What’s the right answer?

First: There Is No Perfect, Definitive SEO Strategy

It’s incorrect to assume there’s one “be-all, end-all” answer to doing SEO.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one secret formula, one so-easy-it’s-stupid hack, or even one sure-fire, fail-safe method.

If an SEO gives you what they say is the definitive answer, they’re completely ignoring a vital factor.

SEO content that’s highly-ranked and high-traffic is complex and layered. It doesn’t fit one mold.

Why isn’t there one perfect way to do SEO?

Because SEO will always look different depending on the audience you’re serving.

Your specific audience determines the keywords that will work for your content. They also determine the most successful length for your blog posts, the type of content that performs well, and how it all ties together.

Your SEO is going to look different from Joe Shmoe’s because you are not keying into the same targets.

THAT is why you can find so many different answers for SEO best practices all over the web. SEO is audience-specific!

Second: Good SEO Writing Is Written for HUMANS

So there’s no perfect SEO formula – it looks different for every individual situation, site, audience, and purpose.

Now that we have that out of the way, the second thing to remember is SEO algorithms are built to work, think, and rank the way humans would.

It’s truer than true. The ultimate goal is for algorithms to ape human logic. As they get smarter, they get closer to miming human cognition (though, thankfully, this isn’t The Matrix… yet).

the matrix

In fact, according to The Conversation, Google’s tech experts have been tapping neuroscientists to help them understand the human brain better.

They want to apply that knowledge to the search algorithm. If it can search more like a human, then it will serve user search intent better. (There’s a reason they call it “RankBrain.”)

We have to remember, ALWAYS, that Google’s purpose is to serve the end user the content they want – the stuff they want to click.

We have to align ourselves with this thinking to perform better. We have to create human-centric content.

Even though Google’s algorithm is a robot, we cannot write for the robot. We have to write for the humans the robot is trying to serve.

4 More SEO Writing Techniques That Will Help Your Content Rank Higher

Let’s reiterate:

  • There’s no perfect SEO method. Your best SEO practices must be yours: tailored to your audience’s search needs.
  • You have to write content for humans, not machines.

What other content features will not only make your people want to read it, but also help Google find it and serve it to them?

Over the years, I’ve tested and published thousands of blogs. From my experience, I’ve come to these conclusions.

You must:

1. Choose Keywords Carefully

When you find the right keyword to use, your ranking potential skyrockets.

You can’t just pick one at random, however. You have to evaluate each possible keyword and understand how it could (or couldn’t) work for you in your content.

For example, most keyword tools rate the difficulty of a keyword on a scale from 1-100. (A score of 100 basically means the keyword is impossible to rank for.) I never choose a keyword that’s rated over 40.

An example of a keyword difficulty rating in Moz Keyword Explorer. Breaking onto Google’s first page for a broad term like “content marketing” is pretty much impossible.

2. Use High-Opportunity Keywords with Potential

Your SEO writing will be a waste if you try to rank for a keyword that’s already tapped out.

“Tapped out” means somebody else has created the absolute best content piece out there for that keyword.

You have to comb through the search results and analyze the high-ranking pieces to find out if this is the case. You also have to know what awesome, definitive content looks like.

If someone has beaten you to creating AMAZING content for a keyword, move on. There’s no potential for you there. Trash that keyword and find something else.

3. Create Long-Form Content, i.e., Content That’s Thorough

Content that’s exhaustive on a topic, well thought-out, and chock-full of great information is thorough – and it’s usually long-form.

Comprehensive content ranks.

2,000 words is often the minimum length for thorough content, according to Neil Patel – though this can change a bit depending on your topic or the audience you’re serving. (Remember, the right content length for good SEO is RELATIVE, not a static, rigid metric.)

4. Add Quantifiable Value to Your SEO Writing

Adding value to your content marketing copy is a must for your human readers and SEO. Those 2K words of content are useless if you don’t add valuable, teachable insights to them.

What does value look like?

For starters, it’s not just your thoughts and opinions.

It’s data.

Data includes:

  • Facts
  • Statistics
  • Studies
  • The point of view of experts
  • Supporting information in general

Here’s an example of one of our blogs ranking in the top 3 for “blogging statistics“.

One of the main reasons it’s ranking well is because we deep-researched to find credible stats. This took weeks of work.

But that effort more than paid off. Adding that value helps content rank, and in this case, we dug deep to find relevant, useful, accurate stats and figures.

That’s quantifiable value you can point to in a post and say, “Yes, this is informative and helps/teaches/enlightens my audience.”

