If you’ve paid attention at all to the topic of SEO writing lately, you have heard that “content is king.” And it’s true!
As search engines like Google and Bing tighten up their algorithms to punish so-called “content farms” and try to improve the relevance of the results to the keywords entered by the user, unique, quality content becomes increasingly important for ranking well.
I’m currently participating in Copyblogger’s 20-part free course on “the essential pillars of internet marketing” called Internet Marketing for Smart People. I signed up for this course for a few different reasons:
- It’s free!
- I’m smart. (At least my mom thinks so…)
- I believe in learning new things every day.
- The folks at Copyblogger are great SEO writers. They know what I (an audience member) consider great content, and they deliver.
That last point is the key message I want to deliver today. Good SEO writing is about knowing your audience (both humans and search engines) and delivering useful, quality content that is relevant to your audience’s needs.
SEO Writing Basics
To engage in effective SEO writing, it’s important to understand the purpose of online content. The content on a given webpage tells the search engines what it’s all about. This includes the URL, the title, the sub-headings, the image tags, and the frequency in which your keywords are used.
However, the most important user of your content is not the search engines. It’s the people you are writing for! But since the people won’t find you without the search engines, you need to cater to both.
That’s what effective SEO copywriting does – it tells Google which words are the most relevant ones to the people you want to reach. ~Copyblogger.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you gear up for some marvelous SEO writing:
The best way to know what your audience wants is to do some keyword research. If you’re writing about “dental prophylaxis,” but your audience is looking for “teeth cleaning,” people will not find you. Use the language of your audience and write content using words prospective customers understand. (And don’t forget to make sure your webpage is optimized for the given keyword!)
Write Something Useful
If you have a blog, don’t write about yourself all the time. (Your mom might enjoy this, but nobody else will.)
- Provide solutions to problems.
- Explain a difficult concept in easy-to-understand terms.
- Review products or services.
- Provide a unique insight on a current event.
- Empower people!
This is the type of information people are looking for and what makes for good SEO writing.
Grammar and Spelling
Really? Yes, really. The search engines care about quality, and grammar and spelling are part of quality writing (in case you didn’t pick up on that in school). Use grammar and spell checkers, and take this part seriously. Poor grammar doesn’t just hurt your ranking in search engines. When somebody does end up reading your subpar content, they’re going to lose confidence in you and/or your business, if you don’t know the difference between “their” and “there.”
SEO Writing and External Links
As you may recall, having external links (links from other websites to your content) is a really good thing. In fact, writing link-worthy content is so important for SEO writing that it gets its own section. What do I mean by “link-worthy” content? It is content that is so unique, funny, shocking, innovative, or useful (like this post!) that people can’t just help but link to it.
And the best part is that writing link-worthy content is based on the principles outlined above! Think about it. If you have a family blog, would you rather link to a post about a random blogger’s day in the park with his kids or an article about ten fun activities for a day in the park?
Google won’t treat you as relevant until others do first. ~Copyblogger
Taking that a step further, you wouldn’t link to something that ten other people have written about, but rather something unique and fresh. For example, back to the dentist, a breaking-news article about how polishing is no longer recommended (shocking, right?) would be more interesting than yet another article about the benefits of flossing.
Finally, it’s OK to turn on the funny every now and then. People like to laugh and many would rather spend their time looking at funny videos on YouTube than reading articles about the latest developments on Wall Street. Good SEO writing looks for ways to incorporate this need for fun and adds humor to the writing, as appropriate.
The real secret to modern SEO is creating compelling content that naturally attracts links, rather than begging for links to crummy keyword-stuffed “optimized” web pages. ~Copyblogger
SEO Writing and Social Love
Have you seen those Facebook “Like” and Twitter “Tweet” and Google “+1” buttons on blog posts and website articles? Of course you have. They’re everywhere! Almost every webpage on the Internet is looking for you to “like” it or share it in some other way. Why?
There are several reasons:
- It’s free advertising
- It creates brand awareness
- It helps establish the writer as an expert
- It helps with search engine rankings!!
Again, the principles for getting some social love with SEO writing are the same as above. Write insanely useful content that people just can’t wait to share with their social networks. Videos and images are great for social sharing, but also high-quality, unique articles.
In fact, sharing useful links on Twitter has been shown to increase the amount of followers a given Twitter account has. So it is actually beneficial to the “sharer” to share your content if his or her audience will consider it helpful! So your amazing content will not help just you, but your readers as well!
And isn’t that why we write anyway? For our audience.
What are some topics that have worked well for your SEO writing? Let us know in the comments!