If you ask 2 different writers about how to create content for SEO, you will get 2 different answers. Ask a few more content writers and you’ll likely get variations of how to create SEO content.
Why are there so many different approaches to SEO? Copyblogger described SEO as quite possibly the most misunderstood concept of Digital Marketing. The reason for this is that SEO has exploded in popularity in the past few years.
In the race for the top spot in the search rankings, SEO practitioners are continually looking for an edge over the competition. The techniques and principles of SEO evolve as the online behavior of consumers change.
You have to find out the “how” and the “why” people are searching for content before you can create the “what”.
In this article, we will simplify the process of creating content for SEO. We will give actionable tips that you can immediately use to get your webpage climbing up the search rankings.
Writing For SEO – The Dilemma Facing Content Writers
SEO or Search Engine Optimization helps your content get found on the Internet by using a combination of techniques and processes to develop strategies with the purpose of increasing your visibility to the search engines.
Search engines like Google track and index content with web crawlers. These web crawlers are guided by a search algorithm that evolves to reflect the online behavior of Internet users.
That’s the dilemma facing content writers – creating content that conforms to the search engine algorithm while at the same time writing content that appeals to the audience.
“How do I write content that is optimized and yet, still appreciated by my readers?”
With the rules of the SEO changing frequently, it’s hard to keep up with the discipline’s best practices.
For example, one of the fundamentals of content writing for SEO is to maintain a keyword density of 2% or lower.
In other words, if your blog has a total word count of 1,000 words, the number of high-ranking keywords used should not exceed 20. Otherwise, Google could flag you for keyword stuffing and penalize your webpage in the search rankings.
On the other hand, you can create a 5,000-word Buyer’s Guide that’s stuffed with more than 200 keywords and still rank high in the SERP.
Keywords are a crucial component of SEO because they reflect the search patterns of Internet users. Keywords give you an idea of how a consumer launches a search query.
Integrating these high ranking keywords into your content will enable the web crawlers to find and index your content faster.
However, the fundamentals of SEO state that the keywords must be used in the content exactly as how they are phrased by consumers when launching a search.
So how do you use “digital marketing Colorado” in a sentence?
There are SEO practitioners who say adding “in” or using punctuation marks to make the keywords grammatically correct will render the keyword powerless.
At this point, you can see what all the confusion is about. A content writer is taught to create impeccable content – one that is grammatically correct, free of spelling errors.
With the growing influence of the Internet, now, he has to reorient his way of thinking and create content that “appeals” to the search engines.
So how do you reconcile the dilemma?
Creating Content For SEO – Writing For People
The truth is, there is no dilemma.
SEO best practices will change to reflect how people search for content. The algorithm is in a constant state of change – and it’s people – your audience that’s leading the search engines.
Thus, to simplify the process of creating content for SEO, only focus on the golden rule:
Write for people – your audience- first.
Here are 5 actionable and useful tips on how to create content for SEO:
1. Establish a Writing Process
Content writing for SEO involves a different process because you are trying to laser-target your audience. You have to know what they want to read about; what topics interest them and how best to present the content to entice them to click on your URL over another.
Establishing a writing process gives you an organized manner of uncovering the interest of your audience because it reduces the guesswork. When writing for the Internet, research is not limited to the subject matter itself.
Here’s a writing process for you to consider:
- Topic Research
Review the numbers or metrics of your current content. Which ones generated the highest engagement rates? Which types of content got the most likes or shares? Which types of content have resulted in the longest time on your page?
As we discussed in our blog “10 Must-Have Tools For SEO Content Writers”, Google Keywords Planner is a wonderful tool for topic research.
Another online platform you can use to get topic ideas is “Answer the Public”. This is a keyword tool that gives you ideas for topics based on what people are talking about in your industry.
Create a large database of topics, organize these on a spreadsheet, and categorize them according to the subject matter.
- Keyword Research
Google Keywords Planner is an effective tool for keyword research and it’s free. Another free SEO tool you can use is Ubersuggest which was developed by Digital marketing wizard Neil Patel,
If you don’t mind paying US$99 per month, subscribe to SEMRush which is an amazing SEO tool that streamlines the keyword research process.
Similar to the topics list, organize the keywords in a spreadsheet, and arrange them in order of monthly search volume – from highest to lowest.
- Subject Matter Research
By now, you should have an idea of what to write about. The next step is to read up on the subject matter.
Even if you’re an expert on the topic, doing a bit of research will do some good. At the very least, you can update your knowledge or get a quick refresher.
Identify at least 3 reputable sources of information particularly if you plan to include statistics or numbers on your content.
These websites will be used as hyperlinks to verify your information. Adding at least one reputable link to your content will improve SEO and enhance your brand as a reliable resource.
- Create an Outline
An outline helps you structure the content of your article. It gives you a perspective on the continuity or flow of information of your content.
What’s important is that readers have an easy time following the “train of thought” of your content. Within the first few seconds of reading your blog, they should be convinced that they clicked on the right URL.
One of the best techniques is to use statements or ask questions that make the reader think to himself “Yes!” within the first 100 words. We applied this technique on this blog – which is probably why you made it to this section!