Here’s How to Give Your SEO Copywriting for Content Marketing Its Best Shot

At one of the most basic levels of successful content marketing, your posts and content need Google and other search engines to pick them up.

How do search engines pick up content, and how does that content start ranking?

Effective SEO writing.

The Catch-22 about effective SEO writing, though, is it’s not written for the search engine robots. Nor does it adhere to one set of rules.

It’s written for humans, and it’s audience and site-specific.

Keep these two biggies in mind when approaching your copywriting in content marketing, and the rest should fall into place with far more ease.

The end result:

You’ll be giving your content every chance it deserves to rank well and get read.

Need more insights, tips, tools, and information about how to create content marketing gold? You need my all-access course. You’ll not only learn about SEO writing, you’ll also learn how to build your content marketing strategy from the ground up, brick-by-brick. Sound good? Let’s get started together.

content strategy course cta

SEO Writing Tips

10 Great SEO Writing Tips To Help You Conquer & Rule the Content Castle

If content is King, who gets the other throne?

While it’s easy to create content, it’s not easy to create stellar, highly sought-after content that readers can’t help but love.

While this is bad news for most people, it’s great news for writers and marketers alike.

The secret? You have to be willing to learn and adapt to great SEO writing tips. Think of it like royal decrees. These are the guidelines that will help you vanquish the dragons of poor form, and claim a rightful seat as the King or Queen of royal SEO content.

Read on for the royal decrees.

Defining the Art of SEO Writing

SEO writing is the practice and art of writing online copy that is optimized for Google and other search engines.

While this does mean doing technical things like including target keywords and ensuring that all links come from high-authority sites, it also means mastering stylistic things like spacing, format, layout, and content structure.

As SEO has changed in the last several years, SEO copywriting has become more advanced, and today the practice is all about providing quality for people and search engines without sacrificing relevance, ease, or beauty.

When optimized copywriting is done well, it can help a company draw readers to a page.

This, in turn, results in higher numbers of leads and conversions, and can go a long way toward completely overhauling a company’s online success rates.

SEO Writing Tips

10 SEO Writing Tips for Conquering Content

Now, time to learn our best tips for vanquishing and conquering your SEO content to be proclaimed triumphant ruler over your content empire.

1. Understand your subjects

Any good ruler knows their subjects, and the same thing goes for SEO. To produce high-quality, relevant content, you need to understand who you’re writing to and why it matters. Case in point: the copywriting you do to market to teenagers will vary vastly from the kind you do to sell household products to retired middle-class women on a budget. With this in mind, understand your audience as thoroughly as possible.

By researching your viewers, polling them for answers to questions, and developing outstanding target personas, it’s easy to build a solid foundation for good SEO copywriting.

2. Produce prodigious headlines

prodigious

Both meanings are good, really…

If you can’t craft a royal headline, you can’t expect people to bow down to your writing.

Because of this, it’s essential for any content queen or king to take the time needed to learn how to write compelling headlines.

This includes things like learning to integrate target keywords, understanding how to use action language and power words, and learning about Google’s best technical standards for good headlines and meta titles.

3. Don’t be afraid to try someone else’s headline formats out

Think about viral sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed.

What are they doing to garner thousands of clicks, likes, and shares each day? The answer is in the headline, and it’s okay to take a hint from their formula. Great headlines are very formulaic, and one of the best things you can do to boost your SEO copywriting success is to take a look at headlines you love, and then try to emulate them.

4. Include numbers in your copywriting

People love numbers, and they have since the time of olde.

Because numbers communicate things like brevity, solidity, and actionability to a would-be reader, they improve the click-through rates of your content.

While numbers in and of themselves may not boost your content’s SEO, the increase in clicks and conversions that including numbers creates will. With this in mind, add numbers to your content headers to make the most of your readers’ views.

While there are many ways to include numbers in copywriting headers, one of the most effective is in the form of lists. By providing 5 Simple Tips for X or 10 Ways to Y, you can help your readers learn something new, solve a problem, or address a concern, all while also boosting your conversion rates and making your content more irresistible than ever before.

5. Make long-tail keywords your friends rather than your foes

Long-tail keywords are some of the most powerful SEO copywriting tools available.

Ideal for ranking in Google, providing targeted value to readers, and tailoring your content to be as specific and unique as possible, long-tail keywords can help you rank, help you maintain your rankings, and help you draw new readers. With this in mind, don’t shy away from long-tails because they can be confusing to get started with.

Instead, take the time to learn about why you need long-tail keywords, and how best to integrate them into your content.

