Here's how to optimize old content for SEO, breathe new life into your website and finally get those keywords you’ve been targeting.
Gone are the days of “keyword stuffing” and other tactics designed to trick Google into ranking you. Today, if you want to build your organic presence, you need to pay attention to these SEO-friendly content writing tips.
At the core here is one thesis: You need to create the perfect answer to the question your ideal users are asking Google. That’s it.
This type of SEO-friendly content strategy is what nets sustainable SEO wins. Build a comprehensive collection of content in support of what you specifically do, showing users (and Google) that you are the authority.
Simple enough, right? But, once you have selected a topic that matters to your audience, how do you actually write the content?
In this blog, we’re going to cover a series of SEO-friendly content writing tips, based on our own house writing style. (And what has worked wonders for us and our clients!)
SEO-Friendly Content Writing: 6 Tips
- Focus your topic to match search intent
- Don’t forget your H1s, H2s and H3s
- Give your reader a reason to read
- Answer basic questions
- Prioritize readability
- Finish strong
Tip 1: Focus Your Topic to Match Search Intent
Ultimately, sustainable SEO is about SEO-friendly content writing that’s better than your competition. But before you start writing, you need to home in on the precise term that your competition is ranking for. You have a general topic idea, but how are people actually searching for that topic on Google?
The key here is to understand the search intent behind the topic, and then respond with content that matches that intent. You can use tools like Keywords Everywhere, which shows you how much volume a specific term gets every month. Try a few variations and check out the top results.
If they seem to relate what you want to write about it, that’s your topic. Then, just write it better than everyone else (tips on how to do this to follow).
If none of the content that populates in the search results matches with what you are trying to write about, you might have the wrong focus term. Keep refining!
Or, it could be such a new topic that the Google algorithm still needs to learn what the “best” result for that term looks like. Now’s your time to shine!
When we draft blogs, we usually include a “focus keyword” at the top of the document, just to keep that context in mind. This should be in the title and referenced throughout the blog. Remember: It’s not about keyword stuffing. But, at the end of your draft, if you can’t say that the blog is “the best piece of content about Focus Keyword” then you need to make some changes.
Tip 2: Don’t Forget Your H1, H2s & H3s
Your blog title is the H1. This is the beginning of the hierarchal structure of the rest of the blog, which helps Google “read” it (and also guides readers through the blog).
It’s important that the title accurately represents the content of the blog. You don’t want to bait and switch your readers.
Your H2 is usually that first sentence or two after the title, before the introduction of a blog. Then, each subtitle is an H3, and any sub-subtitles are H4s … and so on.
Subtitles are important to break up the text. Whenever the subject shifts, introduce the new section with an applicable subtitle.
More often than not, the reader is going to skim the blog. Make it easy for them to grasp the concepts by breaking up the text in an organized way. But of course, you want your audience to read, so the subtitles are a great way to catch their attention and make them want to keep reading.
That leads us to our next SEO-friendly content writing tip.
Tip 3: Give Your Reader a Reason to Read
Even though you want to appeal to the Google algorithm, the most important part is appealing to the real human reader. So, start your blog with 2-3 sentences that emphasize the problem you’re trying to solve and why this topic is important to your audience.
After that, continue with some introduction content. Expand on what you touched on in those 2-3 sentences (the “lede”).
Now you’re getting into the meat of the blog. What comes next?
Tip 4: Answer Basic Questions
A successful blog post needs to address everything about the topic that your headline promises. This usually means you need to answer several basic questions throughout your blog to provide real educational value and sufficient background.
SEO-friendly content writing is not the place to show off your highly technical expertise. Even though you might be able to answer these questions in your sleep, don’t assume your readership will know everything.
Of course, you want to capture your target audience – your prospects – in your blog, so it’s safe to assume they will understand most of what you’re talking about, but still. Make it easy for them to read, even if it sounds basic. If they’re searching a question on Google, they probably aren’t looking for a technical white paper.
Plus, answering basic questions is also good for educating Google’s algorithm. These include:
- What is the concept?
- What is the problem?
- Why is it important?
- How do you solve it?
- What should the reader do next?
Tip 5: Prioritize Readability
Readability is a big part of SEO-friendly content writing. Keep sentences short. Paragraphs should be small, too.
Readers will glaze over big blocks of text. White space helps guide their eyes down the page.
Other tips include:
- Use bullets whenever possible
- Use active voice (don’t hide the subject of the sentence)
- Define any industry terms when you use them for the first time
Tip 6: Finish Strong
Finally, don’t skip the conclusion. Remember, most people skim blogs to see if it will answer their question. They’re probably going to read your introduction and conclusion in the process and go back to the middle if they think it’s worth their time.
The conclusion can include a short recap of the blog but really emphasize why what you’re writing about matters. Leave your reader with something to remember.
At the end of your conclusion, you can tie in how your company’s offering helps. You want to make sure the bulk of your content is providing actionable information to your reader without being over sales-y.
SEO performance is a combination of many factors, including website design and content creation. These SEO-friendly content writing tips will help you post consistently helpful, effective content.
P.S. – You’ll know your content is working if you see a steady increase in organic website traffic – among other KPIs.