One of the greatest challenges that copywriters and bloggers face in their position is the ability to write content that works for both people and search engine optimization. Search engines use a variety of technological software to scour the web for the best and most accurate information to provide to users. Making sure that your article meets the current SEO standards and is readable and informational to humans is critical for ranking success.
So, how do you accomplish this? It starts with understanding what SEO is and understanding the elements of copywriting. Writing an excellent content article or blog post is one thing, but it goes unnoticed, quite literally, if no one can find your website. So, let’s start with the basics of understanding SEO.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization includes a variety of factors that bring organic traffic to your website. This includes keyword research, developing a structure and link building your content. All of these ranking factors make it so that search engines are able to find you content within the billions of available files on the internet and drive the right traffic to it. Search engines use the relevance and popularity of a website to determine the ranking on the result page. You can read more about SEO in our previous article.
Understanding SEO Content Writing
When writing a piece of content, you should always keep the end goal in mind. What is the purpose of this content? Who am I writing for? SEO tactics evolve with search engine technologies, and today, understanding the intent of the searcher is what’s most important. Essentially, SEO content writing can be classified as sales. You are selling what you are writing. You have a target audience in mind and take the time to understand what will appeal to them.
It’s all about figuring out the intent of the searcher’s query in order to make it an appealing and quality piece of content in addition to optimizing your page. You can create SEO friendly content by:
- Keyword research and optimization
- Optimizing titles and headlines
- Ensuring usability and readability
- Checking site speed
- Link building
- Making content shareable
- Writing original quality content
Keyword Research and Optimization
Although keyword “stuffing” is no longer an efficient SEO practice, conducting research on relevant keywords and using them effectively is still a successful tactic. If you are hoping to generate traffic through search, it is critical to do some research on keywords before you start writing. This way, you can get a better idea of the words and terms people are using to search for topics and use them to your advantage. You want to use keywords that people are already searching for information about.
Be sure to use your keywords wisely without overusing them- a practice sometimes referred to as keyword stuffing. In the early days of SEO, keyword stuffing was an effective way to get a search engine’s attention and get your website ranked. But, as technology evolved, keyword stuffing became spamdexing, and therefore an unfair rank advantage in search engines. Readers realized that content that overused keywords were not a legitimate and quality source of information.
There are many online tools you can use to gauge what keywords people are searching for. However, the best way to conduct keyword research is to figure out which keywords are most valuable to your website specifically. First, ask yourself “What words would people use to search for my content?” and then decide which of those words is the best to use. It is critical to understand your website and the people who are searching for your website in order to choose the best keywords.
Optimize Titles and Headlines
Titles and headlines are the stepping stones that will guide your readers through your webpage, so it is important to make sure that they are optimized to correctly reflect your content. Post titles help the search engines and readers understand what your page is all about, while hopefully enticing people to click on it. The title should be unique from other pages and stand out among the rest.
Using targeted keywords in your titles and headlines are also an effective SEO practice. But again, it is important to not overuse your keywords to appear as spam. Headlines and titles are valuable SEO copy, so be sure to make it count. Even if your content is out-of-this-world amazing, if your headline doesn’t engage your readers, you will be left with a low click-through rate.
Ensure Usability and Readability
Readability and usability are becoming an increasingly more important ranking factor for SEO. The main goal of a search engine is to read content as human-like as possible in order to provide people the best possible results. As search engine technology evolves, they strive to process content the same way a human would. This makes readability and usability a useful way to boost rankings and traffic.
Readability is all about making your content easy to read and understand. Content that is easy to understand contains an appropriate amount of transition words that guide people between sentences or paragraphs. Sentences are not run-ons and contain few long words. You should also structure your text in a way that makes sense to the reader. Topics should be organized and presented in paragraphs that are thematic units.
For SEO success, it is also recommended that a web page is designed to be functional and usable for all modern browsers and devices. If the page is not usable on a certain browser or device, you are likely to get low user engagement. When a page is organized and designed properly for a good user experience, you will experience a higher level of organic traffic.
Check Your Site Speed
Have you ever clicked on a webpage that took what seemed like forever to load? A study by Akami shows that 40% of people will completely abandon a web page that takes more than 3 seconds to fully load and 47% of users expect a web page to load in no more than 2 seconds. If your content page takes longer than 2 seconds to load up, you should take the proper steps to better it. Ensuring that your site speed is acceptable will create a smooth user experience, which will in turn keep these readers on your content.
Structuring your content to include credible and relevant links is another reliable SEO practice. Link building is not only efficient to attract users, but search engines value it as well. Page links lets search engines know that you have valuable content that people can access from other places and that you are connected on the web. These links can either be internal or external.
Internal links are links that take you to a different page on the same website. For example, you can reference and link to previous content that you have already written in a new piece of content. These types of links are useful in your content because they help spread link equity around your website.
External links direct readers to outside content of different domains. When you include reputable website links in your content, you are increasing the legitimacy of your own content as well. Using these credible website sources and links in your content increase your chances of high SEO rankings.
Just as link building within your own content helps your page with SEO, having links to your content on outside websites is a necessity. Having links to your content lets users and search engines know that your website is credible and trustworthy. This creates more popularity and relevance clues to search engines. The more it is shared, the more it is seen on the World Wide Web. Search engines cannot judge the quality on content on their own, so they rely on user behaviors to tell them what is valuable.
In order for any of that to happen, your content must be shareable. Shareable content generates shares and engagement, which is critical for SEO traffic. Make your content easily accessible in order to be shared with others. For example, if users have to go through a process of signing up and logging in in order to view your content, it is likely that you will have low engagement. Focus on creating content that is designed well, organized correctly and accessible to readers to make it shareable.
Writing Quality Content
The most significant thing you can do to make your content SEO friendly is to simply write quality content. Write your content in a way that focuses more on the reader, instead of the search engine. Be genuine, helpful, and keep your readers engaged while giving them accurate information related to their queries. Quality content serves a real purpose or solves a real problem.
Get to know who you are writing for and understand their intent. Create content specifically geared your target audience and they will stick around to read, share and engage in your writing. There is no alternative for writing quality content, although at times it can be overlooked. It is easy to get caught up in the search engine aspect of content creating, but it’s important to remember to always write with the reader in mind. Helping your target audience with real, quality content will improve your ranking organically.
Put Your SEO Skills to the Test
It’s all about finding a balance between creating content for the reader and the search engine algorithms. You want to write content that is useful and valuable to the reader while also incorporating current optimization tactics that will increase your visibility online. Use these tips to put your SEO skills to the test to create high quality content and increase your organic traffic.