6. Update your content kingdom often

Nobody likes a stale, stinky content kingdom, and you’ll lose followers if you let yours get stagnant.

While readers love fresh content, Google loves it even more, and publishing new website, blog, and social media content on a regular basis can go a long way toward helping you rank well and stand out as a leader in your industry.

Every time you publish a new piece of SEO copywriting, you give Google another page to index and your followers another page to love.

Plus, writing fresh content on a regular basis allows you to hone your writing skills, learn from SEO mistakes, and become a stronger force in the world of SEO copywriting as a whole.

7. Don’t neglect your meta content

Meta content often lives on the outskirts of the content kingdom – forgotten and alone.

When you learn how to craft outstanding meta content, though, you grant yourself admission into a new kingdom where everyone works together to create a prosperous and highly visible content strategy.

With this in mind, bring your meta content in from the cold.

While meta descriptions may take some additional time to write, there’s no denying that a compelling meta description is worth its weight in gold when it comes to encouraging clicks and driving engagement for your site.

8. Use images to draw royal attention

Images are a fantastic way to draw additional views to your content and boost its position in online SERPs.

While many people don’t associate the inclusion of images with SEO, colored visuals increase a person’s desire to interact with or read a piece of content by a whopping 80%.

With this in mind, it’s clear that visuals deserve to be a significant component of your content strategy.

Whether you hire an infographic designer, take your own photos, snap screenshots, or use high-quality stock images, including visuals in your content is key to ruling the content kingdom shortly.

9. Link, link, link your crowns

Learning how to link your content properly is a critical SEO writing tip that any good content king or queen will get to know.

By employing useful internal and external links in your copywriting, you not only communicate to Google that you’re using reliable sources (and hence that your writing is reliable) but you also communicate to your readers that sources are important to you, and you want to connect them with the best info possible – be it on your site, or someone else’s.

10. Be yourself: a personable king or queen!

At the end of the day, SEO copywriting is as skilled as it is creative.

While it’s important to understand things like best practices for meta content or why using images is essential, it’s also important to simply be yourself!

Without a healthy infusion of personality, online content risks feeling stale and similar to virtually everything else on the web.

When this is the case, the material you create fails to meet your readers’ needs and likely will not rank as well in Google as it could have were it made more original.

With this in mind, take the time to learn what makes good copywriting, but don’t be afraid to showcase your own voice and personality (as long as it’s appropriate for the topic at hand).

This helps you define your unique brand and become the best-loved content king or queen in all the land!

SEO Copywriting Tips to Achieve Content Royalty

If you’ve always dreamt of going down in the history books as a person who truly reigned in the world of online content, these ten online copywriting tips will help you meet your goals.

While great SEO copywriting is something that escapes many people, the few who take the time to sit down and learn the best practices and most important tips are the ones who will ultimately craft quality, online content that terrifies enemies, pleases followers, and earns the author a place on the glittering throne of quality content creation.

No time to handle your crown? We know busy kings or queens need royal support – and you may trust us! Visit our Content Shop to order crown jewel content and sustain your royal kingdom.

seo writing

20 Tips For Becoming An SEO Writing Superstar

They say that SEO writing is hard.

They say there’s too much to learn.

That, unless you really dedicate yourself, you’ll never make it.

Plus, Google changes their algorithms so often that you’ll have to relearn everything anyhow, right?

The truth is, the fundamentals of good SEO writing do not change. What it takes to write engaging copy that reaches your real readers and SEO rankings is completely learnable.

And, while you’ll certainly need to put in the time and work to succeed, becoming an SEO writing superstar isn’t out of reach, especially if you’re already some kind of writing-slash-tech nerd.

We’ve put together a list of 20 tips to help.

SEO writing is completely learnable, and teachable. Learn 20 tips for becoming an SEO writing superstar in @JuliaEMcCoy's guide Click To Tweet

Need advanced SEO writing help? Check out my course, The Expert SEO Content Writer!

seo writing

1. Keep Your Content Audience-Centric

This is something that I talk about over and over again throughout my blog posts. And for good reason.

Because if you’re not creating audience-centric content, it will be near impossible to become an SEO writing superstar.

But, what exactly is audience-centric content? This visual provides a solid representation of what it is and isn’t:

Image Source

Hopefully you already have a pretty good idea of who your target audience is and what type of content they want.

If you don’t, I strongly encourage you to develop a target persona so you can better identify and reach your audience.