- Set a Timeline for Drafts
You can go about this in 2 ways.
First, set a timeline based on a target number of words. For example, review a draft after every 1,000 words.
Second, set a timeline based on the time spent writing. Studies show that we can maintain 100% focus no more than 90 to 120 minutes at one time. After 90 minutes, it’s possible you can no longer maintain 100% focus.
It could be time to step back and review the draft thus far.
Setting timelines for drafts keeps you on schedule and lowers the risk of making embarrassing mistakes on your content.
- Implement QA Measures
Before you publish your content, run it through a QA or Quality Assurance process. Here’s an example of a QA process that we implement at Mountaintop Web Design:
Step 1 – Run content through Copyscape to check for originality.
Step 2 – Run content through Grammarly to check for spelling and grammar errors.
Step 3 – Perform a “manual review” or read the content one more time to check for continuity, tone, and look for errors in grammar and spelling.
Once you publish content, it’s there for people to read. When it comes to brand building, first impressions last. Don’t take chances. Perform QA procedures until you’re 100% confident about the quality of your content.
2. Choose the Type of Content to Write About
77% of Internet users read blogs.
Businesses that blog regularly get 97% more website traffic than businesses that don’t blog.
These stats prove frequent blogging helps build businesses.
But content isn’t just blogging. There are other types of content that you can create for your audience:
- Articles – Think of content that’s good enough to get published in a newspaper.
- Buyer or Product Guides – A type of long-form content that’s packed with information such as product reviews, recommendations, technical specifications, pros and cons, images, and shopping links.
- Infographics – A type of content that delivers information via images or graphics.
- How-To’s – Informative, well-structured, and organized form of content that is very popular with the audience and gives your webpage a boost in Google’s SERP.
- Listicles – Similar to How-To’s, listicles rank very well in Google’s SERP. If someone writes an article “10 Smart Home Based Business Ideas In 2020”, you can outrank him by coming up with a larger list such as “15 Top Home Based Business Ideas In 2020”.
The key takeaway is to give your audience a variety of content to read. You can create a Content Calendar and schedule the publication of each type of content.
3. Summarize the Parameters of Your Content
The parameters of your content refer to its qualities. For example:
- Length – How long is your blog? Generally, long-form blogs or those that exceed 2,000 words generate higher traffic and are more effective in building your business brand.
However, the average time spent on a blog is only 37 seconds. How long is a blog that takes 37 seconds to read? The average person reads 265 words per minute.
The bottom-line: If you consistently publish optimized content that is well-researched and impeccably written, your reader will spend more than 37 seconds on your blog. For better results, go for long-form content.
- Images – Adorning your content with high-resolution images that are relevant to the topic will surely increase viewership.
For the purposes of optimization, use original images. There are plenty of stock photos that you can download from the Internet but Google rewards webpages with images that are unique to its own.
Keep in mind that high-resolution images can slow down the webpage’s download speed.
- Purpose – Are you using content to build your brand or to sell products and services? The purpose of your content will determine your choice of keywords.
For branding purposes, use keywords that have the highest search volume per month. However, if you’re selling products or services, you can opt for low search volume keywords but the competition is high.
A situation where the search for keywords is low but competition is high indicates businesses in your industry are getting good results with these keywords in their PPC or Pay-Per-Click ad campaign.
This low search/high competition SEO strategy can be used if you’re running a content marketing campaign alongside a PPC campaign.
- Tone – The golden rule when creating content for SEO is to write for people – your audience. You’re the acknowledged expert in the field – that’s why people click on your webpage. They want answers, not more questions.
Write in a manner that your audience will easily understand. Don’t try to impress them with technical jargon. They’re here to learn not to be confused.
Your tone should be conversational; informative but never dismissive of your audience.
4. Create a Posting/Distribution Schedule
Once you have completed your content and are confident of its quality, you may now shift your focus on creating a posting and distribution schedule.
Identify the channels or platforms where your content will be posted. In addition to your social media pages, you can reach out to other relevant websites and ask if you can post your content on their page.
You should also come up with a posting schedule. How often will you publish content?
In social media, you can publish at least one piece of content per day. But choose the correct social media channel for your business.
Image-driven products are best posted in highly-visual and generally “social” networks such as Facebook and Instagram. In these types of social media networks, it would be better to post 3 to 5 times a day.
5. Monitor the Performance of Your Content
Which types of content are performing very well and which ones aren’t? Website analytics and social media insights will give you valuable data on how your content is performing.
Consistently monitoring the performance of your content will allow you to streamline your efforts and repurpose more resources toward creating content that delivers the desired results.
Writing for the Internet is much different than writing an article and sending it over to the editor of a glossy magazine for review.
Before the Internet, all a glossy magazine needed was an eye-catching cover with compelling headlines to stand out from a hundred other glossies at a newspaper stand.
When you’re publishing content on the Internet, the objective is to get found. How can your webpage stand out and be highly visible versus millions of other websites in your industry?
This is why you need SEO to create compelling content that ranks high with the search engines.
Do you need help writing SEO content? Give us a call or drop an email. At Mountaintop, we have a track record of writing high-quality content that ranks very well in Google.
And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.