If you’re wondering how to become an SEO expert writer, grab a coffee, sit down, and take ten minutes to read this simple guide.
Are you a writer just entering the world of SEO content writing? Has your writing for SEO become dull or lifeless? Are you struggling to increase traffic to your blog or website? Do you understand what SEO actually is?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a “marketing discipline”, according to MOZ, focused on improving organic (non-paid) rankings in Google searches and increasing traffic to webpages. Everybody who is anybody that has a website or blog of any kind wants a piece of this action.
The world of SEO is complex but don’t be deterred. Just learning a few basics about how to write expert SEO content is enough to improve your site’s ranking and traffic. You really don’t need to be a rocket scientist. If you can shuck a corn husk, you’ll do fine with SEO writing. So let’s start with the basics and go from there.
WHAT IS SEO WRITING?
First of all, SEO expert writing involves finding the right keywords and phrases and weaving them effectively into your content to generate traffic to your site.
But there’s a little more to it than that.
While there are some technical aspects to learn, creativity is equally important. How you write is as important as what you write. Writing to attract and engage an audience and writing for SEO purposes aren’t that different.
Let’s suss out the requirements of both aspects to get a clearer picture of how to be a SEO expert writer, both technically and creatively.
WRITE IT WITH BRICKS AND MORTAR
Your keywords are the bricks, your content is the mortar. You need both. You can stack a bunch of keywords together but the structure will eventually collapse without the glue. Similarly, mortar without bricks is kind of a waste. You can write the most beautiful, interesting piece of content but if no one but your mom is reading it, what’s the point?
To find the right keywords you’ve got to do the research, and not just once.
Long before I learned about SEO my routine was to gather a list of sensible-sounding keywords based on my topic, chuck them into my copy, wash my hands, and move to the next task. This is like trying to assemble IKEA furniture without the helpful little diagrams… good intentions don’t always produce the desired result!
But how does one do keyword research? I’m glad you asked.
CHOOSE A FOCUS KEYWORD & DEVELOP A STRATEGY
Indeed, choosing a focus keyword is essential. It determines how your site will rank and how readers will find you. Look at sites similar to yours. What are they writing about? What keyword search brought you to those sites? What questions do you want your site to answer? What keyword or keyword phrase is most relevant to your site’s content? This is the first part of developing your keyword strategy.
For example, perhaps you want to write about how to write expert SEO content (okay, so no points for originality here but we’ll let it go for the purpose of example). What words are you typing into Google (or heaven forbid, Bing)? Let’s see. How about “SEO expert writing” or “SEO expert writer” or variations of that: “how to write expert SEO content” or “writing expert SEO content” or “SEO expert content writing”.
These examples are considered long-tail keyword phrases because they’re comprised of three or more words. They make up 70% of web searches. Long-tail keyword phrases help you zone in on a more specific target than a simple search for “SEO” that will return thousands of general results–have fun weeding! So, gently tailor your focus keyword to your topic.
Next, there are plenty of tools out there to help you research additional keywords, free and not-so-free. Yoast for example, is a WordPress plugin that analyzes your content against your chosen focus keyword and can generate keyword expansions.
A freebie resource like Moz Keyword Explorer offers the same and is an extremely simple tool to get you started on keyword research and strategy development. There are plenty out there. At this moment, Google’s free Keyword Planner tool is not that useful anymore unfortunately.
You can also pay a SEO expert who specializes in creating quality content, understands Google’s algorithms and they can do all the heavy lifting for you.
Do not take KEYWORD RESEARCH lightly! It is the backbone of your SEO campaign or any campaign you want to conduct online.
ORGANIZE YOUR INFO AROUND YOUR OBJECTIVE
It’s natural to want to just jump right in and get writing. But, just like you should wax your board before you surf, adequate preparation is essential for success in the next steps.
Create an outline. You’ve chosen your topic and your keywords. Now you can create the bones of your article. Choose a keyword-informed title and subheadings so that you can organize your thoughts and stay true to your objective. (This also helps Google sort you out but we’ll get there in a minute).
What’s your objective? Writing interesting content that people will want to read, peppered strategically with SEO keywords. Right?!
Now, organize your keyword information so you can keep track of how often you use certain keywords and phrases. A spreadsheet is a good way to accomplish this–especially if you’re a spreadsheet junkie!
The most important part is your keyword research in the spreadsheet and how you use that information in your content. However, bricks and mortar without a design are just a pile of sand and stone in the end. Organizing your hard earned research findings is key.
That brings us to the next, less technical, but equally important step in writing expert SEO content.
BE A RESPONSIBLE SEO WRITER!
Now we’re diving into the more creative aspect of SEO expert writing. But it’s not all fancy-free and foot-loose ways here. There are some important creative considerations you should make before jumping into the surf and allowing your flair to take over. SEO-safety first please folks.
Avoid making your content a keyword dumping ground. It’s lazy, ineffective, and even damaging to your site’s performance to jam keywords into your final copy. You’ve done the research so be tactical in your next steps.
Be a responsible SEO writer and place your keywords appropriately throughout your text to avoid damaging its readability. Roll them in naturally as you write, rather than trying to jam them into your first draft. If it feels like stuffing, rethink your strategy.
Your chosen, tactical keywords should feature prominently in your article but avoid overusing them. Yoast recommends including your focus keyword in the first 300 words, and in the first main heading (H1) or subheading (H2).
STRUCTURE YOUR COPY
Keep your sentences short and concise, no more than approximately 20 words. And, avoid lengthy paragraphs. Few tasks are more daunting than weeding out the gold nuggets of information in paragraphs longer than a showgirl’s legs. Such a task makes your eyes bleed and we naturally want to stop doing anything that causes bleeding. Make it easy on your readers. Break up the paragraphs into two or three sentences.
Use headings and subheadings. They organize your content to make it more readable and to assist Google in extracting your copy’s main topics to improve your site’s ranking. Anything that helps Google read your site… helps your site!
And a mention on article length. The average word-count for blogs and content articles is 1500. I don’t recommend less than 400 or more than 3000. Readers will typically scan for specific information, hence the headings, concise sentences and short paragraphs. Make your content readable. Make your readers want to stay a while.
WRITE QUALITY CONTENT REGULARLY
If you’re writing for your own site don’t think that posting a few blogs or articles when you’re starting up is enough. Your numbers may spike but then settle right back down unless you’re generating new and quality content regularly. And with that, as mentioned, comes regular keyword searching and strategizing. This is an ongoing process and one of the most important ways of improving SEO.
ENJOY THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Now you have some basics for writing your own SEO content (or someone else’s)! Informed writing is always better than ignorant writing so good for you for indulging in this ten minute learning break!
And writing for SEO doesn’t have to be a task you approach begrudgingly. The best advice I can offer is to write what you know and then learn how to write it well to support your SEO objective–remember your objective! If you need to know more, research. Web surfing is one of the best activities you can engage in to learn more about SEO expert writing, content writing, and blogging. (And can I just add how unintelligible that statement would have sounded 30 years ago–I’m picturing spiders on surf boards).
So, now you’ve got your SEO swimmies on, you’re ready to enter the wonderful world of SEO expert writing. Go on, get wet–but remember to practice safe surfing!