Takeaway: Identify your audience and ALWAYS create audience-centric content catered to what they want to hear about.

expert content writer course

2. Target Long Tail Keywords

Keywords obviously play a pivotal role in SEO success. But, as more and more content is being created, it’s becoming almost impossible to rank for common, one-word keywords.

Fortunately, as long as you’re creating great content, there are still plenty of long-tail keywords that you can target and rank for.

Want to know the best part? Long-tail keywords significantly outperform other keywords when it comes to conversion rates.

As you begin performing keyword research for content, work to identify long-tail keywords that support the topics that your audience wants to hear about.

Sweet-Spot-Keywords-1030x647

I teach step-by-step keyword research and SEO writing optimization in The Expert SEO Content Writer Course.

While there are dozens of strategies you can use to find them, the below resources should give you a solid head start:

Takeaway: Build your content around long-tail keywords that offer less competition and higher conversion rates.

3. Stick With Long Form

In the world of SEO writing, quality trumps quantity.

For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you stick with long form for most, if not all, of the articles you produce for your blog.

Why? Well, the statistics show us why.

Take a look at this study from serpIQ outlining the average content length of top ten results in Google:

 

As you can see, the longer the content is, the better it performs in SERPs.

And while we are recommending long form content, that doesn’t mean that you can just stuff your articles with fluff and expect strong results.

You still need to create great content that’s well researched, well written, and that follows SEO best practices.

In the end, when you’re making the decision to commit to long form, you’re also making the decision to commit to quality throughout.

Takeaway: For best results in search engines, commit to producing well-researched long form articles.

4. Make a Plan

As Benjamin Franklin once said:

“By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.”

And while Franklin probably wasn’t talking about SEO writing when he said this, it certainly holds true with content creation.

Planning in content creation essentially comes down to doing proper research and putting together a strong outline.

And while that may sound time consuming, it doesn’t have to be.

For a great resource on how to do this, check out CoSchedule’s post outlining the 10-Minute, 10-Step Solution for the Best Blog Outline.

Not only does their article lay out everything you need to create an outline, but it also shows you how to do it in the most efficient way possible.

Takeaway: Develop an efficient process for creating strong outlines.

5. Get Good at Research

To become truly great at SEO writing, you need to get good at research.

Gary Bencivenga, a legendary copywriter with over 40 years experience, said that understanding the importance of research changed his career.

As he went on to say:

“It took me a while to realize that the best writers are the most tenacious researchers. Like miners, they dig, drill, dynamite, and chip until they have carloads of valuable ore. John Caples advised me once to gather seven times more interesting information than I could possibly use.”

While I’m not advising that you spend ten hours researching for your next blog post, gathering as much information as possible is going to put you in the optimal position to create the best available content on your topic.

And, if you’re looking to become an SEO writing superstar, that should be your goal.

While searching via Google has made research a fairly fast and pain-free process, here’s a few other resources that could help:

  • Google Scholar
  • Books on the Topic
  • Expert Interviews
  • Industry Specific Magazines

Takeaway: Commit to consistently developing your research skills and understand that research is key to any great piece of content.

6. Study the Competition

As I mentioned in the last section, if you want to become an SEO writing superstar, your goal should be to create the best piece of content available on the topic you’re writing about.

To do that, you have study the competition and find out what’s already out there.

Fortunately, Google makes this process easy. Let’s say, for example, that I wanted to create a blog post about ‘how to create an about page’.

When I type that into Google, the results look like this:

From here, I’ll sift through and take notes on each article on the first page of the rankings to identify where and how I can outdo them.

Sometimes, when I really want to dive into the competition, I’ll also check out some of the content on the 2nd and 3rd page of search results.

Exactly how you go about this process isn’t important.

What is important, however, is that you take the time to understand what you’re up against so you can devise a plan to create a better piece of content.

Takeaway: Study the competition to understand how you can create better content than what’s already out there.

7. Consider Promotion Strategies Before Writing

There’s a TON of content being created and published on a daily basis throughout the web.

Unsurprisingly, most of it goes unnoticed.

The overwhelming reason for this is because many writers either avoid considering promotion strategies prior to writing or avoid promotion altogether.

This is a HUGE mistake. How you will promote and generate traffic to your content needs to be top of mind before, during, and after you write.

For SEO purposes, your promotional goal should be to earn as many high quality links as possible.

My article outlining the 4 Strategies to Earn Natural, High-Quality Links for Your Content should give you a good headstart on how to do that.

For more resources on content promotion, check out:

Takeaway: Find out how you’re going to promote and distribute your content prior to writing it.

8. Write to and for Real People

Even though we’re talking about SEO writing, your main focus still needs to be on writing content that engages your readers.

