Writing SEO friendly content so you rank up and get more traffic is a lot like cleaning up your space and setting the mood just before your date comes over to your place. Anybody with an ounce of self-respect wants to set a good impression, set the vibe, and… get those brownie points.
The same goes for your articles or content; you want to make sure it’s fully optimized with quality information and presentation. So here are 7 writing tips for SEO friendly content that ranks.
Do Basic Keyword Research
Before you go anywhere, you bust out the map or use your GPS to get your best route. Likewise, you need to do your keyword research before you write your article. Even if you already know where you’re going or just want to wing it, that’s ultimately not a viable solution.
Keyword research is about hitting and touching on relevant topics that matter to your audience. So if you just go write about any topic that’s not getting any volume or traffic, you’re wasting your reader’s time and yours.
That’d be like getting in a cab, Uber or Lyft with the driver riding around aimlessly without reaching your destination. You’re just doing a disservice.
Here’s how you start your basic keyword research.
Pick a general topic keyword
First step is to pick a general topic keyword that users want to know more about. With the Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush you can look up keywords and how much volume it generates in search traffic. For example, the keyword “SEO” gets a global search volume of 1.4 million hits a month.
That’s a lot.
That’s because the term SEO is a short-tailed keyword or head term; it’s just one word. There’s potential for a lot of traffic and search volume, but that means it’d be harder to rank for that keyword due to its keyword density.
You’ll face a lot of competition trying to rank for that on search engines… but now you have a general keyword you can optimize for your article and your readers.
Use related keywords for user intent
Think of your general keyword as a meal you’d like to serve your users. Breaking it down into other keywords is just like gathering the ingredients and sharing the recipe with your users; it’s essential to writing SEO friendly content. For example, if you’re going to pick “dogs” as a topic, you’ll want to touch on related keywords or searches such as:
- dog breeds
- dogs for sale
- dogs for adoption
- cute dogs
- hypoallergenic dogs
- German shepherd
- dog pictures
You get the idea.
In fact, using these related searches as keywords in your content is called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). Basically, any other word apart from “dogs” is an LSI keyword.
You should use them to provide context to Google’s search crawlers and answer the questions your users are asking. So if you don’t have a keyword planner, use the related searches section as a quick guide.
An LSI keyword can also function as a long-tailed keyword. These are three or more keywords that focus more on user intent.
For example, “dogs for sale” or “dogs for adoption” are long-tailed keywords. They’re tailored to specific user intent and more unique. They won’t generate as much search volume and traffic but they are much easier to target and rank for due to less keyword competition.
And that’s not all.
You’re also getting a more qualified or interested lead in your product or service because of their business value. With that in mind, you can start writing your articles based on those LSI keywords.
Just remember to use these keywords in a natural context. Don’t spam and abuse keywords just to rank. Google and other search engines nipped that cheap trick in the bud quickly.
It’s all about providing quality content that answers questions and solves problems.
Research other highly ranked articles for your keywords
Now that you have your LSI keywords, read other articles on the topic that rank on the first page. (you can check the 2nd if you’re feeling adventurous)
The point is to see how other articles are using their keywords and how they tie it into their content. You’ll notice their keywords in the headline, subheads, and throughout their content naturally. And it’s also basic research that can add credibility to your writing.
There’s a good reason why they are ranked on the first page regarding their keywords. It’s due to the three pillars of SEO that these articles follow… such as:
Authority is crucial for SEO in your content. Google wants you to be an expert or at least know what you’re talking about. You can talk finances with your friends or neighbor but you’d probably get the best answer from a certified financial analyst because they are the authority on that subject.
And if your neighbor is one of those, even better.
That’s how we demonstrate our authority through well researched and helpful content. You should demonstrate your knowledge and skills using content. We can help with that.
Even if you’re not the foremost expert or source of authority in your topic, Google is always looking for the most authoritative answers. So as long as you provide that, you can rank for authority.
For example, if someone were to ask about a certain product and you answered all of their questions because you have tried the product and reviewed it, you become an authoritative source.
Google can also qualify and quantify authority through the number of:
- Page visits
- Engagement (comments, likes, etc)
So always strive to write content that gives the best information.
