Think about it — content is the key component in driving traffic to your website. Website functionality and an eye-catching design are essential for website success but what’s keeping users engaged with your site?
Without content, you would struggle to showcase your company’s brand and you wouldn’t be able to educate users on products, services, and industry topics. Success in your content marketing execution relies on a strong foundation in SEO best practices. By following these SEO content writing tips, your brand will boost its visibility in search while maintaining users’ attention once they’re on your site.
Why SEO Content Writing Should Be Part of Your IM Strategy
Simply put, having SEO suggestions when beginning your content strategy ensures that the content your creating is searched by users and can be found in search results. It’s disappointing to put your hard work and valuable time into content that can’t be found by your target audience. By doing thorough research beforehand, you’ll be able to identify click-worthy topics that your audience is searching for no matter where they are in the marketing funnel.
Types of Traffic-Generating Content
Content can be expressed in a multitude of ways; each one has its own situation where they may be best served. Some people absorb one form of content better than another. By testing various types of content, you’ll cater to all users.
Here are our suggested content types that may inspire your own ideas:
How-to content is the core of countless searches performed daily. Capitalize on this by creating your content in a step-by-step format geared towards these types of searches.
The great thing about lists is that they take the filler out of paragraph content and promote it in an easy-to-read format.
These are great when you’re covering an extensive topic. Be careful with how you’re formatting your guide though. You can easily lose a user’s attention when you neglect proper headings and forget to break up your paragraphs.
Case studies are a great way to showcase your company’s work while promoting your services. Case studies are a go-to source for potential clients to get a glimpse of your business before scheduling a time to talk.
For those who prefer visuals, videos can be a perfect way for users to stay engaged with content. They can deliver your message in a quicker, more interesting way than text.
Another favorite for visual learners, infographics combine design, creativity, and traditional content. Incorporating these into long-form copy helps break up text so it’s easier to read.
I don’t see a better way to present your company’s personality than podcasts. These allow you to showcase your brand, employees, and the knowledge you have on your industry.
Show off your industry thought leadership with unique research. Creating research-backed content can take more time than your typical blog but the results are rewarding.
Audit Your Current Website Content
Before you get started on an SEO content writing strategy, you should first evaluate your existing site content. Be sure you’re focusing on key areas of your site including the homepage, pages in your navigation, and your blog. If you’re writing for an eCommerce site, don’t forget your product and product category pages as well.
Once you have gathered a list of your current URLs, go through each page to identify strengths and weaknesses. Use the items below to guide you through your audit:
- Are there any pages currently ranking well?
- Are there any pages that have an opportunity to rank well?
- Are there any pages with thin or duplicate content?
- Which pages receive the most backlinks?
- Do your pages contain appropriate use of headings and subheadings?
- Do your pages include internal linking and calls to action?
- Do your pages have a healthy mix of text and visuals?
- Are you truly writing for your target audience?
- What kind of content is generating the most visits?
- Which pages do most users convert?
Performing a Competitor Keyword Gap Analysis
Once you have identified the areas of your content that are strong, as well as what can be improved upon, it’s time to perform a competitor keyword gap analysis. By doing this analysis, you will be able to identify what topical areas your competitors are covering and where opportunities lie.
Using tools such as SEMrush and Moz, you can compare your domain to a handful of competitors to see which ranking keywords you have in common. But looking at keywords that are unique to your competition is where the opportunities lie.
By identifying these unique keywords, you can look at the landing pages associated with them. You can then brainstorm strategies to create content pieces that one-up your competitor’s content. After performing this analysis with all your competitors, you’ll have a nice list of keyword opportunities that you can base your content around.
SEO Content Writing Tips
You’ve found your top-performing content, evaluated the competition, and even identified new content topics to cover on your site. Now, it’s time to make the magic happen! As you craft your content pieces, continue incorporating SEO best practices into your writing.
Perform Proper Keyword Research
Whether you already have a few keywords in mind, or you’ve only decided on a content topic, you must complete proper keyword research before crafting content. Your content will be heavily influenced by how and what your audience searches.
As you find keywords, a high search volume shouldn’t be your only consideration. Your keyword search intent should be a priority. For example, let’s look at a user who searches for “quick weeknight dinners.” Which page would the user be more likely to click on: a recipe with a cook time of 2 hours or a 3-ingredient, 15-min cook time recipe? Search intent is a top factor for search engines when ranking content which can make or break your content’s performance in SERPs.