Because, at the end of the day, if your content isn’t getting read, your chances of ranking are slim to none.

Well-respected copywriter Henneke Duistermaat put together a great post on How to Write Conversationally that offers some great info on how to do this. You’d be wise to check it out.

Takeaway: Write in a conversational tone that engages your readers.

9. Develop a Compelling Intro

Other than your headline, the intro is the most important part of your content.

After all, as copywriter Hassan Ud-deen says:

“If your readers don’t make it past the first few sentences, they sure as hell ain’t making it to your call-to-action.”

The trick here, as Hassan advises, is to keep the opening sentences short and sweet.

By making them short and easy to read, you’re able to fuel the curiosity of the reader and lower the barrier of entry for them to read on.

From there, you can continue to build their curiosity and interest in a way that compels them to read the rest of your copy.

Takeaway: Use short, compelling sentences in your intro to build the curiosity of readers and coax them to read on.

10. Differentiate Yourself

2 million.

That’s the number of blog posts created and published every day. And it’s a number that will only continue to rise.

And while we’ve already talked about the importance of promotion, you still need to find a way to separate yourself from the crowd.

To do it, you’ve got to develop a Content Differentiation Factor (CDF), which I talk more about in this guide.

content differentiation factor meaning

Your CDF answers the question of why someone should read your content over a competitor.

It tells the story of your unique, standout perspective that makes you someone that needs to be heard.

For more on how to develop your CDF, check out my Search Engine Journal article outlining 3 Ways to Make Your Content Stand Out.

Takeaway: Identify your Content Differentiation Factor and use it to stand out from the competition.

11. Make Sure Your Content Serves a Clear Purpose

In conversion copywriting, there’s a principle known as the One Big Idea Rule that is used by many of the best copywriters in the industry.

Essentially, the rule states that the focus of your copy should remain on a singular idea instead of several different ideas.

The same should be true of your content.

When you create blog posts that try to solve multiple problems or dive into 2-3 topics, you’re opening yourself up to potentially confusing or alienating your audience.

By sticking to One Big Idea, you’re ensuring that your content has a singular purpose and keeps your readers engaged throughout.

Takeaway: Identify the singular purpose of your content and don’t stray away from it.

12. Use Short Sentences and Paragraphs

While we’ve already talked about the importance of being short and sweet in your intro, it’s a strategy that you’d be wise to stick to throughout your content.

Modern day readers are inundated with so much content today that many of us have become avid skimmers instead of concentrated readers.

By keeping sentences and paragraphs short, you’re increasing the chances that a larger portion of your audience will read the entire post.

For instance, take a look at these two examples:

Example A

Example B

Which one are you more likely to continue reading?

If you’re like most people, it’s going to be the Example B.

Takeaway: Keep sentences and paragraphs short throughout your content to keep readers engaged.

expert content writer course

13. Avoid Big or Uncommon Words

One of the biggest misconceptions about SEO writing is that you need to be an elite wordsmith to be good at it.

That’s simply not true.

SEO writing is not the time to show off your vocabulary. All that does is interrupt the reader.

Instead, your focus should be on creating a rhythm throughout your content so it’s as easy to read as possible.

A great tool for testing the readability of your content is Readable.io.

Not only does it give you a rating, but it also dives into reading grade level, syllable use, keyword use, tone, etc.

Takeaway: Write with rhythm and avoid any words that could interrupt the reader.

14. Include Relevant Visuals

While high value, audience-centric content still reigns supreme, visuals play an integral role in modern day blogging.

In fact, studies have shown that articles containing images get 94% more total views than those that don’t.

Image Source

When you also consider the fact that 65% of the population are visual learners, that’s a pretty strong case for why images should be included in your content.

But how often should you include images?

While there’s no concrete rule, many content marketing experts, such as Neil Patel, recommend that you do so every 150-300 words.

For more info on what types of visuals to include, check out KissMetric’s article on the 6 Types of Visual Content You Need to Use in Your Marketing Campaigns.

Takeaway: Find and use relevant visuals throughout your content.

15. Follow Basic SEO Rules

While the relevancy of technical SEO is decreasing due to the ongoing improvements to search engine algorithms, many aspects of SEO still remain important.

In a recent study by SEMrush on ranking factors in 2017, they listed the factors from least important to most important. The results looked like this:

Image Source

As you can see, many of the most important factors (direct website visits, time on site, bounce rate, content length) are more related to the actual quality of the content than the SEO rules followed.