Relevance is all about making sure your content addresses user intent and the topic you’re writing about. This is where LSI keywords and anchor text come in. These are additional links in your content that relate to the topic you’re talking about.
For example, check out this page if you want to learn more about authority, relevance and trust. Since this anchor text touches on a related topic, it’s relevant and provides further information.
Google likes that a lot.
Fair warning, don’t manipulate your anchor text. If you’re talking about cars and technology and then place an anchor text that links to amish lifestyles, you’ll upset Google and negatively impact your SEO.
Extreme example, but you get where I’m going with this.
Which finally leads us to Trust. This is more complicated because Google doesn’t have a metric for assessing trust.
However, Google have their own patent for evaluating the “trustworthiness of links” in your content.
But apart from solely relying on Google’s standards, there’s also common sense. Make sure the content on your website isn’t:
- poor quality
- spammed with artificial SEO hacks and keywords.
Just avoid any practices that will get you negative reviews.
Another way to foster trust for better SEO is to distribute your content on social media with relevant hashtags, guest post on other websites that link back to your website, and syndicate it to other trusted websites such as Medium. (Medium also lets you import your articles from your website)
All of this is considered effective off-page SEO.
Format Your Articles Properly
“Get some self-respect you miserable sack of sh*t! Build a house a lady would set foot in,” Uncle said.
“Place just needs a woman’s touch,” John replied.
Without missing a beat, Uncle roasted John once more, “it needs leveling. No woman would touch this place!”
I always get a kick out of video game characters dropping wise lessons. It’s writing like that in Red Dead Redemption II that inspired me to be more mindful of my space and keep it clean.
Now, what does this have to do with formatting your articles properly? As I said earlier, it’s all about providing a welcome space for you and your guest. Write and format articles readers can rest their eyes on throughout.
Keep it easy to read and varied with other elements to break up the pattern. This way, you increase your rankings and traffic in Google. Here’s how:
- use subheads after every 300-500 words (when applicable)
- use bullet points for long lists and easy scanning
- make sure your feature image is optimized for SEO. Describe the image and use your keyword in the alt text
- break up text with relevant images if you are still on the same subhead section
- make sure your images have a caption under or come with relevant text
Use SEO Friendly Content Metrics
If you use WordPress or other Content Management Systems, (CMS) It probably comes with the basic Yoast SEO plugin.
Best part of all, Yoast tells you exactly what you need to do use SEO friendly content metrics for ranking potential on Google. Pay attention to these metrics and satisfy them. Here’s a list:
- keyphrase in title: match your focus keyword to your headline
- keyphrase introduction: use your keyword in your introduction. The earlier the better
- keyphrase heading: use your keyword in your H1, H2, and H3+ subheadings
- keyphrase density: feature your keyword a minimum of 3 times in your article
- length of keyphrase: keep your SEO title with the length requirement (Your CMS will tell you)
- slug keyphrase: put your keyword in your URL
- meta description keyphrase: put your keyword in the meta description
- meta description length: keep your meta description within the length requirement (Yoast will let you know)
- image alt attributes: use a quality feature image with the keyword in the alt text section
- internal links: put at least one link from your own website in your content
- outbound links: put at least one related link from an external source.
- previously used keyphrase: use one unique keyword per article
- text length: Aim for at least a 1000 words in length.
That’s 13 metrics. Do you have to hit all of them every time you write your articles?
Remember, Google wants natural context and quality to come first. Don’t abandon it for the sake of SEO. Instead try to merge well written content with applicable SEO as much as possible.
Write SEO Friendly Content with Style
Make sure your stuff is easy and fun to read. That means:
- use the active voice when you write
- flavor your article with a mix of long and short sentences
- write with appropriate metaphors
- use relevant stories or anecdotes in your articles
- keep your paragraphs short (keep it between 2-5 sentences per paragraph)
- read your sentences out loud
- use transitions
- edit, edit, and edit once more
I talk about this more on how to become a better writer and speaker in 6 easy steps. If you want to amp up your writing with more style.
And that’s it.
You now have your mini-guide to writing your own effective SEO friendly content.
You can just have The Copy Cartel do it for you and save you time to focus on that coveted work-life balance.
Until then, stay blessed.