SEO for Content Writers
SEO for content writers is not an easy task. It requires a lot of research, planning, and creativity. This article will teach you everything you need to know in order to write great content that will rank well on search engines.
Heads up — this is not a quick fix or a simple hack you can implement to rank on Google’s first pages in a month’s time; instead, it’s a guide that requires long term hard work, and if done correctly… can have you rank for keywords (search terms people search for) in around 3–9 months, and even then, you’ll still need to keep working on it, why? Because SEO never ends, you’re constantly competing with other content.
"You can’t just ‘SEO’ your website and be done. It’s a forever moving goal post." - Stoney deGeyter
Ok, so we’ve got that covered, what’s next?
Let’s go over some key terms:
- SEO - Search engine optimization
- Ranking - Keyword rankings that your content ranks for on search engines
- Backlinks - Links from other websites that point back to your website
- Sitemap - A list of relevant URLs so search engines can easily crawl and index your website
- Search volume - The number of times a keyword is being searched for
- Keyword research - Finding relevant keywords with high search volume and low search difficulty
Before you start creating content, make sure you research the keywords you’re targeting. You should use tools like Ubersuggest and SEMRush to find out what terms people search for and monthly keyword search volumes. Once you’ve found some good keywords, you can use them to brainstorm ideas for blog posts. Once you have a list of potential topics, start building content around these ideas.
Write for Humans First
If you write content for SEO first, then humans second, you’re doing it wrong. You should start with the reader’s needs before worrying about search engine optimization (SEO). Long gone are the days where you write gibberish stuffed with keywords just to rank, search engines are smarter now, and can detect poor writing styles; they will penalize content that’s poorly written. Readers want to read content that is useful and relevant to what they’re searching for.
"Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first." - Wendy Piersall
It’s true that links are still one of the most powerful ranking signals for Google. However, there’s more to SEO linking than creating outbound links that just link back to your own site. You will have to distribute your content via content networks and share it on social media. You also want to create internal links; these are relevant links in your content that point to other parts of your website.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
If you’re writing content for SEO purposes, avoid using too many keywords in your text. Instead, use them sparingly. This will help you improve your rankings by making sure that your content is relevant to users’ searches. As a rule of thumb, try to mention your keywords between two to five times for every 1000 words you write.
Format Your Content Properly
- Mark your title as H1 and any subheadings as H2 and H3
- Use bullet points
- Have your keyword in the title and first paragraph
- Proper whitespace use, you want to avoid large gaps between content
- Create a table of contents, this makes it easier for search engine crawlers to index your content
- Use alt-tags for images
Use Google Search Console
Google Search Console can be a gold mine if you know what to look for, besides displaying your site’s metrics, It can show you search queries and the number of impressions certain keywords receive. This can be helpful in determining what keywords you need to work on and what landing pages are receiving most of the traffic. You will also want to submit your sitemap here and connect your Google Analytics.
Seek the Help of AI
Tools like Jasper and Simplified can be a great way to help with writer’s block, they can also help you generate content ideas around your keywords and improve your writing quality if used properly. Now when I say ‘seek the help’, I don’t mean have them write full-blown articles, they are only meant to help or ‘augment’ your content, we are still light years away from having AI tools write like humans. They still lack emotions and the creativity of humans.
Now, this is my starting guide on SEO for content writers, there are many advanced tips that can help your SEO rankings that I might get to in another post, but first, master these basics and make it a habit. SEO is not rocket science and if you do the points I mentioned above, I guarantee you, you will see a difference in your rankings.