And while keywords are still important, as they signal to search engines what your content is about, this study proves that you don’t need to stuff your content with keywords to rank.

For more info on following basic SEO rules and creating great content for search engines, check out my article on How to Write Content for SEO.

If you’d like to dive into this topic even further, Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO is another great resource.

Takeaway: Ranking in search engines is more about creating great content than following SEO rules. By following basic rules, however, you set yourself up to be found by search engines for the keywords and topics that you want to rank for.

16. Optimize Your Headline

It’s been said many times that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline but only 2 out of 10 will go on to read your content.

Regardless of whether this statistic is true, the importance of headlines cannot be overstated.

You NEED to take the time to craft a compelling headline that intrigues the visitor to read the first sentence of your content.

Since this topic is a bit too important and in-depth to cover within this article, I invite you to check out our ultimate guide on How to Create Headlines That Will Go Viral.

Takeaway: If you don’t optimize your headline, you’re significantly decreasing the chances of your content getting read.

17. Build Your Email List

When someone comes to your blog, what do you want them to do?

If you’re like most website owners, you want them to stay on your site as long as possible and continue reading other content.

But that’s not exactly realistic. Especially if this is the first time they’ve ever been on your site.

To keep them coming back to your site, it’s absolutely crucial that you develop a plan to get them to sign up for your email list.

By doing so, you can build an audience that consistently visits your website and views your content.

And, over time, that audience can become a major source of revenue.

For more info on building your email list, Content Marketing Institute’s ultimate guide on How to Build Your Email List is a tremendous resource.

Takeaway: Start building your email list from day one and use it as a way to build loyalty among your audience.

18. Include Internal and External Links

Including a healthy mix of internal and external links helps your blog in multiple ways.

For one, internal links allow readers to explore other aspects of your site. This, in turn, keeps them on your site and reduces your bounce rate (which affects search rankings).

Second, external links help validate your content to readers while also signaling to search engines that your content is high quality.

With both types of links, it’s important that you’re including your links within relevant words or phrases.

For instance, if I wanted to link to a resource explaining what external links are, and I wrote the sentence:

“Writers use external links to provide the source of their content while also offering additional resources for the reader.”

My link would only be used within the phrase ‘external links,’ and not the entire sentence or a long string of words.

When including an external link, you’ll want to be sure that it is a trusted resource. To find this out, check out the Domain Authority (DA) of the link you’re sending readers to.

Moz has a tool, aptly named the Mozbar, which allows you to quickly and easily check the DA of potential links.

Takeaway: Be sure that you’re including a healthy mix of internal and external links within your content.

19. Make it Mobile Friendly

If you didn’t know yet, mobile internet usage recently surpassed desktop internet usage worldwide.

And, as you can see from the graphic below, the trend is continuing to favor mobile viewing:

Image Source

What this means for website owners is that, as time goes on, most of their views will likely be coming from mobile devices.

So, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re going to lose out on a whole lot of potential viewers.

And, not only will this affect traffic, but you may also have to deal with search ranking penalties as Google updates their mobile-friendly algorithms.

To find out whether or not your site is optimized for mobile devices, check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Takeaway: Make sure your blog is mobile-friendly to maximize potential traffic.

20. Utilize Call-to-Actions

When someone is reading your content, you obviously don’t want them to simply read it, exit the page, and move on with their day.

As we’ve already mentioned, the ultimate goal is to get them to come back for more in the future or, in the perfect world, get them to take action immediately.

To make this happen, it’s essential that you include call-to-actions in your content.

The purpose of your CTA should be related to the goal of your content. If you’re trying to educate the reader, use your CTA to get them to sign up for your email list for more educational articles.

If you’re trying to inform them about your service, product, event, etc., use your CTA to encourage them to continue learning more.

While you’ll definitely want to include a CTA at the end of your article, it’s also good practice to sprinkle them throughout your content.

CrazyEgg’s blog post outlining 21 Call to Action Examples and 3 Rules for Effective CTAs is a great resource to learn more about how to do this effectively.

Use These Tips to Become an SEO Writing Superstar

At this point, you have everything you need to get started.

Now it’s your turn.

Make the decision that you’re not going to settle for average and climb to the top of the SEO writing world.

Look forward to hearing about your journey!

seo writing course

SEO writing mistakes

10 SEO Writing Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Rankings

These days, webmasters have to invest a considerable amount of time, money and energy in the right optimization tactics to stay in Google’s good graces, including correct SEO writing. If this is your case, good news – we’ve got some useful information for you to share in this blog. The bad news is that you cannot count on a one-size-fits all search engine optimization (SEO) plan allowing you to improve their rankings. Don’t be discouraged though. The good news is that practice does make perfect in this case, without too much blood, sweat and tears.