Incorporate Your Keyword into Content
Each piece of content you create, whether it’s your home page, an eCommerce category page, or a blog post, should be assigned a unique focus keyword that best describes the content on that page.
The focus keyword should fit naturally into your piece of content; it should never feel forced. Also, try to add a few secondary keywords to your content that support your content’s theme. These should include variations and similar phrases to your focus keyword.
When optimizing your content for your focus keyword, be sure it is included in the following on-page elements:
- H1 Tag
- SEO title
- Meta description
- Body copy (but don’t be guilty of keyword stuffing)
Format for Easy-to-Read Content
When content is long-form, it can be easy for users to lose interest in reading a topic. Keep these points in mind when formatting your content:
- Use heading and subheadings to organize your main and supporting ideas
- Break long segments of copy into bullet points
- Including graphics to help illiterate complicated points
Be Wary of Your Content Length
An on-going debate in internet marketing is how long content needs to be. Some argue that short, matter-of-fact content is what users are looking for. But, numerous studies have shown that content with 2,000+ words often ranks highest in SERPs.
Your content length is going to differ based on every situation. If a 2,000-word page that should be converting isn’t leading to conversion, then maybe the content isn’t working. On the other hand, a 250-word page isn’t going to satisfy a user searching for a “complete beginner’s guide to SEO.”
When you’re performing your keyword research, be sure to keep things like content length in mind when you’re looking at current well-ranked pages. This can help you determine what length of copy tends to perform well for that given keyword.
Include Internal & External Links
Here’s another bit of advice for creating optimized content – understand the importance of linking. When creating content, you should include links to both internal and external pages.
Internal linking leads users to additional blog posts, product pages, or videos where they can get more information on a particular topic. This results in users visiting multiple pages on your site and spending more time on site.
External links, which are links to pages on sites other than your own, play a much different role. By linking to other high-authority sites relevant to your industry, you are building your own authority. External links are like “votes” for a website. When search engine crawlers see lots of links to a site, they see that site as trustworthy since other sites are “voting” for them.
You also want to think about the anchor text. Anchor text consists of the words or phrases you add your link to. In the past, it was commonplace to use “click here” or “read more” as anchor text. But now we know that anchor text should be keyword-focused and descriptive so that readers know what to expect when they click to a new page.
By incorporating a healthy number of internal and external links, you will help crawlers identify how your content is related to other topics. Search engine crawlers visit and store URLs from all over the web. By adding links to your content, these crawlers can smoothly navigate from different areas of your site which will set your site up for success when trying to get your pages indexed as quickly as possible.
Provide a Call-to-Action
To foster continued engagement with your site, add a call-to-action at the end of your content. Is your page selling a product or service? Encourage them to purchase now or request a quote. Are you writing a blog? Let readers know they can comment for further discussion on the topic or suggest they check out one of your other blogs.
Adding a call-to-action allows users to continue interacting with your content. Don’t miss out on the chance to keep your audience engaged.
Promote Your Content
A healthy content marketing strategy doesn’t stop when the content is completed. There are millions of pages of content on the web and the majority of them never get seen. Yes, we hope that our thorough keyword research and optimization skills will get our content ranking, but what do you do until then?
Send to Your Subscribers
You have a list of people who signed up to receive your content so make sure you send it to them! A monthly newsletter can include recent blogs, case studies, and any other new content you’ve published.
Post on Social
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or another social platform, be sure to post content for your followers. If someone comments on your post, be certain you’re continuing the conversation to increase engagement on your social profile.
Depending on your content, putting a little money into an ad could be a good strategy to reach a wider audience. If you’ve recently written content about a new product promotion, an ad can get theword out in a timelier manner.
When you’ve exhausted all your options sometimes good old email outreach can put your content in front of the right people. To ensure a higher success rate, it’s best to reach out to sites related to your industry that you’ve had a prior relationship with. You can also start communicating before your content is published if there isn’t a preexisting relationship. Engaging with site owners on social and commenting on their blogs is a great way to cement these relationships.
Get Started on Your SEO Content Writing Strategy
A content marketing strategy backed by SEO is what many content creators fail to do when publishing content on their site. By incorporating SEO best practices and crafting the right content for your target audience, your business will have a healthy content marketing strategy in place.