The cornerstone of great online content is great SEO.
And yet, without content there is no SEO. It’s an interesting complex.
Without great SEO content, no website can rank well, can’t be found by users, and can’t go viral on the web.
With this in mind, it’s clear that writers who want to develop their online brand and improve the functionality of their online content are essential, as well as their skill sets.
To help you achieve great SEO content, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite SEO writing tips to help you succeed. Read on to learn more.
10 Smart SEO Writing Tips for Better Content
Great content is the sum of its parts, and one of its most important parts is SEO. Unfortunately, many writers simply don’t understand how to take the (few) tenants of SEO and apply them to online copywriting.
Fortunately, those who want to learn can simply take the following SEO writing tips and plug them into their online content for better results, starting today:
1. Keep all of your content high-quality
Today’s publishers are under an intense amount of pressure. People want more content than ever before, and they want it faster than it’s often possible to produce it.
Because of this, many publishers and marketers weaken and start publishing low-quality content just to have published something. Unfortunately, this is the wrong way to go. While it may seem like low-quality content can be optimized just the same, it’s important to remember that great SEO goes much deeper than technical mumbo-jumbo.
While you may be able to use the same keyword phrase in low-quality content as you do high-quality content, its effect on your readers won’t be the same, and you’ll likely sacrifice some relevance and value as a result.
Keep in mind that, in the world of SEO, all good things begin with quality content. Without a quality piece of content to optimize, your SEO efforts won’t pack the punch they should, and your content risks falling flat on its face.
By insisting on publishing only high-quality content, you can help ensure that your readers will find value in your material and that all of the SEO work you do down the road serves to enhance an already powerful piece.
2. Keep your topic relevant to your audience
No matter what you’re writing, don’t lose sight of your audience.
Some writers have a tendency to drift off to unrelated topics in hopes of being engaging and unique to a wide assortment of readers, but this misses the mark entirely.
Instead of leaping from one point to the next, ensure that your content features a cohesive structure and that it’s all designed with your target audience in mind. Focus on what you’re writing and keep who you’re writing to in mind.
Unless your content has a well-defined target audience, it never really stands a chance of ranking well, and the likelihood that it will go viral in a particular segment or group is small. Make it simple.
With this in mind, do your homework. Research your target audience and find unique ways to speak to them in your online copy. Make it fun. People will know good quality writing when they see it, and they’ll know you’re talking to them when you take proactive steps to do so.
3. Experiment with formulas for your headlines
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in the world of SEO it might sound more like this: “Imitation is the fastest path to success.”
You know that sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy are famous for their click-bait headlines, and, if you’re like most readers, you’ve probably clicked a few yourself.
As it stands today, one of the most critical components of any piece of content is its headline. In addition to providing an SEO boost by featuring relevant long-tail keywords, a headline also has a dramatic impact on click-through-rate, which, in turn, has a significant impact on SEO.
With this in mind, it’s clear that you cannot afford to let your headlines slack. Because of this, you may want to try headline formulas and see where they get you.
While nobody is advocating that you steal your competition’s headlines, or borrow excessively from successful companies, taking note of what they do and applying it to your business is an excellent way to boost your headline success and influence your click-through rates in a positive way.
In light of this, get to work testing out negative headlines, lists, headlines that reference your audience, and those that inspire curiosity. When you find one that works well, play with variations of it. In addition to boosting your SEO, this will also make you a better writer.
4. Avoid overstuffing your content with keywords
Keep your eye on how many times you use your target keyword. While keyword density obsessions have slackened in the last several years, keywords still need to feel natural, and if they don’t, you’re liable to get penalized by Google.
A good rule of thumb is to stick to in a keyword for every 50 or 100 words of content. More than that, and it will sound redundant. Less than that, and your content won’t actually be optimized for the keyword.
Wherever you use your target keyword, keep it simple and to the point. Users will pick up on awkward keyword inclusion faster than you can say “hot potato,” and they’re willing to abandon your content because of it.
5. Break your content up into headers and subheaders
In addition to making your content easier for users to read, breaking it into headers and subheaders also helps your content look more appealing, and it can have some distinct SEO benefits, as well.
One of the best guidelines for this practice comes from WordPress’s powerful Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin, which evaluates on-page content for SEO and readability, generally recommends that there be no more than 300 words between headers or subheaders. This keeps content readable and skimmable for users.
6. Update your content on a regular basis
Updating your content can mean a few things. In some cases, it may simply mean publishing new content on a regular basis. In other settings, though, it can mean going back into older posts and updating them for relevance and accuracy today.
This is a critical tactic for anyone who publishes a lot of content and can help ensure that your content ranks well and continues to provide value to readers.
If you think about it, all content needs an update now and then. Either because statistics within it have changed or because a few simple switches can make it more relevant to a modern audience. By updating your content often, you can help ensure that you steer clear of unneeded SEO penalties while continuing to provide value and relevance to readers.
7. Meta descriptions are there for a reason
Meta descriptions are short pieces of content designed to help inform readers and search engines about your article. They are usually 160 characters or less in length and should contain your keywords.
While many writers either don’t create meta descriptions, or just copy and paste their descriptions from one piece of content to the next, creating unique, relevant, and well-written meta descriptions for all of your content can go a long way toward making it more valuable.
8. Make use of writing tools
Writing tools (like the aforementioned Yoast SEO plugin) can go a long way toward improving your online copywriting and helping you achieve better SEO.
In addition to Yoast, there are also spelling and grammar checkers like Grammarly, plagiarism checkers like Copyscape, and dozens (if not hundreds) of keyword research tools and topic analysis tools in between. (We’re building a tool that will have a deeper search than Copyscape for original content checking–Copyfind!)
While these tools may seem unneeded, they can go a long way toward improving your content and boosting your chances of ranking well in Google’s SERPs.
9. Keep your content original, always
This applies to your voice and your material.
While your voice should be unique to your brand, your content should be original, as well. All of it. This means no copying or borrowing from other sites, even your own.
While many writers believe that duplicate content isn’t an issue that could ever affect them, a Search Engine Land study reports that a whopping 29% of sites have a problem with duplicate content. With this in mind, run your content through a plagiarism checker (like Grammarly or Copyscape) before you publish it and be sure that your alt. descriptions and meta information are always unique and original.
10. Spice your content up with visuals
Visuals can help enhance the interest and relevance of your content, which can make it more useful for readers. With this in mind, grab an in-depth screenshot or a quality stock photo to illustrate your content’s key points and provide context.
SEO Writing Tips for the Modern Writer
While SEO best practices change like the weather, these ten SEO writing tips are here to stay and can help you craft quality online content your readers (and search engines) will love!
Do you need skilled SEO copywriters to help your content rank well online? Visit our Content Shop to find the perfect copywriters for your online project!