What Can Hurt Your SEO Writing Rankings

Once you agree to play by the book and ditch black hat SEO tactics in SEO writing and all SEO you do, you can easily avoid some of the most common optimization pitfalls. Here are 10 major mistakes that could hurt your rankings and get your website in serious trouble, forcing you to crack open your piggybank to correct your wrongdoings.

1) Posting Duplicate Content on Your Website. Duplicate SEO writing will never do you any favors. As tempting as it may seem to save some time and money by stealing someone else’s intellectual property, don’t go down this road. Duplicate content is dangerous for a number of reasons:

  • It exposes you to major penalties from search engines. In case you didn’t know Penguin 2.0, Google’s much-feared algorithm change was rolled out to target duplicate content, identify unethical SEO tactics and remove offending websites.
  • It disappoints your readers, making them land on your competitors’ websites. Posting duplicate content is like telling your audience how awesome your main rivals are. Your competitors will most likely send you flowers for this. Just take a minute to think about it: what does duplicate content say about you, your company, or your aspirations, vision and purpose in business? Absolutely nothing! This is precisely why instead of copy pasting meaningless, unoriginal web content, webmasters should turn to personalized, compelling, relevant, user-oriented web writing that ensures a flawless user experience and also helps the website rank higher in search engine results.

2) Relying on Keyword Stuffing. Keyword stuffing is so yesterday. None of the competitive players in your niche are doing it anymore, so why would you? Long gone are the days when you could stuff your texts with dozens of keywords and get away with it. At this point, according to Search Engine Journal, first-class, Google-friendly web writing should display a perfect balance between everyday language and keyword usage. So this leads us to a very pressing question: how much is too much, when it comes to keywords? Unfortunately, there is no mathematical formula that you can apply to get a precise answer to this question. The experts at Moz have weighed in to say the keyword density would be a waste of time. Here’s a simple solution for you: read your text aloud: if it doesn’t sound right, then it probably isn’t. If what you are reading makes sense and flows naturally, chances are that Google will also appreciate your optimization efforts. When in doubt, you can always use one of the many keyword density analyzer tools available online to assess the quality of your writing.

3) Posting or Approving Spam Comments. Some business owners prefer to take the easy way out when it comes to implementing on-page and off-page optimization tactics. The road to SEO writing hell is often paved with good intentions and ignorance. Those who pay third-parties a certain amount of money to spam different websites by posting comments accompanied by a link to their webpage seldom attain their end goal. This technique is very annoying and less effective than you may be inclined to think.

It will inevitably affect your brand, making you seem desperate. We all have to start somewhere, but do you really think that multimillion dollar companies managed to reach their target by posting spam comments on other people’s websites? If the recipe for success would be so simple and so transparent, everybody would be following it to get rich and famous overnight. Unfortunately, this is not how it works. Also, according to Entrepreneur, you have to be very careful when it comes to approving comments posted on your website or blog. Keep only the ones that provide real value to your customers and ditch the rest. This is the safest method to protect your image, discourage spammy SEO writing practices employed by others and show the uttermost respect for your readers. If you want to safeguard your website from spam comments that may compromise your reputation, just follow Google’s set of guidelines.

4) Investing in Irrelevant, Low-Quality Content. Google strives to ensure a more than satisfactory navigation experience for all Internet users. This means that it values high-quality content and compels webmasters to improve web writing that doesn’t meet its standards. If you’re willing to cut corners when it comes to crafting new content, you may want to reconsider, since Google is not the biggest fan of quality compromises. Before writing a new blog post or on-site content, make sure you:

  • Have an in-depth knowledge of the topic that you plan to expand on
  • Conduct a keyword analysis to discover the most popular queries around which you will build your content
  • Are familiar with the particularities of your niche, business and audience and can actually respond to your visitors’ needs and demands.

5) Not Investing in Content (At All!). Sometimes,lack of drive can be much more dangerous than a misguided action. The history of your company is not going to write itself. If you can agree upon this fact, then you can also reach the conclusion that lack of content won’t say too much about who you really are and where you’re heading. Your visitors are craving for premium, informative, problem-solving content; so what exactly are you doing at this point to address their needs and demands? Well-focused, reader-oriented content gives your audience a good reason to listen to what you have to say and answer to your unique calls-to-action.

