SEO writing techniques? Yes. It might be 2016, but content and search engine optimization still go hand in hand. What’s the point of high quality writing that ends up on page 40 of Google’s search results? Nobody will see it. Likewise, if your material isn’t worth reading and does not serve its purpose, your page one rankings aren’t going to do much for you.
As an online writer or marketer, the key is to strike the right balance; create quality content that people want to read and search engines want to index. Do that right and you are bound to taste success on the web.
Here are five effective techniques to work into your digital marketing plan.
SEO Writing Techniques: 5 Ways to Create Better Content
- Use a calendar. Planning is essential. Especially when you’re an online marketer. That is why you need a content calendar. Creating one enables you to plan and visualize all writing activity for the year. It lets you plan around important dates, identify gaps in your strategy, and maintain publishing consistency, which is important for both readers and SEO. Creating a calendar also forces you to research your keywords and topics. Since you are writing all your (captivating) headlines in advance and have a bird’s-eye view of your content, it is unlikely that you will repeat them, and there will be continuity. Ultimately, if you are doing it right, your web pages and site will attract and retain more visitors.
- Create outlines. Creating detailed outlines for your articles, blog posts, and web copy in advance does several things for you. It saves you time. It saves you effort. It enables you to structure your content for better readability and SEO. It also makes you think about the messages that you want to convey in your SEO writing and helps you avoid fluff. Ideally, your outline will contain three elements: a search engine optimized headline that packs a punch, a hierarchy of keyword-rich subheadings, and your main message/thoughts/ideas for that piece (you will forget later). Of course, you can always optimize when you write, but this should be easy enough to do ahead of time.
- Write for your audience first. This might seem obvious, yet a lot of businesses today are still churning out articles for search engines. Yes, SEO matters. But finding your content and engaging with it are two different things. Picture it. A prospect runs a search and finds your page. He opens it. He reads the first two sentences and scans it. He bounces. Search engines do not buy your products, services, and ideas – people do. If your highly optimized content is boring, incoherent, and unpersuasive, or your SEO writing looks like it was written for search bots, you probably aren’t going to be selling a whole lot. It’s simple… Write for your readers! Optimize your content with keywords when you are done.
- Incorporate keywords effectively. Most writers and marketers understand the value of using keywords. What they don’t realize is that how you use them can affect rankings and user experience in a big way. Granted, from an SEO perspective, keywords aren’t as important as they used to be, but things like relevance, prominence, and density do matter. Is your main keyword in your heading and at least one subheading, as close to the beginning as possible? Have you used it naturally throughout and maintained a safe keyword density? Have you incorporated LSI keywords and long tail phrases, in a way that adds value and facilitates reading? These are questions that you should be asking.
- Add images. Ok, so technically this isn’t a writing technique, but it can bring your SEO writing to life. Images complement your text and increase the likelihood that prospects will read and engage with your content. People are naturally drawn to them. Picture quality is important, though. Low-quality images can be a turn-off for potential customers. Engagement aside, images can boost your SEO. If optimized correctly, they can generate traffic and boost your search engine rankings. In fact, image optimization is thought to be a Google ranking factor. When optimizing images, keep the file size as small as you can. Also, be sure to add alt text and include your keyword in the descriptive file name.
Bonus SEO Content Writing Tips to Consider
- Headline formulas save time and boost click-through rates, which can affect rankings.
- Enticing Meta descriptions get more people to your content. Google usually takes notice.
- Including links to other valuable articles and web pages improves user experience (UX).
- Shorter paragraphs and sentences are easier to read. Search engines prefer them, too.
Want even more actionable tips? Check out this ultimate SEO Copywriting checklist.
Have these SEO writing techniques had an impact on your rankings and sales? How do you make your content stand out? Leave a comment.