These days, it is not enough to have a killer website to attract potential buyers. You have to go the extra mile to spread the word about your fantastic new-arrivals, new giveaway or discount campaign. In this case, you will need a blog and a constant presence on some of the most important social media platforms. No matter what channels you plan to use to broadcast your message, you should always keep in mind that content is a powerful bridge between you and your segment of public. By refusing to post content or update the existing one regularly, you basically burn your bridges behind you, allowing your competitors to celebrate your early, self-inflicted failure.

6) Buying Links. This isanother wrong call that can easily put your rankings on the line. Naturally, some deep-pocketed company owners may tend to think that buying links is easier than earning them. The truth is that their plan to use paid links can and will make Google angry, since it represents an attempt to trick the ranking system set in place by search engines and manipulate it to their own advantage. Fiverr is only one of the websites that many people access to buy hundreds of links that point back to their website. Why? The answer is simple: it’s cheap (the whole deal will only cost you about 5 dollars) and easy. Naturally, the “side-effects” are not advertised. Google won’t hesitate to de-index your website once it realizes that you rely on this shady tactic to make a name for yourself and boost your rankings. This means that your website will no longer appear in search engine results and that your counterproductive optimization tactic will burn holes in your pockets in the long run. At this point, the $5 offer probably doesn’t seem as attractive as you considered it at first.

7) Thinking That You Can Never Have Too Many Anchor Text Links. Here’sa general rule that you should keep in mind: in terms of optimization, good things can become very bad overnight if you abuse them. Placing hundreds of anchor texts with specific keywords in your on-page and off-page content would be like using 10 spoons of sugar to sweeten your cup of coffee. Sometimes, less is more. Overloading on overly optimized anchor text links used to be one of the most common shady optimization tactics used by webmasters to improve rankings. At this point, your plot to deceive search engines, based on the usage of such anchor text links will definitely backfire on you, making you lose more than you were planning to win.

8) Using Sneaky Redirects, Hidden Links or Hidden Text. If you think that you’re a magician who can make links or text fragments disappear to attain your illegitimate optimization goals by violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, we’ve got news for you: the joke’s on you. Throughout time, many webmasters have tried to mask text and links by:

  • Posting white text on an all-white background
  • Posting a text fragment behind an image
  • Choosing to set their font size to 0
  • Linking only a very small character (a hyphen, a dot or a comma) to make the link seem less visible

Sneaky redirects simply deceive Google, Yahoo and Bing by letting the users check out content that is different from the one made available to web crawlers. As usual, Google is constantly one step ahead of those who plan to violate its guidelines. All these black hat tactics trigger penalties, so you should avoid them at all costs and focus your entire attention on 5-star content creation correlated with 100% legitimate optimization techniques.

9) Not Working Hard to Improve Your Social Media Presence. Do you know where yourprospects are spending their spare time? They may not be waiting for you just around the corner, dyeing to swipe their cards and get their hands on your products, but you can still reach them on some of the biggest social media platforms, with good SEO writing. You can start a conversation with someone during your lunch break, by simply asking him or her to pass you the salt. This mechanism can be adapted to online environments, as long as you learn how to recreate the feel of natural interactions.

This means that you have to maintain a solid online reputation and a constant presence on social media websites. According to Search Engine Journal, social media channels are becoming increasingly important in the eyes of search engine websites. This is another great reason why you should take your time to create and post fresh content on social networking websites. This simple action will open the doors to amazing, cost-effective marketing opportunities and help you bond with your prospects faster and easier than ever before.

According to Search Engine Watch, those who choose to ignore social signals make a huge mistake. Unfortunately, according to the same source, not many business owners understand and succeed in exploring the full potential of social sharing buttons, which bring their content and ultimately their brand in front of a larger audience.

10) Thinking and Acting like SEO Is a One-Time Thing. A personalized SEO plan is not your one-way ticket to fortune and fame. If you are accustomed to “do this” for a short period of time to “get that”, now would be a good time to revise your approach. The truth is that SEO encompasses many phases and involves the creation and implementation of a solid, comprehensive execution plan, endless tweaks, SEO writing, constant monitoring, result measurement and interpretation and potential corrections.

SEO experts never sleep on the job, and they’re always on duty. They are constantly working to optimize websites and correct misguided actions from the past. If you want to simplify your mission, keep in mind that outdated SEO tricks and tips that enable you to cut corners have nothing to do with good marketing decisions and will never help you improve your rankings. As long as you know and love your brand, creating and distributing first-class content shouldn’t be a challenge. On the contrary, content creation should represent the secret ace up your sleeve allowing you to tell the whole world who you are and who you plan to become.